Band(s) in the vein of Dream Theater?
I really like the band Dream Theater, but I'm not very familiar with the Progressive Metal genre of which they're a part.
Can anyone suggest a band (or bands) that have a similar feel but aren't as well known?
I've tried Fates Warning (the CD was called No Exit), but couldn't really get into them.
I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a list question.
OK, but isn't a site geared towards **music fans** a good place to ask for band recommendations?
The problem is, we have 13 pages of users on the main site, and only 5 pages of users on Meta. So, either we need more representation on Meta, or we need a few questions here (like this one) to see how users actually respond. So far, this question is in the black.
I think that, due to the low numbers using this site at the moment, the scope of the site needs to increase. If this means allowing list questions and 'what's this song' questions - so be it. I fear if these questions aren't allowed, the site will die :(
Last.fm has a very good similar artists page for Dream Theater with over 200 bands/artist listed that range from extremely popular to barely known and has this for any bands/artist.
All the bands above are listed along with many, many other. Just a little taste of bands that are similar to Dream Theater on this page are:
- Symphony X
- Flying Colors
- Adrenaline Mob
- Fates Warning
And many, many others.
- Rush (2112 is a good place to start)
- Muse (The 2nd law an easy one to get into)
- Porcupine tree
- Spocks beard
- Ozric Tentacles (maybe)
Porcupine Tree is AMAZING! Could be one of my favorite "underground" finds this year! Thanks! I've heard of Muse but never knew what their music sounded like, I'll hit the youtubes on them today.
Similar in as much as people who like Dream Theater may like Muse. In the same way that people who like Glen Miller may like Miles Davies.
Mmh, I'm not really convinced. People who like Glen Miller will clearly likes Miles Davis, as they both play jazz. Dream Theater is a progressive metal band, Muse is a rock band, sometimes progressive, and not metal at all.
You should look into Liquid Tension Experiment. It was an instrumental project of Mike Portnoy (then drummer of DT), John Petrucci (guitarist in DT), Jordan Ruddess (who became keyboard player of DT), and Tony Levin (King Crimson etc.). I'd say it's like the proggier parts of DT, sans vocals (hich is a plus in my book).
No Exit is really a terrible album to hear first as it doesn't sound much like old or new Fates. They didn't really hit on the more modern, more progressive sound until right after that album. You should try something later, like Parallels or Disconnected. Or both, as those two albums are very different from each other but will give you much more DT-like experiences. If you like those, try A Pleasant Shade of Gray, Darkness in a Different Light, and Perfect Symmetry. :)
I also recommend Vanden Plas, a lesser-known band that, in my opinion, sort of took over the torch from Dream Theater after that band declined in quality. The Seraphic Clockwork is an absolute masterpiece, but be aware that it takes a few listens for it to really sink in. Their album Far Off Grace sounds very different, but is also very good. The God Thing was their initial progressive breakout, and if you like 90s DT you'll probably like it as well. Also Christ 0, which sounds more like their newer stuff than the last couple I mentioned.
First, check what you like in Dream Theater
Dream Theater mixes the Progressive aspect from (mainly) Rush, Deep Purple and similar bands into the Heavy Metal aspect from bands like Metallica, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden as their influences by the time. They also have a thing for fast playing (although not being the only thing they do, before someone downvotes for that), which is a predominant characteristic on Power Metal bands.
Either way, really similar bands
- Haken is a really, really similar band to Dream Theater, independent of your choices above. From my contact with the fanbase, if you are a fan of one, you're most likely going to enjoy the other.
- A.C.T. also has many musical similarities, especially in riffs. Circus Pandemonium is a good album to start, in the sense it shares many progressive metal concepts from DT.
- Tool, while not that similar, is also often liked by Dream Theater fans.
- Symphony X, while being more focused in the Power Metal than the Progressive Metal, is also commonly associated with Dream Theater.
- Liquid Tension Experiment is essentially Instrumental Dream Theater.
- X Japan is often called "Japanese Dream Theater" - note that japanese jazz music is usually even more dissonant than western's, and that is true for their prog as well.
The Prog aspect
If you are into the prog aspect, you will likely be enjoying old prog rock bands, such as Rush, Yes, Gentle Giant, E.L.P., King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Camel, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple (ok, DP might not be considered prog, not discussing it) and similars.
If you are interested in recent bands, you should probably follow the works of Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Neal Morse (Spock's Beard, Flying Colors), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) and similars.
Other than that, really, progressive metal is a genre with too many bands. A few with renown (presented, for example, in the Essential Modern Progressive Rock Albums by ProgReport) are Queensryche, Marillion, Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings, Devin Townsend, Opeth, Transatlantic, Pain of Salvation, Porcupine Tree, Ayreon, IQ, Riverside, Frost*, Karnivool, Between the Buried and Me, Big Big Train, The Dear Hunter, Rishloo, Leprous and Sound of Contact.
A few bands also have singular albums that are good, but mostly their other works are not well received. The Mars Volta has De-Loused in the Comatorium, for example. Native Construct has their debut and only album until now - Quiet World.
Either way, it's a big and broad genre. These bands should give you a start, after you know better what you are enjoying, you can pinpoint your searches better.
As a special note, since you are asking about DT, it's interesting to look for bands Portnoy has participated. In particular, his interactions with Neal Morse usually end up in great progressive projects. Examples are the already mentioned Transatlantic, Flying Colors and The Neal Morse Band. Sons of Apollo is his most recent project.
The Heavy Metal aspect
Well, this one is even broader, but AFAIK, less common for recent bands. A fair share of the DT's fanbase is interested in plain heavy metal, such as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. If that's your case, simply look for more heavy metal, not for more progressive metal.
The Power Metal aspect
If you are instead interested in the fast playing and high tones, you can go for Power Metal. Here, you can go for Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, Helloween and Iced Earth as things that a Dream Theater fan might enjoy. This is more likely to be true if you enjoyed When Dream and Day Unite.
If you enjoyed the concept of a really long Opera Rock album (a.k.a. you liked The Astonishing), Ayreon gets a stronger recommendation, as well as the a little bit underground band Gandalf's Fist, known for having 3 hours albums.
You have to check out SEVENTH WONDER from Sweden. It's Tommy Karevik's (Kamelot) main or first band. They have released 5 CD's so far which are all great.. Try " Waiting in the Wings" or "Mercy Falls" or " The Great Escape" first, these guys are fantastic, especially if you like the more melodic side of Dream Theater.
Tool, Psycroptic, Muse (sorta), Meshuggah, Periphery, etc. because they are Prog Rock/Metal mainly, but they are similar. I can't really explain why.
I see that you are relatively new to Stack Exchange and all of its sites. When one gives an answer here, that answer is usually backed up by certain facts that add weight to it. Otherwise, it's more of a comment than an answer. Can you edit this to flesh it out a bit, explaining why you feel those bands might be a good fit?
I would be especially interested in the connection between Psycroptic and DT.