2007 in the world of Dream Theater began with news that Roadrunner Records had announced the signing of the progressive metal pioneers. A new studio album, ‘Systematic Chaos’, would follow in June, with the band then embarking on a world tour that would incorporate major festival appearances in Europe.

"This album's got all of the elements we've become known for," revealed drummer Mike Portnoy. "The focus on musicianship, the skull-crushing riffs, the big progressive epics and the heart-wrenching melodies. We've got one of the strongest and most devoted fan bases in the world, and they should certainly be happy with the new material. By working closely with the label we hope to turn a great many new heads too."

The band worked with veteran engineer/ mixer Paul Northfield (Rush, Queensryche), however Portnoy and guitarist John Petrucci were once again co-producing the project.

Fast forward to June 4, and ahead of their performance at Download and a couple of one off UK shows, the Dream Theater album had arrived.

R13 metal reviewer Pete Worral on the album, and first the band:

“It's a long time ago since I first heard 'Pull me Under' on Tommy Vance's Friday rock show. Ever since that glorious moment, I can still remember it well as Tommy Vance never said who the band were but thankfully ITV's Raw Power had the band on soon after, I have been a fan of the New York based quintet. The band have come a long way since their inception gathering an extremely committed fanbase because of their un-comprising attitude and refusal to play the corporate game. In the words of Mike Portnoy, "We haven't succumbed to trying to be what is popular, because usually that stuff passes within a year or two." Amen to that.”

‘Systematic Chaos’ is the band's ninth album, and Pete highlights a key turning point for the band:

“Ever since Guitarist John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy have taken over the production helm the band have settled into a niche they were only hinting at prior to 'Scenes From A Memory'. Since then the band have released consistently good prog metal and although their last release 'Octovarium' was acknowledged as a solid release, the general consensus amongst fans was that it was missing that Dream Theater magic of albums such as 'Train of Thought' and 'Scenes from a memory.' Thankfully 'Systematic Chaos' is dripping in Dream Theater class and is one of the band's best releases.”

Read his full review here

Their brief visit to these shores in June was followed by a full tour of the UK in October and November, with the final night finding itself in somewhat unusual surroundings. Pete again:

“I can't recall Blackburn's St George's Hall being a part of a metal tour of Great Britain let alone be the final night, but that was the reality of the evening. Dream Theater and Symphony X had completed their European tour and were parting ways. The reason myself and my colleagues had driven up the M6 to Blackburn was because their previous show at the jam packed Manchester Apollo a month earlier was so spellbinding that we immediately snaffled a handful of tickets for this last date. The old Victorian music hall wasn't as big or as deep as the Apollo but it was a pretty dandy place to visit.”

You can read his review of the gig
here. The gig rounded off what was without question, a mighty year in the life of Dream Theater.

You can see the rest of the list of featured bands by
clicking here.