I love, love, love, love it when I find a new band.
My brother, Mark, an outstanding guitarist, and I have very similar musical tastes. We have always both been fans of harder progressive rock. We are both fans of Rush, Joe Satriani and Van Halen. So when he said to me "You gotta check out Dream Theater" I figured that was a pretty sound endorsement.
Was it ever.
I found the DVD for Dream Theater Live at Budokan at a used store. This sucker is a 3-HOUR concert from Tokyo (the same place Cheap Trick's legendary Live album was made). I have really only listened to half the concert, but I'm a fan. These guys love to go off on extended instrumental runs and that always gets my attention. On first listen, I immediately thought of the band as a cross between Metallica (edgy sound and lyrics), Emerson Lake and Palmer (pure technical musical talent) and Joe Satriani (sonics). One song, "In This Life", has quite possibly the best instrumental break I've ever heard, running nearly 10 minutes and combining about 5 different mini-songs (featuring different combinations of lead instruments, time changes, style changes) that never gets overdone. The band's "Instrumedley" also rocks bells. I have yet to listen to the last 90 minutes (I need that time in headphone isolation), but the first 90 alone makes this a MUST-recommend.
Give it a listen sometime.