Dream Theater's album covers are renowned for being usually very interesting. Larry Freemantle designed the covers of the second and the third Dream Theater albums, Images and Words (1992) and Awake (1994). In both cases, the band instructed Freemantle to include several lyrical references in the cover, such as a clock showing six o'clock, a mirror and a spider in the middle of a web for the tracks "6:00", "The Mirror" and "Caught in a Web" respectively of the Awake album. "The band were very definite about what they wanted, and where they wanted it", Freemantle said. "The mirror was to be buried in the sand with a factory in the background, so it was just a case of putting it together."
|Images and Words (LP 1992)|
|Awake (LP 1994)|
Storm Thorgerson, the English graphic designer known for his work for rock artists and founder of the graphic art group Hipgnosis who passed away recently (on 18 April 2013), provided the artwork for the EP A Change of Seasons (1995), the LP Falling into Infinity (1997) and Once in a Livetime (1998) live album. Falling into Infinity's cover art depicts two people staring at each other through binoculars on sea-based platforms, with an effect giving the impression that they are also being viewed with binoculars. The image was not computer-generated; rather, Thorgerson built a platform, employed a pair of models, and placed them in the sea off Camber Sands in England to get the photograph. The artwork is also notable for being one of two Dream Theater albums, alongside Once in a Livetime not to feature the band's signature font.
|A Change of Seasons (EP 1995)|
|Falling into Infinity (LP 1997)|
|Once in a Livetime (Live album 1998)|
Jerry Uelsmann is the American photographer who was the forerunner of photomontage in the 20th century in the U.S. His artwork is featured on the Daliesque cover of the seventh Dream Theater studio album, Train of Thought (2003).
|Train of Thought (LP 2003)|
Hugh Syme, the Canadian graphic artist who is best known for his artwork and cover concepts for rock and metal bands, designed the covers of all the Dream Theater studio albums since 2005's Octavarium. The idea of depicting a giant Newton's cradle was born out of discussions between Syme and drummer Mike Portnoy. The two talked about how "for everything you do in music you create either a cluster or triad", according to Syme. "And then it became evident that for every action there is an opposite reaction. So I thought we could do something based on the Newton's cradle." There are numerous references to the numbers five and eight throughout the artwork, alluding to the album's concept; On the full cover, the Newton's cradle has eight suspended balls, and there are five birds, for example. When starting to work on what would become Octavarium, Portnoy noted that it would be Dream Theater's eighth studio album and that they had recently released their fifth live album, Live at Budokan. This sequence mirrored the octave on a musical keyboard: each octave contains eight naturals and five accidentals. Portnoy suggested that they write the entire album based around the concept. When writing, the band delegated each song a different key. Sound effects were placed between songs to connect them: for example, "The Root of All Evil", written in F, and the following track, "The Answer Lies Within", written in G, were connected by a sound effect in the key of F#. The album's lyrics and song titles featured references to this concept, the title "Octavarium" ("the octave of the octave") for example.
|Octavarium (LP 2005)|
|Systematic Chaos (LP 2007)|
|Chaos in Motion 2007–2008 (Video 2008)|
|Greatest Hit (...And 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) (Compilation 2008)|
|Black Clouds and Silver Linings (LP 2009)|
|A Dramatic Turn of Events (LP 2011)|