Dream Theater are good for what they are, and what they are is a stepping stone into prog. To be fair, they have some great albums (WDADU, I&W, and Awake), but once Kevin Moore left, it's been a steady decline, leaving nothing but scattered moments.
These bands are, in a way, the 'next step.' They represent the meat of prog, in albums that showcase the range of the genre.
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Anekdoten - Vemod|
Arcane - Known/Learned|
Arena - Contagion|
Beardfish - Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two|
Communic - Waves of Visual Decay|