Dream Theater Wiki
Illumination Theory
Dream Theater
Length 22:17 (Ends at 19:15, hidden track starts @ 19:48)
Working title unknown
Release date September 24, 2013 (same as album)
Lyrics John Petrucci
Music Dream Theater
First live performance Coliseu do Porto, Oporto, Portugal, on Jan. 15, 2014
Total live plays 93
Other appearances Breaking the Fourth Wall
Previous song Along for the Ride
Next song The Astonishing (album)

Illumination Theory is the ninth and final track on Dream Theater's self-titled 12th studio album. It is very cinematic in sound, particularly the introduction. This song is also the fifth song released by the band that passes 20 minutes in length. It is split into five movements, of which two are instrumental. The movements are as follows:

  • I. Paradoxe de la Lumière Noire (instrumental) (0:00 – 1:21)
  • II. Live, Die, Kill (1:21 – 6:55)
  • III. The Embracing Circle (instrumental) (6:55 – 11:10)
  • IV. The Pursuit of Truth (11:10 – 15:17)
  • V. Surrender, Trust & Passion (15:17 – 22:17)

John Petrucci recorded this song using a 7-string guitar tuned 1 whole step down (A-D-G-C-F-A-D).




  • Misha Gutenberg (Concert Master), Larisa Vollis - Violin I
  • Yelena Khaimova, Yevgeniy Mansurov - Violin 2
  • Aleksandr Anisimov, Noah Wallace - Viola
  • Anastasia Golenisheva, Valeriya Sholokhova - Cello
  • Len Sluetsky - Contrabass





Consider this question,
Look deep inside
Deliver a true confession
What are you willing to live for?

Consider this question,
Open your eyes
Examine your own reflection
What are you willing to die for?

When your back's against the wall,
And your time's uncertain

Consider this question,
No standing by
When flesh and blood are threatened
What are you willing to kill for?

We seek to understand
We cry with head in hand

The bridges we build to connect
The distance that makes us forget
Hate dividing us
Love reminding us of our shared humanity

Hope can be a shadow fleeting
I would rather die believing
Chancing it all in a final act of faith

We seek to understand
We cry with head in hand

A story that needs to be told
An answer that begs to be found
The beauty we wish to behold
Is never too far away




Mothers for their children
Husbands for their wives
Martyrs for the kingdom
Fighting for your life

A soldier for his country
A junkie for the high
Teachers for their students
Vengeance for a crime

Rebels for their freedom
A tyrant for the praise
Cowards for salvation
Money, love and fame

Noble and brave
Lay down our lives for the cause
Death over shame
Grace before glory


To really feel the joy in life
(Feel the joy in life)
You must suffer through the pain
(Suffer through the pain)
When you surrender to the light
(Surrender to the light)
You can face the darkest days
(Face the darkest days)

If you open up your eyes
(Open up your eyes)
And you put your trust in love
(Put you trust in love)
On those cold and endless nights
(Cold and endless nights)
You'll never be alone
(Never be alone)

Passion glows within your heart
(Glows within your heart)
Like a furnace burning bright
(Furnace burning bright)
Until you struggle through the dark
(Struggle through the dark
You'll never know that you’re alive

Never know
Know that you’re alive
You'll never know
You’ll never know
You’ll never know 
You’ll never know


If one is to listen to this track, they would notice that the actual song itself ends at 19:15, leaving roughly three minutes left. A good part of this space is silence, but starting at 19:48 is a duet between Jordan on piano and Petrucci on guitar. The music being played here is very melodic, as evidenced by the fact that it is very slow, and Petrucci's use of a volume pedal and Rudess' use of an acoustic piano. This eventually fades out to the end of the album.

This is one of only three songs released by Dream Theater to feature a down-tuned 7-string guitar, the others being False Awakening Suite (G Standard) from the beginning of the same album, Viper King (Drop A) from Distance Over Time, and Raw Dog (Same Tuning, A Standard), a song made for God of War. However, during the 25th Anniversary of Images and Words Tour, Petrucci used a down-tuned 7-string to play A Change of Seasons.