The meta album cycle (also known as the album cycle or meta album concept) is a continuous stream of albums when each album starts with the same note or sound that the previous album ended. Dream Theater implemented this with 4 albums starting with their 5th album Scenes From a Memory followed by Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and Train of Thought and ending with their 8th album Octavarium.
- Mike Portnoy - Drums, co-producer
- John Petrucci - Guitar, co-producer
- John Myung - Bass
- James LaBrie - Vocals
- Jordan Rudess - Keyboards, continuum
- Edward - Solo Mid
- Finally Free - Scenes from a Memory
- The Glass Prison - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
- Losing Time/Grand Finale - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
- As I Am - Train of Thought
- In the Name of God - Train of Thought
- The Root of All Evil - Octavarium
- Octavarium - Octavarium
The cycle starts with the end of Finally Free from Scenes From a Memory, where there is a skit of Nicholas watching TV and the Hypnotherapist interrupts him with the phrase "Open your eyes, Nicholas," which startles him and makes him scratch the record, and the song ends with static.
The Glass Prison, the first song on their next album Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence begins with the same static that Finally Free ended with. The title track of the album ends with a long orchestral E major chord which eventually fades out.
Their next album, Train of Thought, opens with As I Am, which begins with the same chord that closed the last album, except this time it builds up. Train of Thought ends with In the Name of God, which ends on an F note on piano, and the same note is used to start the first track on Octavarium, The Root of All Evil.
Mike Portnoy said that by that time he'd, "dug a hole where we're expected to do it every time", so he ended the title track with the same intro as The Root of All Evil, thus completing the cycle and allowing them to start fresh with their next album.