- Mike Portnoy - Drums, co-producer
- John Petrucci - Guitar, co-producer
- John Myung - Bass
- James LaBrie - Vocals
- Jordan Rudess - Keyboards
1. The Glass Prison (Portnoy) 13:52
2. Blind Faith (Petrucci) 10:21
3. Misunderstood (Petrucci) 9:32
4. The Great Debate (Petrucci) 13:45
5. Disappear (LaBrie) 6:45
- Main article: Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (song)
1. Overture (instrumental) 6:49
2. About to Crash (Petrucci) 5:50
3. War Inside My Head (Portnoy) 2:07
4. The Test That Stumped Them All (Portnoy) 5:03
5. Goodnight Kiss (Portnoy) 6:17
6. Solitary Shell (Petrucci) 5:47
7. About to Crash (Reprise) (Petrucci) 4:04
8. Losing Time/Grand Finale (Petrucci) 5:59
During the early conceptual phase of the album, the band came up with the idea to do another extended track along the lines of A Change Of Seasons. Though they attempted to keep the song at a 20 minute length, more and more ideas were added and the song ballooned up to 42 minutes. Realizing that along with the other five songs, they would need to do a double album, but knowing that they had previously been denied this by the label for Falling Into Infinity, Portnoy agonized over the choice of what songs to cut.
Deciding that he would have to cut both Misunderstood and Disappear, Portnoy was relieved to find their label now open to the idea of a double album. The second disc wound up housing the title track, splitting the album basically in half.
Also of note is the lead-off track "The Glass Prison" starts with the same static that ended the song "Finally Free", the final song on Scenes From a Memory. This allowed the two albums to be played back to back seamlessly, a concept which continued for several albums until the release of Octavarium.
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is notably the first album to see a pre-release leak on the internet, being available on illegal download websites and peer-to-peer networks months before release. This led some fans to pick apart and criticize the album well before release, something that became very upsetting to Portnoy. It was even rumored that the leaked album was in fact not Dream Theater, but a James LaBrie solo album.
Upon its official release, the album was a success, and was the most heavily promoted album during the band's tenure at Elektra Records. The tour to support the album was also a success, and it was during this tour that the band would decide that during certain shows (the second night of a two-night stand in any given city) that they would cover a classic metal album, covering both Master of Puppets and Number of the Beast, which inspired their next album. The band also toured with Queensryche and Fates Warning.
Six Degrees received excellent reviews, though some critics faulted its excess, with only two songs being less than 10 minutes long. Fan reaction was somewhat mixed, as due to the album being split in half, many preferred one half to the other. Since its release, fans have warmed up to the album considerably, now considering it a modern classic.
Tone and lyrics
While its predecessor, Scenes From a Memory had a very concise tone, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is by contrast notably eclectic, with a far range of sounds. All four tenets of Dream Theater's sound (progressive, metal, melodic and pop) are present, and furthermore are all contained in the title track. The progressive aspect is most seen on "The Glass Prison", "The Great Debate" and the title track. Metal is seen on those songs as well, particularly the "War Inside My Head" and "The Test That Stumped Them All" sections of the title track. "Misunderstood", "Disappear" and "Goodnight Kiss" are more melodic, with the pop sound coming out in "Blind Faith" and "Solitary Shell".
Lyrically, the album centers largely around personal issues. The title track chronicles three individuals coping with mental disease, including Bipolar Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Schizophrenia, Post-Partum Depression, Autism and Depression. "The Glass Prison" is the first song in The AA Saga and covers the first three steps of the 12-step program. "Blind Faith" is about questioning religious belief, "Misunderstood" is about a religious figurehead and "Disappear" is about coping with grief. The only non-personal song "The Great Debate" centers around the controversial stem-cell research debate.
The cover art is notably different than most of Dream Theater's efforts, with a great emphasis on the title of the album, with the band's own logo being considerably smaller. Initially criticized by fans for being simplistic, the cover art is upon further inspection quite involved, with many small drawings that adhere to the central theme.
As Dream Theater's longest album, which also contains some of their longest songs, the album is notably loved by fans of lengthy compositions. Initially criticized rather harshly, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence has become more appreciated with time, and is now considered a modern classic. At their 20th anniversary concert at Radio City Music Hall, the band chose to open the second half of the show with the title track, being joined onstage by a full orchestra, something that many Dream Theater fans consider to be among their very best live moments. The album is also fondly remembered for giving birth to The AA Saga, which will conclude with the release of Black Clouds & Silver Linings
Re-releases and alternate versions
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is notably the only Rudess-era Dream Theater studio album not to be backed up by a live album. Prior to its release, the band released Four Degrees of Radio Edits through their fan club, which contained cut down versions of "Blind Faith", "Misunderstood", "Solitary Shell" and "The Test That Stumped Them All"