When Dream Theater started in 1989, the words "progressive music" conjured up images of bloated 70s rock well past its due date or music that was more about how many notes the musicians could fit in a solo than actual songs. 20 years later, as the band is about to release their 10th album, 'Black Clouds and Silver Linings,' Mike Portnoy says that not only is progressive music entering a new golden age, but the word has come to encompass a much wider swath of music.

"I think it's bigger and better than it's been since the early 70s," Portnoy tells Noisecreep. "This is the most fruitful time in progressive music than there's been in 35 years. When prog was in its heyday in the early 70s, you had Yes, and Genesis, and Gentle Giant and Pink Floyd and ELP, but they were all kind of in the same mold. Now progressive music is everything from Mastodon to Oceansize. It's at an all time creative level, and now it's being embraced. I remember 10 to 15 years ago, we would get criticized. Critics would call us progressive and tag us with a vengeance like it was a bad word. Bands like Radiohead were petrified to have that word associated with them. Now the new Mastodon album is getting so much acclaim because it's progressive, and it's being used as a compliment, so it's funny to see how that's changed."

Progressive music now has its own tour, headlined and curated by, of course, Dream Theater. While last year's excursion featured the band playing with Opeth, Between the Buried and Me and 3, this year's, which kicks off on July 24 in Miami, will feature Zappa Plays Zappa, Pain of Salvation and Beardfish. The European incarnation, which starts in late September, will feature Dream Theater playing with Opeth, Bigelf and Unexpect.

'Black Clouds and Silver Linings' comes out today.