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Dream Theater - Images and Words CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.29 | 2963 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 'Images and Words' is a prog metal defining classic: that's an undisputed historical fact, given its great influence on the further development of prog metal as a genre with an identity of its own. Now, the question is: does 'I&W' deserve all the praise it got and still gets from lots of reviewers, fans and a bunch of music critics? My answer is: yes, it does. The musicianship is tight and immaculate, the compositions are well crafted and attractive, the arrangements are clever and exquisite, LaBrie's vocal range and distinctive style complements perfectly his partners' instrumental input. You can tell that by now Dream Theater is a band that has found its voice and makes it scream with awesome splendour. My fave highlights are 'Metropolis Pt. 1' and 'Learning to Live'. The former's interlude has got to be one of the finest heavy rock instrumental sections ever! Before that, its intro theme is ethereal enough to build a perfect contrast against the following riff sequence, while the sung parts are both exultating and dramatic. 'Learning to Live' is in many ways as bombastic as 'Metropolis', but the overall mood in the sung parts feels more intimate; plus, the multi-section instrumental interlude (another absolute highlight) tends to be less aggressive, even including a latin-jazz isnpired portion led by a soft acoustic guitar motif. Of course, I won't forget to mention the catchy opening number Hamlet-based 'Pull Me Under' (so far DT's most popular tune); other prog tinged gems such as the frantically complex 'Take the Time' and the powerful 'Under a Glass Moon'; and the beautiful piano-vocal ballad 'Wait for Sleep', which serves as a proper prelude to 'Learning to Live'. Moore's keyboard parts play a fundamental role with his textures, solos and harmonies, when it comes to keeping the prog side of DT's music working effectively. Meanwhile, Petrucci manages to recycle the combined legacies of Howe, Lifeson, Satriani, di Meola and Holdsworth with total energy and finesse: all his typical pyrotechnics is there, but somehow you can notice that the emotional appeal is also there (for instance, the overwhelming solo in 'Another Day'), showing that technical skill is not exclusively what Petrucci's style is all about. The rhythm section is well oiled, with Myung bringing a highly melodic touch to his impeccable bass playing, and Portnoy assuming a machine-like vibration for his drumming: by doing so, Portnoy manages to emphasize the metal side of DT on the backround of all this prog paraphernalia. After all, this is a prog metal effort, and Portnoy is in charge of keeping 75 % of the metal side of DT's sound functioning properly. Without hesitation, I give this album the perfect rating: a red hot masterpiece of 90s prog!
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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