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Dream Theater - Images and Words CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.29 | 2940 ratings

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The Progmatist
5 stars An almost automatic five stars. Being a Dream Theater fan for years, it never fails to amaze me how much this album continues to grab me. Sure, after these years I've probalby heard "Pull Me Under" a bit too many times to hear it for what it is (a great album opener), but the rest of the songs included here simply never get boring. "Another Day" features one of Labrie's best vocal performances to date, "Take the Time" is one of the most passionately energetic songs you're going to find, "Metropolis" is a tried and true DT classic (in fact, its ridiculous instrumental midsection is actually welcome here although the band would often fail to recapture the feel of such passages in subsequent albums), "Under a Glass Moon" features one of the most technical but still accessible guitar solos ever performed on a rock album, and I still feel that "Learning to Live" remains one of the band's finest if not best compositions, featuring emotional keys, respectable lyrics (quite rare for a DT album!), masterful seven-string guitar plucking, and a near-perfect musical development to the type of climax that would come to typify DT music.

As there are already hundreds of reviews on this album, I'll cut mine a bit short by simply arguing that IMAGES AND WORDS is quite possibly the band's greatest achievement, especially when considering the fact that it is the band's first de facto work. This album has everything that DT fans would come to expect: great riffs, technical musicianship tamed by passionate melodies, and that "x factor" that I'd be hard-pressed to articulate and that I believe DT-naysayers just don't "get." If you feel the same rush I do when "Surrounded" kicks into gear or when the soaring instrumental passage of "Metropolis" lands perfectly into the chill-inducing conclusion, then you probably know exactly what I'm talking about. There's no doubt that DT has sometimes ventured into the cold realm of self-conscious over-complexity, but there is nothing cold about IMAGES AND WORDS. In many ways, it is DT's most lively work.

The Progmatist | 5/5 |


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