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Dream Theater - When Dream And Day Unite CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.19 | 1204 ratings

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3 stars "When Dream and Day Unite" is the debut full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Dream Theater. The album was released through Mechanic/MCA Records in June 1989. Dream Theater were formed in 1985 under the Majesty monicker and released their demos under that name. They were however forced to change their name because another act with the same name threatened to sue them. They opted for the Dream Theater monicker after drummer Mike Portnoyīs father suggested the name. The Majesty were relatively well received, but if the band had expected the big breakthrough with "When Dream and Day Unite", their expectations were not met. The album was barely noticed, and Dream Theater were dropped by their label and only toured locally in support of the album.

Stylistically the music on the album is technically well played progressive metal with occasionally dominant keyboards, which was not necessarily the order of the day, back when "When Dream and Day Unite" was released. Contemporary progressive metal artists like Queensrĸche, Fates Warning and Watchtower seldom used keyboards to this extent and while the metal part of the Dream Theaterīs sound is definitely related to those artists and their ilk, there are just as many progressive rock leanings in the music. The Rush influence is especially strong. Tracks like "Status Seeker" and "Afterlife" essentially sound like Rush tracks played by Dream Theater. Lead vocalist Charlie Dominici has a voice and singing style, that may not sound 100% like Geddy Lee (Rush), but at times comes very close. Charlie Dominici doesnīt quite reach the excellence of Geddy Lee though and while his vocal performance is generally decent here, he is one of the weaker links on the album.

The sound production is another. I remember reading in an interview with Mike Portnoy, that producer Terry Date spend more time fetching joints for Dream Theater than he spend time producing the album (and this is the same man who has produced such well sounding albums as "Badmotorfinger (1991)" by Soundgarden and "Vulgar Display of Power (1992)" by Pantera). I guess it came down to not having enough money and time to record and mix the album (and Terry Date learning a thing or two in the years between this album and his later more professional sounding productions). The drums have an odd sound, that makes it hard to hear every drum hit and the guitar and the vocal production is thin. Later remastered versions of the album have helped correct this, but "When Dream and Day Unite" will never be a really well sounding album, no matter how you try to salvage and repair the original mix.

And itīs really too bad, because there are som quality material on "When Dream and Day Unite", that deserve better. Tracks like "A Fortune in Lies", "The Ytse Jam", "The Killing Hand" and "The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun" are pretty killer progressive metal tracks and while the remaining part of the album are not on the same high quality level, Iīm still pretty well entertained all the way through. The playing are on a relatively high level too although especially Mike Portnoyīs drumming is less complex and more ordinary than it would be on subsequent releases. Itīs still pretty crazy though, so donīt expect many basic 4/4 parts.

"When Dream and Day Unite" is an album that has grown on me over the years. When I initially listened to the album I honestly found it rather awful. probably as a consequence of being introduced to the album after listening to "Images and Words (1992)" and being blown away by that album. While "When Dream and Day Unite" is not in any way in the same league as itīs successor, today Iīm able to appreciate it more. Considering the time of release, itīs actually a rather innovative progressive metal album, that doesnīt really sound like anything else that was released in those years and while the overall impression of the album suffers because of the rather poor sound production and the occasionally imature songwriting (which I admit is still kinda charming), the best material on the album do make up for some of it and a 3.5 star (70%) rating isnīt all wrong. Definitely not as bad as itīs reputation.

UMUR | 3/5 |


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