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Dream Theater - Images and Words CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.29 | 2963 ratings

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Prog Snob
5 stars Up until the early 90s I had listened to a variety of bands, with most falling into the metal genre. Thanks to some older neighbors blaring Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath out their windows, I was influenced at a very young age. My music world changed a few years later. At that point, my favorite band was Overkill. However, in late 1992 I heard a song that would change everything. Our local radio station was a college station and over its airwaves I heard the brilliant melodies of Pull Me Under for the first time.

I had never heard music like this before. It's soaring melodies, operatic vocals, and intricate musicality were something new to me. I didn't know which instrument I wanted to pay attention to most. Besides that, the lyrics and vocals were thought-provoking and endearing. Not only were these guys fantastic musicians, but their lyrics carried deep meaning. By the time the song was finished, which was just over eight minutes later, I wanted to hear it again. I called up the radio station and immediately asked for the band's name.

Dream Theater.

Even their name was cool. I was in love with the band after hearing just one song and their name. I ran out to the store and bought the CD, back when CDs came in long boxes. I wish I would have saved them. I was supposed to take my girlfriend to dinner that night, but I cancelled so that I can listen to Dream Theater's Images and Words over and over. Yes, I am the ultimate geek.

I popped in the CD and heard that familiar song intro once again as Pull Me Under lead the disc off. After that, the second track is Another Day. This song could have easily been successful if Dream Theater had released this in the 80s. It is one of the shorter songs on the album. It has great melodies and inspiring lyrics. During the solo part, there is a guest appearance by Spyro Gyro's Jay Beckenstein who plays an soprano saxophone solo.He also owned Bear Tracks Recording Studio where Dream Theater recorded and mixed Images and Words.

Song number three is Take the Time, which is the second of four tracks over eight minutes. Musically speaking, Take the Time is one of the band's brightest moments. This song is all over the place, but in a good way. It incorporates everything from metal to jazz. There's a great instrumental section that starts around the four minute mark and lasts for almost the rest of the song laced with blues riffs and lightning speed unisons.

Enter the mystical introduction to the next track, Surrounded. It paints a lush picture laced with dreams and ivory towers. The lyrics speak of enlightenment and wonder. Most bands will have one masterpiece on an album. This is not the case with Dream Theater. Metropolis Part I is the first of two epics on the album. It showcases one of the most intense and off the wall instrumental sections I've ever heard. The next track, Under A Glass Moon, keeps the momentum going. It starts off with a brilliant amalgam of guitar keyboards until the drums kick in. James' voice is powerful throughout the song. The guitar solo here is easily of John's best an also the one that gets lots of attention from others.

The last two songs, Wait for Sleep, which is a short beautiful piano piece, and Learning to Live, the other masterpiece, have a musical relationship. There are repetitive riffs throughout Learning to Live that are taken from Wait for Sleep, or vice versa. Wait for Sleep's mood is sad yet beautiful. The main piano melody is haunting yet endearing. Listening to the words, you feel a sense of empathy for the writer. We've all felt lost like that at some point. Learning to Live is like Take the Time in that it's musicality is all over the place. There are so many great moments here. From the heavy riff during the second verse to the unisons of keyboards and guitar throughout the song. It's easy to see why it's always a fan favorite.

I have listened to this album religiously since I first purchased it over twenty years ago. It's easily my favorite album of all-time from any band. There are moments here that any proghead or musician can appreciate. It'll be one of the few albums that get all five stars from me.

Prog Snob | 5/5 |


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