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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 Reviewer
5 stars Progressive Metal Reinvented

I believe that progressive metal was invented in 1985 by Watchtower in their album Energetic Disassembly. I think Queensr˙che further perfected this idea in their 1989 album Operation: Mindcrime. Three years had past since Queensr˙che's monumental album. Progressive metal had become more popular. Bands like Death and Atheist were incorporating this into death and thrash metal, and many bands like Savatage and Fates Warning used a similar formula as Queensr˙che in their own blend of prog metal.

So the year is now 1992. Prog metal was blooming, but it still wasn't fully grown. We had prototype after prototype, but what we think as prog metal hadn't been defined yet. Images & Words changed that. The mix of synth-driven neo prog, heavy metal, and traditional symphonic prog changed the way we thought of progressive metal. Dream Theater's debut used this same formula. Other bands had previously used this formula. But NONE had perfected it like Dream Theater did with Images & Words.

As evident by that two paragraph history lesson, this album is a 5 star rating without a doubt. I honestly can't think of many albums that are worthy of a 5 star rating more than this absolute masterpiece. In one sentence, this is one of the most important albums in the entire progressive metal genre.


"Pull Me Under"- This is Dream Theater's only top 10 hit, and it is still great. It opens up with a cool guitar riff. The whole band soon joins in, and it's great. John Petrucci does an excellent job, and there are some really great riffs here. The musicianship is fantastic, and this contains some of Dream Theater's finest moments. From the memorable chorus to the excellent instrumental section, this is an excellent opener. I typically find Kevin Moore to be an overrated keyboard player, but he does a great job here and throughout this whole album. I much prefer the style of Jordan Rudess, though.

"Another Day"- After the fairly heavy opener, this song is a light popish song. I love the saxophone playing in this song, which interestingly enough is Jay Beckenstein of Spyro Gyra. I love the melodies here, and this is a perfect AOR sounding song. James LaBrie delivers a great vocal performance as well.

"Take The Time"- This is one of my favorite songs on the album because of its pure energy. The opening is incredible, and the synth solo is incredible. When the vocals first come in, you'll notice how great the rhythm section is. The chorus is excellent and extremely memorable. The musicianship is excellent, especially through the excellent instrumental section. This is a highlight of the album for sure.

"Surrounded"- This song opens up with a light piano and synth line. LaBrie's soft vocals soon enter, and it goes into a beautiful chorus. It eventually builds into an atmospheric uplifting guitar solo, that soon turns into an excellent synthesizer line. The rest of the song builds off of that and then reprises the opening. Despite the fact that this is not even at the 6 minute mark, it has that "epic" feeling to it. This is one of my favorites from the album.

"Metropolis Pt. 1"- This opens up with keyboard chords. It soon turns into heavy prog metal with power chords. This serves as part one of a concept that would later be continued on their full length album Metropolis Pt. 2, Scenes From A Memory. This song is energetic, sometimes dark, and very melodic. This song is very enjoyable.

"Under A Glass Moon"- Opening up with a soaring guitar and synth riff, it builds into sheer awesomeness. The bass playing of John Myung is superb, as well as the rest of the band. The chorus is excellent, but the guitar solo is the real highlight. One of the best guitar solos in heavy metal if you ask me. I think this is one of Petrucci's finest moments.

"Wait For Sleep"- This short song serves more as a prelude to the epic that will soon follow. It is definitely effective though. It uses one of the main themes to the next song, but in a soft piano and vocal harmony.

"Learning To Live"- THIS is where the album really begins. Easily one of the finest songs in progressive metal, this is everything that I dream of when I hear a song. This is emotional, powerful, and dynamic. It opens up with the distinct keyboard melody and it builds from there. The opening is excellent, and the rest of the song is I consider this one of the best Dream Theater songs in existence. Kevin Moore does an exceptional job throughout this song, and he has some killer solos. The main chorus is excellent, and everything is perfectly executed. This album is worth buying for this song alone.


Images & Words is one of the most important and influential albums in the progressive metal genre. It's amazing that such a young band can release such an innovative and virtuosic album. This album is a complete masterpiece that is a magical album from beginning to end. If you're looking to get into Dream Theater, this is a great place to start. One of the best albums in all of prog metal! Yeah, you can guess my rating.

5 stars.

J-Man | 5/5 |


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