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Dream Theater - Images and Words CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.29 | 2963 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'Images & Words' - Dream Theater (9/10)

If someone came up to me and asked for a perfect example of what Progressive Metal should be, I would give them a copy of Dream Theater's 'Images And Words.' Although the metal isn't really found in an extremely heavy supply here, there's just enough heaviness to have it considered as a metal release. As with the band's true debut 'When Dream And Day Unite,' I consider this album to be more along the lines of 'heavy neo-prog.' However, it's overall influence and effect upon the progressive metal world is undeniable, and it remains among the greatest progressive albums of all time, up there with 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' and 'Dark Side Of The Moon.'

This is Dream Theater's first run with their new (and current) singer, James LaBrie. 'Images And Words' offers the singer's talent in droves, and stands as being his greatest vocal performance. While this album has the band's (as of March, 2009) only hit song, 'Pull Me Under,' it is in fact the worst song to be found on the album. While it is great, there are so many better pickings to be found here. For example, the grandiose 'Metropolis Pt 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper' was good enough to spawn a sequel album of it's own ('Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes From A Memory'), which runs alongside this album competing for the placemark of being Dream Theater's best work yet.

The two extended compositions on the album ('Metropolis Pt. 1' and 'Learning To Live') both have their places as being two of Dream Theater's most epic songs. The musicianship is fantastic, however, unlike some of the band's later works, there isn't nearly as much pretension. The virtuosity is kept in check, and works on both a logical and emotional level.

While 'Images And Words' comes in no short supply with the heavy progressive compositions, it is not without it's softer songs. 'Wait For Sleep' was the first Dream Theater song I really fell in love with. Clocking in at under 3 minutes, it is one of the band's shortest songs, but it's also one of their most beautiful. Kevin Moore really works wonders on the keyboard, and remains (in my opinion) Dream Theater's most 'musical' keyboardist.

This is glory that has been yet unsurpassed, not even by 'Scenes From A Memory.' Having been recorded in 1991, the world was mostly unfamiliar with the realm of progressive metal. This album opened doors and paved the way for an entire genre of music to flourish. One of the truly essential progressive albums, and a must-own.

Conor Fynes | 5/5 |


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