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Dream Theater - Images And Words CD (album) cover

IMAGES AND WORDS

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

4.29 | 2035 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Vocally, this is one of the band's worst albums. I understand James LaBrie has an impressive range, but he practically lives in the clouds on this one. Mike Portnoy thunders away on the double bass pedal, a technique that wears out its welcome rather quickly. The two of them together are just headache-inducing on this album. John Petrucci for the most part does a fantastic job, even though his parts can be somewhat monotonous. John Myung, while often drowned out, is exceptionally competent. And as for Kevin Moore's input, while his synthesizer tones are varied, they can be rather silly-sounding. I'm not sure why so many are enthralled with this album, but I know that I am not fond of it.

"Pull Me Under" Pleasant acoustic guitar laced with effects begins this album before the almost constant assault of pummeling drums begins. Labrie doesn't sound as mature as he would in later albums, and at times, he's downright annoying. The way Petrucci chugs out power chords over the rest of the band makes me yawn. The abrupt ending might make no sense, except perhaps for the nature of the Shakespearean lyrics (inspired by Hamlet), which are praiseworthy.

"Another Day" The second track sounds more like a power ballad typical of the time; in fact, the band thought it would be their hit (surprisingly, the previous track gained more attention). The singing is impressively high-pitched but rather unclear. The ending sounds like Labrie and Portnoy guest on a Kenny G piece (the soprano saxophone was played by Spiro Gyra's Jay Beckenstein).

"Take the Time" Here, Petrucci demonstrates his prowess as a guitarist, employing some intriguing moves on his fret board. Myung can actually be heard from time to time. Unfortunately, it's mainly Kevin Moore's cheesy atmospheric keyboards and the spoken word that detract from an otherwise solid musical performance. And LaBrie's vocals are just awful here.

"Surrounded" LaBrie finally takes a break from the tweeter-frying high notes to sing reservedly, but only for a bit. For the most part, this song is very similar in sound to heavy AOR, with Toto-like music and pop vocal melodies throughout. The introductory keyboard riff is almost identical to the introduction of Queen's "Father to Son," which could be a coincidence, but very well could be a rip off.

"Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper" Some metal magic happens here in the introduction, with powerful chords and some heavy guitar chugging along. The light keyboard sounds odd initially, but does work. Myung's bass solo is a standout part, but Moore's keyboard work sounds like 16-bit video game sounds, even if it is doubled by Petrucci's guitar. Portnoy's constant use of the double bass drum almost spoils this song for me; there are virtually no dynamics to the lengthy soloing sections.

"Under a Glass Moon" The introduction is one of the finest moments on the album, but then it's back to screeching vocals, burdensome drums, and heavy-handed guitar. Petrucci engages in a smart blend of shredding and funk riffs during his solo, making this one of his most creative works as a guitarist.

"Wait for Sleep" This short piece features Moore's soft piano and the gentler side of LaBrie for a welcome change. It has intriguing lyrics and a fantastic melody. Had it been expanded to incorporate the whole band, I think it could have been a progressive rock masterpiece.

"Learning to Live" A completely corny keyboard begins the lengthiest and final track on the album. The music following the introduction, I'm sorry to say, sounds like part of a soundtrack for one of those gritty, angst-ridden teen movies of the 1980s. LaBrie's screeching and Moore's goofy keyboard sounds rival each other for the worst aspect of the song. On the other hand, Myung's smart bass playing is worthy of applause, and I do like the overall arrangement of this piece.

Epignosis | 2/5 |

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