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


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.21 | 1416 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Progressive rock must change constantly and this album pushed its boundaries in 1989. Although only few prog fanatics noticed the debut album of Dream Theater at the time, it changed the prog style forever. This complex music isn't easy to get into because of the many moods & rhythms which change constantly even though most tracks are quite short in length when compared to recent work. The voice of Charlie Dominci is another major difference from other DT efforts. He left the band after this album. You could easily compare his voice to Geddy Lee's high voice which was considered as a standard voice in metal at the end of the eighties. I must say I really like his voice. Although the metal elements are undeniable this album sounds more prog than metal due to the omnipresence of the keyboards. Unlike on latter albums, the keyboard lines are more substantial. Throughout the whole album Moore's keys are simply outstanding. In 2005 these sounds may come across synthetic and dated but no one can deny it gives the music many layers of colour. What can I say about the other players ? They're brilliant, as always.

When hearing this album for the very first time you'll get the impression the music is chaotic but in fact the compositions all are structured very well. The instrumental "Ytse jam" is good example of this. The album holds only one real epic. "The killing hand" which starts quietly with a gentle acoustic guitar followed by a lot of varied atmospheres. The intro of "The ones who help". must be one of the most fascinating intro's which has ever been used in prog. This is another awesome track where the technical aspects of the sound are combined with the emotional vocal lines. There 're no flaws to be found on this magnificent record but the absolute highlight is "Only a matter a time" which still is a concert favourite. This symphonic gem is a delight to listen to. There seems to be an army of keyboard wizards but in fact there's only one !!! One of the best closing tracks ever.

From a lyrical point of view this album has lots to offer as well. A line like "You can make a fortune in lies, you can keep a giant alive" sounds more than interesting. The production isn't as polished as on recent efforts. These were still the eighties and that's obvious by the AOR influences but especially the rhythm section definitely deserved a better sound. Anyway this is decent enough for delivering an unforgettable listening experience. From the moment you get to know the many unusual musical turns and interruptions, you'll discover that the basic melodies for the tracks are quite simple and very melodic. Let's take the single "status seeker" for an example. After the majestic opening chords the track has a recognisable (chorus - verse) structure. The melodies and rhythms change rapidly from one to another.

For many people the Dream theater saga begins with "Images & words" but I don't think they gave a proper listen to this great record. When the album ended up in the sales bin at the beginning of the nineties I thought we never would hear of DT again. Fortunately time decided otherwise. Till today this remains my all time favourite Dream Theater record.

Fishy | 4/5 |


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