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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 Dream Theater are by no stretch of the imagination the first Prog-Metal band, but they are the most successful and to this day they remain the standard bearers of prog in the mainstream. And this is the album were it really all started: Images and Words. Yes its not their debut but this was the album that everyone took notice of for its blend of metal and prog by using complex arrangements and impressive musicianship, both mainstays of classic prog.

Its notable that the songs can be broken into three groups on this album: the more heavy metal type (Pull Me Under and Under A Glass Moon), the ballads (Another Day, Surrounded) and the outright prog songs (Take The Time, Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper, Wait For Sleep/ Learning to Live). The more heavy metal style songs, though, contain some great musicianship as well as some memorable hooks in the music. They also flow well with the rest of the album so proggy or not they work. Some people consider the ballads cheesy, and I have to say that Surrounded certainly is the weakest song on the album but on its own its not that bad, little more than a 5 minute bridge between the great Take The Time and the spectacular Metropolis Pt1: The Miracle and the Sleeper. Another Day gets lambasted a lot for being very cheesy but, Petrucci has stated that this song was about his father, who at the time was suffering from brain cancer, this information puts the lyrics into a new light for me and makes it a very heartfelt song, even the saxophone solo works well with it.

The parts of this album that I look forward to the most is always going to be the longer, more prog songs. From the stunning musicianship, to the nice melodies and the truly stunning solos, wether they be by Myung, Petrucci, Moore or Portnoy. Wait For Sleep could possibly be mentioned as one of the ballads but it works with Learning to Live (Myungs lyrical masterpiece) so well that I (and even the band themselves) cant separate the two.

This was also the debut for the bands long time singer James LaBrie, taking over from Charlie Domanici. This was clearly a great decision for Dream Theater as LaBrie, though far more controversial than Domanici, is far more talented and tends to make perfect use of it.

This album is a masterpiece in my opinion, there is nothing that I would consider changing. Just as importantly this album ushered in a new wave of prog, the rebirth in the 90's were we saw bands like The Flower Kings, Spock's Beard, Symphony X etc, come to prominence and find a strong following. 5 stars for both its incredible quality and historical importance.

sleeper | 5/5 |


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