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Dream Theater - Images And Words CD (album) cover

IMAGES AND WORDS

Dream Theater

Progressive Metal


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lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars DT's best album. Labrie's singing is truly impressive. A very dynamic album. The sound is very close to Queensryche's one, but the music is more ambitious. Nice saxophone section by Spyro Gyra's main man on 'Another day'. 'Learning to live' is a very good epic. A milestone in prog metal!!

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Send comments to lucas (BETA) | Report this review (#11168)
Posted Saturday, November 01, 2003 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The beginning of modern progressive metal lies in "Images & Words". Although Queensryche, Fates Warning, and good ol' Crimson Glory were the first to "take hold of the flame" and marry Black Sabbath with Rush, Dream Theater took it to the next level with this release. Really, it'd be fair to say that all modern prog metal takes it's cues from Images & Words, Cynic's Focus, or Savatage's Streets: A Rock Opera, with the majority going the way of the flying-digits and warm melodies.

For Dream Theater (DT) truly are the masters of their craft, that craft being the realm of heavy metal. DT are, to me, undoubtedly the most talented coalition of metal musicians on Earth. The technicality of their brand of progressive metal, combined with the complexity of their songs and James LaBrie’s uncanny voice make for a contribution to heavy metal that America can truly be proud of.

Although they’ve made a few keyboardist changes over the year, the remaining four members of the band have consistenly performed excellent, enthralling audiences with their truly masterful approach towards metal, all beginning with this album, Images and Words.

Although Images is DT’s second album, it was the first time when you could really feel the emotion and true capabilities of this band. The songs are much longer and more complex from their previous offering, churning out many of the DT classics we all know and love today. The replacement of Charles Dominici, the singer from their first album When Dream And Day Unite, proved to be one of the best decisions DT has ever made. Age-wise he hasn't fit to the band well, since he was about ten years older than his young band colleagues. I've liked his voice though, specially his amazing performance in "The Killing Hand". James LaBrie made his debut on this album, and the emotion and skill he puts into the songs on this album is a key factor what truly catapulted this album and DT in general to greatness.

Of course, the amazing capabilities of guitarist John Petrucci, drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist John Myung and keyboardist (at the time) Kevin Moore are nothing to scoff at. Musically, these guys are unparalleled by metal or by artists in any other musical genres. Dream Theater albums, as far as skill and complexity are concerned, are often head and shoulders above the rest. That’s why pretty much any album to come from these guys will become an instant metal classic, but Images and Words is the album that stood before them all, and still stands pretty damn tall when compared to the rest of their works today.

The opening track, “Pull Me Under”, is to me the quintessential Dream Theater song, it was also the song that first introduced me to the band. What comes from this track is an 8-minute combination of heavy riffing, cool melodies, soothing sounds, complex keyboarding and guitar work and just plain amazing songwriting. My words cannot do justice to this or many other DT songs, but I’ll try my best. This song would most likely be DT’s version of “Run to the Hills” or “Master of Puppets”, the song that everyone does or should know and love. It’s got a catchy, memorable refrain within a nice slow to mid-tempo composition that never gets too overly heavy, but doesn’t let up at any point. It’s the prime example of how to make a song that can appeal to all metal fans, from the most hardcore death metal fan to the Slipknot-hugging metal teeny-bopper, this is a song that any metalhead can listen to and at the end say “That was pretty damn good”. I dream of the day I get to see DT perform this one live.

Then, the mood completely changes going into “Another Day”. From progressive metal to what could be considered almost adult-contemporary. It was a bold move from DT to put this as the second track, but it’s a good example of the range of music that this band can perform. I didn’t care for it at first, but found myself singing along after a few listens through. Saxaphone solos and calm, moody keyboards along with a smooth quiet sound are not often metal band trademarks, but DT manages to come off this track sounding cool. It just shows that your band is pretty damn talented if they can come out of some kind of “prog-metal meets Kenny G” track with their heads held high.

Another long, complex, indescribably beautiful track arises from “Take The Time”. It begins with a forceful beat, guitar and ominous keyboards, but then turns into a high-flying keyboard solo and into a slow, jazzy kinda tune… and that’s just the first 60 seconds, and there’s 7 and a half more to go. It’s songs like this that make DT hard to review, there’s so many components and influences in the music it’s hard to say “This song sounds like this”. This song is jazzy, bluesy, poppy, epic and metal all at the same time, catchy yet complicated, that’s the essence of this song. Trust me, just take the time to listen to “Take the Time” a few times in order to truly grasp all that’s in this one, it’s quite possibly one of DT’s all-time greatest technical achievements.

“Surrounded” is the next track, and while not quite as long as some of the other tracks on the album, it’s not less beautiful or complex. It starts with just LaBrie’s enchanting voice and some nice piano medley work before erupting into another smooth and jazzy kind of track. It proves you don’t need to be the heaviest or angriest band on Earth to produce some quality rock music. It’s a kind of poppy, happy ballad but still retains a DT edge. It doesn’t sound like metal, but it still sounds good enough to satisfy someone who may be a metal fan. “Surrounded” in all the DT goodness.

Next, a true Dream Theater classic and all-time metal achievement hits your ears. If you don’t consider this next song a classic, tear up your “Music Fan Card” right now, because you quite simply don’t belong in a group of people known as music enthusiasts. That song is of course, “Metropolis Pt. 1 – The Miracle and the Sleeper”. It’s a ride through an obviously classical-infulenced piece of metal excellence. From it’s heavy riff-work to complex drumming, emotional lyrics and abundance of time and mood changes, it is a track that Dream Theater can look back to twelve years ago and be proud of. It’s got some of the highest of the metal highs and calmest metal can get and still hold the attention of its listeners through the entire track. The instrumental parts of the song are fantastic, the soloing is unparalleled and once again, my words cannot do this song justice. Just give it a listen, it won’t be 9 wasted minutes, trust me.

The album doesn’t lose any steam going into “Under A Glass Moon”, which, while not as complex as some of the other songs on this album, probably is my favorite song on this album, if not one of my favorite DT songs of all time. What begins as a beautiful melding of guitar and keyboards soon turns an awesome combination of heaviness and soothing sounds. It’s also one of the tracks where you can really hear the passion and emotion in James LaBrie’s voice, and it’s something that really gets to me. It’s definitely beauty pulled from aggression, which is something I love to hear in music. Not to mention it has John Petrucci doing what is probably one of my favorite guitar solos in ANY song ever. It’s a song that holds the same power and emotion for 7 minutes, never letting up once and in all honesty, I think it could’ve been longer. There’s too many great elements in this song to squeeze in 7 short minutes!

“Wait for Sleep” is kind of the break to catch your breath after the previous two tracks. It’s no more than some haunting keyboard work, which gives you some beautiful imagery, like a cold, winter night. LaBrie’s soothing voice complements the piano perfectly, just a short, calm track you can sit and relax to and regain your composure before this album’s finale.

It took me awhile to shine up to “Learning to Live”. It’s a long, winding track which isn’t a problem for most DT songs, but this one it just took some time for me to get accustomed to it. It sounds very different than anything else on the album, which isn’t unusual because nothing else on the album sounds quite like each other, but this song sounded particularly “out there”. It’s got almost a kind of spacey quality to it, something not very easy to immediately hear and appreciate. While most of DT’s long epics are heavily charged and a combination of heavier sounds, this song for the most part is much more subtle, much more ballad sounding than their other epic tracks. I think that’s why it took me awhile to get used to this song, but now I have a deep appreciation for the skill it took to make this track and the guts it takes to record something like this and put it on an album. In the end, it may take a few times to “get” this track, but once you get used to it, you’ll find yourself skipping ahead to it. It’s not the heaviest or most memorable song they’ve ever done, but it’s another one DT can be proud of.

Images and Words to me is the quintessential Dream Theater album and the best one to get into them. It’s got songs of all lengths and styles, from the short piano-only “Wait for Sleep” to the epic, energetic masterpiece of “Metropolis”, this album is a prime example as to why DT is a success and loved by so many the world over. This album is especially mellow by Dream Theater standards and probably will appeal more to the baby-boomer generation who grew up with bands like Yes, Be Bop Deluxe, King Crimson, etc. Unfortunately, though, it seems as though older people mostly are the ones who like Dream Theater and are highly familiar with them. I consider it a duty of mine to spread the word about Dream Theater and progressive metal, currently my favorite style/type of music.

album rating: 10/10 points = 98 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#11179)
Posted Monday, December 22, 2003 | Review Permalink
scottadams964
4 stars A brilliant, perfect fusion. Heavy Metal, Pomp and Prog Rock in (almost) equal parts combing to great effect. A great night time record, full of evocative musicianship, lyrics- the full package. One of my top 20 albums of all time.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11180)
Posted Wednesday, December 31, 2003 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars Although this probably a fine band doing some complicated music this bunch of talented musicians never did anything for me. I understand this is their finest album and I still get no reaction both emotionally and physically. I heard once a 25 minute long piece from another live album (I think it was called A Change Of Seasons) and I have better memories from it . To most progmetalheads , this is one of the foundation of progmetal along with Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime.

Alltogether it is more the genre of music I don't care for . This is the only album I got to hear regularly, so it is also the only one I reviewed and I can only base my DT judgment on this album alone, but the music developped here has certainly not enticed me to discover more of their albums. It may seem to some that I am very severe but 2 stars means average.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#11208)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
josep62@yahoo
2 stars I agree this is their best. To me it means an average album seeing how many great bands are out there. Petrucci plays faster than anybody, true. But the compositions are so weak that they only relay on their hability as musicians. It's alright. I guess my opinion would be different if I was younger and had not listened to prog rock for so many years.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11175)
Posted Tuesday, March 09, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The metal prog at its best!! There are sentimental smooth bits, aggressive guitar riffs, progressive bits, the singer's voice is perfect, piano, keybords, in a very accessible atmosphere, but it is never simple: all the song are extremely well strucured and it gives one of the best metal album ever!!

There is another very good group that has the same style: SUPERIOR. But in my opinion, DT is quite superior than SUPERIOR!!

EXTREMELY RECOMMENDED!!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#11191)
Posted Thursday, April 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
leandrodelpre
5 stars One of the best DT albums. The "coincidences" of their songs with the Metropolis pt. 2 album are incredible. The title song made me cry at its end when it becomes just the same as Home. And the piano in Wait for Sleep and Learning to Live is just amazing!!! Congratulations to the great Dream Theater for doing this great album!!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11195)
Posted Sunday, April 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
michele_nuzzo
4 stars Great album, but not too much! It's perfect, except track 1, 6 in which the band seems just to fill in the empty spaces of the album! Just listen to METROPOLIS pt1! For this track is worth buying the CD, even on its own! Take the time reveals high Queen inspired vocals, while Learning to live is a quite good prog. The othe ballads are just listenable, really prog on Surrounded. Complessively good. 4 stars!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11210)
Posted Thursday, May 06, 2004 | Review Permalink
arqwave@lycos
5 stars like it or not, this record set the standard patterns of progressive metal since it's conception... from the great opening act "pull me under" to the magnificent closure of "learning to live", this complete and wide pallette of colors and sounds reflects the power of a young band. Every time i hear this record i found something memorable, and each piece deserves complete attention, perhaps the key thing in here is the once influential hand of former keyboardist Kevin Moore, avoiding the "heavy" side of the music trying to mix it with softer and more complicated sounds, however, the group ideology stand still hard and preserves the whole concept of a band reaching the impossible. After this record the prog music changed from something sacred to something divine and gave life to a whole new groups.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11213)
Posted Friday, May 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Prognaut
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars There's still this discomfort on the back of my neck itching and burning, constantly repeating this words from the depths of my head: "I shouldn't have come across this album right after lending mind and ears to "Awake" or even "Falling into Infinity". but inexplicably somehow, there's something more powerful than the remorse lingering inside me that tells me that was the way things were meant to happen for me, just in that precise order". In the same tune, to keep on rediscovering my way throughout DREAM THEATER, I will give you a piece of my mind.

Still, I haven't figured out what's all the fuss about this album. This time I wasn't that impressed and shocked by a hallucinating "PORTNOY trademark" drum striking, instead I remained anguished and desperate during the whole disc to feel the irremediable impact upon me with the typical drum solo. but nothing happened whatsoever. The fine keyboards I was used to listen to in subsequent DREAM THATER productions happened to miss the entire album production and in replacement, Kevin MOORE performed mellow, senseless, almost elevator-ambience-music-like keyboards. If you may call it that. There are some scraps of the PETRUCCI's well educated guitar in passages like "Metropolis - Part I: The Miracle and the Sleeper", and to be fair enough with the strings execution, even in "Learning to Live" there's something that could be rescued and catalogued as "good".

One thing I could never let go, no matter what kind of extreme, exceptional and incomparable instrumentation a DREAM THEATER album has got, is the voice behind the microphone: James LaBRIE. Not only disappointing but intolerable as well. That is the right type of voice that perfectly unfits progressive metal. And I wouldn't like to rely on comparisons to prove my point here, but since I'm up to it, I would like to bring to the table unarguable precise works like the ones performed by Daniel GILDENLÖW of PAIN OF SALVATION or Tom ENGLUND of EVERGREY. They are members and vocalists respectively from bands that certainly appeal to the DREAM THEATER style because they were influenced by the Bostonian band commanded by Mike PORTNOY. Those two magnificent Swedish singers of the prog metal world sound off nothing like LaBRIE. Not a bit. Influenced by the Canadian vocalist? I don't think so. Need to say nothing more regarding this issue.

Now, another thing that surely is irrelevant at this point but that I'd like to tell you about anyway, is the artwork for this CD. The band was certainly influenced by the early MARILLION front covers or even the GENESIS ones of the 70's, containing particular elements that could be easily appreciated. But this time, they crossed the line with the "Images and Words" art design. Simply horrendous. Even so, Larry FREEMANTLE and Dan MURO made good money out of it, right?

Inexplicably intrepid somehow, "Images and Words" is an overrated album that far from deserving the complete recognition of the fans, it certainly deserves a spot within the world of the "uncanny and sloppy". I am hard but I am fair. Like I always say at the end of any review regarding a bad album, listen to it at your own risk.

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Send comments to The Prognaut (BETA) | Report this review (#11226)
Posted Monday, July 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
frenchie
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars When i first listened to this album i instantly heard strong improvement over the patchy debut album and a much stronger grasp of progressive rock. Images and Words defines Dream Theater and begins to show off their true sounds and abilities to the maximum.

On my first listen i found this album to be excellent in shifting between mellow and heavy guitar pieces, The piano pieces are truely incredible, especially on "Wait for Sleep" and LaBrie is a much more emotional and moving singer and he settles in well on this album. Images and Words can actually be difficult to get into at first if you are more accustomed to later albums such as "Scenes from a Memory" but after i saw how highly rated this album was by the fans i thought i would give it another chance and it really started to grow on me, to the point where i love it as much as their other albums.

The opening track "Pull me Under" starts with a dreamlike, haunting guitar intro that manages to build up into an opus of heavy guitars, battling keyboards and a mixture of different vocal elements. LaBries shows off his power and the record already starts to feel much better than the debut album. "Another Day" continues this with its excellent lyrics. This is perhaps more emotional than previous songs by the band where LaBrie powerfully proclaims "you won't find it here". "Take the Time" manages to keep the flow going with some rather excellent progressions and the song manages to keep you captivated throughout. "Metropolis" is one of Dream Theaters best prog rock pieces including fiddley guitar and keyboard solos, experimental guitar effects and reprised vocals. This song proved that Dream Theater were able to keep up with the big guns of progressive rock, such as YES and KING CRIMSON.

"Under a Glass Moon" continues the albums incredible trend and by the time you reach track 5 you are well settled into the record and ready to expect the best. This song again offers the best abilities of the band but Petrucci is on fire here with one of his best ever guitar solos towards the end of the song. "Wait for Sleep" is a the most beautiful piece on the album. Moore and LaBrie dominate the track with the beautiful piano piece and brilliant and haunting singing. This piano riff continues into "Learning to Live" and builds up to serve an ever flowing piece which is a great note to end on as this shows off as much skill as on "Metropolis". This album is a masterpiece yet the fact that it can sometimes struggle to keep the listener captivated can drag the album down. For those who didn't enjoy the debut album, Dream Theater start here.

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Send comments to frenchie (BETA) | Report this review (#11227)
Posted Wednesday, July 07, 2004 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 'Images and Words' is a prog metal defining classic: that's an undisputed historical fact, given its great influence on the further development of prog metal as a genre with an identity of its own. Now, the question is: does 'I&W' deserve all the praise it got and still gets from lots of reviewers, fans and a bunch of music critics? My answer is: yes, it does. The musicianship is tight and immaculate, the compositions are well crafted and attractive, the arrangements are clever and exquisite, LaBrie's vocal range and distinctive style complements perfectly his partners' instrumental input. You can tell that by now Dream Theater is a band that has found its voice and makes it scream with awesome splendour. My fave highlights are 'Metropolis Pt. 1' and 'Learning to Live'. The former's interlude has got to be one of the finest heavy rock instrumental sections ever! Before that, its intro theme is ethereal enough to build a perfect contrast against the following riff sequence, while the sung parts are both exultating and dramatic. 'Learning to Live' is in many ways as bombastic as 'Metropolis', but the overall mood in the sung parts feels more intimate; plus, the multi-section instrumental interlude (another absolute highlight) tends to be less aggressive, even including a latin-jazz isnpired portion led by a soft acoustic guitar motif. Of course, I won't forget to mention the catchy opening number Hamlet-based 'Pull Me Under' (so far DT's most popular tune); other prog tinged gems such as the frantically complex 'Take the Time' and the powerful 'Under a Glass Moon'; and the beautiful piano-vocal ballad 'Wait for Sleep', which serves as a proper prelude to 'Learning to Live'. Moore's keyboard parts play a fundamental role with his textures, solos and harmonies, when it comes to keeping the prog side of DT's music working effectively. Meanwhile, Petrucci manages to recycle the combined legacies of Howe, Lifeson, Satriani, di Meola and Holdsworth with total energy and finesse: all his typical pyrotechnics is there, but somehow you can notice that the emotional appeal is also there (for instance, the overwhelming solo in 'Another Day'), showing that technical skill is not exclusively what Petrucci's style is all about. The rhythm section is well oiled, with Myung bringing a highly melodic touch to his impeccable bass playing, and Portnoy assuming a machine-like vibration for his drumming: by doing so, Portnoy manages to emphasize the metal side of DT on the backround of all this prog paraphernalia. After all, this is a prog metal effort, and Portnoy is in charge of keeping 75 % of the metal side of DT's sound functioning properly. Without hesitation, I give this album the perfect rating: a red hot masterpiece of 90s prog!

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#11229)
Posted Friday, July 09, 2004 | Review Permalink
nundika@rock.
4 stars Being a big fan of Dream Theater,I would comment this album as one of the greatest albums of DT and had made an excellent mark in Progressive metal.I would say that this album had the greatest DTsongs like Metropolis Pt1,Another Day, Surrounded,Pull me Under and so on..being Anothr Day my fav.song.All the songs are great and if it had been a better recording quality(not a poor studio sound) like those of Awake and Scenes from a Memory,it would have been more successful.Anyway,it is a good one and a must for DT fans and Metal fans.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11234)
Posted Sunday, August 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
yosie370dx@pl
5 stars When i was listening for the first time, I got confused.. Honestly I don't understand their music concept.. But I kept listening and now I love it very much! It's really different with their other albums. Images and words really show the "original" concept of Dream Theater! The arrangement of the songs are perfect.. It's really rare to find one.. They are still the greatest band in the world.. Salute..

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11239)
Posted Monday, November 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oh man, where do i start? This was my third Dream Theater album, after Six Degrees and Train of Thought, and needless to say I was totally blown away. Even after 12 years the sheer power of this album shines brightly. From the piano only "Wait For Sleep" to the legendary "Metropolis Part I: The Miracle and the Sleeper" not a single moment is wasted to show off their mastery of the instruments they play. LaBrie's voice is nothing short of amazing. While most of my friends give me crap for liking LaBrie's voice, you can't find much better of a singer. Being a bassist I like the creativity that Mr. Myung uses on this album, my favorite bass parts are from Metropolis Part I, and Learning to Live...

If you ever have the chance to buy this album, don't hesitate... BUY IT!!!!!!!

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Send comments to Algo Fonix (BETA) | Report this review (#11240)
Posted Wednesday, November 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars No question, no doubt, no compromise, in my humble opinion (IMHO) this album is a true masterpiece! May I suggest you for not reading any review that gives this album less than 4 (out of 5) stars rating? Thank you for whatever decision you take. I suggest you should also not read my review below as you may get bored with a lot of admiration about this album. Just one thing, if I may suggest, BUY THIS CD! (. and do NOT read the write-up beyond this line because it will poise you! - probably. Unless, you are skeptical........).

Now, let me give my rationales why do I give full five stars despite this band was not the founding fathers of prog in the glorious year of end of sixties and seventies. [I don't think even the band was aware that their music considered prog. Listeners were the ones who box the kind of music they played. So, we're the one to put the box for DT music.]

Rationale # 1: Dream Theater is the pioneer of a new progressive metal sub-genre. Early 90s was the birth of this sub-genre and this album represented the best example of what kind of sound the prog met is all about. We have seen obviously the sheer influence of Dream Theater to many prog met bands in 90s and 2000s; almost all of their music were compared to the standard of DT music (including this second album of DT).

Rationale # 2 : Dream Theater's music unifies people of different ages. This is obviously true! The early generation who were teenagers during the glory years of 70s when they listened to the kind of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, King Crimson and so on can accept and enjoy DT music really well. I find even some of them were amazed about how skillful the guys in DT are! Some early generation even commented that in DT music they can get a sense of Rick Wakeman's keyboard style augmented with speedy and technical guitar fills. My friend, Leo, was a classic rock music minded and just listened to this album couple years ago and amazed with this album. Another part of the generation (the marketer used to call it as Generation X) who are young people enjoy the kind of DT music. Couple weeks ago I met my nephew who was just grade 6; he told me that he played bass guitar covering DT music! What a big surprise for me! What surprised me more was that many of his friends love Dream Theater music. Uuughhh ...!!!

Rationale # 3 : This album has powerful songwriting, tight structure featuring heavy riffs (in the vein of metal) and changing tempo, most of the time in fast tempo, melodic and is cohesive as an album. From opening track "Pull Me Under" to "Learning To Live" you will enjoy the power and beauty of their music. Even this morning, the classic track "Pull Me Under" lifted up my spirit at the opening of the day with all positive energy!

Rationale # 4 : (you write your own rationale, as I am very sure there are many more!)

Rationale # 5 : (you write your own rationale, as I am very sure there are many more!)

My conclusion: this album is a true masterpiece! Rating: 5/5.

Another recommendation:

Watch, listen carefully and observe Disc 2 of Dream Theater "Live at Budokan" DVD. You will comprehend and understand ...

GW, Indonesia.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#11247)
Posted Wednesday, December 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Okay, the first question someone may ask is how could I have not given this CD a 5 star rating? Is this the best record the band has ever done? My humble opinion is no, and therefore, so I do not get trapped and give everything a 5 star rating, I have to convince myself of what truly makes THE perfect prog rock album.

I have seen this album hailed as the return of modern progressive rock and you won't get any argument here. This is after all the album I first listened to and fell in love with, starting a decade of love for this band and what they have accomplished. If I would put this album against something like "Foxtrot", "Close To The Edge", or perhaps even "Red" it would pale in comparison as far as artistic merit, but then again the days of early prog are long gone!

"Learning To Live" is the album's stand-out track, while "Pull Me Under", although less inventive, is the song that got the band recognized by MTV and an ever growing legion of die-hard followers in 1992. The writing and recording of this album was not an easy one. Their previous singer Charlie Dominici had been sacked in 1989 due to musical (and age) differences and it took the band a full 2+ years to find a respectable replacement in Kevin James LaBrie. (LaBrie changed his name when joining the band as DT already had a Kevin :)

This is the first time we get to hear LaBrie's voice, and although I've heard him compared to metal icon Bruce Dickinson, LaBrie's voice is much more refined and opens itself to creating more subtle and beautifully crafted songs such as "Another Day." Although not my favorite DT album, this is where the band found their sound (minus the horrible triggered effect of Portnoy's drums) and they built on this formula up to the present day.

Since this is the album that opened my eyes to modern, heavy, well-cafted prog rock, I would say to any fan of the genre to pick this disc up. You will not be let down, and if you haven't heard Dream Theater before, I can almost guarantee this will start a love affair like it did with me. When you are done with "Selling England By The Pound", "Leftoverture", and maybe even "Pieces Of Eight" (which could be argued I'm sure) put this baby in the disc changer and see what MODERN prog sounds like!

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Send comments to silversaw (BETA) | Report this review (#11248)
Posted Sunday, December 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
TRoTZ
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars So this is it: the album which gave a new standard to progressive metal! The first well- succeeded album presenting a resemblance from the classical motives to the powerful metal playing. To definite this album in a few words, I couldn't make better than Piero Scaruffi's in the History of Rock Music 1951-2000 itself, so I transcribe it "lengthy melodic fantasias that relied on symphonic magniloquence (Kevin Moore on keyboards), fluid instrumental passages (John Petrucci on guitar), haphazard rhythms (Mike Portnoy on drums) and romantic emphasis (James Labrie on vocals)".

The first track of the album, Pull me Under, is a DREAM THEATER's great hit, maybe the most acclaimed one, but not exactly the most exemplificative of the progressive vein of the album. It resembles a bit a METALLICA song (Black Album was edited one year before). It is very powerful, great catchy melody, great riffs, but it is not for it that this album is a reliquary of progressive music. Another Day, another DT's memorable song, introduced with a mellow piano and continued by emotional guitar and jazzy saxophone solos. Take the Time arrives with a mysterious organ sounding, presenting a long metal suite with subtle and heavier parts, good melodies, good guitar work (more again emotional solos, not just playing around scales). The catchy guitar riff in 4:49 is going to reappear slightly changed in the last track. Sorrounded shows more of their ability to intercalate delicate melody with enjoyable and not to aggressive metal parts. Metropolis I is another excellent metal suite which is going to be present all over the 7 years later masterpiece Metropolis pt.2 - Scenes from a Memory. Under a Glass Moon is instrumentally the great highlight of the album, Petrucci exploring his guitar solos to the limit. Impressive playing! The quality of Portnoy's drumming is also impressive (as in the whole album) with speedy turbos, fantastic transitions... superb interpretation! Wait for Sleep is a fantastic mellow prelude to Learning to Live, the last and the longest track of the album (the first organ riff resembling MARILLION's Emerald Eyes introduction), another fantastic well orchestrated suite, many enjoyable and diverse riffs giving great ambience! The emotional piano of the previous track reappears near the end, as the climax of the track, it's like you were being prepared to listen it again.

With this album, DT wrote a new page in the history of progressive rock/metal music. It's not just heaviness you know? All is well synchronized and orchestrated, it's a pleasure to listen to it, there are no dead parts. Mainly for the history and the originality, but also the technical quality, the emotional playing, the fine melodies and riffs, the good lyrics, this album is surely AN ESSENCIAL TO ALL PROG LOVERS.

My rate: 9/10

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Send comments to TRoTZ (BETA) | Report this review (#11249)
Posted Sunday, December 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Heavy Metal with frilly bits - but NO PROG

This is in no way a masterpiece of prog rock - it's a very good and progressive metal album, but the influences are so obvious and the style so narrowly in the metal vein that it is impossible for me to consider it a prog rock album.

Some people say this is a masterpiece, mainly because of the virtuosic playing and because people like it, which is fair enough - but leaving opinion aside and recognising that virtuosity does not a prog album make, let me start my review with my customary yardstick: Can I tell from the first 5 minutes the overall style of the rest of the album? If I can, then it's clearly not a prog album.

Pull Me Under mixes Yes, Diamond Head and Metallica (a riff from "...And Justice For All") with a strong melody - but, virtuosic musicianship apart, a surprisingly unremarkable track, given the strong support. There are progressive moments where the riffs go noticeably into Yes territory - but nothing particularly inventive or truly progressive.

Another Day is, on the surface an FM rock ballad replete with sax. It is an interesting interpretation of the standard rock ballad, but not a prog song.

Take the Time starts with a nice keyboard wash, leading to some interesting rifferama which sounds quite close to the first track. A little Steve Vai guitar and rolling bass leads to a section which sounds remarkably like Skid Row. The chorus is what really destroys any prog pretensions for me, and the busy, over-powerful drums seem somewhat unnecessary. There is a nice developing riff section from about 4", which reminds me somewhat of Twelfth Night (Live at the Target), but the keyboard lead is quite horrible. More riffs follow in an unrelated mish-mash forming a kind of bridge between keyboard solos which are unnecessary as well as naff-sounding. Wearyingly back to the chorus, this track shapes up to be an overlong standard rock song with prog pretensions. A piano heralds a sudden change, with a lovely, fluid guitar line, but the overbearing drums soon herald a coda section which quotes the chorus and a predictable fast'n'furious but very melodic guitar solo draws the piece mercifully to a close.

Surrounded starts like another FM ballad replete with naff string synths and this album begins to shape up like an REO Speedwagon or Foreigner album albeit with slightly odd prog and metal-orientated rhythms.

A simple riff kicks off Metropolis - Part I, quickly followed by another riff from Metallica's "...And Justice For All" album (the bridge section of "One"). It gets kind of interesting around 2:40, reminding me of part of Les Miserables, but the style is now extremely predictable and limited to the simple riffs interspersed with chumking metal riffs. The vocals are stubbornly in the realm of Sebastian Bach. Around 4:20, some odd timings are thrown in, in what seems like a futile attempt to say "we are a prog band, you know", but these sections do not add to the drama, only the length and percieved complexity of the piece. Anyone can tack a bunch of unrelated riffs together - the skill comes in making seamless music and getting unrelated riffs to sound related. Listen to Supper's Ready to get an idea of how this is done. The patchwork quilt of this piece lacks overall artwork and is wearying and annoying to listen to. An extended bridge in a standard rock song structure does not make a prog song.

Under a Glass Moon confirms that there is a single style running through this entire album, and that it does not, ultimately progress. We have keyboard washes, Metallica riffs, Yes and possibly King Crimson quotations, and basic rock-song constructions, with the familiar Seb Back vocals. Short bridges underline the prog wannabe style - it's really good to hear a band desire the prog status, but, for me, good prog does it without trying, and the mistake that this album makes time and time again is that it tries too hard.

Wait for sleep opens with an extremely simple piano line and synth washes, and the ballad style (again). This continues throughout, developing slightly - making this the closest this entire album comes to real prog!

Finally Learning to Live. I think the Metallica riff comes from "Ride The Lightning" in this case, but there's also a touch of "...And Justice for All". After the predictable riff, the snare sounds so 1980s that a feeling of neo-prog arises; a kind of mix of Pallas and IQ. This is followed by the riff from "Justice..."'s title track. Around 4:40 there are some interesting texture changes, but those keyboards sound so horrible! The guitars sound good though, but this is yet another patchwork quilt bridge section - not real progression, as the musicians take us on an arbitrary journey with no real drive, rhythm or drama in the structure - indeed, what is so wearying is the lack of any real structure to these sections.

This is NOT a prog album, let alone a masterpiece of the genre!

To hear a real progressive metal band at its best, go back 4 years to Metallica's "...And Justice For All" (1988). The latter is a superlative for all that progressive metal would become - but without the keyboards, although it was the earlier "Master of Puppets" (1986) that first established the prog metal sound. Also worth investigating are Megadeth's "Peace Sells, But Who's Buying", Slayer's "Reign in Blood" or "South of Heaven", Kreator's "Extreme Aggression", Napalm Death's "Scum" and Helloween's "Walls of Jericho".

To really dig into progressive metal's past, check out Diamond Head's "Living on Borrowed Time" and "White Album", then any Budgie album from the early 1970s. The fluid and imaginative riffs, grounded in Led Zeppelin but escaping the shackles of blues/folk rock in a way pioneered by Uriah Heep, will show you clearly what is meant by progressive as opposed to the more patchwork approach we see here (sic).

Re-interpreting other band's material is one way of producing prog rock, as some of the "real" prog bands will testify (e.g. Yes's use of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the Beatles as springboards), but the overall feel of the music on this album is of Heavy rock with metal and progressive leanings - there are not enough elements present to make a fully-fledged progressive album let alone a masterpiece! There are far more progressive metal bands out there - for example, Cradle of Filth.

So I rate it as Good (with some excellent technical and melodic playing), but not essential for a collection of prog rock, as it does not sit easily alongside the prog greats.

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#11250)
Posted Tuesday, January 04, 2005 | Review Permalink
maani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Founding Moderator
3 stars Knowing that I will have CDs flung at me from all sides of the room, let me get this out of the way: this is NOT a prog album. In this regard, I am actually being somewhat generous with my rating (it probably deserves two-and-a-half stars). What this IS is a speed/power metal album with some "prog sensibilities" (some more well-realized than others) and occasional "true" prog elements. Within its own genre (speed/power metal), I would give this album four stars, since it is a particularly excellent example of that genre. But prog? As a whole? I think not. After all, there is more to prog than double bass drums, non-standard time signatures (and signature changes) and everyone playing fast at the same time. / I am also glad - very glad - that I heard "Scenes From a Memory" first, or I might never have gotten to it, failing to believe that a band could get from here to there in just four albums. Not having heard (yet) the "bridging" albums, it may be that their progression makes sense. However, at this point in their career, they were still relying way too heavily on Portnoy's double bass, Petrucci's speed-freak guitar-playing, and Labrie's high-register screaming to infuse the music with a "compelling" quality, or any sense of "urgency." They had not developed the discipline - or learned to "relax" enough - that would lead to the much greater maturity one finds on "Scenes." Yes, "Scenes" also has lots of double bass drum, speed-freak guitar and screaming vocals. But the band no longer RELIES on them to be compelling: they learned how to "relax" and write compelling material that speaks for itself. / As I review "Images and Words" song by song, whenever you see the elipses (the three dots after the word "but"), fill in the phrase "it's not prog." / The album opens with the extended "Pull Me Under," a very good speed/power metal composition (with a neat Def Leppard-y feel, particularly the chorus), well executed, but... "Another Day" is a reasonably good "power ballad" (with sax!), but... The second extended piece, "Take the Time," displays some prog sensibilities, especially in a nice jam from 4:40 to 6:00, but... "Surrounded" is an excellent example of speed/power metal, and has some intimations of where Dream Theater would eventually go, but... "Metropolis - Part I" is only a "shadow" of what "Scenes From a Memory - Metropolis Part II" would be, and has the first real "prog" jam at 5:50-8:05, with a particularly excellent section from 7:00 to 8:05. "Under the Glass Moon" opens with a nice proto-prog figure until 1:20; the rest is truly "screaming" speed/metal. But... "Wait For Sleep" is among the prettiest, most beautifully crafted ballads I've heard (with a wonderfully simple but marvelously effective piano figure by Moore), and Labrie's voice is particularly sweet here, but... "Learning to Live" is an extended (actually, over-extended) composition with some prog elements, but... / I was also very unimpressed with the lyrics as a whole. / As an aside, I did notice some interesting "thanks" from the band to: Derek Shulman (he of Gentle Giant, and one of the producers of this album), Slash (makes sense, given Petrucci's style of playing), and Marillion (among other bands). / When all is said and done, this album only "straddles" prog. However, because it is good, even compelling, for what it is - speed/power metal - I have lifted it above "collectors/fans only," which is where it would otherwise belong.

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Send comments to maani (BETA) | Report this review (#11252)
Posted Thursday, January 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This IS prog ... but not traditional Progressive Rock. It is a form of Progressive Metal, but in the years to follow this release, bands like Pain Of Salvation stretched the boundaries of that genre much further. Yet this is an excellent release, featuring a wide bandwidth from soft pop ballads (Another Day) to ultra prog (Metropolis). I don't think that this type of music qualifies as Speed or Power Metal, as others suggested, because it's just so much different than other releases from those genres. Your typical Speed Metal fan would not listen to Dream Theater. Instead, he might consider it too progressive ...

But I have to admit that progressiveness in itself was probably not what the band had in mind when they created Images And Words. I think they really just wanted to create music that is interesting for the listener, and fun to play for the band. It may lack the seriousness of King Crimson, and the vocal arrangements of Gentle Giant, there's not even a mellotron ... but each track except the ballad has truly progressive elements.

The one outstanding track on this record is Learning To Live. It's really a good summary of all the other tracks, and it's a track the band almost always includes in the setlist. And of course Metropolis Pt.1, the first part to their masterpiece Scenes From a Memory, which was initially "just" a follow up song to Metropolis Pt.1 and then became a full concept album.

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Send comments to MikeEnRegalia (BETA) | Report this review (#11253)
Posted Friday, January 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm a relatively young prog fan and this album was my first introduction to prog. If I would rate it then I would give it 5 stars. Till now I've discovered many genres of prog and other music that was unknown to me before. Today I look to this album more objectively while I still consider it a fine example of prog metal. I even rate it higher than stuff by other bands like SYMPHONY X (repetative, boring riffs, unimaginative music)... Is it really necessary to label the songs on "Images And Words" prog/not prog or metal/not metal? IMO "progressive" is not measured only with the amount of complexity or virtuosity. What is more impoartant to me is the "progressive" attitude - to do a work of art, to break new ground, to be imaginative, to be eclectic, to take care of musical form, structure and development... I think this album has the imagination and creative energy that lacks their later albums except "Scenes From a Memory". All songs on IAW aren't progressive but every track sounds inspired and well-rounded. Thus the album may not be a prog masterpiece but it is an "excellent addition to any prog rock collection", indeed!

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Send comments to terramystic (BETA) | Report this review (#11254)
Posted Friday, January 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Quite possibly the album that put this technical band on the map: After the evident inmaturity of "When dream and day Unite" DREAM THEATER pulled out an album full of surprises, a work that definitely changed the metal genre as well, a Progressive Metal obligatory referent, etc.

"Images and Words" starts with the Metallica-driven riff of "Pull me Under", a hard song with an effective guitar solo. After that the track "Another Day" is just a more quiet piece, something that also happens with DREAM THEATER's "Falling into Infinity" (New Millenium-You not Me). Next song, probably my favorite of this album, "Take the Time"; a nice mixture of heavy metal and jazzy-funky rhythms (a great bass line as well). Then the easy listening track "Surrounded" appears (with good vocals from James LaBRie)

It's then time for the most exciting part of it all: The 9-minute track "Metropolis Part 1"; a super technical piece full of transitions and guitar/bass/keyboard solos and very good lyrics. THe sixth track "Under a glass moon" is a power-progressive metal song with strengh that makes a brilliant contrast with "Wait for sleep", the piano driven ballad of Moore and LaBrie.

The last and longest track is "learning to live" with lots of intrincate instrumental playing, as usual for DREAM THEATER, also featuring a very nice acoustic guitar part in the middle of it.

In short, "Images and Words" is one of the most complete albums by DREAM THEATER, along with Metropolis II and "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence".

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Send comments to Minstrel X (BETA) | Report this review (#11258)
Posted Tuesday, February 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
Jason@yahoo.c
5 stars The album is beautiful to listen... It's like just the right type of progressive stuff in it... I kinda like the melody of the lyrics and the guitar solos and piano solos are still dominating but not so exaggerated so the vocal , drum and the bass still is noticed... I may not notice the lyrics but i think its nice too because it fits in the melody... I think this is the best album that i want from all their album... I dont know maybe because it matched my mood these days...

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11260)
Posted Wednesday, February 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't know if I can add anything that hasn't been covered in some of the other reviews, but I will say that I love this CD, it's one of my all-time faves. I'm no expert on what's "prog" enough or whatever, but can we can we just get past ourselves for a minute (you know who I'm addressing right now) and just focus on whether it's a good collection of songs or not. AND, HELLO, IT IS!!! Obviously, Dream Theater is a progressive group. Look, you either like them or you don't, and if you do, I don't see how you can not like this album. "Images", along with "Scenes", are my 2 favorites from this very talented group of musicians and songwriters. 'Pull Me Under' is, without a doubt, cool as all get and one of DT's best songs ever, but the album is filled with great songs and great little sections of music. It has a very bright (dare I say, almost 80s) sound to it- the lush keyboards, the guitar effects, even the drums are tight and the cymbals & hi-hat are are mixed very prominantly, and some I know don't care for this. I think James LaBrie sounds great here and altogether, the sound was a huge leap from their first disc. John P has some great solos on here, but also plays some pretty cool rythmn parts, as always. The interplay of the members is what, I think, makes Dream Theater one of the greatest groups ever. Some prefer their darker, heavier sound developed after this, like on AWAKE and SIX DEGREES.., and I like that too. See, you can like chocolate and vanilla, dig? Anyway, I think IMAGES AND WORDS will still sound great 20 years from now.

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Send comments to liquidtenor (BETA) | Report this review (#11262)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
FloydWright
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars While I think this album was very promising for DREAM THEATER, I have to admit I can't understand why people would give it the full five stars. This isn't Awake. Still, it makes a nice predecessor to it. First, the production isn't really up to later standards. Musically, the sound is something between prog and metal and pop (well...pop in the vein of PINK FLOYD's A Momentary Lapse of Reason...that is, GOOD pop)--those criticisms are accurate, so if you're a strict proghead or strict metalhead you might not enjoy Images and Words. However, if you're interested in a rather less pretentious version of DREAM THEATER that is less focused on being prog giants, and more interested in creating good music (regardless of what genre it happens to fall in), this is a good one to check out. If you didn't like Scenes from a Memory, don't fear...you might have a chance with this one (and you should get Awake, too). Don't worry about the fact that "Metropolis, Pt. 1" is on here. But I'll get to that later.

This album will show you two musicians who, unfortunately, you don't get to hear very much of on later albums...and whom I think are sorely missed in later works: keyboardist KEVIN MOORE (who left the band after Awake) and bassist JOHN MYUNG (who was downplayed after this album). MYUNG gets far, far more solo time here than usual, and he really is quite good. His best moments are in the background of "Take the Time", and in prominent solos in "Metropolis, Pt. 1", and "Learning to Live", and it's a shame that he doesn't seem to do these kinds of things more often. He reminds me most of former SYMPHONY X bassist THOMAS MILLER.

In my opinion, KEVIN MOORE really contributed something wonderful to the band--and completely irreplaceable. MOORE isn't the kind of keyboardist who feels the need to show off every five seconds (like a certain current DT keyboardist). Rather, his technique is actually more reminiscent of PINK FLOYD's keyboardist RICHARD WRIGHT...not the work of a "virtuoso", but still the work of someone who knows when it is appropriate to play, what to play, and when it is appropriate not to play. Fine examples of MOORE's "just enough" playing are "Take the Time", the painfully short "Wait for Sleep", and "Surrounded"--especially in the beginning and end. He knows how to make good use of simple riffs...and also of hesitations and silence: little places where he waits a few seconds before changing to a different note, or places where he simply stops playing. These pauses are where your heart stops and the tears start to well up. Other times, he works subtly in the background; you don't even know why you were suddenly moved, but the odds are that MOORE had somethng to do with it. It was a terrible shame when he left the band and I'm not sure they've ever truly recovered from it.

The best points of the album are "Pull Me Under" (poppish but enjoyable to me), "Under a Glass Moon", "Wait for Sleep", and most of all "Learning to Live". "Under a Glass Moon" really seems to have inspired the base technique of SYMPHONY X, who would begin writing music two years later...the resemblance is really quite shocking. "Wait for Sleep" is a beautiful slow KEVIN MOORE piece...one only wishes it were longer. "Learning to Live" is something I think every DREAM THEATER-basher ought to hear: with this piece, DT manage an 11-minute piece (almost) that never, ever bores, and flows all the way throughout. This is one of those songs you don't want to be interrupted in the middle of. The other epic, "Metropolis, Pt. 1" wanders around a bit in a few parts (foreshadowing Pt. 2?), but is still likeable enough that I find myself wishing that DREAM THEATER + RUDESS had not disgraced its name with the album Scenes from a Memory. The only song that I think might be a turnoff to some is "Another Day"...I think that on this one, DT was gunning for radio play and that sax can be a bit Kenny G'ish at times. It's not horrible, but not quite up to the standard of the rest of the album. Also, on occasion JAMES LaBRIE shows that he hasn't quite found his voice yet...he seems to be trying to sound like GEDDY LEE and occasionally it backfires on him. (I say this as someone who likes his singing, not as a LaBRIE-basher!)

Overall, though, I think Images and Words is one of those DREAM THEATER albums that non-hardcore fans should consider getting. Start with Awake--but then make sure to make this your next purchase.

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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#11265)
Posted Tuesday, March 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
el böthy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars whats the big deal about???? I mean, what does images and words have that makes it so "special"??? the songs are all long and sometimes even borring, because some of them are pretty much alike. pull me under is for my opinion like an old metallica song but...not that good. another day is just too corny for my taste and under a glass moon is... I don´t know how to put it, but it´s not what I would listen. The instumentation is very good, I give you that, and allthough I´m not that much of a fan of the ultre fast guitarrists I must admite that petrucci is very good. This is my only DT album and I don´t think I will get an other. Dream Theater is just not what I hoped it would be. To be honest I was hoping to get something like ...and justice for all from metallica, but...I guess not...

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Send comments to el böthy (BETA) | Report this review (#11268)
Posted Sunday, March 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
azacamis@hotm
5 stars First of all, this is not a progressive ROCK album. This is a progressive METAL album. So for those who cannot stand fast riff, thundering pedals and screaming vocals etc, please stay away from this album and save everyone the confusion of having to read a flawed review. Having said that, this album is still progressive, only difference is that it is a metal album. If you have an open mind, an important criteria to appreciate progressive music, be it rock or metal, you can identify with this album. Like it or not, this album has been the yardstick for so many progressive metal band during the 90s, which many had failed miserably to stick up to. High level skills involved coupled with really tight playing, this album can not get any better. Awake is my favourite album due to its diversity, but this album to me is still THE album that had major influence on a lot of people. Every single song has intricate lines which is still melodically beautiful. The Miracle And The Sleeper is a very unique song. There isn't any part that is repeated in this song. No chorus, bridge or chorus. I still consider this song as the best song that they have ever composed. Learning To Live has haunting lines somewhere around the 7:00 min mark. Take The Time is funky yet full of intricate lines. Under Glass Moon may be a little straight forward as a whole but listen to the riff on the verse. If you cannot accept this album, seriously, you might have difficulty of accepting other forms of concepts which will devoid you of listening to a wider scope of genre.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11269)
Posted Monday, March 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Definitely Dream Theater's finest hour and one of the overall best releases featured in the prog-metal genre, and it's a clear improment over their debut album too with overall stronger songwriting and clearer much more balanced production. New vocalist James LaBrie makes his first appearence here and gives the band a new and better voice to their music (their first one was too uneven, IMO). Musically, the mix of melodic prog and metal goes very well here and the band knows when and where to calm down in time. The longer tracks here are the best ones and "Metropolis" and "Learning to Live" are some of the best songs Dream Theater ever put out on an album, but the shorter and mellower tracks are very good as well, notably "Wait for Sleep". Fantastic instrumentation by the band as well and the album rarely, if ever, lacks focus, and the only "weak" spot on this album is "Another Day" which remains a good song.

A brilliantly balanced and solid album overall with some of the best material from the band ever. It stands as one of their two best releases to me (the other one being "Awake") and is essential if you like prog-metal.

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#11277)
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
socks_from_sp
5 stars Is this really a metal album? I find it interesting to read so many reviews claiming that this CD doesn't belong in a progressive rock archive because its music is heavy metal. Perhaps if the people making this claim actually listened to metal (and indeed most of them claim they do not) they would know exactly what metal is, and would then know that this is NOT metal.

Granted, Dream Theater is often classified as a metal band, and this album definitely has its metal influences. It has been pointed out that prog influences do not make a prog album. Well, metal influences do not make a metal album, and that is definitely the case here.

The music on this album is heavy progressive rock. The only album that could be considered as "metal" is the first track, "Pull Me Under". The majority of the album is made up of fairly long, complex songs full of intricate harmonizing and amazing solos. The songs "Metropolis Pt. 1" and "Learning to Live" are two of the highlights of the album typical of this type of music. "Another Day" and "Wait for Sleep" are shorter compositions, and very light, the former featuring a tenor saxophone, the latter built almost exclusively around Moore's delicate piano playing.

This is possibly the greatest release from a band whose music is consistently great to begin with. You'll find very little in the metal vein here. For an example of what heavy metal actually sounds like, listen to some Metallica, Iron Maiden, or even Dream Theater's own "Train of Thought" album. But for excellent musiciains writing their own form of complex progressive rock, "Images and Words" is one of the best of the genre.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11282)
Posted Sunday, April 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
dnqhanoi@yaho
5 stars I want to say that this is one of the best progressive metal albums I've ever listened to. Ofcourse, this is a master pierce of prog and the best albums of DT. This albums were the fist albums of DT I listened to in 96'. I loved this albums immediately. Until now, 9 years later, I'm still loving it. What a beautiful music with a lot of good songs. For me, " Take the Time", "Another Day", " Under The Glassmoon", " Metropolis part 1" are the excellent songs, the rests - are good. If you like epic songs you have " Learning To Live", " Metropolis Part1".If you like heavier music, you have " Take The time", "Pull Me Under". If you want to listen to a great guitar work- you have " Under The Glassmoon". That's not good enough? What do you want from them? That's why I put it 5 stars. ,It's definitely a 'must have' album of every prog fan. That's true.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11285)
Posted Friday, April 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars To think that this is a masterpiece of prog is ridiculous. Sure, they can all play; in the guitarist's case, fast and flashily. But, although they deserve credit for that, that's not enough. The compositions are complex and often do not link into a credible whole; they seem to be a sequence of passages designed to show off the instrumental prowess of the band. Sure they're prog, but metal? No way - just a very good bunch of musicians playing complex but not very well composed hardish prog which ends up rather average.

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Send comments to Tony Fisher (BETA) | Report this review (#11291)
Posted Friday, May 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
sj_digriz@msn
2 stars Prog metal masterpiece? NOT. The best DT album? Yeah, probably. Great technical playing but no real evidence of melody or direction. Just chops connected by other chops.

The exceptions are really bad semi-popish prog ballads Surrounded and Another Day. They have structure and melody, just not good ones.

One the plus side, this is the only album that I like James LaBrie singing. It actual fits well in the production unlike later work.

Pull Me Under - Starts great and makes you really think they might be on to something then it kicks into psuedo metal double Kick and + guitar synch rhythm thingy that is on 12039823409823460580234 other metal records. It just ruins the continuity.

Another Day - Not bad for for an AOR rock ballad. Silly and disconnect lyrics where one sentence has nothing to do with the next ruin it though. Fun to sing along as long as you don't care that the words could be just about anything and retain the idea.

Take the Time - Again ruined by the "metal" moments. But, probably the best song on the album.

Surrounded - errr...a not very good AOR rock ballad.

Under a Glass Moon, Waiting for Sleep (intro to Learning to Live sort of) and Learning to live are basically a run of pointless riffing with lyrics that are the worst sort of poetic schtick. It's almost emberrassing to listen to.

If you like DT and some other neo-metal prog (making up my own genres), or if you like guys that jam like crazy, then this is a good album. If you want a little more direction and consistancy, not to mention lyrics that aren't pathetic then this probably isn't for you.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11292)
Posted Friday, May 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album is a great addition for Metropolis part I, and the rest can be founded on any other DT album. Some songs didn't aged very well, and for an album of that calibre, this is bad news. Some songs could create a large case of laughter among friends....saxophone anyone?

The album is marked deeply with the big metal attitude that reflected so well a generation of headbangers. Big hair, big drums (sounds like Kiss for crying out loud), big dramatic vocals, black clothes for everybody, clean shave and lots of curls.

Metropolis part I is without the shadow of a doubt, a superb exercise of how DT is a professional band. They hit the spot all the way with grace, dexterity and the expertise Rush showed for so many years. And that's a compliment I'd like my band could deserve.

An absolute classic for many, to me the debut of an era.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#11293)
Posted Friday, May 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
fabinick@libe
5 stars This is the core of all prog albums from 1990 to nowadays. It's a five stars album for it's great quality and it's historycal rilevance. But the one who criticize it have realy listen to it?..they say "just for metal headbangers" but what about Another Day or Wait for Sleep??? Wait for Sleep is so emotional and so great with the piano beating odd time. The greatness of IAW is also in the mix of feelings, from the rough metal piece to the sweet ballad and everything in between. This is a masterpiece and the who criticize because of the genres don't understand nothing. In music doesn't matter the genre but only the quality!!! Forget symphonyc or metal of folk (of course a good way to describe the album) but it's only good music or bad music...and this one is great music!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#11294)
Posted Saturday, May 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pull Me Under, the first track. This song doesn't necessarily sum up the complete sensational objective of this album, but it definitely is a nice touch. At first, the song establishes a kind of longing sentiment that is both alluring as well as a not-too-passive beat. With John Petrucci already mesmerizing your ears, in comes Mike Portnoy's tranquil drumming, allowing you to still enjoy the guitar but subconsciously expecting what's next. This goes on for a few seconds until Kevin Moore's keyboards present a smooth entrance. John Myung's bass talent has been active throughout, though many neglect that for a common sound (bass just naturally arrives on its own, apparently). With this continuous rhythm, Petrucci shifts to another chord, leaving a paused serenity circulating for another numerous seconds, 'til Portnoy takes the stage and delivers the climatic drum entrance of the song. The four guys jam some more until Portnoy, Petrucci and Myung convey dazzling striking until Moore appears once more, and they continue through the piece where soon Portnoy invokes James LaBrie's very first line of the album, which would be: "Lost in the sky," and it's that emphasis and "sky" that I love so much about LaBrie: his ability to engross me so easily with one word. Through this, the band carries on through the song with mild alterations, and that's Pull Me Under: an eight-minute song that defines the new Dream Theater or at least the definition therein, within the song.

Now onto their second track, Another Day. This song is entirely LaBrie: without his harmonious vocals, this song would not have been what it was. Argue what you will, but that is the bitter truth. His soft undertone assembles the song up to what it initially will be, and admired by millions - though, in retrospect, Pull Me Under brought more of a response than Another Day, which truly is shocking. The majority of these masses are usually interested in soft horse feces they don't have to absorb too rashly. Although this song does not build up to anything spectacular, it is nevertheless an important piece of Dream Theater's musical puzzle.

Take the Time, third song. This song has left me speechless every time I've heard it, that's for certain. I don't know if it's Moore's dramatic entrance, or Porntnoy's (Petrucci's, also) overture, but let me tell you that what I actually flat-out adhered to were LaBrie's first seven lines of the song. And that eighth line, "I think it's time for a change," absolutely collapsed my entire muscles; I could not move or speak or think. I sat there, discman in hand, utterly thunderstruck. I tell you this, everything LaBrie did with his vocal chords - every factor of his advance. . . I have never heard LaBrie sound better than he did right then, and that's including A Change of Seasons, and the entire Metropolis, Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory album.

Track four: Surrounded. A mediocre track with remarkable surroundings; if you were to ask me, I'd say this song shouldn't have been a piece of Images and Words - it's just not as grand as the rest, is all. It's a decent song, no doubt, but not up to Images and Words' standards, is all I'm saying.

(FAVORITE SONG ON THIS ALBUM) Track five: Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper. There's really nothing to say about this song. It's the first piece of the Scenes from a Memory saga; its prequel, so to speak, but not really. To me, this song summarizes the entire Scenes from a Memory album, just with far less detail. The subtle references Petrucci makes in the lyrics, such as: "Somewhere, like a scene from a memory," gives you an idea of what's to come. It cleverly disguises the complete story, but you get a glimpse of what's going to happen. The verse: "The smile of dawn arrived early May, she carried a gift from her home. The night shed a tear to tell her of fear and of sorrow and pain she'll never outgrow," secretly explains that the woman is Victoria, who will be introduced in the second half. And, "Metropolis watches and thoughtfully smiles," is later added in the song Home (track eight of Scenes From a Memory), which, again, gives you some sort of idea as to what to expect. Anyway, I've spent far too long on this song. Moving on. . .

Track six, Under a Glass Moon. I kind of feel similar with this one as I do with Surrounded, although I think Under a Glass Moon was perfect for Images and Words. It's not as great, but still worthy. The melody and such - on the whole progressive scale, I think it fits flawlessly. As always, I believe LaBrie was the one who made this song what it was. Without him, I would not have liked it as much. . . well, LaBrie and Petrucci.

Wait For Sleep, track seven. This one's almost identical to Another Day: without LaBrie, heh, no. Not a chance. Without Moore's syrupy opening, however, the song would not have been as delightful. This song was crafted in such a fine manner, the length of it meshed beautifully. It had been any longer; someone would have loosened something and lost the initial splendor. Thankfully, this did not happen.

Last song, Learning to Live. I apologize for running along, but I'm in a rush and I'm sure you all are tired of reading my words, anyway, so I beg you, just a little longer. Again, Portnoy's drumming led by Moore's straightforward keystrokes helps characterize this song as one continuous motion with minor transitions. In my opinion, what I think made this portion such a great song was that it's nothing BUT Dream Theater. All four of them playing, followed by LaBrie. On occasion - most of which, in fact - it's Myung, Petrucci and Portnoy, Moore and Petrucci, or Portnoy and Moore, or whatever. Yes, there are moments where you hear all of them playing an uninterrupted session for minutes at a time, but very rare, at least what I'm hearing. Anyway, the song is great. Another Dream Theater classic, and admired by many of the old school fans and also the green folk. Precise length, appropriate changeovers, and simplicity.

Images and Words would have to be my second favorite Dream Theater album, the first being Metropolis pt.1: Scenes from a Memory. Do as you wish, but if your predominant genus is progressive rock, then I would recommend this one.

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Send comments to undefinability (BETA) | Report this review (#11302)
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
FishyMonkey
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Well, Dream Theater's second album is definitely a strong offering. I'd say about 5 of the songs are excellent, two are pretty good and one is bad. Where this album succeeds thougyh, it really succeeds. This is what prog metal is all about -- strong melodies, great musicianship, mindblowing solos and long epic songs. On paper it's great, but the execution is flawed on some songs like Learning To Live and Pull Me Under. Other times though, Dream Theater really pulls through with one hell of a song.

The first song, Pull Me Under, starts out promising enough, but quickly falls into a repetitive melody and is all-together much too straight-forward for my tastes. It's nice, but not that great. Another Day is a strong ballad pulled off very well, with one of my favorite Petrucci moments of all time in the video. Very nice song, much better than Pull Me Under. The next song, Take The Time is definitely the strongest song on the album with a killer begginning. The rest of the song doesn't get boring either! Clean riffs and excellent guitar playing all the way through. This is a contender for one of my favorite Dream Theater songs of all time, definitely.

Unfortunately, the next piece, Surrounded, falls flat on it's face. Where Another Day succeeded gloriously, Surrounded dies in. Surrounded does have some good elements, like a pretty good melody, pretty good lyrics, and a pretty good progression. Unfortunately, everything else kinda sucks. It's not terrible, just not very good at all. The next piece though, Metropolis pt. 1 -- the joke that started it all -- is a VERY strong song. Gets kinda cheesy after awhile and is bogged down by a way too long solo section (HOLY CRAP! Not only did they carry over lyrics and meanings to Scenes from a Memory, they also carried over the flaws like boring wankery and cheesiness after a few listens!). It's still an excellent piece, though not nearly as good as Take The Time, Learning To Live and...

Under A Glass Moon! This piece always manages to get me going, just like Take The Time. Such an awesome piece. The melodies are perfect and the guitar parts are slick. Nothing feels forced, either! Hooray! It's clear sailing from here on, with Wait For Sleep being a pretty and haunting ballad, one of the prettiest DT has ever written. Learning To Live is the classic DT epic, with my favorite Labrie movement ever in the middle (the high pitched wailing that goes incredibly high -- some may hate it, but I love it, especially when he pulled it off live) and great lyrics. I mean GREAT lyrics...to me at least. The only problem is a long solo section the drags it down like Metropolis pt. 1.

But one more thing: the classic question of is it prog? Well, sometimes yes, definitely like Learning To Live and Metropolis pt. 1, while other stuff is heavy/thrash metal with some great prog influences like Take The Time and Under A Glass Moon, while finally Pull Me Under and Another Day are just straight rock. So yea, half the time it's good prog...some may find this unacceptable, but ot the more open-minded of us, it's fine because the whole album is quite good. 4.2 rating.

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Send comments to FishyMonkey (BETA) | Report this review (#35443)
Posted Monday, June 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
beastman13@sb
5 stars After reviewing my Dream Theater collection of all their studio albums I have come to the conclusion that IAW is their greatest album. With a masterful blend of soft and hard rock this album defines what DT is all about. "Pull Me Under" starts off the album well. Its guitar riffs along with the overlapping synthesizer create an adrenaline surge for the rest of the album.

"Another Day" tones it down with a wonderful arrangement for piano, strings, and the soprano saxophone. The theme also adds to the tastefulness of it.

"Take The Time" creates a wonderful blend of duple and triple meter time signatures that changes the flavor throughout.

"Surrounded" which I consider these weakest songs of the album is by no means intolerable. You geeky Dream Theater fans (including me) love the 9/8 and tapping guitar solo. The piano part is rather simple but so elegant in chord changes, thus proving that simplicity can make for perfect music.

This leads us onto in my opinion the greatest Dream Theater song ever, "Metropolis - Pt. 1 "The Miracle and the Sleeper." This is the most progressive song on the album. With beautiful time signatures such as 19/16 and 13/16, Dream Theater shows off their technical skill. This song is a prequel to their epic concept album "Scenes From A Memory", and it's fun to draw parallels after listening to both. We see Dream Theater's ingenuous skill of incorporating lyrics and musicality all into one song with the instrumental in the middle of the song. Their transitions are breathtaking.

In the song "Under A Glass Moon" what can I say? The guitar solo can speak for the whole song. Quite possibly one of the greatest guitar solos ever. It is my favorite. Portnoy's drumming shines through in this song a lot. I know in just the beginning I was drawn in with the catchy double bass pattern, again, not difficult, but very cool. You can hear his fast foot work and his ability to invent timeless parts complimenting the odd meters they play in.

"Wait For Sleep", considered an intro by many into "Learning To Live" combines soft singing, strings, piano, and odd meter all into one. The constant change between, 5/8, 6/8, and 2/4 further displays their technical ability (mostly Kevin Moore here), and they do it softly, proving you don't have to be shredding to be progressive.

The album ends with "Learning to Live", a simple message with mediocre lyrics however it is one that shouldn't go unsaid. John Myung does an incredible job at bass in this song. In fact, my favorite bass riff is near the end of the song when everything dies out and he comes in. We see his technical skill when he doubles what the guitar plays in some odd meter. LaBrie is absolutely astonishing in this album. We hear all sorts of range and his voice compliments Dream Theater well for his first studio album with them.

For those of you who say this isn't progressive rock, I ask you, do you know what progressive rock is? It's not all about the heavy guitar riffs. It's about musicality in both technicality and simplicity. It's not about being like Metallica, who are absolutely horrible in my opinion or Symphony X who are not bad but a little to cheesy for my liking. It's about not being afraid to do different things in an album but still follow the rock format of progressive rock. Dream Theater undoubtedly does that here and with all their other albums. They are the poster boys for progressive rock. Proceeding greats like Rush, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin, Dream Theater has taken progressive rock to a whole new level. That's why this album gets five stars. I only wish that I was older than four years old when the album came out.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#35830)
Posted Thursday, June 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
dianet@axeler
5 stars Less than two weeks ago I rated Octavarium after a fantastic concert in Budapest. Since then I've "relistened" all the albums of DT. I'm sure that DT reached the top even in 1992, when I and W was issued, and they were there continuosly. What is fine in the music of DT can be found on this album. The music is clear while very complex, and finds the deepest layers of your mind. No weak point of the album. Moreover the lyrics hit your brain and heart too. And later on Metropolis, SDIT and the other albums could repeat the miracle! That's why sometimes I felt that before DT there was nothing, although I listened a lot of giants (among others I'm a very enthusiastic Led Zeppelin fan for example). First time I have to give 5 stars...

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#37682)
Posted Saturday, June 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 1) Pull Me Under 10/10 Fantastic mix of complex structures, metal riffage, and catchy hooks. You don't even have to like progressive music to love this song. The mix of progressive metal and catchy hooks is awesome. Amazing song.

2) Another Day 10/10 Beautiful beautiful ballad. LaBrie's high notes during the bridge are phenomenal, and it boasts an amazing solo (which is really really fun to play as well, not to mention a little challenging!) at the end with some great saxophone guest work as well.

3) Take the Time 8.5/10 Some cheesy keyboards in the beginning of the song, but it doesn't ruin this very good song, which has an amazing instrumental break in the middle.

4) Surrounded 9.5/10 Another lighter one, with some great progressions, including a fantastic one in the beginning when the piano starts to speed up and the guitars enter. Great song.

5) Metropolis Pt. One 10/10 Amazing song with some of the best progressions on the album. The guitar's change of pace during the beginning of the second verse is very similar to the part in "A Change of Seasons" where Petrucci begins his chord strums during "Carpe Diem" (..."the words stuck in my mind".....); another fantastic progression is in the bridge where leads enter seemingly straight from the bridge of Metallica's "Master of Puppets." Amazing song.

6) Under a Glass Moon 9/10 Another fantastic song with some shimmering vocals during the chorus and some awesome guitar/organ harmonizations during the introduction. Great stuff.

7) Wait for Sleep 10/10 A picture-perfect introduction to the next track, as well as being a great track in itself....

8) Learning to Live 11/10 My favorite on the album. This song literally has everything: two big guitar solos, many keyboard solos (including an awesome one right before the first verse), thrashy sections, and even a flamenco section which seemingly comes out of nowhere. A phenomenal song to round out a phenomenal album.

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Send comments to coffeeintheface (BETA) | Report this review (#38494)
Posted Monday, July 04, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It took me 3 years to fully understand this album, not because the music is complex, but because took me 5 year to have the time to listen it as it deserves.

The music here is not this kind of "finger athletic", no, it's a way to do harmony with all the instruments, Kevin Moore played for the band, not like Rudess, who played for himself; Portnoy didn't try to do a ultra-virtuoso work, but just the necessary to show enough complex and enough feeling to catch you; Myung?, well, as always he tried to do the work of Petrucci but with the bass, a lost bass; Petrucci, good work, working with all the band; and LaBrie, uff, amazing voice.

The best of the album, in my opinion, is Metropolis pt 1, one of the few parts when you are going to listen the bass; low point?, there's no low point.

Great album, a symphonic-metal really great.

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Send comments to CGH Tompkins (BETA) | Report this review (#38592)
Posted Tuesday, July 05, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Without a doubt Dream Theater is one of the most relevant and polemic bands since the beginning of the 90's. The wide variety of styles they've passed through from "When Dream and Day Unite" to "Ocatvarium" has taught us that they can boast with authority the way prog metal music ought to be played. In fact, they explore into a different style in each release.

But let's center the attention in this album, well..."Images And Words" is a release that belongs to one of the most acclaimed seasons of the band, I would say the brilliant season. This album mixes ballads, fine compositions and sudden progressions mixed with chaotic riffs leading to a new music age. Though, Dream Theater is considered as one of the bands that invented a completly new style (and maybe it's true) but I prefer to say that their style is influenced partially by the heavy from the 80's but even much more mature and complex.

The sound of IAW is one of the best examples of what progressive should be: an innovative, original and mainly unpredictable style that mixes elements such as the roughness of metal but saving the well-thought lyrics and the complexity of progressive rock. One of the unique features is the clarity of the voice of Labrie. The admirable performancel of Moore gives a heavenly ambiance along the tracks, a real master on keybords. Petrucci is fine and inspired to the maximum and Myung is simple magnific. And of course Portnoy is admirable.

I'm convinced this is the right album to start with DT, in fact I did it and I've become addicted to IAW since then on. I would give a qualification to each track.

1.Pull Me Under: 9/10. An excellent composition with a balanced participation of each one of the members of the band. Good solos and excellent vocals. 2.Another Day: 9/10. A formidable ballad that combines the use of sax and the rich voice of Labrie.

3.Take The Time: 10/10 I can say: a perfect piece of art. A heavy composition where Mike Portnoy is the leader of the complexity and he is followed by the fine solos of Petrucci and The keyboard lines of Moore. Excellent Lyrics and perfect vocals.

4.Surrounded: 7/10 Good Track! Mix of metal, art and complexity.

5.Metropolis - Part I: 11/10. Perfection at its finest. No words to tell, best track of the album and maybe one of the best tracks of DT. To understand lyrics I recommend you to listen carefully to "Scenes From A Memory"

6.Under A Glass Moon: 8/10 Chaotic and beautiful. Here Myung lights up as the certain proffessional he is.

7.Wait For Sleep: 7/10 I think it's unfair to judge this track independently from the entire album, so I just say this is a soft and beautiful ballad and a little interlude to:

8.Learning To Live. 10/10 Progression, innovation and finesse involved into a perfect composition. All of the members have the opportunity to demonstrate their real capabilities to make art. Acoustic Solos, complex drums riffs.

Conclusion: 4.5 out of 5. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for every one who loves music!

Good Progressions!

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Send comments to razifa (BETA) | Report this review (#38919)
Posted Saturday, July 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I listened this album as I had had a quite positive impression from their "Change of Seasons" suite, which was my first introduction to this band. Sadly this CD killed my budding interest towards them, as the style of their music on this CD didn't please me at all. Without doubt this album is produced professionally and the band has great playing skills, but this just isn't stylistically my cup of tea. Luckily their thing has found many fans, and I must admit that the album covers are very nice.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#38923)
Posted Saturday, July 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
geeman7@hotma
4 stars i jump on the occasion to give my opinion on a few things about dt, in the sense that this album is been overrewied and that nothing new could be said...

ok lets start by mp: the sound of drum is a change of season defenetly, the best "riff" would be 6 o'clock. the overall performance (all albums) is anyway outstanding.

jp: the lead of under a glass moon, the performance on scenes from m, the sound quality on 6degrees...

jm: the sound on awake, the riff on about to crash, the unbelievable endurance all along sfm2, the rearrangement of trial of tears lead on budokan dvd...

km: well, mainly his lyrics always touched me very much (wait 4 sleep, lie) the lead of take the time....

jr: he is pretty much perfect on any side im just a little bit disappointed by tot (and he looks much better now him and mp doing the show on budokan dvd really)...

jl: awake and a change of season are is best vocals work, he just cant reach that any more (especially the ".. you can tell yours step father i said so.." on lie...

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#40327)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
marcosvrljica
4 stars I would put 4.90 stars if it was possible, but i don't think it deserves 5 stars. This album started my journey in the Prog Metal. This Dream Theater's album particulary is a curious way of transporting pure prog rock in pure prog metal. Excelent album! It's almost essensial, though there are "more essensial" ones.

Maximum Dream Theater's expresion.

I would like to say much more things but my english is not perfect.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#40883)
Posted Friday, July 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I think this album should be owned by anyone making a progressive metal compilation. Without a doubt, Dream Theater is the most popular band of the progressive movement nowadays. Is it the speed? the power? the vituosity? The compositions? I believe it actually is because of all those qualities. They are all young musicians who graduated from an excellent musical university. The guitarist may be as fast as Jimmy Page, The drummer has a skill as good as John Bonham, and the other members are very skilled too. All of them combined resulted in this album which for many is considered the masterpiece and the representative album of Progressive Metal. It has powerful songwriting, tight structures, impressive rhythm, and amazing musicianship. The only thing I don't like is the singing, and it's a major criticism that I will have in every single Dream Theater album. While his voice is professionally trained, his wails just do not sound good.

1. Pull Me Under 8/10 : This is the most known song from the band. It is very accessible, and has catchy hooks all around making almost anyone like it from the first listen. The guitar solo is simple, but more melodic and one of the better solos of Petrucci. The chorus is instantly likable.

2. Another Day 7/10 : A ballad with a beautiful arrangement to boost the song. LAbrie does his best and hits very high notes in his voice while guitar, piano and a saxophone plays. One of the best vocal performances of Labrie.

3. Take The Time 7.5/10 : This song is excellent. Portnoy sets complicated rhythms and the members can follow it flawlessly with great musicianship, vocal hooks, and an instrumental break where you hear Petrucci really shine.

4. Surrounded 7.5/10 : A delicate piano introduces the song and you may be fooled that it is just a ballad. but then the guitar enters in 9/8 and is transformed into a metal song. The guitar solos hear are very inspired and beautiful. The delicate piano appears again at the end while JAmes sings.

5. Metropolis - Pt. I "The Miracle And The Sleeper" 9/10 : Probably their finest song in this album. The music style is epic in nature and hints what is about to come next (Change of Seasons). It is a heavy metal piece with beautiful and unusual time signatures. The main riff of the song is classic, the keyboard embellishments are perfect (Kevin Moore is my favourites DT keyboardist), and the guitar work is art.

6. Under A Glass Moon 8/10 : What a fantastic guitar introduction in this song! This is a chaotic song full of guitar solos.

7. Wait For Sleep 9.5/10 : A perfect short ballad with one of my favourite piano lines I have ever heard. The time signatures always change to unusual ones making not only a great ballad, but also a highly professional and complex one.

8. Learning To Live 8.5/10 : This is a very popular track among Dream Theater fans, and I agree with them. It has everything : virtuosity, good songwriting, great bass lines, nice singing, entertainment, and a Flamenco solo!

For anyone who wants to try the band, I think that this is the best place to start. It is the album in which the band found their sound, and also where they were at their very best.

My Grade : B

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#41908)
Posted Sunday, August 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars To inspire this review(my first), I've put on Images and Words in the background. Now let me try to find the words to define this album.

Images and Words, Dream Theater's 2nd Studio Album is until today in my humble opinion, their best album. No other DT album has managed to portray such a unique atmosphere which sucks you into it, and you wish it will last forever.

The big change in this album from their debut album(When Dream and Day Unite) is of course James LaBree, who took over as lead vocalist instead of Charlie Dominici. This was a great change because it's clear that LaBree's vocals blend in DT's music alot better than Dominici, which is a great vocalist anyway.

In matters of creativity this album is extremely diverse and original, it stands in its own genre. Technically, well that's DT's best part, their players are few of the best around, Portnoy, Petrucci, Moore, Myung, LaBree are all excellent musicians and they give a brilliant performance in this album.

Overall, a 5/5 piece right here, no matter what's your taste, you cannot go wrong with this album, it's a must for any music collection!

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Send comments to ayahuascsa (BETA) | Report this review (#42656)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
richardh
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I've held back on giving this a review as I am aware of the general warmth towards this so called 'masterpeice'.However it does not one tiny thing for me I'm afraid.Just one long yawn from beginning to end.Nothing to my ears other than just a bog standard set of heavy metal tracks.Six Degrees and Octavarium are way better IMO.Thanfully DT were to evolve into something a great deal more interesting.

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#43012)
Posted Monday, August 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was my second Dream Theater album that I bought. It's awesome! Just listening to Metropolis part I or Take The Time you can say that this album has a lot to show. This is one of my favorites Dream Theater albums so far. Oh! Hold on, I forgot about Learning To Live, Wait For Sleep and Pull Me Under, omg this is a essential CD, a masterpiece of progressive music!

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Send comments to Dream Theater (BETA) | Report this review (#44730)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars wow! This album was the greenlight for proggers around the world to jump on the prog metal( and Dream Theater) bandwagon. Starting off with a great opener( pull me under) and ending with a great closer( learning to live) it has nothing but great songs on the album. It has ballads, uplifting melodic songs, classic metal songs, all out prog songs, and an epic, and everymoment shows you something new and incredible. I love this album

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Send comments to BePinkTheater (BETA) | Report this review (#46032)
Posted Thursday, September 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is probably the progressive metal's most important album, and one of the most important albums of progressive music too...

Due to this disc and the later Awake, the progressive genre enjoys good health today, because a lot of young people (like myself) known this way of undertanding the music with Dream Theater. For that... I give a lot of thanks to Dream Theater for revitalazing the progressive music!!!

The album itself it's a true masterpiece. All the songs are magnificent, with a fantastic sound and instrumental developement. Maybe the kayboards are in a little too 80's way sometimes, but I'm still loving all this album completely.

Best songs for me: Another Day (with a memorable saxophone playing and an outstanding guitar solo), Take The Time (simply the best Dream Theater's song in my humble opinion) and Surrounded (it's different from the rest of the album, and I like it a lot...)

Last fact I want to comment: James LaBrie couldn't never reach again the great voice and the incredible high notes that he reached in this album... He has been losing his voice along the years...

Images and Words is one of the peaks of progressive and a must for everyone!!!

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#46323)
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
frankorudess@
5 stars 5 Stars <<---- huh?... The second best album from this great band. I've seen some really bad reviews about this album, giving poor opinions about an album with 8 incredible tracks each one improvised. I'm a Rudess fan, but i think Kevin Moore really gave dream theater a melodic side that i enjoy a lot, hes compositions in dream theater were always accurate, and necessary, i just wish he had done another album with dream theater. The notorious song in this album is Metropolis part. 1, this one for me its not the best song they ever made, i cant actually qualify a 1 best DT song, but it gathers what dream theater means, great lyrics, excelente orchestration, unique drums, hard compositions, keyboard and guitar mastery, and great vocals in this album. Learning To live is an excellent piece, wrote by John Myung, he should write more songs, some of the best songs were writen by him(Trial to Tears, Lifting Shadows of a Dream...).

This album is the one with "Personality" from Dream theaters albums, in my opinion. I've lost some of my objective eye , but im sure if every song is evaluated including instrumental and lyrics this albums reachs 5 stars, no doubt about it. I hope more people can appreciate and enjoy masterpieces such as these one instead of comparing and trying to find weak points.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#46406)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amazing album. Dream Theatres best work in my opinion. This album has every thing you could want. Pretty Ballads - Another day and wait for sleep a more metalish song -Pull Me Under and longer more complex compositions-Metropolis and Learning To Live.

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Send comments to walrus333 (BETA) | Report this review (#47113)
Posted Sunday, September 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
ekeane2005@ho
5 stars Why do i think this is a masterpiece and the best dt album?

because it has the most sensitive song lyrics with contributing touching musical meanings. yes there is not only music but also images you see. it is not simply a musical album, it is a visual show.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#51308)
Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Man, I almost the praising of this album as much as I hate the bashing. People have created so much contreversy around it, that the ratings tend to seperate to both extremes, being "masterpiece" and "total [&*!#]". It's appreciatable if you don't expect greatness out of this.

First and foremost, this is an important and widely influencial release, and that's reason enough to have it in your collection. The styles displayed on I&W are a mix of hard rock/metal, fusion and whatnot, and incorporates progressive elements. The band's greatest influences are namely among the greatest prog bands of all time, so there you go. It manages to remain melodic all the way through, mixed in with a few technical runs here and there that really keep it interesting. There are weak songs, as there are strong ones; many people have a difference of opinion as to which ones are which, but that doesn't matter.

People often refer to Petrucci's fast and precise playing when they describe DT, and this creates misconceptions. I'm sure you know the kind. In any case, the tempo in DT's music is just about average, all the way through. The "virtuosity" you keep hearing about, will only shine through some of those 30 sec to sometimes 2 min of of solos per song, so it can't really ruin anything for you. The solos aren't really the highlight of DT anyway, through they're well recognized for their style (unison solos, etc). In any case, you'll probably know why people make a big deal out of it when you hear it.

The few tracks I especially like are "Under A Glass Moon", my favorite and still blows me away, and "Take The Time", "Metropolis PT:1" (which has some of those "legendary" solos DT fans will mention), "Wait For Sleep". Hm, those few are actually most of the album lol... there aren't that many songs, but they're lengthy.

Give it a shot.

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Send comments to mr_freeze338 (BETA) | Report this review (#51311)
Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Images and Words is a very good album, though slightly overrated. Not because of the fact that everyone thinks it's awesome, but more because of the fact that so many people think this is Dream Theater's best album. In my opinion, Awake, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Octavarium and especially Scenes From A Memory are better than Images and Words. The album itself is quite wonderful. It has a comfortable sphere and sounds often very dreamy. There are many different styles in the songs, which is always a good point. John Petrucci is amazing on this album, just like Kevin Moore, John Myung and Mike Portnoy. The voice of James LaBrie however is not really good. It isn't weird that the strong points of this album are the instrumental parts (like in Metropolis Pt 1 or Learning to Live). Now to the songs:

1 Pull me Under - 9.5/10 - Very good opener. There is much variety here and the riffs are awesome, not to mention the opening and the guitar/keyboard parts.

2 Another Day - 6/10 - Overrated song. Just a standard pop-ballad and I can't see why many people think it is so special.

3 Take The Time - 7/10 - Again an (slightly) overrated song...It sounds nice, but everytime I listened it I can remember only half of it. There is an awesome solo at the ending though.

4 Surrounded - 9.5/10 - Beautiful ballad. It begins with an attractive, quiet beginning and than it becomes very swinging. The solo always sounds very strange, but also very cool.

5 Metropolis Pt 1 - 10/10 - The predecessor of the best album of all time. It starts off as a quite normal song with a good, heavy guitar riff and good vocals of LaBrie. In the middle, one of the most memorable instrumental parts of Dream Theater starts, which is impossible to describe. Then the song becomes 'normal' again.

6 Under A Glass Moon - 8/10 - Good song, sounds very dreamy in my opinion. Many people say that it contains the best solo of Petrucci. It is indeed a wonderful solo, although there are better solo's of him

7 Wait For Sleep - 9/10 - Beautiful ballad before a great song. The piano parts of Kevin Moore always give me the creeps...Bravo Kevin!

8 Learning to Live - 10/10 - One of my favorite DT songs of all time. The variety and especially the instrumental parts make this song worth listening over and over and over....

All by all, Images and Words is (for most part) a beautiful album, but not the best of DT. Therefore I give it 4,5 stars (if it didn't contain Another Day and Take The Time it would have got 5 stars)

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Send comments to Kasper (BETA) | Report this review (#52036)
Posted Sunday, October 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first DT album to feature James LaBrie and in my opinion still their best (haven't heard Octavarium yet). Although Petrucci and Portnoy's playing is superb, it is the influence of keyboardist Kevin Moore that really elevates this disc. He alone is responsible for the symphonic feel of the songs. Although their later style is Prog Metal I would suggest that this album is more Progressive rock.

There is some great keyboard/guitar interplay on several tracks. The doom laden Metropolis and the thoughtful Learning to Live are my personal favourites but there are no weak tracks.

One of the landmark prog albums of the 90s and definitely worth 5 stars.

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Send comments to jimpetrie2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#53492)
Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
kurzweil_2600
5 stars just wanna say that, this album mite be the best DT's album ever. Their skills mite be less developed compared with their new albums though. but, as ive said before this album is -in simple way- amazing, this album was wonderfully created not only by their skills, but also with emotions. first, its power is in the lyrics. second, it has very dynamic melodies and structures that wont make you numb minded n bored. well.. lets wait for the next album.. hope therell be one which is better than this. youre not a truly DT fan if you havent heard this album ^^V

najeep, Indonesia

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#54817)
Posted Saturday, November 05, 2005 | Review Permalink
tire_smoke600
3 stars There is something about Dream Theater's Major label debut that keeps me from reccomending it to newer fans. I'm not sure what it is, pehaps it's Mike Portnoy's Triggered snare drum, perhaps it's James Labrie's vocals, perhaps it's just too shiny and polished (read: 80's sounding) compared with the rest of their catalogue.

DT's Images and Words album is an interesting mix of great songs, even greater musicianship and very forgettable radio friendly drivel. This isn't to say it has no redeeming qualities, Pull me Under, Another Day, and Metropolis are all fantastic songs and are with the price of the CD. The Album fall short however when it comes to the other songs. I'm guessing that DT was still finding their sound when they released this, as the following album bears little resemblence to Images and Words.

Pull me Under: It's starts off with a very typical 80's sounding chorused guitar, and equally 80's sounding keyboard melody, but it actually quite a strong song, and it's easy to see why I got alot of airplay all those years ago. There's some really hot guitar on this track, well done guys.

Another Day: A pretty mellow "power ballad" type song, but with some beautiful sax playing that at first seem kind of left field for a band like this, but it soon becomes apparent how well it works in the context of the song. Very thoughtful meaninful lyrics as well, as it deals with the John Petrucci's father's battle with cancer.

Metropolis Pt.1: A shadow of things to come, a very "proggy" track, with some great instrumental passages, this has become something of a fan favourite at concerts. John Myung has a great, though short bass solo spot in the middle, great track and a real foreshadowing of where the band was going.

You can really just forget the rest of this album, I just can't "get into" any of the other songs on it.

Production wise the album sounds not too bad, remember, this is 1992 and producers are still obsessed with the triggered snare drum and 80's hair metal, so the album sounds kind of like it's from that era. The album does lose points for some really, really, REALLY annoying keyboard sounds in places, but it is easily ignored.

While in this review I haven't really delved into the songs too deeply, I can only reccomend it to fans that perhaps already have the Awake/Falling into Infinity albums and enjoy them. If you are strictly a "new" DT fan and have a deep love of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence or Train of Thought, stay far away.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#55400)
Posted Tuesday, November 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Being a Dream Theater fan, I must say this is their best record. James LaBrie with his stunning vocals (they definitely got worse with time) gets you all the time. John Myung executes awesome solos and John Petrucci is as good as always. Moore came in with some superb lyrics and music in this album. What would this album be without the over-taleneted drummer Mike Portnoy? Nothing. He performs with excellence every beat of this album.

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Send comments to DT_bast (BETA) | Report this review (#62408)
Posted Friday, December 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I got into Dream Theater when a friend gave me "Live at the Marquee", an excellent live DT album. When I listened the opening track "metropolis part1" I said "This band progs really well!!! Fantastic!!!" So I bought "Images and words". This is a masterprice of progressive metal and the best Dream Theater album. I say this after having all their studio records. After two years I can't stop listening to it, it's addictive!! This album has the quiet and heavy moments. The album starts with "Pull me under", a typical progressive metal track and the heaviest song of the record, but it repeats too much the main riff si I give it 8.5/10. "Another day" is the ballad that has a beautiful solo sax that goes very well with the song. The singing of James Labrie is excellent on this song 9/10. The following track "Take the time" is a very prog track with fantastic keyboards by Kevin Moore. Excellent Petrucci's guitar solo at the end of the song. When DT plays this song live they do it much longer with an improvisation at the end 10/10. "Surrounded" is the more listeneable song. It has great vocals 9/10. And... "Metropolis part 1: The miracle and the Sleeper" What can I say? The BEST Dream Theater song and the best prog metal song ever!!!. It has a lot of tempo changes, excellent solos (including a fast bass solo), great vocals, heavy and soft moments, everything!! A MASTERPRICE: 10/10!! "Under a glass moon" is a good song with a power metal chorus and excellent guitar solo 9.5/10. "Wait for sleep" a beautiful short song with fresh piano 9/10. The last song "Learning to live" is an excellent super-prog song that opens like a medieval song it has many tempo changes in the instrumental part and a kind of flamenco in the middle. If you haven't got into DT you should start with this excellent album to listen to it once and again, and again... !!! A MASTERPRICE!!

PD: My english is poor. Sorry.

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Send comments to Martín (BETA) | Report this review (#63492)
Posted Friday, January 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
salvation_211
5 stars i believe thet is is one of the best records ever.also this is the record the record that completely changed prog metal back in 1993.it includes evrything you want to hear from an album.great melodies,great players good production...etc.it changed my life 3 or 4 years ago

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#65551)
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
theater66@hot
5 stars When i heard Pull me under in 92 i just went to the record shop and bought there debut and Images and words, this album was so good that it became my favourite album of all time and still is, everything about it from the beatiful music to the excellent vocals touched me like no other album id ever heard before. For me i love every second thats on this album but my favourite 3 songs are Pull me under, Metropolis and Learning to live which i would put as my 2nd favourite song of all time just behind Transatlantic's Stranger in your soul. Little did i know that this band would not only become my favourite band but pratically everything ive bought since 92 would be prog/metal, no other band do i consider to be GREAT other than Dream Theater. Whenever i introduce DT to new friends this is the album i lend and im pleased to say that the responce is always positive, one friend after listening to this album went out and bought everything they had done at that time, that really feels good when something like that happens.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#66546)
Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Progmetalheads ,here is the album you have been waiting for "Images and Words" and is the best Dream Theatre album I have ever heard!!

A mix of smooth music, fast aggressive metal sounds and progressive sounds!!!(a fusion of many styles included here!!!), and the album is well crafted!! A important contributer to prog metal, full of complexity and darn good musicians!!

They are major pioneers of Progressive Metaland helped to make Prog lovable again,has brought a new generation of Proggers into the scene, and Images and Words has great fast and melodic composions!!

100% RECOMMENDED!!

Images and Words include the following tracks: "Pull Me Under" resembles Metallica and many 70s Symphonic bands, a great opener and one of my favourites, with some excellent riffs and a true progressive track 5/5!!!

"Another Day" is a ballard and is not a prog song at all, just an awful ballad like if they are trying to sell out, saxophone is also a poor inclusion, not very metal and is a poor quality musicianship from a band that didn't need to go so low for this!! sorry but I can't give it more than 0/5 really poor!!.

"Take the Time" has keyboards as an intro and has a nice landscape to them, and has some top cracker riffs, powerful drumming is nice, the keyboard solos are rubbish and a guitar solo would have been more sophisticated, riffs starts again and more into the song is more solos and a sudden piano play kicks in with the guitar, the finisher kicks in with a cool fast power melodic riff that is the song closer, a reasonably 4/5!!!.

"Surrounded" is a ballad with poor guitar riffs and the weakest track on this album, 1/5!!!.

"Metropolis - Part I", is Metallica influenced and if I recall has an extract from "And Justice for All" a Metallica album from the late 1980s,the riffs are more simlified this time with some lush metal riffs (which is fair enough by me!!), a more simple metal banger with little Prog in it but as a true metalhead I have no problem with this!!, another favourite of mine, won't appeal to all proggers, but a real metal track that has to be turned up 5/5!!

"Under a Glass Moon" is bobarded with loads of keyboards and many Metallica influenced eleements in this track, again as pointed out more basic rock music with little progression, they try to hard here to progress,but not a favourite of mine, a fairly average track that scores a modest 3/5!!!

"Wait for sleep" the keyboards open up the track and those keyboards are the piano and the synthesisers with another ballad (what is it with these ballads!!) at least this track is progressive, but not a headbanger, with a band of this standard you want metal music and just special prog metal, nevermaind a modest 3/5!!!

"Learning to Live" is a different story, with more oomph compared to the previous track, a riff kicks in agin the riffs are Metallica influenced and have been extracted from "Ride the Lightning" and "Justice", the drumming is a bit retro in perspective, and another riff kicks in (and you guessed Metallica influenced!!!), but a change does arise in the few minutes into the song with keyboard badly sounded, guitaring is good as Petrucci always puts on a good performance, and in all another favourite of mine 5/5.

Dream Theater are heavily influnced by Metallica another favourite metal band of mine, influences are definetaly from "Justice For All", "Master of Puppets" and "Ride the Lightning" all Metallica's classic Progressive Metal albums that must be heard (this is where you hear Dream Theatre's blueprint sound!!!).

I think this is their best album of all time but could have been better, those ballads let it down though!!, and I strongly recommend it!!, this is a big step foward from the original Prog Rock, but that's before my time and does not appeal to me that much, gimme modern PROG metal anyday!!! 100% recommend = 10 / 10 (but could be better)!!

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Send comments to craig4 (BETA) | Report this review (#66697)
Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars There's time when this album was the only album what I listened. But then i got enough of it. I simply listened it too much. But I am still think that this is little bit overrated album. This is good album, but not essential.

I LIKE: the accuracy of playing, keyboard working, theme I DON'T LIKE: Sounds, (specially drum sounds), affected parts, LaBrie's voice

Songs I like: Under a Glass Moon (the guitar solo is wonderful!!!), Wait For Sleep (Unbelievable composing by Moore)

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Send comments to Toomio (BETA) | Report this review (#66732)
Posted Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars my favorite dream theater album. i have "Awake," and in my opinion, Images and Words destroys it. i dont own M Pt 2 , but all i know is this album is a masterpiece.

there are so many memorable melodies, lyrics, and breakdowns on this cd its ridiculous. the complexities of the solos and progressive time signatures are flawlessly performed with EMOTION and STYLE. Labrie is flawless, and Portnoys drumming really brings strength to the music. The keyboard playing is also incredible(see take the time solo). of course Petrucci is at the top of his game in songwriting and soloing. john myung is quietly playing some wicked bass on this album as well.

standout tracks include:

Pull Me Under (very catchy) Another Day (great sax solo!) Take the Time (great keyboard/guitar battle) Metropolis Pt 1 (unbelievable break down/solo part in this one!) Under a Glass Moon* Learning to Live (nice piano textures)

* the solo in under a glass moon is recognized as one of the best ever

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Send comments to Blind Camel (BETA) | Report this review (#69632)
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars At first i was afraid to get some of DREAM THEATER'S earlier albums because i loved TOT, SIX DEGREES, and CHANGE OF SEASONS. But i decided to get it when my friends told me how awesome it was. They were right this is probably Dream Theater's best ever as IMAGES AND WORDS totally gives out a great blend of many musical influences Dream Theater has come to know and love. To me its a mix of RUSH meets MEtALLICA as you got the great 80's sound of Rush mix with awesome old school metallica metal. It first starts out with PULL ME UNDER which is one of the DT most famous songs worldwide as you feel a huge Metallica influence here it kinda reminds me of a proggy version of SANITARIUM (WELCOME HOME) from the beginning riff but anyway this song is awesome. Then comes a very great DT version of a power ballad called ANOTHER DAY which at first didn't appeal to me but its really not bad. Very great lyrics putting out about JP's dad suffereing through cancer. Then comes one of my favorite DT songs TAKE THE TIME. ILOVE THIS SONG its a great blend of the 80's sound with great prog metal and freakin funk for crying out loud now that's prog plus i love the way the chorus is done with the backup vocals plus james labrie sings really high on some parts of the song. SURROUNDED is another track i had to get used to but now its very catchy. This song to me sounds like a song you could hear on RUSH'S SIGNALS CD but its a little bit heavy for that. NEXT SONG is METROPOLIS PT. 1: THE MIRACLE AND SLEEPER another one of my favorites and another very popular DT song around the world. This song right here is just pure Dream Theater as they bring out all the stops with great drum playing, awesome vocals, great keyboard/guitar teamwork, and of course the legendary bass solo that fans go nuts for at every concert when these rockers play this song. UNDER A GLASS MOON man i didn't know what i was expecting out of this song GAH THIS SONG IS AWESOME so freaking heavy and i love when mike and john M. do that cool rhythm together gah its so tight i really love the guitar and keyboard solo GREAT SONG. Next is WAIT FOR SLEEP which is really cool piano/vocal segue to DT's first 10+ epic LEARNING TO LIVE. This song definitely has a great deal of musicianship playing almost the whole thing is like 15/8 to 6/8 whatever they wanna do plus my favorite section is that cool mellow part kinda like PINK FLOYD with a little bit of latin. Anyway this CD deserves to be in every prog collection so if you don't have it you don't know what your missing. 5 STARS!!!!!!

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Send comments to Progdrummer05 (BETA) | Report this review (#71389)
Posted Tuesday, March 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
belz
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 2.3/5.0

I have trouble reading all the reviews on this album. I just don't see how this could even be close to a masterpiece. This is unimaginative music with poor keyboards and an uninviting voice. Sure, those guys have talent, and they know how to play guitar and if you enjoy some good fast-headbanging riffs there are some, but there is absolutely no emotion there, not anything worth listening closely to or enjoying again and again. There are some real prog-metal groups out there which involves much more passion/emotion and are not trying to impress too much with an overwhelming technique (sometimes too much is worse than not enough).

I should probably give 1 star, but I chose to give 2 stars by respect to all those who believe this is great. I don't agree with you guys and this should be a "Collectors/fans only" album.

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Send comments to belz (BETA) | Report this review (#72161)
Posted Friday, March 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dream Theater's sophomore effort is something of a mixed bag for me. There are some definite progressive moments on the album and some overrused power metal phrases and fringes throughout. The band hit the big time with this album, mainly based on the strength of their breakthrough single for Pull Me Under. This is also the album that introduced the world to James LaBrie, and his definite metal influences come full circle with some quite honestly cheesy vocals (though some are quite nice). Petrucci's guitar stylings are at his most metal and blend many styles from melodic to shred and even some Alex Lifeson type chorused sounds. Mike Portnoy plays some nice drums (although the sequenced bass drum and snare sounds can get very annoying fast), John Myung has some wonderful bass parts (Metropolis comes to mind), and finally Kevin Moore gives some nice keyboard performances and really uses the keys to his advantage giving some very mellow and atmospheric performances.

The album opens with Pull Me Under, the song that gives them the "One Hit Wonder" title and has been played on essentially every tour since it's inception. The opening progression has some nice chorus effects to it and the song has some nice keyboard frills during the pre-verses. The riffing during the verses is unique and shows that Dream Theater liked to experiment with unique chordal progressions. The solo on this song (now augmented with some nasty wah guitar) is one of Petrucci's best. Another Day has cheese written all over it. One of the most overblown and overdone DT songs to date, it comes complete with some nice but clichéd saxophone fills. Take The Time is one of the stronger songs on the album, and the opening progression is easily one of the most complex things Dream Theater has done. My only complaint is that the verses are a little too ill-fitting for a metal song, and the background vocals in the chorus are overdone. It has some superb guitar work from Petrucci and keyboard work from Moore.

Surrounded is a Kevin Moore led ballad, and one of the weaker tracks on the album. A bland riff and some mediocre percussion are on this song, and I'm not too impressed with Petrucci's approach to this one. Metropolis Pt. 1 is one of the most popular Dream Theater songs ever created (and it even gave birth to a whole album, to boot) and rightly so. Strong riffs and rhythmic approaches give the song it's flare, but the instrumental section in the middle of the song is just utterly superb, with a mind bending tap bass solo from Myung and some supreme unison work between Petrucci and Moore. Under a Glass Moon is a typical metal affair and not a favorite of mine. I like the guitar work, though, the solo Petrucci unleashes is a powerful piece of work and remains one of my favorite solos, though.

The finale to the album, the duo Wait For Sleep/Learning to Live, is one of the strongest pieces Dream Theater has written. Wait for Sleep is a piano/vocal duet and Moore really shines on this track, showing why he's one of the better keyboardists in rock. Learning to Live is one of Dream Theater's more rhythmically challenging pieces, with some nice use of the complex signature of 13/8. Petrucci is a powerhouse on this track, pulling out all the stops with his guitar. Myung really shines on this track with some nice lyrics and bass work, and LaBrie gives one of his all time best vocal performances overall.

In the end, this is a good album marred by a few flaws. First, the drum sound is totally awful (mainly because of the sequenced bass and snare) despite the great performances, and the album has a totally over the top feel to it, as if they wanted to make it as Progressive as possible. However, despite these faults, there are some wonderfully crafted songs here that everyone can enjoy. I give it a 3.5/5.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#73350)
Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars An amazing album. One of my favorites and one of the best Prog Metal CDs ever recorded.

-Pull Me Under: Great, Shakespeare-influenced lyrics accompanied by some dynamic guitar work by John Petrucci, a constantly moving bass-line and aweosme keyboard and drum work.

-Another Day: A well-written ballad featuring some very fitting saxophone playing.

-Take the Time: Very epic & moving. One of DT's 'signature' songs. The lyrics were written by everyone in the band and therefore, the song is very dynamic. From start to finish, a perfect song.

-Surrounded: Great guitar solo. Excellently written.

-Metropolis, Pt.1: The Miracle and the Sleeper: Another one of DT's 'signature' songs. Epic and complex, this song isevokes images reminiscent of stories like the Iliad & the Oddyssey. Great song.

-Under a Glass Moon: A favorite among DT fans (actually, nearly every song on this album is a favorite among DT fans). UAGM has a distinctly Prog feel to it, much like Metropolis, TTT & LTL off of this album. The Guitar solo is incredible.

-Wait for Sleep: A well-written segue into LTL. Fulfills is purpose and then some.

-Learning to Live: Epic, moving and dynamic, this song was written about the AIDs virus by - I believe - John Myung and goes through so many stages that it's on par with just about any epic written by any band, even though at 11:30, it's still shorter than most epics. A perfect song and a perfect ending to this amazing album.

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Send comments to Fuzz (BETA) | Report this review (#73972)
Posted Monday, April 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars I may be little old and conservative, but I don't see anything innovative, original, groundbreaking, emotional, thought-provoking or progressive in this album, which seems to be higly regarded by fans. What I can hear, and believe me I heard a bunch of good and different types of rock music in the previous 25+ years, is a dull, uninspired play with quite horrible vocals. Imagine the worst of METALLICA joined with the worst of neo-prog! This is not even "metal", much less "progressive". The guys are clearly capable of playing instruments, alas playing instruments is not necessarily contributing to the art of music. If you want to hear real "progressiveness" of the heavy metal rock, go grab BLACK SABBATH or BLUE OYSTER CULT from the early 1970s! Comparing to them, DT sounds like a Xmas carol. 1,5 stars!

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#73980)
Posted Monday, April 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Images & Words, Dream Theater's 2nd official release, is just as overrated as the musicians. Of course I'm not talking of Kevin Moore, he's a great pianist and composer and what a shame that he left after Awake. I also like Derek Sherinian, but he didn't fit and Jordan Rudess . just like the others too technical and without seeing the essence, as Moore did, so Kevin Moore definitely was the best keyboarder DT ever had. The other musicians are just, as I said, overrated, especially John Petrucci. He, like all the others, is awesome technically, but through his clean and his dreary sound his playing comes across very dry and boring. Furthermore he doesn't seem to be able to play a good fast solo. Either it's totally unmelodic or there's missing a real thread. E.g. "Under a Glass Moon": The solo doesn't have this thread to unite all the segments played, which are alone simply insipidly and "nothing", I really can't understand why so many people like it and why it is in the "TOP 100 Guitar Solos - Chart". Nevertheless, when he slows down it's rather fine, although it doesn't sound great.

Same with Portnoy. Mike Portnoy is a very gifted drummer, but kind of overlooks the fact that not the mass of notes/ drum utensils counts but rather the lick itself. And I think partly, e.g. in "Under a Glass Moon" his drums are simply too bombastic and are too much in the Power Metal vein. John Myung is also a technical virtuoso and has some good licks here, but nothing really amazing and his bass interludes in "Learning to live" and "Metropolis I." just suck, in my opinion. James LaBrie is one of the most terrible singers I can think of, although it's on this album a bit better than later on the future releases. His vocals are much too high pitched and his pseudo- emotional is rather annoying.

The music itself includes some good stuff as well as some boring pieces. And most of the tracks are not even prog. "Another Day", "Surrounded", "Wait for Sleep" are nice tracks with some wonderful melodies but no way progressive and also "Under a Glass Moon" contains some pop-elements. The best track on the album are, in my opinion, "Pull me under", one of DT's best. It is really a nice track and I thought the intro was quite original until I heard almost the same thing from Metallica. The rest isn't that original as well, but nice melodically and atmospherically with a really nice riff in between. Some people might think "Metropolis I" is the absolute highlight on this disc but I don't think so. The intro promises something really good and is not bad, but the rest isn't as good as expected. The vocal parts are totally destroyed by LaBrie's voice and the instrumental passages are by no means awesome, but rather a virtuosic debauch to proof that they can play there instruments, stringing together any parts, instead of doing something really stunning. The same fits for "Take the time". The longest track "Learning to live" is a bit better, although I don't like Petrucci's riff-work and LaBrie's slimy vocals. The guitar solo is another one out of the "TOP 100 Guitar Solos - Chart", this time better but also not legitimate. It sounds ok but isn't anything special. There are so many solos that are more diverse and more profound.

Dream Theater are always described as such an original band, but I can't agree with that. Just take a bit Pop of the momentary time, mix it with Metallica and any Melodic Metal Group (your choice - maybe Iron Maiden) and flavour it with Yes and Dream Theater are done. And when you write an album than, don't forget to take any licks and mix it up to any instrumental passage. Images & Words is definitely not a masterpiece and Dream Theater are not the Prog- Metal gods and not as awesome as people say.

!Buying at your own risk!

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Send comments to W.Chuck (BETA) | Report this review (#74947)
Posted Friday, April 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I remember buying this cassette (yes, cassettes were still around in 1992 and I bought them) not knowing who they were. A salesmen asked me if I like Rock and Metal. I said sure and he was obviously trying to sell me the new DT cassette. He told me that they were good and I should give it a shot. I took his word for it and couldn't wait to pop it in when I got home. I'm sorry, but I didn't have a cassette deck in my car. I was too broke.

When I heard it, I was simply in awe. This is where I truly discovered the Progressive movement. I know that it traces back to the 60's and 70's with the likes of KING CRIMSON and YES to name but a few. I began to understand this movement and this band was eager to bring it back to the forefront and show people what true musicianship was. "Pull Me Under" was hard, heavy and technical and this is where we got to hear James LaBrie for the first time after the departure of Charlie Dominici left after "When Dream And Day Unite". Just on this first track, I was blown away by Mike's ultra tight and complicated drum techniques and John's shredding of the guitar along with the whirlwind keyboard playing by Kevin Moore. Don't worry Myung, I will get to you soon enough.

I couldn't believe that a major record label had the balls to put out something like this. I didn't see any videos on MTV or hear anything from them on the radio. I just discovered gold here. "Another Day" is a nice ballad that mixes technical and soft along with some killer saxophone playing that makes this song an enjoyable experience. The pace picks right back up with "Take The Time" with its groovy bass lines by Mr. Myung and still was a real heavy hitter. I think that "Surrounded" could have been left off the CD. It was way too wimpy for my tastes.

Now, we get to the meat and potatoes here. "Metropolis Part 1" was a superbly composed and complex song. They throw in everything here in 9 minutes. The song was a sheer masterpiece and remains one of my favourites on this CD. John's bass solo toward the end here just made me drool to the point where I was drowning in it. The coup de grace comes in the form of "Learning To Live" which is a great way to end the CD. The lyrics are poetry in motion and music is very passionate and compelling.

This disc really flies by without you knowing it. It's entertaining and entrancing at the same time. This was the album that was getting people to realize who they are and that they are going to bring back the Prog movement at any cost.

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Send comments to fratelmaestro (BETA) | Report this review (#74991)
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars OCTAVARIUM turned my head. AWAKE made me nod my head. TRAIN OF THOUGHT made me bang my head. FALLING INTO INFINITY gave me a headache.

So; what of IMAGES AND WORDS?

Well, fantastic production, for one. Each instrument, even the bass (notoriously hard to hear if you play in a metal band) is audible. Wonderful! Portnoy doesn't sound like he's bashing on a hubcap, like he does on "AWAKE" or "OCTAVARIUM". Even in the maelstrom that is Petrucci's frantic guitar playing, I can hear the rhythm section of Myung and Portnoy. After hearing the disc for the first time, I sank to my knees and thanked the hard rock gods for bestowing such a great CD on me. AND it's only their 2nd release!

What was I hearing? Well, let's go song by song.

PULL ME UNDER starts out with an awesome clean guitar intro, followed by an evil- sounding synth. Portnoy, then Myung follow, and we're off to the races. I even like LaBrie here. In fact, I LOVE him here! Petrucci's solo is pretty cool too. My problem with this track? It cuts out too soon and too suddenly.

ANOTHER DAY sounds like a classic 80's power ballad. And I found myself going through the different hair metal ballads I'm so fond of. Motley Crue? Poison? Warrant? Nevertheless, still a well-done song. I like how the lead vocal is mixed up-front; doing such lends the music a bit of a more commerical vibe. The sax is nice too; in fact, I actually wish that the sax would've done the instrumental break; not Petrucci. But his solo track is highly emotional, which is what drew me to it. And LaBrie? HOLY...!!!!! I recall part of INNOCENCE FADED, from "AWAKE" which does the same thing to me. At about 2:19 (They took pictures of your dreams...) he goes up into his voice, and when he says "Whoaaaaa...", I cried. It was-in a word-poignant. And that last chorus is even more emotional! Hard to believe, but it is. The sax gives things an even more melodic overtone; kinda sounds like Kenny G., one of my fave sax players.

TAKE THE TIME is the real reason I bought the CD in the first place. I love the whirling synth in the intro, then the guitar and drums in tandem with each other. When Portnoy starts to rock, I'm left drooling. Moore plays what could be called a solo, as does Myung. Really cool! The first verse just RAWKS, with LaBrie once again going up into that register he's so fond of and doing that creepy whole-tone-neck-hair thing he does so well. Whew. I'm left rubbing the back of my neck and wondering what the hell just happened.

SURROUNDED features a very understated LaBrie vocal and some flawless piano playing, and I gotta start singing along with the music whenever I hear it. It starts to pick up speed a bit, before going into something of a rocker right around the 1:49 mark. I like Portnoy's drumming here: he goes out on the ledge a bit, yet manages to pull himself back and hop into the groove; he does it WELL. I can't help but sing along to this one; so much subdued energy, so much melody, and so DAMN much groove! And Petrucci? Yikes! His solo is some of the fastest playing I've ever heard, without resorting to the type of bloated, pretentious 245-note-per-second techno-shredding that some steakheads quiver for.

What's next? METROPOLIS Pt. 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper: Simply a great song, with an intro that I REALLY bang my head to. Moore jams out righteously, as does Petrucci; and I can't understand the rhythm Petrucci's playing. It sounds staccato, clipped. It just makes me wanna learn it. LaBrie's done a nice job here, singing cleanly and emotionally, even in his higher registers. And these are some pretty high registers. Let's face it, people. LaBrie is a vocal genius, and if he's not known for any of his other work (I'm thinking solo discs, Ayreon's albums or his MullMuzzler output), this is the stuff we should know him by.

UNDER A GLASS MOON is another great song. It really makes me want to cry when LaBrie sings "Taste the memories running from my eyes." He sings so well, and seems to comfortably fit in with Portnoy's machine-gun drumming. The only other problem I have with the disc lies in this song here. A certain drum sequence sounds a bit like the drums from the Miami Vice theme; that "rat-a-tat-tat" snare got a bit on my nerves. Ah, well.

WAIT FOR SLEEP is a gorgeous Moore ballad. Short, sweet and direct, with no other instruments but LaBrie's vocals (I DO consider vocals to be an instrument) and Moore's pretty piano.

LEARNING TO LIVE is the last song on the disc, and is-to me-the most important track on the disc. Why? Well, not only is it the wrap-up track (I can usually hear lots of elements of other songs in the closing track), but because my favorite DT member wrote the lyrics: Myung. IMO, he's totally unsung. He writes some cool lyrics here, unlike the cerebrality of Petrucci or Moore's (at times) overstated poesy. "Listening to the city; Whispering its violence; I set out watching from above; The 90's bring new questions; New solutions to be found; I fell in love to be let down." Begs the question; what/who did he fall in love with? Following that thread; why doesn't he write MORE lyrics? I dig his writing (I'm probably in the minority here).

In closing, 5 stars. Why? Well, read what I've written, and if you don't believe me, listen to the images and words for yourself. You, too, will be enchanted.

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Send comments to sbrushfan (BETA) | Report this review (#76369)
Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first encounter with DT! It was through a friend that had seen their video "Pull me Under" on MTV and had bought it. It must have been back in -92. This was something totally new, no one had ever heard of Progressive Metal or things like that. It was the terrible times of Nirvana and grunge. When I first heard this album I was totally blown away, and has been since then. This is one of my to three albums of all times together with "Operation Mindcrime"(Queensryche) and "Ghost Reveries"(Opeth). The last song on the album, the epic "Learning to live" sums up the album perfectly and I hold this for the best DT song ever.

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Send comments to jiel73 (BETA) | Report this review (#76989)
Posted Wednesday, May 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Really, I think Awake is far more developed.

Sure, this album was only their second, but many of the elements found here are sharpened and perfected on later releases. The slower songs like "Another Day" seem pretty sappy or even shallow, though "Wait For Sleep" is to a somewhat lesser extent. James LaBrie's voice is often the target of critics of Dream Theater, though to me, this is the only album (of those I've heard at least) in which his vocals truly irritate me. Whenever LaBrie tries to pull off the really high notes, it aggravates me to no end... "Pull Me Under" is actually the only song where I don't mind his singing, and it happens to be my favorite song on here.

"Under A Glass Moon" and "Learning To Live" also have their moments, but the album in general feels pretty uninspired, much of it sounding like under-developed material from Awake. Even though this came before that album, the material on Awake is superior in arrangement, energy, and overall depth. I would recommend getting that before Images and Words, but tastes differ; someone may think the same of Dream Theater's third album as I think of their second. If you like this, that's just fine... but I just don't get all the hype.

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Send comments to _sam_ (BETA) | Report this review (#77356)
Posted Saturday, May 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'Images and Words' is arguably one of Dream Theater's greatest work of that decade. The album displays the aptitude of each of the band's musicians and features some excellent, even outstanding compositions.

The opener (and among the excellent) is 'Pull Me Under'. The arrangement of the piece is very effective. The introduction builds up to the entrance of La Brie's vocals, a gradual crescendo exploding into the primary lyrical figure. A scene is described to us which is enacted and animated fully by the accompaniment; "Lost in the sky Clouds roll by and I roll with them Arrows fly Seas increase and then fall again" Exhilaratingly powerful, one really feels the clouds roll across the sky and the turbulent rhythmic force of the sea (attribute the latter to Portnoy, who's work on this track astounds not only technically, but by its sheer drive.) In short, an impressive piece of music.

The same cannot be said of 'Another Day', which sees La Brie assume his typically pseudo emotional singing style to create the finish on top of a somewhat flimsy arrangement. Keyboards sound cheap and the song is only partly remarkable for some pleasant saxophone and a Petrucci guitar solo. 'Take the Time' does for redemption, a very positive and uplifting effort. The introduction is very tight and pleasantly atmospheric. A rousing chorus with 6/8 double bass pedal triplets ups the ante, and the song later features a fine keyboard solo. A reflection on life, 'Take the Time' is as a pleasant taster, heralding the tour-de-force 'Learning to Live' - Myung's own reflections, which later conclude 'Images and Words'.

'Surrounded' is utterly abysmal and unworthy of comment, so we will focus instead on the outstanding 'Metropolis - Part 1 "The Miracle and the Sleeper"' which is for me the highlight of 'Images and Words'. The introduction develops into an impressive instrumental passage, and when the lyrics make their entrance, they actually add something to the song - La Brie having moved away from the turgid singing style he embraces for the previous three songs. There's some well crafted tapping emmbedded in the accompaniement from Petrucci at one stage, before we descend into an astounding instrumental section. This takes us onto the pinnacle of the piece, a great tapping figure on six string bass followed by a blistering keyboard-guitar unison duet. A final lyrical passage takes us to the end of Metropolis, this work indisputably a masterpiece.

'Under a Glass Moon' continues in similar vein to Metropolis, another well crafted compositional masterpiece. Portnoy's rhythmic cross rhythms are distinctive and a pleasure to listen to, and La Brie's singing is again enjoyable. There's an impressive extended guitar solo near the end of the arrangement, the emphasis of the work as a whole again placed firmly on musicianship. 'Wait for Sleep' is a song that does not appeal to me personally, being in its entirety too melancholic for pleasurable listening. 'Learning to Live' is the final song on the album, another large scale composition conveying much variety of musical material. It's pleasantly prog, another fine (sometimes beautiful) display of DT. Of particular note are the frequent keyboard riffs, long tom runs from Portnoy and a beautiful classical guitar figure towards the middle of the song, in addition to the customary Petrucci guitar solo. The lyrics form a strong element to this particular experiance, embodying some of the wisdom Myung himself has glissed from - well, "learning to live". I would recommend everyone listens to the this and the previous two masterworks as they embody the best elements of Dream Theater.

'Images and Words' is in part a masterpiece, in part an abomination, being spoiled by certain disappointing songs and the vocal style employed by La Brie during some of the album. The musicianship is outstanding however, and some of the arrangements and material on this album is so good as to be unmissable to the fan of progressive metal. I rate the album four stars.

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Send comments to Ktrout (BETA) | Report this review (#77942)
Posted Friday, May 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
imoeng
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Images and Words

Images and Words is Dream Theater second album which released in 1992. This album was the very first album that introduce progressive metal style to the whole world at that era, although I was only two years old when it was released : ) . So anyway, its also the first progressive metal album for me and this album has turn me into progressive style, especially progressive metal. So I would not consider that this is a great album if it didn't turn me into progressive style.

Images and Words is quite different with When Dream And Day Unite album, in terms of musical composition and musical style. I think this was probably because of the appearance of James LaBrie in Dream Theater. Moreover, every time I listen and look back into When Dream And Day Unite, the songs are more into real pure progressive, different with the songs in Images and Words which contain more progressive metal.

So let's take a look closely at each song.

Pull Me Under This song is probably the song which breaks the door open to the world of progressive metal. The coolest part of the song is the guitar - keyboard licks throughout the song, and combined with amazing Portnoy's drum section. Notice how the song ends, they just cut it out in sudden which I found very rare in every other songs, but that is progressive, breaking all the rules.

Another Day After a metal song, Images And Words presents a 80s ballad song, which has normal song configuration (verse pre-chorus verse pre-chorus chorus solo pre-chorus). The "words" or a lyric was made by John Petrucci, and it has his typical, beautiful words and deep meaning. Although this song is not as progressive metal as other song, I still admire it as one of the best songs. And one more time, although the whole song is somewhat cannot defined as 100% progressive metal, they still add some progressive elements, through John Petrucci's amazing and beautiful guitar solo.

Take The Time Another rock-metal song from Images And Words, but its heavier than Pull Me Under, just by looking at the drum and guitar section in the beginning of the song. Notice that the time signature changes throughout the song, simply great and is the characteristic of progressive music.

Surrounded I will keep saying this in every review I make, Dream Theater is considered as a progressive metal band, but within that concept, they can make any style of songs with addition of some progressive elements. This concept was poured in Surrounded, which is not very progressive but still has some progressive elements in it. It represented in the guitar and keyboard riff in the song, which is not conventional.

Metropolis Pt.1 (The Miracle And The Sleeper) This is probably the best song of all time by Dream Theater, simply amazing and very progressive metal. The beginning of the song is great with heavy guitar and drum section. I would probably divide the song into two in terms of composition. It is true that half of the song consists of lyrics and another half consists of instrumental part. Notice that in the next album, there is an album called Metropolis Pt.2 (Scenes From A Memory). And also notice some words or songs in Scenes From A Memory was said in this song: The Miracle, The Sleeper, The Dance Of Eternity and of course Scenes From A Memory.

Under A Glass Moon Different with above songs, this time, Images And Words presents two metal songs consecutively. The odd time signature is very obvious in this song, which maybe confusing for some people who don't use to listen to progressive metal. On one guitar related website, it is said that Under A Glass Moon's solo is on of the best and most recognizable solo off all time. And it is true, the guitar solo is just great.

Wait For Sleep It is very possible that we cannot hear this song anymore in every Dream Theater concert; it is because the lyric and song was made by Kevin Moore, ex-Dream Theater. The song is just beautiful, simple yet profound, its just keyboard and vocal.

Learning To Live We can know that this is a progressive song by just listen at the beginning of the song, a somewhat strange (positive strange!) keyboard section. The section is then continued with odd time signature of the other instruments. The lyric was made by John Myung and is one of somewhat not to many John Myung's lyric. For me, the best part is the guitar solo.

Well in the end, I give 4.8 (5) stars for this album. The positive side of this album is the breakthrough of progressive metal albums considering not many bands (progressive) offering progressive songs at that time. It is also because the songs are beautiful in terms of musical composition and the lyrics. The downside of this album is James LaBrie sound, which is not very consistent throughout the album, from the song Another Day and Learning To Live, its very different, in spite of the different in musical style of the song itself. Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

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Send comments to imoeng (BETA) | Report this review (#78317)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
sleeper
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.

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Send comments to sleeper (BETA) | Report this review (#78509)
Posted Wednesday, May 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Undoubtedly, for most fans of progressive metal, Images and Words is one of the best progressive metal album ever released. 8 great tracks rolled into one album: It has inspired almost all progressive metal bands based here in my contry (Philippines), and has really done a great thing in my listening and musical taste.

Dream Theater's 2nd album, featuring James La Brie on vocals (replacing Charlie Dominici) Kevin Moore on keys, John Myung on bass, and the dynamic duo of Mike Portnoy (drums) and John Petrucci (guitar). Compared to their last album (When Dream And Day Unite), Images and Words is better lyrically, musically and as one cannot miss: vocally. James is like a breath of fresh air for the band. He has that warm, passionate and wide ranged singing voice which is not hard to miss.

The opening tune Pull Me Under starts off with dreamy guitar bits, heavilly tinged with chorus, coupled with Moore's deep spacey synths then, it kicks off with a heavier metal sound, (This is one of prog metal's most memorable riffs) before James springs into action. Then there's Another Day.Dream Theater's greatest ballad IMO. I can't help but fall in love with the lyrics and the saxophone! Heartfelt lyrics sung by one of metal's greatest singer. We march along with Take The Time. I give Portnoy credit for this great drum pattern. I used to incorporate that style heavilly in most of my drum warm ups, practices and actual performance. Another ballad: Sorrounded wins the "melody ringing in your head" prize. Kevin Moore did a great job on the keys, starting off slow, goes up to speed in the middle parts, then slows down before the closing, bringing back the sound where the song started. I love this song not for the lyrics, but for the melody. Side I finished, side II coming up...

My favorite track on this album: Metropolis Pt. I: The Miracle and The Sleeper. A 9 minute, 32 second epic, which later branched to another album ( Scenes From A Memmory). This is Dream Theater unleashed! If I were to choose a single DT song to describe them, its this track, very easily I'd say. It's been more than 10 years, still, this track never fails to amaze me. You've got to listen to it for you to know! We move forward uncovering what's "Under The Glass Moon". Opens sounding like Count Dracula on the prowl, this track reminds me of Yes' "Owner of A Lonely Heart" drum beat. You know, the drum pattern before James sings: "Tell me remind me...." still a great metal track. Oh and don't forget the killer solos! 2 songs left. As we wait for the grand finale, we are taken to a trance as we "Wait For Sleep", with Moores melodic piano and James' beautifully haunting voice. My favorite prog track under 3 minutes. Have you noticed something? I still havent praised the silent man John Myung. Well this next paragraph is reserved exclusively for him and his magnum opus: "Learning To Live"

How can one describe this magnificent track! Lyrically and musically sound, with that haunting feel that only John Myung has. I've watched this bassist guy playing live on DVD, I couldn't help but be amazed. He's playing that dang 6 string bass like he's playing a violin ( FYI: Myung did not start on bass, his first love was the violin). One of DTs greatest tune written by one of metal's finest bassist.

So, I think I've said enough. A fanboy review??? I dont think so. For my closing remarks: To all you progessive metal fans out there.... Your collection is not complete unless you have this great great album. One of progressive metal progenitors: Dream Theater's "Images And Words". Easily a 5/5.

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Send comments to JayDee (BETA) | Report this review (#79392)
Posted Friday, May 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Maybe you will wonder what is the use writing about an album about which already everything has already been written (more than a few times) on this site. It is plain and simple: for me it is one of the best records of all times (if not the best). If one day the well- known question will be adressed to me : which would be the records you would take with you on that deserted island somewhere in the middle of nowhere, well this would be one of them definitely. It is not by chance that since then every record of the band is being compared to this one.

These few lines should be a thank you to the guys for this ecxellent album.

And it is never too late to listen to it, if you have not heard it yet!!!!

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Send comments to Szöke Jenö (BETA) | Report this review (#81147)
Posted Wednesday, June 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars when prog rock bands of the 70's began to tire their audience cause their inspiration was wearing out or disappoint them cause they were turning into pop rock bands, punk rock came along and finished them off...then came neo prog to put life in this genre until again grudge kicks it back down... first, there was Yes, Rush, KC and so many others, then it was Marillion and IQ that helped prog survive... then came "Nevermind" by Nirvana and everybody started carving the tomb stone of quality music...until 1992...

DT released WDADU and received very good reviews..they were the next promising prog band but that was all...however, things didn't seem very good because lead singer Dominici left the band and they couldn't find a label... then two things happened: James Labrie and WEA.. LaBrie's excellent vocals and I&W fine production were the carpet upon which DT laid 8 tracks that paid respect to 70's prog heritage but also looked forward...they defined next decade's prog and turned the eyes of all the world back to our favourite music and made them dig in the 70' s discography...after all, this is the album that made me listen to prog...

Respect..

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Send comments to toolis (BETA) | Report this review (#81453)
Posted Monday, June 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
AtLossForWords
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Outside of Metropolis Part II: Scenes From a Memory, a listener has to go back in '92 to find Dream Theater's most important album of their careers. By important I don't mean most musically amazing, but most important to the development of their careers, and more importantly their genre.

Back in '92 Dream Theater was having some difficulty acquiring all of the proper elements for the band, vocals being the most difficult. Dream Theater's two previous vocalists Cris Collins and Charlie Dominici not only failed to provide the proper vocal element for the band, but also failed to enjoy the music they were making in Dream Theater. The search for the right voice eventually became so difficult, drummer Mike Portnoy was planning to keep the band as an instrumental project which was favorable to the band's latest matierial now popularly know as Metropolis Part I: The Miracle and the Sleeper.

It wasn't until the band heard a demo from Canada from one of the world's most powerful yet unknown singers that a vocalist was found. James LaBrie a Canadian had the perfect voice for Dream Theater. He came to New York and likely saved the style of the band and helped start a movement and demand for the genre of progressive metal. LaBrie's contribution even changed the then instrumental Metropolis Part I into an almost ten minute epic featuring vocals.

Images and Words later became a gold selling album with vides for "Pull Me Under", "Another Day", and "Take the Time" (which is quite a progressive composition). Such video and sale success is rare for progressive metal bands, something which to this day Dream Theater has not matched. The album also has it's fair share of more progressive matierial in "Learning to Live", one of the most progressive compositions from any progressive metal band, "Metropolis Part I: The Miracle and the Sleeper", and "Under a Glass Moon", which seems have spread into the influence of many progressive metal bands like Symphony X.

James LaBrie of course is the greatest performing contributor on this album. Images and Words is not only one of the best vocal performances from LaBrie, but one of the best in the entire genre. LaBrie's voice is at it's peak. The vocal harmonies are taken many times for a variety of pitches making the vocal chordal harmony as complex as the instrumental chordal harmony. The range and power of LaBrie is unmatched at this time. LaBrie hits a wide range of notes ranging from low to high, just one song "Metropolis Part I" is an excelent testament to LaBrie's great range. The enunciation of the lyrics is perfect, something that can be quite hard to find in progressive metal. LaBrie's performance is top notch, hard to think of one that beats this album.

John Petrucci was not always the shear shred player he has become known as today. On Images and Words Petrucci's great technical skill is apparent in songs like "Take the Time" but Petrucci also impresses with a variety of melodies and overdubs all through the album. Whether it's fusion interludes in "Metropolis" or epic meldodis in "Learning To Live" Petrucci can impress a listener with all ranges of his guitar. As said earlier this album is a much catchier and melodic performance than those to follow.

John Myung delievers an oustanding performance. Metal bass playing has progressed so much since the release of this album. Myung moves the chord changes in the most unique ways with arpeggio and diatonic scale fills along with excellent rythymnic prowess for relaxed grooves. His funky side shows in the early minutes of "Take the Time". Perhaps Myung's most unique element to his performance is his tapping solo in "Metropolis", which has become one of the most easily recognizeable solos in progressive metal, and the most popular motif for tapping bass players of any genre.

Kevin Moore simply is the reason for a few compositions on this album. A song like "Wait For Sleep" simply would not have existed without the contribution of keyboardist Kevin Moore. What Moore seems to lack in overall skill he makes up for in creativity. Moore uses a wide array of synth sounds, but they seem to suffer from poor production. He uses some nostalgic analong tones on "Learning to Live", but much of his tones are unique exploring new synth sciences. His instrumental technique isn't poor, he can easily keep up with unisons in a song like "Metropolis", but his greatest skill is his ability to lay catchy yet musically unique melodies over instrumental sections in songs.

Mike Portnoy has a somewhat revolutionary performance on drums. Portnoy keeps to standard metal styles, but he adds an influence of Neal Peart of Rush to deliver some of the most complicated and elaborate fills to touch the metal genre. Portnoy's drums are all triggered, and I don't care for the triggered snare tone which sounds a little too poppy. Aside from the lack of pitch in his drums, he delivers a great performance. His bass drum abilities are out of this world, never blasting, but delivering speedy and tasteful kicks.

This album is a cornerstone to the development of prog metal, aside from that it delivers great music by some of the most skilled and creative musicians. A must have for prog and metal fans alike.

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Send comments to AtLossForWords (BETA) | Report this review (#82053)
Posted Monday, June 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Even if the production is medium, the music is truly amazing. Metropolis I is a masterpiece and there is no filler track I think.

1. Classic DT to open. Not very surprising, but nice stuff. 2. A mellow ballad to continue, with a sax. A good transition before the next track 3. WOW! A great one, technically it's very impressive. 4. Another nice ballad. 5. Wonderful music. The peak of the album. 6. A heavy one, good stuff for me. 7. A moody prelude to the last epic. 8. A great epic and end for this classic album. Amazing guitar work in the middle section.

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Send comments to crumble_soul (BETA) | Report this review (#82081)
Posted Tuesday, June 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the greatest albums in prog that i've come to. The music is quite complex and in some songs mellow. I for one perfer the heavier ones. The soft DT ballads don't attract me but luckily for me there isn't so much of those on Images & Words. The heavier, more complex and in my oppinion more prog ones are nothing less than a masterpiece. Only weak points in I&E (again in my oppinion) are the two ballads: Another Day(2.) and Surrounded(4.). But the rest of the album is pure gold. No filler, just amazing compositions and virtuosity in musicanship. In comparison to other DT albums I would rate better only Metropolis: part 2. Scenes From a Memory. Portnoy and Petrucci are amazing, terrific, great, magnificent. The emotions that are in their playing and compositions are overwhealming. This album (well... Surrounded and Another Day not included) is what I think real progressiveness is in music. Wonderful music.

Well, this album is simply a masterpiece in prog metal.

One of the greatest albums in progressive music.

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Send comments to Valvur (BETA) | Report this review (#82313)
Posted Friday, June 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is where Dream Theater really got it started. Keeping some of the 80s metal flare from before, but improving the songwriting, and the vocalist, we have the real beginning of an absolutely remarkable band. Images & Words is widely considered their finest work (or now second behind Scenes from a Memory), and was an inspiration to a lot of prog metal bands who popped up shortly after. This album, minus the debut, has the most 80s metal sound and feel to it. It hasn't quite worn off yet. Surprisingly enough, I can actually enjoy it. I really don't like 80s metal, but Dream Theater show here that it's not the style that's the problem (or the entire problem), it's who's playing it. I don't think I could stand much more than this album's worth anyhow.

"Pull Me Under" is the albums lead single, and a good one at that. Afterwards we have "Another Day," a cheesy power ballad, but while many write it off for that, I love it. It's actually a well written power ballad, and it's even got a Kenny G-esque saxophone in a few spots. I'm no Kenny G fan, but it's a nice touch to the song I suppose. "Take the Time" is my favorite song in the first half of the album. Lots of energy and what not. Dream Theater take metal music (then and now) and make it so much more than what is generally embraced by its fans. After "Surrounded," another nice 80s ballad (though this one more poppy), we have the second half. I can't praise the second half enough. "Metropolis pt. 1" starts the second half. Filled with themes and riffs that would be carried on into the brilliant concept album that came out eight years later. Incredible song. Then we have "Under a Glass Moon," another excellent song, featuring subtle intricacies in the songwriting that I adore, and one of my favorite Petrucci solos. "Wait for Sleep" is a nice piano and voice piece that serve as an intro to the closer "Learning to Live."

This album doesn't need too much explaining or details beyond what is already given. It's a brilliant album. As usual for the years to come, Dream Theater can play technically dazzling sutff without losing the material's emotional value. Far beyond your average metal; that's for sure. James LaBrie was a fine choice to replace the old vocalist Dominicci, and he definitely adds to the much improved musical quality of the bands music. From here on, Dream Theater would be wowing and inspiring millions, and rightfully so. They are so gifted, and they use their gifts wisely.

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Send comments to Moatilliatta (BETA) | Report this review (#82869)
Posted Wednesday, July 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
Raff
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Horrorshock! A myth crumbles... Renowned DT basher Ghost Rider reviews "Images and Words" and gives it four stars too! What is the world coming to?

Well, I may have many flaws, but I pride myself on being a fair person, who might not be the greatest fan of the New York quintet, but is nevertheless perfectly capable of recognising quality when she sees it. In my very humble opinion, "Images and Words" remains to this day DT's finest offering, one they've never yet managed to top. Yes, they've become more ambitious, in some ways more commercial, and they've reached planetary status among younger and even older fans. However, this album, now 14 years old, has a freshness and a novelty value that their later, more complex efforts do not possess anymore. This is the true act of birth of one of the most enduringly popular styles of Prog-Metal, in which the 'prog' component is noticeably stronger than the 'metal' one. Without I&W there would be no Symphony X, no Shadow Gallery, no Pain of Salvation, no Ayreon or other bands of their ilk. While this may be no great loss to many people (especially my contemporaries), I'm all in favour of variety, and I think there is a place for everything in the music world.

Though everybody knows I'm no supporter of technical prowess for its own sake (Prog's answer to Oscar Wilde's 'art for art's sake'), there's no denying that DT are masters of their instruments. This album also goes to prove that the band's greatest strength was the songwriting of keyboardist Kevin Moore,a more restrained player than the flamboyant Derek Sherinian, and a less technical one than Juilliard alumnus Jordan Rudess, though an undeniably sophisticated, tasteful composer. After him, the band's output became more over-the-top, with song lengths and instrumental complexity sometimes spiralling out of control. Here, instead, DT strike the right balance: even an overtly commercial song like "Another Day" does not disrupt the overall textural intensity of the album.

So far I've talked about instruments, not mentioning what is for many people the sore point of the band: James LaBrie's vocals. There's no denying that the man in question, like his band, has been the founder of a school of singing that numbers many followers; unfortunately, I only find him effective when impersonating that most unlikely of prog singers, Metallica's James Hetfield (check his performance on "Train of Thought"). When he reaches for the higher notes, I find him at best irritating, at worst positively unbearable. However, his performance on I&W is rather good, especially on the wistful mood piece that is "Wait for Sleep" (with great piano work by Moore); while on some parts of "Take the Time" I just wish he would shut up and let the others play.

With so many glowing reviews written before mine, I feel there's no point in doing a track-by-track analysis. "Pull Me Under", the band's best-known song, is quite catchy in its own way, though I find "Take the Time" vastly superior: the intro in particular is great. "Metropolis" is undeniably the most complex track from an instrumental point of view, with great performances from all the members of the band. On this album Portnoy's drumming sounds very clear and strong, though distinctly reminiscent of Neil Peart's in more than one instance (as a matter of fact, the Rush influences are startling at times). The album's standout track, though (especially from a lyrical point of view), is Myung's powerful, heartfelt "Learning to Live", where the bassist's remarkable skills can be clearly heard for once, instead of being swamped in the maelstrom of sound produced by the band. The song's coda is hauntingly beautiful, easily the most progressive thing on the record.

Even though I suppose I'll never become a DT fan, I&W deserves four stars for its undeniable musical quality - although, as I stated at the beginning, I feel its historical value is probably its greatest asset. Not really essential, but indeed an excellent addition to one's collection.

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Send comments to Raff (BETA) | Report this review (#83016)
Posted Friday, July 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I would say the band's 2nd best album, behind Awake, even though it's getting the same number of stars. This is a very good album, with no real bad tracks. Although, the strong tracks on Awake are better than the strong tracks here, if that makes sense.

This album is often considered a highlight in the field of progressive rock, and it should. At the time, it was considered very groundbreaking and gave the band huge success. There's impressive playing all around.

The biggest thing that keeps this album from being extraordinary is the cheese factor. Too many of the songs, while complex, delve into minutes of extra unnecessary playing.

However, despite these bad remarks, a highly recommend the album. There are many very stunning and beautiful sections, like the verse at the end of Metropolis. It is an important album in the field of progressive metal, one that no fan of prog should miss out on.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#83145)
Posted Saturday, July 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Love is the Dance of Eternity....

The second sudio album of Dream Theater "Images and Words" marked a milstone in the progressive metal genre.. This also means the end of the Dominici Era which means it's time for some real progressive metal. It also means the start of the Labrie Era. You know I can't imagine Dominici singing "Take the Time" "Another Day" and especially "Metroplis I." Dominici is just mediocre. It also proved the growing maturity and complexity in Dream Theater's brand of music. What I didn't like in this album was that Labrie's voice is too cheesy.

I loved the keyboard works of Kevin Moore in this album. Petrucci's shredding technique is much heard in this album. John Myung's basslines that are so wicked. Mike Portnoy's complexity.

This is one of the best that progressive music has to offer.

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Send comments to rushingmusika (BETA) | Report this review (#84249)
Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater's second studio album, "Images And Words", made them famous with a lot of help from the opening track, "Pull Me Under" that somehow became a MTV hit, but on the same time, the album started 2 important processes: Made an example and wonder to a new genre, Progressive Metal, and updated the old 70's progressive rock.And 7 seven years later, they're reached higher grounds with "Scenes From A Memory", but "Images And Words" is really the starting point.

James LaBrie (vocals), John Myung (Bass?), John Petrucci (6th gear electirc guitar), Mike Portnoy (3 drums systems & 8 hands) & Kevin Moore (the first keyboardist from three until today) decided to come out with a mix between heavy-metal & progressive rock, that back then was a nothing more than a old records on depot. Many things have been written about them being graduate of Berkley's music university in Boston, and this fact is definitely added a lot of to the skills, the impressing sound, and to the virtuosity performence of Dream Theater.

You can argue a lot about the writing level and the modernize of the composing, but any arguements about Dream Theater must include one important subject: The virtuosity! The muscal knowledge brought Dream Theater to a direct, impressing, brilliant & exact playing skills. In all the progressive music lifetime, i've never heard a band in the technical level of Dream Theater. The hardcore of this band is the communication between Petrucci's guitar and Portnoy's drums.

In my opinion, "Images And Words" is not a classic prog album, and it is not challenging the listener. Most of the tracks on this album are bulit in a very traditional way, there are no musical breakpoint, but stiil Dream Theater provide us a supermarket of genres and musical culturs: heavy metal, with a little pop and romance that is accompanied with saxophone ("Another Day") and a lot of progressive. The worst thing that you could say about this album is the fact that you can feel that Dream Theater is working too hard, and even in their coolest tracks, Dream delivers tention, hard discipline, a hard ambition to success and to attract more audience. They don't take to many risks and not trying to add more humor or express themselves freely. But you can't argue with the fact that this album is a milestone on the prog metal history, so in that case i'll give it 4 stars.

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Send comments to Open-Mind (BETA) | Report this review (#84510)
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Although their real debut, "When Dream and Day Unite", is not a bad album, it was "Images & Words" that broke the door open for Dream Theater and arguably for the entire genre of progressive metal back in the early 90s when the Seattle grunge scene was at its peak. In large part that was thanks to "Pull Me Under", the first track, getting a lot of air play on MTV around 1992 - something which is unthinkable these days, some 14 years later. Not because DT has changed a lot, but rather because MTV is even worse and even further away from this kind of music. This is also the first album featuring James LaBrie on vocal duties, an aspect that remains to present day. Needless to say, LaBrie is a thousand light years ahead of their former singer, Charlie Dominici, on this particular department.

The only let down for me here is the second track, "Another Day", which I just find cheesy and depressing. Other than that, "Take the Time", "Under a Glass Moon" (with its awesome Petrucci guitar solo) and "Learning to Live" (one cries in despair wondering why bassist John Myung doesn't write lyrics for the band anymore) are the highlights for me. "Metropolis Pt.1" is probably still the song that better defines the DT sound. It's got it all and an entire album was later penned to extend it.

I had to think twice before giving the 5 star rating to this album, mainly because somehow I tend to not listen to it much, which might mean there's some detail lacking for me to really embrace it. Perhaps the most rational explanation is that renditions of every song are featured in later live albums to great effect so this tends to stay on the shelf in favor of those.

But then I realize that's not a real reason for this album not to be very highly regarded and adding to the fact that it's one of the most historically important albums of the 90s, at least for prog metal circles, that clinches it. What's incredible is that the whole band was already at the top of their game at such an early stage of their career, which is even more amazing considering the technical emphasis of their music.

A great prelude to great(er) things to come.

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Send comments to prla (BETA) | Report this review (#84737)
Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fall, 1992.......I'm living in Arlington, Virginia right outside Washington, DC. Three years removed from my college days I find it increasingly difficult to discover quality new bands. By this time I've pretty much abandoned radio and MTV as sources of new music. And without college friends constantly exposing me to different music I have to scrounge through music magazines and actually talk to record store hipsters (ugh!) to find interesting new music. Thus it is I vividly remember the first time I ever heard of Dream Theater. I was reading some music rag at the DC Tower Records and saw a review of what looked like a typical no-talent hair metal band. But the reviewer (who didn't like the release at all) compared them to 70's art-rock bands like Yes, saying the band had added a real metal crunch to the 70's sound. I was instantly intrigued and immediately picked up the CD (having purchased my first CD player about six months earlier). I was not impressed....again, the band LOOKED like another typical hair band, but the cover art work was cool and the length of the songs (five rang in at over 7 minutes) made me fairly certain DT was NOT your typical hair band. So I purchased my first Dream Theater CD having never heard a note of their music.

I took the disc home, sequestered myself in my bedroom (I shared a house with two roommates) and actively listened to Images and Words. I was initially impressed, as Pull Me Under did just that, pulling me into that wonderful spot when you hear compelling music for the very first time. The hypnotic guitar intro, spectacular double-bass drum work and all around musicianship instantly blew me away. I couldn't wait to hear the rest.

Song two, however, threw me in a completely different mood. The song sounded like cheesy 70's arena rock (think Styx or Journey) and I wasn't sure what to think. The song proved more interesting as it went on, and I didn't dismiss it, but it certainly was different. Now I wasn't sure what to think of DT and became more curious to hear more. From there the disc went the direction I had expected. Take The Time was progressive and yet harder edged and that's pretty much what the rest of the disc sounded like. I was disappointed, however, in the really long songs. I thought the jams and instrumental sections went on too long and were little more than self indulgences. Overall I was a little disappointed but there was enough material there to keep me coming back.

Thus throughout the next several months I kept putting IandW in my disc player. Pull Me Under became a favorite and even Another Day grew on me to the point that I considered cool; a little syrupy but had an integrity that's generally lacking in those types of "metal ballads". I also grew to like Take The Time and Surrounded...especially the piano intro and outro to Surrounded.

I never really did get into the final 30 minutes of the disc, however. Both Metropolis and Learning to Live seemed like excessive examples of hard core musicians run amok. I frequently turned the disc off before it ended. And frankly, that was about it. I never really thought much about DT or their music for years to come. In fact, it wasn't until 1997 when I picked up a used copy of A Change of Seasons that my interest in DT was rekindled. But once rekindled, my interest blazed into an engrossing compulsion.

I soon found myself listening to IandW again, especially the final part of the disc (as I was already most familiar with the first 25 minutes). While impressed the music still didn't really grab me. It wasn't until DT released Once in a Livetime in 1998 that I truly began to appreciate IandW. The live version of Take The Time compelled me to listen yet again. And THIS time the disc finally won me over completely. Metropolis and Learning to Live went from excessive indulgences to spell-binding musical displays. Having finally "gotten" what the band was trying to accomplish I can now say IandW is a semi-revolutionary release. When it came out in 1992 NOBODY was playing music like this. While the overall sound CAN be compared to arena rockers such as Styx and Kansas, the musicianship is far stronger, leaning into jazz-like solos and instrumental sections. Most compelling, however, was the willingness to abandon traditional song structures and allow the song to move wherever it needed. Thus you end up with amazing arrangement like those found in Learning to Lie, Metropolis, Surrounded and Under a Glass Moon. While these are definitely elements you find in 70's art rockers like Styx and ELP, DT added a very hard metal sound similar to Mettalica and Queensryche.

In retrospect, it's interesting that the songs I originally enjoyed the most now rank the lowest on the Mikey scale. I've heard Pull Me Under so many times that I almost always skip it; Another Day has also somewhat worn out its welcome. But whenever I listen to Metropolis, Under a Glass Moon or Learning to Live I STILL hear elements that I've never noticed before. The depth and layers of IandW still impresses. In some ways I consider it DT's best effort in that the band truly created a different type of music; they've spent the rest of their career mastering and rehashing their style but they've never really created something as innovative and unique as IandW. I still find some of the jams, while impressive, to be a little tedious and self-indulgent but still compelling. All in all a great disc and a good intro disc for potential new DT fans.

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Send comments to MrMan2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#85133)
Posted Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Australian
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Progressive Metal has been labelled the third wave of prog by many people and it came at a point when progressive music was almost on its death bed. By 1992 practically everything had gone quite, the neo-prog scene was at a lull, and all the giants from the 70's were currently exploring the realms of popular music. When it seemed that prog was dead,in came Dream Theater with "Images and Words" (there were a few other very good albums which came out at around the same time) which would revitalise prog and give the band much popularity and fan base. Many people will deny this comment but Dream Theater has become the greatest American prog band (far) behind the all legendary symphonic band Kansas. So really we all should respect this album, even if you hate it with the fire of one thousand suns as one of my friends regularly says.

For me "Images and Words" was very boring and heavier than most things I'd heard before and I'd much rather listen to something I liked. Gradually, after many more listens I began to grow accustomed to the loudness (I'm hoping the same thing will happen with Opeth) and began to enjoy it. Its funny, I never think "Images and Words" is any good until I actually listen to it, it's like I subconsciously still dislike it. The first two songs on "Images and Words" have always been the highlights for me; I don't know why I just find them more interesting and easier to listen to. I know I like the saxophone in "Another Day", but in now realise it isn't much compared to stuff from Supertramp and Van Der Graaf Generator.

The opening of "Take the Time" has always seemed kind of stupid to me, but now I just overlook it and get to the good stuff, like the yolk in the egg.no, that's a band example, but you get my point. In "Surrounded" James Labrie really indulgences himself and sings out some good material. Surrounded goes up among the most classic Dream Theater songs from its sound, its just so.DT. "Metropolis, Pt. 1- The Miracle and the Sleeper" receives a lot of praise from people on PA, I've never though it to be that good but I guess it goes down to personal tastes.

"Under a Glass moon" and "Learning to Live" are probably the most progressive songs on "Images and Words." The intro to "Under a Glass Moon" sounds a bit like the start of Lunar Sea by Camel, lose the guitar though. Both a songs are classic Dream Theater numbers and receive many plays during tours by the band. Learning to Live is the better of the two as it is overall more experimental and has a distinctively "new" feeling.

1. Pull Me Under (4/5) 2. Another Day (4/5) 3. Take The Time (3/5) 4. Surrounded (3/5) 5. Metropolis - Pt. I "The Miracle And The Sleeper" (3/5) 6. Under A Glass Moon (3/5) 7. Wait For Sleep (3/5) 8. Learning To Live (4/5) Total = 27 divided by 8 (number of songs) = 3.375 = 3 stars

Good, but non-essential

"Images and Words" can really be thanked, even in a small way for the way it gave an all new creative spark to this great and varied music. I can see why so many people are attracted to "Images and Words" but, despite my first review of this album, I'm going to give this album three stars. I'd recommend Images and Words to the newer generation of prog fans.

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Send comments to Australian (BETA) | Report this review (#88101)
Posted Thursday, August 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I never liked metal, at a few exceptions. So, because of their metal label, I had stood away from Dream Theater. But, not to die a fool (or at least an ignorant), a few months ago I gave a try to Images and Words. Man, what a right move, except for my wallet cause I have bought their entire catalogue ever since.

Images and Words has an ugly front cover, typical of heavy metal, which makes me think more of a gore movie than of good music (why did they choose a girl with such a strange face ?). The photo of the band doesn't help either, to say the least. So I was quite afraid when I put the cd in the player, not knowing that I was on the verge of a very exciting experience ...

Let's put it straight : I love all the songs on this album and I don't think you can really label the music here as metal, apart from "Under a Glass Moon" and "Pull Me Under".

"Pull Me Under". The song that made the band take off. Do you remember Russel Crowe's words "Unleash Hell" in Gladiator before he sends his legion against the Germans ? This song could have fit perfectly the scene. Thrilling and powerful. Make it listen to a lamb and it will break up a pack of wolves !

"Another day". I read somewhere that only 12 years girls can appreciate such a crap. Well, I must be the male grown-up exception since I find it to be one the best ballads ever. Everything is perfect, especially the guitar solo and the sax outro.

"Take the time". Ah, what can be said about it ? An hymn, that is enough.

"Surrounded". Another perfect song. LaBrie' vocals ("light to dark, dark to light") are wonderful and when the guitar solo arrives, I really feel that I am literraly flying away.

"Metropolis Part 1". Or how make a great song out of a multi-directions mess. Great, really.

"Under a Glass Moon". This is not my favorite since it is the most classical metal type, with its drums and riffs ala Symphony X. Still good in its genre.

"Wait for Sleep". A simple ballad, not unforgettable with its cheesy lyrics but very enjoyable.

"Learning to Live". Another highlight, another hymn. Hard to describe with a few words but amazing could be a good summary ... and also a conclusion for the whole album.

Amazing, indeed.

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Send comments to Bupie (BETA) | Report this review (#88104)
Posted Thursday, August 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Ultimate Progressive Metal album that set the standards. I could probably just end my review with that 1st sentence, but I should'nt. This was THE album that got me into progressive metal, which is my favorite genre by far. Every song on this album fits- from the trademark "Pull Me Under" to the softer masterpiece "Another Day" to the Famous instrumental "Metropolis." Kevin Moore on keys, Portnoy on Drums, and Petrucci showing his amazing abilities on Guitar- this album is purely essential. If you havn't heard this album, you need to. See what all the hype is about- it is well worth it. To see that this album is only at 4.19 is just a shame!

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Send comments to Drew (BETA) | Report this review (#88800)
Posted Saturday, September 02, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow! I was blown away when I heard this for the first time. Especially 'Take The Time' is a real prog-classic to me. Alright.. this album is very Yes-inspired.. I love that. It's the only DT-album that doesn't sound too much like loud metal-music. This is at least their most symphonic and maybe artistic one ever. Scenes From A Memory is great also, but the songs on this album are touching me more, emotionally. Great moments: The guitar-solo of 'Another Day' (who said that this music is emotionless?), the middle part of 'Take The Time', the solos on 'Metropolis Pt. 1 and the guitar-solo on 'Under A Glass Moon'. Yes, it are the solo's that make this music exciting, but let's not forget John Myungs great bass-playing and James LaBrie's wonderful high voice. It's his best vocal performance for DT ever, IMO.

Great album!! A universal 'everybody-must-have' prog-album. 5 stars for sure!

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Send comments to ProgRob (BETA) | Report this review (#89156)
Posted Thursday, September 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Images and Words is probably DT's second best album (after Awake)

The opening song "Pull Me Under" is the best vocal preformance by La Brie that I've ever heard, and is an excellent song, containg perhaps thier only catchy guitar riff. And of course, John Petrucci shows his amazing guitar skills. The only problem with this song is the sudden end of the piece, which realys dosen't make much sense. IT leaves you with the feeling that your missing part of the song (despite it already being 8+ minutes)

"Another Day" is another great song, but dosen't seem right comming after the sudden end to "Pull Me Under". This is my second favorite DT ballad (Space-Dye Vest being #1). Another another well done vocal preformance

"Take the Time" a first seems pretty sloppy but manages to pull itself together and becomes fairly enojoyable

"Surrounded" is the weakest song, but as far as prog-metal is concerned, is still pretty good.

"Metropolis Pt 1", Undoubtably the best song on the album and among DT's best. Everything from the lyrics, to the vocals to guitars is brilliant

"Under the Glass Moon" the best thing about this song is the amazing guitar solo, Petrucci's best guitar work ever

"Wait for Sleep/Learning to Live" is a long epic track that takes some getting used to but is actually pretty good.

4 stars

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Send comments to echoes2112 (BETA) | Report this review (#89256)
Posted Friday, September 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars if possible, is the commercial side of prog music. dream theater are odd numbered by the greather part of prog-listener of mi generation (born in 80s). sometimes, there are some non-necessary overhauled times and modulation, and i think they compose songs not under inspiration but just for make them complicated. I don't like metal-prog (and i'm a fan of heavy metal, but the old one) but i love some other band like queensryce. Whell, this is the best DT work, but is not a real prog album (and it isn't a metal album instead)...i rate it 3/5 only cause is the best cd of DT, but 2 out of 5 is more correct...

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Send comments to LAUD (BETA) | Report this review (#91473)
Posted Saturday, September 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The first album of the band I love the most is one of their two best, and without any doubt, their most important in terms of historical impact. How could it be deemed "excellent addition to any collection" instead of "Essential" remains a mystery to me.

For those that are yet to discover this band's greatness, DT's sound is really the perfect example for the term "progressive-metal": you have heavy guitar riffs, thundering drums with lots of double bass, but in the other hand, you have longer, sometimes truly epic songs, very difficult patterns and complex structures, odd times signatures, abrupt changes of time signature, excellent musicianship, a keyboard that acts not only as mere chord supplier but as an integral, soloing part of the music, beautiful melodies, a marvelous singer (specially in this album), song musical build-up, meaning that they don't just play riffs or chords that go well together but that help create a musical tension that almost always resolves in the chorus, a sign of superior musicianship; and, of course, great, technically profficient, outstanding players: Petrucci, an absolute axe- hero, whose solos have melody but also a difficulty level that makes him deserve to be among the greats; Myung, a remarkable bass player, sometimes in the shadows because of his instrument's inherent nature, as a support, but he shines, too; in this album, a wonderful keyboard player like Kevin Moore, although nowadays it is Jordan Rudess who provides this band with marvelous keys; Portnoy, a great drummer with not only very appropiate technique (sometimes it seems he grew a third arm), but also with very unique ideas and patterns, a master of doublebass-toms fills; and finally, LaBrie. I love that his voice is not theatrical ala Fish, is not really loud ala Tate, but that he really tries to just sing, as he has a great sense of melody,

This, Images and Words, marked probably the begin of the progressive-metal genre; yes, I know we had Queensryche and Fates Warning, but: Operation Mindcrime, as wonderful an album as it is, is not really technically demanding nor are its songs overly long, the progressiveness lies in its quality, the concept, the telling of a story, the trying to do something else, the taking the conceptual style of old prog-masters and putting them in metal terms; Fates Warning was at that time still too Iron Maiden-ish; it was Images and Words that lay the ground for hundreds of bands to try to emulate its quality or (sadly, a lot) just to copy it. Images and Words blended Metallica and Rush, a little bit of classic prog and lots of new, fresh, unique ideas.

If you haven't heard this milestone yet, I can only say: what are you doing on the internet instead of in a music store getting it? I'm not going to describe in detail every song, just briefly,

Pull Me Under (9/10), a metal song with lots of progressive elements, a regular song structure made complex by sheer technicallity and originality,

Another Day (10/10), a very simple song adorned by beautiful saxophone notes and dreamy keyboards... but the most important part of this piece, and after you've listened to it you'll agree with what I said at the beginning: LaBrie's doesn't yell, it doesn't try to scare you, he sings a tune, a melody.

Take the Time (10/10), a very progressive track, lots of odd time signatures, mindblowing solos, impossible drumming, a musician's delight. At times power-metal-esque.

Surrounded, (9/10), this is a Rush-meets-Metal song, the chorus and the voice have a lot to owe to the canadian trio's legendary music;

Metropolis (10/10), one of two songs in this album I consider my absolute favorites or all time, it develops from a subtle, clear guitar pattern, goes into the "metallica riff" , a lot of rhythm changes, a soloing part where even the bass has a couple of seconds to emerge, and a final section where Portnoy's pattern grows very complex, as is the irregular structure of the song which has no choruses; it's a sort of "ProgMetal-Rhapsody" (not the band, but the musical form), marvelous.

Under a glass moon, (8/10), an excellent song that suffers because, while being good, it just pales in comparison with the preceding track, and even heard by itself, the less interesting in this classic CD (but it would be an anthem had it be written by another band);

Wait for sleep, (9/10), Fantastic little two-minute piano piece with no great feats of technique but tons of melody and feeling. Great singing here by LaBrie.

Learning to Live (10/10) A magnificent closer. Tt has a soul-lifting chorus, great lyrics, a complex yet coherent structure, an amazing instrumental part with a reference to the chords in Wait for Sleep, and, an absolutely wonderful guitar solo, not one of those a-thousand-notes-per-minute solo, not a ten minute solo, but such a releasing, , a solo that brings peace and closure, after the tension built in the instrumental part, this soaring, heaven-flying solo makes you free, it gives you freedom, hope, it says "you are learning to live, and you have time" . The end of this hymn is something for the ages....

Go buy it right now. This instant. Don't hesitate. If you are just a classic prog lover, give this a try.

It's a milestone, it's really one of the best records ever.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#94985)
Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars From many albums of DT I choose "IMAGES AND WORDS". In fact the band seems to fall in complete harmony in it. There are good vocal lines, well singed as well, the keyboard sounds don't sound as plastic as they sound now, the Petrucci's lines are very well inserted, short solos (but with feeling and power), Meyung bass work is always at is best... ...this album, apart front of they' re virtuosity, as it's value by team work! The album sounds as band! It's funny because this album as some pop values: you can sing and play some musics on an acoustic guitar... if you take off the virtuosism, you'll stay with melody. Very good! Very powerfull album. It will remain in history of prog. metal.

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Send comments to Joăo Francisco (BETA) | Report this review (#100567)
Posted Monday, November 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
bumblebeeboy2
5 stars Hello to all fans and music lovers alike!!!

Dream theatre is a pure joy to listen to. Im not going to write a long review for if you have experienced their music, you know where you stand.

I was in Las Vegas and listening to the radio. "Pull me under" came on and i was stunned! AT first it just sounded like a talented metal band but as i listened to it more, it became evident that this was more than musicianship.....there was profound love, dedication, intensity, softness, and raw gut. How rare it is to actually HEAR that. I quickly bought the album and chiseled my way with my ears on all the tracks. I think they balance the technical and raw artististic approach amazingly well. Too much in any sense can get annoying. As we hear and see everyday on the radio and TV. They've simply forgotten why they make music..........money i guess.....egos.....whatever things that make honesty go weak therefore the result is unraw, unrealistic, and distorted glamour which has no real foundation.

I particularly like "Learning to live" truly wonderful!!! I love how it changes back and forth but stays afloat on the same musical stream. There's a beautiful break in the middle where the drums lightly create a cosmic peace as a foundation. The clean flamenco guitars are tickling the essence of your soul while the bass stays right next to the drums like a loyal guardian to ensure melodic support. toward the ends there's a peice that is remiscent of the piano track before "learning to live" that lets you know your approaching the grand finaly. The musiciand draw back to reveal myung's steady bass before jumping back into the finish line of a bravely approached musical peice.

Chris Blake.................

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#102393)
Posted Sunday, December 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my mind Images and Words is the quintessential Dream Theater album. The album typifies the progressive metal genre. DT manages to combine (through their astounding musicianship) metal riffs, pounding drums, piecing vocals, sublime keys, and exceptional bass work in the controlled frenzy of odd and constantly changing time signatures. The band manages to take incredibly complex musical structure and meld it into melodies that resonate deep into the ear. What I find most incredible about Images and Words is that fact that, despite its technical proficiency, the album does not lose any of its emotional character. Images and Words represents the aural manifestation of emotion, talent, purpose, melody, and beauty. A must have for any fan of progressive metal or someone who wants to break into the progressive genre. -Graeme

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Send comments to FirstUtterance (BETA) | Report this review (#103102)
Posted Thursday, December 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Following the release of the strong debut When Day and Dream Unite, DT found themselves without a singer and with a horrible label that did nothing to promote them. To keep themselves busy, the remaining four members wrote songs. the spent time on lyrics and figured out instrumentation. Then, they found Canadian James LaBrie, whose operatic style were what the band had been looking for. They managed to split witht their label and join Atco. Then the band laid down the tracks they had written over three years. The result ushered in prog metal.

"Pull Me Under" opens the album with a spooky guitar riff and synth. The rest of the band comes in hard and James establishes himself as DT's singer quickly. The chorus is a great hook and the solos are amazing.

"Another Day" is a personal song for Petrucci, but it's a bit melodramatic. However, it's probably DT's best AOR song.

"Take the Time" resumes the sonic pummelling with great vox from James and Myung's bass getting a workout. This is where things start getting proggy on the album, but it's just a taste of its later triumphs.

"Surrounded" has some interesting progressions but it's pretty dull. Petrucci's solo sets the stage for his licks futher along in DT's career.

"Metropolis Part I" is the undisputed highlight of the album. Everyone shines on this song, particularly John Myung and Mike Portnoy, who both give one of their best performances. A nine minute opus that feels so much shorter. This one song would be the basis for DT's magnum opus, Scenes From A Memory.

"Under A Glass Moon" has an addictive drum groove, and Myung pounds away at his bass. This song contains IMO Petrucci's best solo, as well as a standout performance by Kevin Moore.

"Wait For Sleep" eases off the throttle, and it's piano-and-vocals only compostion would pave the way for the far superior Space Dye Vest.

"Learning to Live" is a great way to close the album. Lyrically, it's one of DT's best. It deals with a man learning to adapt to life with AIDS. Myung shines on this track, but the other members also deliver great performances.

Images and Words belongs in any prog metal collection. This was my introduction to prog metal, and I've never looked back. The band's three year limbo resulted in the tightest DT ever was; each member complements each other. On later albums, the technical display became even more impressive but at the cost of feel. This is a high water mark in the band's career, but Surrounded and Wait For Sleep detract from what would have otherwise been a masterpiece. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#103477)
Posted Monday, December 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think that is the second best album from dream theater to the world of good progressive music. However it has some defects, particulary i find the songs like this:

Pull me under: It has its moments but it lack of the progressive essence, very monotone and boring, sorry DT.

Another day: one of my favorites, certainly it also lack of changes, but I like very much the combining of all the progressive balad with the sax very beautiful, La brie voice here is great.

Take the time: this song is boring for me but it also has its good moments

Surrounded: a nice one i dont like it very much but it has good progressions

Metropolis Pt.1 The miracle and the sleeper: Ah!! what can i say 'bout this song... very great. the overture to one album, is very conceptual and great, the progressions are beautiful, I love it.

Under a glass moon: All i have to say beautiful song filled with good progressions

Wait for sleep: I feel it like the overture to learning to live, this song is one of my favorites in spite of the lack of progressions and its monotone rythmn but i live it because i like how it sounds the piano perfectly cordinated with the voice, great work of La brie too.

Learning to live: A golden finish!! the larger and more interesting song of this album, the last song its particulary my favorite of all songs of DT, not only from the album. I like all the songs i never got tired for hearing it a jewel for my ears mi spiritual extasis in the solos excellent song!!!

in conclusion i like the album

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Send comments to twilight_mage (BETA) | Report this review (#104632)
Posted Wednesday, December 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I have to admit that I've been systematically discovering Dream Theater's music pretty much bass-ackwards since finally experiencing the excellent "Scenes From A Memory" almost a year ago. But after being somewhat disappointed in their 1994 release "Awake" I was reticent to go back any farther into their catalogue, thinking that it was probably just more of the same (especially the shrill vocal work). However, my son gave me "Images and Words" for Christmas and I am completely blown away by it. I now deem it to be one of their best albums due to the incredible amount of thoughtful creativity and the high level of musicianship and production involved.

Deep guitar notes and Portnoy's rolling drums start "Pull Me Under" and instantly lay down a gargantuan atmosphere that sets the tone for the entire CD. A heavy metal wall of sound takes over as the beat doubles twice, leading up to a fantastic chorus that features an infectious cascading vocal. The song, like the album, never gets predictable. "Another Day" starts out beautifully and then lo and behold it's a soprano sax! How cool is that! I love it. The catchy melody and accompanying harmonies steadily build the tune without it ever becoming the stereotypical and hokey "power ballad" that was popular at the time. A truly noble song. "Take The Time" doesn't age well, though, and despite the interesting harmonies and hot guitar licks it tends to mimic the sound and textures made popular by groups of that era like Whitesnake. It's only a minor bump in the road, however, and "Surrounded" makes you forget it ever passed through your ears. The eerily haunting intro spills into a crisp, bouncy melody that drives us upward to a fascinating guitar break that can best be described as unique. The song comes full circle to the way it started with a deep, mysterious atmosphere. "Metropolis" is a monster. A true epic. The middle section is a well thought out series of drum-fueled riffs that create a kaleidoscope of musical colors that make your head spin in an effort to keep up. It is a highly energetic but incredibly tight and precise composition. "Under A Glass Moon" has a heavy Pink Floyd feel in the opening chords but soon amps up to a powerful, mechanical rhythm. Halfway through the band takes the listener along a twisting path of fascinating syncopation that is breathtaking, paving the way for some colossal guitar by Petrucci and stunning keyboards by Moore. After that sprint one can use a breather and "Wait For Sleep" is perfectly placed here. It's a simple but gorgeous ballad and LaBrie's voice is terrific and effective when he relaxes like he does here. "Learning To Live" finishes out the album and is one of its best cuts. Myung's moody bass lines shine, laying down an enigmatic foundation before the drums enter with a metallic shuffle. A very inventive chord progression draws us inexorably farther until reaching a sheer drop back to the initial feel once again. An acoustic guitar passage changes over to fierce electric riffs before a striking staccato piano draws us into an unexpected jazzy swing interlude. Then the song fades out to Portnoy's frenetic drum patterns as a chorale of vocals overlays everything. I know, it sounds rather crazy, but it just may be their most adventurous song ever. All I can tell you is that it works quite well.

I had no idea these guys were so good from the get-go. It seems a travesty that I didn't even hear of this album until fourteen years after its release but I guess these boys have just always been forced to fly under the music biz radar. Hopefully this review will convince others who might have been put off by the unrelenting ferociousness of some of their earlier works (especially LaBrie's screamy vocals) to invest in this album. It is, in a word, great. 4.4 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#105350)
Posted Wednesday, January 03, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Very good prog metal album. Refreshing odd time signatures (especially in Metropolis pt1). Not being a concept album, some songs can still be given a visual dimension through theatre (tracks 1, 4, 5, 6, 8). I think most proggers and some metallers will like this album, i guess only folk proggers won't... If you like DT very much you should also check their solo albums, especially Petrucci's, Rudess's and LTE. For me this album is a masterpiece because it got me into prog.

5/5

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Send comments to Kopack (BETA) | Report this review (#108056)
Posted Friday, January 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars THE RIGHT ALBUM AT THE RIGHT TIME AT THE RIGHT PLACE

After a sour gulp of what music industry is about with their first studio album "When Dream and Day Unite" and a singer change (Thanks God for that!), Dream Theater releases this album that worked as a catapult to fame and to the stardom. This was the record that turned them from being a local New York band playing in small clubs into a band that had sold-outs, making tour all over the world, played on the radio and also a high selling group.

This album is the seed that started to grow and flower into a subgenre that would become the loved and hated Progressive Metal in our days. This album takes you to different places in 8 glorious tracks that now are classic songs of this great band. In my humble opinion, this was, along with "Awake", one of the albums where James LaBrie really shined in his performance and vocal ability.

Starting with a song to shake you head and tear your throat, these guys from Brooklyn introduce us their new album with "Pull Me Under" that went around the world, probably the most meaningful song for this American band, because the boom prompted by this track opened the doors and created a strong fan base all over the globe; which supported and still supports them to the date.

"Another day" is a power ballad written by John Petrucci to his dying father struggling against cancer (lately he will also write a song talking about his father's last words in his deathbed included for the "Falling Into Infinity" album), with a fantastic collaboration in the sax by Jay Beckenstein.

"Take The Time" is a unique song, and when I say unique I mean it. This is the first and only song in which the New York quintet joins his five minds to write the lyrics. The influence of progressive bands such as Rush and Yes is more visible.

"Surrounded" has one of the most wonderful and intelligent lyrics written by Kevin Moore, a song in which LaBrie has one of his best performances in the album and Mike Portnoy shows his drummer qualities in each bar of this piece.

The next track is the most representative of the album without a doubt and probably in the history of the band; this song would become the seminal of what lately would be another masterpiece "Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory". The song has a very calmed start interrupted by a powerful guitar. Step by step, it goes growing up and getting strength; which cannot be held back after the moving voice of LaBrie leaves it in golden bowl to change and progress however the rest of the band want it to. The complex structures added by Kevin Moore give some kind of base for the rest of the guys to explore and experiment to achieve the climax in the tapping bass solo by John Myung and brings it back to Moore and Petrucci to go on with "The Dance of Eternity"

The solo included in "Under A Glass Moon" is considered by the critics to be one of the best guitar solos in Rock & Roll History; thing that's relative, because I consider that Dream Theater has more complex and better structured solos than this one. Although, the song has a very rhetoric lyric and it's told in a very sublime way. The vertigo of the song is concluded in an excellent way to continue with "Wait For Sleep"; which goes on with the narrative of "Surrounded" and it's also the link to the last track of the album. "Learning To Live" completes this work of art with the wonderful writing of Mr. Myung, a piece of poem mixed with some irish folk elements.

A very complete work since the beginning to the end, a release that was the precursor and the ignition spark of the renaissance of Progressive Rock, because there's no way to deny the importance of Dream Theater in the Progressive Scene. Even if you don't like it, this is an album that can't miss on any progressive collection.

THROUGH NATURE'S INFLEXIBLE GRACE, I'M LEARNING TO LIVE.

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Send comments to MadcapLaughs84 (BETA) | Report this review (#109263)
Posted Sunday, January 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars If Yes, Jethro Tull, and King Crimson set the model, this is the paradigm shift (okay, bad reference, I know). I had this album on my iPod before I even knew what genre they were. What sparked my curiosity was seeing Under a Glass Moon on the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos list. I listened and decided, "Okay, this kicks ass." Then I listened to the other songs and thought, "This whole album kicks ass."

Pull Me Under- Great song overall. Like the bass intro. Some instrumental sections get tiring and repetetive, but a great song overall. (3.5/5)

Another Day- Love this song. Shows a more softspoken yet powerful side of Dream Theater, and blends traditional with progressive for a very nice piece. (4/5)

Take the Time- Haven't listened that much. What I've heard is good. (3/5)

Surrounded- Okay, I haven't actually listened to this song because I always get so excited for Metropolis when I listen straight through. (-/5)

Metropolis- Possibly the new definition of progressive. This song has it all, and the lyrics are pretty good too. Love the bass tapping, love the keyboard guitar duality in the instrumental, love this song so damn much. (5/5)

Under a Glass Moon- I will always be particularly partial to this song, as it was the first Dream Theater song I ever listened to. This whole song makes a war of biblical proportions play out in my head, with the intro, the dissonance, some of LaBrie's best singing, and one of the most kickass instrumental sections in the history of music. Love Portnoy's drumming before the guitar solo on the Score DVD, love Rudess's solo on Score, love Petrucci's solo on both the album and the DVD. One of my top five favorite songs of all time, definitely my favorite Dream Theater composition. (5+/5)

Wait for Sleep- Extremely good placement, an effective ballad to contrast the powerhouse before it. Very good keys, good singing, a good song overall. (3/5)

Learning to Live- Excellent display of instrumental virtuosity and talent. I do like the lyrics on this, but the main draw is easily the incredible keyboard playing by Kevin Moore. Very good way to finish the album. (4.5/5)

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Send comments to kickflipthecat (BETA) | Report this review (#110352)
Posted Thursday, February 01, 2007 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I find this a difficult album to review. It is generally considered as one of the touchstones of progressive metal, and any review must acknowledge its position in the development of the sub-genre. But the primary outcome of this album was not an addition to the variety of progressive music, but to its popularisation.

So what makes this DREAM THEATER album so popular? It combines technical virtuosity with accessible songwriting. Straight metal numbers interleave with power ballads and more complex tracks for an enjoyable hour's listening. It has drawn an extraordinary number of people into the progressive rock fold. Thus the high rating, even though I personally find the music less than inspiring.

Five-star albums provoke powerful emotions: shock, drama, delight, beauty, respect. Many DREAM THEATER tracks deliver these emotions, but only one of them ('Metropolis Pt 1') is on this album. Every song is professionally played (these musicians are some of the best in the rock world) and produced, none disappoint, and none of the gaucheries perpetrated on other DREAM THEATER albums can be found here. But, in the end, I find this album slightly underwhelming, with no moments of compositional brilliance.

This is one of the albums to lend to a friend interested in exploring progressive rock. I've done so; but I have to admit I'm not in a great hurry to get it back.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#114747)
Posted Saturday, March 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Essential

This was my very first prog album and therefore this is my very first review on prog archives. I will try to disguise the fact that Dream Theater are my all time favourite band and continue this review without bias. I would just like to say that many people have accused this album and other albums by Dream Theater to be un-prog. To my ears there is more prog in Dream Theater than any other band on this site and all others in the progressive metal genre have adapted Dream Theater elements in their music. To claim that they are not prog seems quite an artificial statement

This album hits all the perfect notes from the incredibly good sounding opening in Pull Me Under to the dramamtic harmonics and vocal harmonies in the ending of Learning to Live. Whilst Dream Theater were on their giant manhunt for a vocalist they wrote all this material without a voice there. Hence the detail to the music and the complex orchestrations.

Along with Scenes from a Memory, Awake and probably Six Degrees, this is a defining album in the incredible journey of Dream Theater. I've decided to adpot the track by track review style that many utilise on this site.

"Pull Me Under" The biggest Dream Theater song and the only one to get a fair share of mainstream airplay, obviously in its ridiculous radio edit version. The song seems to come togeather beautifully with power and emotion and is always an enjoyable listen.

"Another Day" A ballard piece with a short signiture Dream Theater riffage 3/4 of the way through. Very beautiful saxophone playing by the guy that owned the studio this album was recorded in and a wonderful guitar solo, one of my favourite JP solos.

"Take the Time" More progressive than the previous two with some funk/rap influence with the music and vocals. Great instrumental sections and fantastic keyboard solo by Kevin Moore.

" Surrounded" Starts with some soothing piano/vocal lines and turns into an upbeat rhythm with some nice work with the delay pedal. Great intricate riffs.

"Metropolis Pt 1. The Miracle and the Sleeper" Ah, here we go with the big one. One of the all time Dream Theater classics. There is some great guitar riffs and lyrics but the highlight is the instrumental section. Some of the most complex prog music I've come across lies in this section and the song is as enjoyable on the first listen as it is on the 5,000.

"Under a Glass Moon" Another great song. There is not a weak song on this album, it just keeps flowing perfectly throughout. One of JP's top guitar solos and the best one on the album. Just as enjoyable on this 1992 album as it was watching SCORE in 2006.

"Wait for Sleep" This, along with Space Dye Vest are Kevin Moore songs and they are both sensational. So emotional. The keyboard parts are breathtaking and this ballard successfully brakes up the fast riffs, and complex orchestrations to let us breath for a few minutes until we get to the best song on the album.

"Learning to Live" John Myung is very quiet as we all know and rarely writes lyrics, but when he does they are so deep and top class. We hear an interesting keyboard riff before the band kicks in and the song carries from there. It breaks into a slow section, with acoustic guitars and nylon string soloing and drum fills and percussion about 3/4 of the way through to add to the superiority they are claming in the genre with this piece. The guitar solos and so emotial and at the end of the song we come to the magnum opus of the album. " Through nature's inflexible grace, I'm learning to live." All instruments cut off suddenly and we hear the bass on John Myung. Then the band comes back in and amazing harmonics by John Petrucci placed perfectly in the context of the music give an unstoppable epic force. Then the harmony of the vocals. The album fades out and you rewind it and play from Pull me Under again.

Pure genious is the line up of Dream Theater and pure genious is this album 5 stars is the only rating.

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Send comments to nathan058 (BETA) | Report this review (#116085)
Posted Friday, March 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars By far the best Dream Theater album. Awake and Scenes from a Memory are the only other Dream Theater albums in the same league as this masterpiece.

Honestly, this is my favorite album of all time. I love every song equally because they each bring something special and and uniqely different from the others. Now I am not going to go off my rocker and say that they're all the best songs ever and this is definitely the best album ever or anything like that, because it's not that by any means for the greater majority of the world. But it's definitely my favorite, and if I could only take one album on a trip to Mars with me I would take it.

If I could describe this album in only three words I would say that it is "the complete package." This is James LaBrie's best singing album, the band's best compositional effort (greatly thanks to the soon to be departed Kevin Moore), and the most wire-to- wire great album. No real weak songs at all, unlike all their other albums (though Awake and Scenes come close once again). But what I like most about this album is that it's energetic and filled with emotion. You can't help but get into the music while you're listening to it. Dream Theater gets a lot of bashing for having "endless instrumentation and countless solos" that detract from the "overall songwriting." However, I don't really think that those detriments have very much if any presence on this album. Yes, half the album's songs are over 8 minutes and one is 11:30, but they are much more tastefully done here than they are in the future. The real beginning of those songs with "endless instrumentation and countless solos" really began when Jordan Rudess entered the band on the Scenes from a Memory album. So really you don't have to worry about that here. The songs are all filled with memorable melodies and phrases, and stylistic soloing.

The keyboard work on this album is flawless. Moore provides filling but not excessive additions musically and compositionally with his keyboard parts and leads, and his work on this album is what truly gives it its great sound. The music here is full and rich with melody, harmony, and supporting tones. Petrucci's guitar work is impecable as always, featuring him showing his stuff on nearly every song. The riffs played on this album are some of the best of his entire career. Portnoy also shines with great drumming. The structure of his drumming in every song is awe-inspiring as he creates great drum parts to go with the intense time changes featured in the music. Myung is well, almost unheard (as always). He does come out a couple times though and plays well. And finally, James LaBrie gives a stirring vocal performance on his debut album with the band. Probably the best vocal performance on any album in his entire career.

This album must be heard to be believed. Ranging from soft piano work to intense metal riffs, this album has everything any prog fan would want. Highest recommendation.

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Send comments to KansasRushDream (BETA) | Report this review (#117175)
Posted Monday, April 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars All in all a great album that touches many varieties of prog rock. Pull me Under was their one hit wonder that really broke through the band's popularity. To summarize everything I could say on this album let's just say that the musicianship is totally awesome and technically perfect along with the songwriting..every song is different in its own way. I'm taking 1 star off them because the replay value on some of the songs are really slim too none; Labrie's voice annoys me after a while, but if you can stand that this is a great album for anyone who understands and appreciates music.

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Send comments to Stratavarius (BETA) | Report this review (#118056)
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A solid recording of memorable songs performed by a brilliant band still very much in their infancy, "Images and Words" is as fun to listen to as it is important to the bourgeoning prog-metal genre.

Every song is a classic in their library and well written, showcasing the developing talent of the group and demonstrating that they are a cut above their peers. However, early Dream Theater still has much in common with the more conventional metal music of the time, which seems to be where most of the complaints about this album come from. While distinctive, this album's sound is still very straight-ahead metal, and won't please fans who don't appreciate hard-rocking. For those of us who do, Dream Theater is undeniably the best "gateway" band into the world of progressive rock-- and this album will likely hook most who listen.

Great melodies, tremendous solos and instrumental passages, smart writing, and of course the soaring voice of James LaBrie make this one a hallmark from the early genre.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#119206)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Whether this is Dream Theater's best album or not is merely a matter of taste (I'd prefer Awake above this one), but I think this is at least their most historically important one.

Remember that it was only 1992 and Dream Theater's brand of mixing old-fashioned prog melodies (Yes etc.) with modern metal's heaviness (Metallica etc.) in absolute virtuoso fashion (Rush etc.). Progressive metal wasn't completely new anymore but most previous apparences had been closer to the pure metal side.

I&W still contains some almost AOR-songs, a phenomenon that would disappear from their music over the next years. However, the majority of the album is made up from extended heavy tracks with long solos, odd time signatures etc. The best examples of these are Pull me under, Under a glass moon and particularly closer Learning to live. In the mid-tempo section especially Surrounded is very good.

Although my highest enthusiasm with this band has faded out a bit over the years (also on this disc I feel some passages are a bit too clinical and too less music-like), this disc is still a classic.

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Send comments to Casartelli (BETA) | Report this review (#120044)
Posted Saturday, April 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Among the bands they thank are WATCHTOWER, Bruce Dickinson, and as they say in the liner notes "FATEZ WARNING (Jus' kiddin' !!)". They do have a sense of humour. This was such a ground breaking album, not only making this band famous, but at the same time drawing a lot of fans into the Prog genre. Personally I feel this album is far from being one of their best.Yet because of how influential it was I have to respect it. I felt the same way about "Freak Out" by Frank Zappa, and boosted it to 4 stars, because of how innovative it was.

"Pull Me Under" certainly won over a lot of Metal fans and gained them exposure on MTV. The riffs, drums and vocals are all fantastic ! Check out the blazing guitar solo 6 minutes in. "Another Day" opens with some tasteful guitar solos and they come back later.This is a ballad-like tune with lots of Kenny G like sax, and mellow vocals. Don't like it. "Take The Time" just doesn't do it for me either. Too poppy I guess. "Surrounded" starts off sounding like another ballad.Yikes ! Fortunately that changes as the song plays out. "Metropolis-Part I" features some absolutely amazing drumming from Portnoy.This song really shows off the skills of each member of the band. Great song !

"Under A Glass Moon" has some heaviness and the drums are upfront. Some scorching guitar solos as well. "Wait For Sleep" is a ballad with some beautiful piano melodies from Moore. "Learning To Live" is another incredible tune. So many changes in tempo and the riffs, synths and vocals all shine. I was reminded of RUSH when I heard the synths late in the song.

This was DREAM THEATER's second record, and their first with new vocalist James LaBrie. I enjoy the follow up works "A Change Of Seasons" and "Awake" more than this one. I still give this 4 stars because it is an excellent addition to your prog collection. Although I feel this is truly 3.5 stars for the music bumped up to 4 stars for how influential and ground breaking it was.The first song and the last four are amazing tracks.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#121457)
Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the album that really made me listen to Dream Theater and the album that made me like them for real. I remember those three songs that changed my life; "Pull Me Under", "Surrounded" and "Under a Glass Moon". Extremely charming album!

1.Pull Me Under: A great opener and a great song in itself! I love the intro, and the heavy riff, and I just love the firs line that LaBrie sings; "Lost in the sky..." The best about this song is the refrain with the band chanting "Pull me under, pull me under, pull me under, I'm not afraid". Just a great peice of progmetal! Overall: 8/10

2.Another Day: From the beginning I loved this song, but obviously it wasn't as good as many other songs from the album. Lately I've got tired of it, not totaly though! But it's one of the weaker tracks off the album. Overall: 6/10

3.Take The Time: This was a song I discovered very late. But from the moment I first heard it, I loved it, and I love it today. It's a happy and catchy song with many prog elements in it! One of the best songs off the album, and one of the best DT songs! Overall: 9/10

4.Surrounded: I have to admit that I like the live version from "Live at the Marquee" much more! However, this is a good song, one of those three songs that brought Dream Theater into my life, but there are many better songs by DT. Overall: 7/10

5.Metropolis Pt.1 - The Miracle and The Sleeper: I remember when I was a new DT fan. Then this was a song that always seemed to get stuck in my mind. I remember myself singing "As a child, I thought I could live without pain, without sorrow. But as a man, I've found it's all caught up with me. I'm asleep, yet I'm so afraid" in school, over and over again, 'cause I couldn't get those lines out of my mind! This is a great progmetal piece! Overall: 8/10

6.Under a Glass Moon: To me, this is the very highlight of this album! I love anything about this song, and this was the first DT song I brought into my mp3 player a few years ago, when I started to listen to DT. The intro totally overthrew me with feelings, it was magic! This song has been one of my favorite songs since I first started listen to DT, and it is one of my favorites today! Overall: 10/10

7.Wait for Sleep: Bautiful intro and beautiful piano playing! But this just isn't so intresting compared to the other songs on the album, if you ask me. It's a nice piece of music, but there's many better songs. Overall: 6/10

8.Learning To Live: Sometimes, this is one of my favorites, but sometimes it's not. I think it has got all the elements heard on the album, mixed into a nice piece of progrock. Overall: 7/10

Total rating: 7,6/10

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Send comments to thisdyingsoul (BETA) | Report this review (#122821)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I cannot describe this album in any other way than being perfect. The vocals are amazing, with LaBrie giving the vocal performance of his career, especially on Learning to Live. Portnoy's drumming is probably some of the best drumming on an album that I've ever heard, with his subtleties, always changing beats, and constant intricate fills. Petrucci's guitar playing gives off such an inspiring and beautiful sound which separates himself from any other guitar players. Myung is constantly lurking beneath the music, with his bass riffs still being distinctively heard throughout the songs, and has awesome solo parts, such as in Metropolis pt. 1 and Learning to Live. Moore has the least presence on the album, but still adds much, filling in the cracks between all the other parts and giving it all a cohesive sound. I personally cannot get over how great this album is, as it is my second favorite album of all time; and although I can see it not being for everyone, I think everyone should at least give it a fair chance.

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Send comments to l33tp1e (BETA) | Report this review (#124532)
Posted Sunday, June 03, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is probably my favorite Prog Metal album. The songs are just fantastic, with some of the best melodies they have ever done. Take the Time is a very underappriciated gem in the Dream Theater library. Petrucci actualy plays melodically at times as opposed to shredding all of the time. Metropolis is great as well, a song unlike any I have ever heard. It does not have many refrains, but instead progress from great melody to great melody without really ever looking back. The ballads, Another Day and Wait for Sleep, are excellent and show that DT has a more sensitive side too. Essential listening for any Prog fan.

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Send comments to Endless Wire (BETA) | Report this review (#125976)
Posted Saturday, June 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars By far Dream Theater's best album. Heavy, progressive, extremely innovative and technical. This album is certainly the one that pushes DT fans to prefer Kevin Moore over Ruedess...

The album's strong points: - No weak songs nor fillers, like we've seen in some recent albums. - No copies, all fresh and new, straight out of the band's imagination - Perfect musicianship. And by that, I mean that every instrument is exactly where it has to be, Kevin Moore is for me the star of this album, with astonishing solos in Take the Time, and superb arrangements in every song. Portnoy, IMO, will never do as well as he did on this album : inspiring drumming, sometimes very close to the song's lyrics and always in phase with the mood. No overplaying, with superb rythmics. Petrucci.... oh god, at this exact moment, I'm litenning to his solo in Another Day... marvelous, it's one of the rare albums where this great virtuoso doesn't pull endless shredding solos. Brilliant. Labrie always does a good job in studio, and this album suits him well.

Flawless. 5 stars.

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Send comments to mono (BETA) | Report this review (#126923)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The beginning of modern progressive metal lies in "Images & Words, and i have no words to describe such a masterpiece, with all that i'm not a big Dream Theater fan but some of their works appeal more then others. Heavy, progressive, extremely innovative and technical, every musicians as a high level and the result of the compositions are amazing. After When dream and day unite, a misslooked album in many stores around the worl in that period, thay come with the second album and what a change over the first, musicaly speaking. Every instrument is flawless, James LaBrie is in his own here and is clear that the vocal parts are superb. What to add that is a 5 stars album and one of the most important albums in prog genre. All tracks are forte. Although my enthusiasm with this band has faded out a bit over the years, because they released some mediocre albums in the early 2000 but this disc is still a classic and the best they ever done along with Scenes from a memory. 5 stars for sure

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#126980)
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Learning to live

Probably the most important album in the beginning of progressive metal. We can consider to this work as the base of that sub- genre. I&W is a complet album: inspiration, virtuosity, technique, complexity and plainness. Musicians performance is superb.

(1) "Pull me under": the most furious song. And probably, the most 'metal' song too. Besides it became a classic DT's song.(****) (2) "Another day": somebody said: "better ballads come from metal bands". And DT was a great prog-metal band. Then, this ballad is awesome, amazing, beautiful.(****) (3) "Take the time": I knew DT with 'Take the time'. I can remember that moment. It was incredible for me. Suddenly, I found a new universe of prog music. This song is one of the most perfect works of this genre. Counterpoint, solo parts, juxtaposed metters, back voices and musician's performances in general are superlative.(*****) (4) "Surrounded": this strange song is more melodic. It has some pop elements, but also some complex elements like odd metters. Besides, it is an emotive song.(****) (5) "Metropolis pt.1": another excellent work. These guys were very creative in the early 90's. Metropolis pt. 1 was one of the best DT's songs. Here, there is one of the most unforgettable tremolos of progressive metal (bass, guitar and bass-drum). The bass tapping part and the duet following (between guitar and keys) are amazing. This song shows the best face of progressive metal in my opinion.(*****) (6) "Under a glass moon": really a heavy theme with some of 80's remaining influence. But, also there are calm and melodic parts. (*****) (7) "Wait for sleep": an acoustic theme. I really like this song. The piano is really good. Labrie has a great performance like in the complete album.(*****) (8) "Learning to live": the perfect work. For me, the best DT's work. I can't say anything else. Just listen to it. (*****).

Average rating: 4.625 stars. Because of the entire production (quality, innovation, etc.): a masterpiece of prog-rock.

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Send comments to Marcos (BETA) | Report this review (#129303)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Too melodic and Prog respect to its predecessor this "Images And Words". Certainty extreme good but in my opinion not at the same level of "When The Dream And Day Unite". Yes, James La Brie is here... but this is one of few positive facts. But since "Images And Word" is now history and so 3 stars is the least I can give.

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Send comments to Ely78 (BETA) | Report this review (#129380)
Posted Friday, July 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
SoundsofSeasons
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars My favorite of the Dream Theater albums. It just works for me i suppose, i never liked the really hardcore and grundgy stuff, so this lighter and happier Dream Theater is a nice change for me. I also think that every song in the album is great to absolutey mind blowing, like Metropolis Part I. Also I really like James LaBrie's voice in this one, that IS saying something considering he is ALWAYS the cause for at least one less star on Dream Theater albums. His voice is actually soothing in Images and Words and the notes sound pure and fully drawn out, so finally he's caught up with the level of skill of the rest of the band. Of course the funny thing is it was a long downward landslide from there, cause pretty much gotten worse with every album since with few exceptions.

So Images and Words. The landmark album for progressive metal, and rightfully so! Any prog metal fan MUST own this album. Besides them, any prog fan period should be able to find enjoyment from this album, even if you really don't like Dream Theater all that much.

A Masterpiece of Progressive Rock ... and more specifically progressive metal

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Send comments to SoundsofSeasons (BETA) | Report this review (#130014)
Posted Monday, July 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Dim
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This albums rating might be a bit detered beause of my disrespect for speed metal, but there are some songs that are just gut squeezing gross IMO. Songs like Another day, take the time, and Learning to live are drawn out hair metal songs, and Pull me under is not that good either. Some people may ask me why I dont like learning to live, which may be considered the magnum Opus of the album, but the lyrics are just rediculusly dumb, and all the instrumental sections, including fills, solo's and jam sessions, remind me of poison or some other pop group.

The ultimate downfall to this song is the drums! For a prog God like Mike Portney to be so praised for this album disapoints me. His drumming is SO OVERPOWERING, that even the softer parts are ruined, non stop fills and double bass, way to much treble on the kick, and just over all ego, is ruining the songs. Otherwise, I'm very pleased with Petrucci, who is not completely overblown on this album with real slo's and real riffs, well thats up for debate. I dont even want to tap on the whole LaBrie subjest though.

The only two exceptional songs on this album are of course, Metropolis part one, and under a glass moon. Very good musicianship and well thought out lyrics.

2 **

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Send comments to Dim (BETA) | Report this review (#130017)
Posted Monday, July 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here we have one of the most significant progressive rock albums of nineties. This album meant rising of prog metal, and can be considered as historical breakthrough. I consider this record to be symphonic prog album with some dynamical drumming and occasional heavier guitar riffs. Actually I am not huge Dream Theater fan, but I must admit that this music really shines, through almost whole hour, and there are only few elements that made me little bit far from considering this as masterpiece of the genre. First, these are a bit weaker sides of LaBrie's singing style. He sometimes sings more loud and high than he should. His abilities are great in quieter singing. Singing quieter, he sounds astonishing, has got expressive and melodic, emotive voice. What I hate here are voice samples, that sometimes begin before vocals, I think that these samples are not necessary, and do not fit the best, but, thanks God, there are only few of these. And drumming here is awesome, Portnoy's style sometimes sounds like influenced by Neal Peart's, and fits perfectly in music. Keyboards are almost leading instrument in some songs and sound so relaxing and sweat

And here are some moments that impressed me deep: Saxophones in song "Another Day", rhythm guitars in "Metropolis", images of metropolis perfectly showed by instrumentation in same song, lyrics in "Under the Glass Moon", and the best to me is ending guitar riff in "Learning to Live". All in all, I recommend this album to every prog fan. Such albums are rare, and if James LaBrie sung higher notes better, this would be masterpiece to me.

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Send comments to nisandzic (BETA) | Report this review (#131045)
Posted Wednesday, August 01, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here is one of my favorite Dream Theater releases. After Day And Dream Unite, this album shows the band much more matured. Gaining the 80's singer guy vocals of James LaBrie might have been another nail in the coffin, but not so! They are easily overlooked, especially if you are a fan of Glam Metal. Make no mistake about LaBrie; his voice is outstanding.

Overall song writing is strong and very much a worthy offering to the Prog world. The best element of the band is Kevin Moore and his dark writing style. While moody and somber, he knows just when and what to play. Because I write this review after hearing all DT releases through Systematic Chaos, I can say that at this point the band just about sounds their best. The Awake era is the DT at their best. On I&W, the band hasn't yet evolved into the excessive playing mode which would come about during the Rudess era, and still focuses on some more basic song structures, allowing for LaBrie to do what he does best.

The album song order really makes the listening experience great. It starts off with a classic guitar riff. This riff could and should go down as one of the best of all time. Then from Another Day through the heavily Prog Metropolis Part 1 and finishing off with Learning to Live, you are left feeling complete.

Two things I noticed: The beginning of Lifting Shadow's Off a Dream is very much like the intro to Aphrodite's Child - Aegian Sea. Also, I have trouble with the drum sound Portnoy yields. If acoustic drums were used, I think it would add another layer of goodness.

For me, 5/5.

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Send comments to StyLaZyn (BETA) | Report this review (#132297)
Posted Wednesday, August 08, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars An almost automatic five stars. Being a Dream Theater fan for years, it never fails to amaze me how much this album continues to grab me. Sure, after these years I've probalby heard "Pull Me Under" a bit too many times to hear it for what it is (a great album opener), but the rest of the songs included here simply never get boring. "Another Day" features one of Labrie's best vocal performances to date, "Take the Time" is one of the most passionately energetic songs you're going to find, "Metropolis" is a tried and true DT classic (in fact, its ridiculous instrumental midsection is actually welcome here although the band would often fail to recapture the feel of such passages in subsequent albums), "Under a Glass Moon" features one of the most technical but still accessible guitar solos ever performed on a rock album, and I still feel that "Learning to Live" remains one of the band's finest if not best compositions, featuring emotional keys, respectable lyrics (quite rare for a DT album!), masterful seven-string guitar plucking, and a near-perfect musical development to the type of climax that would come to typify DT music.

As there are already hundreds of reviews on this album, I'll cut mine a bit short by simply arguing that IMAGES AND WORDS is quite possibly the band's greatest achievement, especially when considering the fact that it is the band's first de facto work. This album has everything that DT fans would come to expect: great riffs, technical musicianship tamed by passionate melodies, and that "x factor" that I'd be hard-pressed to articulate and that I believe DT-naysayers just don't "get." If you feel the same rush I do when "Surrounded" kicks into gear or when the soaring instrumental passage of "Metropolis" lands perfectly into the chill-inducing conclusion, then you probably know exactly what I'm talking about. There's no doubt that DT has sometimes ventured into the cold realm of self-conscious over-complexity, but there is nothing cold about IMAGES AND WORDS. In many ways, it is DT's most lively work.

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Send comments to The Progmatist (BETA) | Report this review (#132359)
Posted Thursday, August 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ah, the album that revolutionized metal music and inspired masses of metalheads to convert to prog. That's all good and all, it's obvious that "Images and Words" inspired many people to start practicing those guitars that Kirk Hammett inspired them to purchase a year before. But how is the music contained on this revolutionary album? It has some merits, the musicians were young and still practicing their asses off, so this was their peak musically. Kevin Moore created a very engaging harmonic back drop to Petrucci's riffs, and after Moore's departure, this kind of a sound was what the band missed the most. Petrucci's rhythmic style was not too shabby itself, he was still using more than one octave for chords unlike now, and he even added in some "color" notes here and there. I really wonder what has happened since those times. Portnoy's drum sound is.......cheesy. In fact that's probably the most accurate way to describe this album using one word: cheese. From those syrupy smooth bends, to the high feminine voice and the undynamic reverb-heavy snare sound. There is even a sax solo in the style of Kenny G. for a good measure. A fairly enjoyable piece of dated cheese is how I look at this album strictly musically.

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Send comments to Salviaal (BETA) | Report this review (#132602)
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5/5 actually !

The first DT album I bought and the second I heard. (The first being their debut album which wasn't all that good if I recall correctly.) I donät really have much to say about this album. The Musicianship is tight and professional, the playing doesn't get that self indulgentic here as it does on some DT albums and on their live performances. All of the songs are above good, but then again none of them is orgastic enough to make me give this album the full five stars. My favourites must be the two softer ones, "Another Day" and "Wait for Sleep" along with the album closer "Learning to Live". I like their earlier albums more than the latter ones, mainly because of the abscence of Kevin Moore. His playing is much more warmer and inspired to my ears, compared to Jordan Rudess, who playing is a bit, well sterile. If you are into metal you should buy this, if you are into prog, you PROPABLY should buy this and if you are in to prog Metal you already have this.

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Send comments to Wutu Banale (BETA) | Report this review (#133603)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Can you believe “Pull Me Under” was a huge MTV hit?..

Yes, it was! With “Images and Words” DT proved that they aren’t another one-shot wonder, they’re alive and doing well! Touching “Another Day” ballad was another top song, and amazing 9-min long epic “Metropolis” not only became an encore favourite till now but an introduction to another story…Band sounded extremely well, complex, but never too bombastic and over- technical, sometimes balancing on cheesy Neo sound ;). “Images and Words” as well as “Hybris” on the other side of Atlantic (but with a lesser success) proved that Progressive Rock hasn’t died yet – no place for flowers, let it live! I remember the first time I borrowed this one along with “Awake” and SFAM from my daddy’s friend 5 years ago. I’ve got used to them pretty quickly and wanted more of that kind. He-he, I didn’t know at that moment that I already had listened to DT’s best albums!!!

Best tracks: “Pull me Under”, “Take the Time”, “Metropolis”, “Wait for Sleep/Learning to Live”

Best moments: “Pull Me Under” coda, mid-part in “Metropolis”, final part of “Learning to Live”

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#134155)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Such a wild opening number provides sufficient hints about the extreme power of this band. Unmatched, I guess. The lead vocalist has changed, but unlike other reviewers I quite liked Charles Dominici on the first album. Of course, James is great. But Charles was very good as well.

What makes Dream Theater really different from other metal bands, is there ability to switch from the most violent theme to a beautiful rock ballad. This is the contrast between "Pull Me Under" and "Another Day". Quite different, these songs. But even "Pull..." has its melodic instants but it will be for this impressed wall of sound that this number is fascinating. The second best of the album.

"Take The Time" is also an amazing song. It changes drammatically from mood after half time, when the band starts with these crazy beats and great guitar play. These are to knock you down. The same sort of paradox will lead us to "Surrounded". Another rock ballad like the band has the secret for. Of course, this won't be a soft ballad. The beat again will speed up and generate a great rock song. LaBrie will show all of his talent in this song : soft voice (almost croony) in the first part and high-pitched and so typical in the second one. And a tranquil finale to cool down.

The introduction of "Metropolis" is an experience that each of you would need to go through. The rhythmic section is just outstanding. Listen to this drumming ! And the so special sound of Portnoy drum kit. Still, I am not too much over-enthusiast about this number. Too much alike. Only the final part really kicks me.

Once "Under a Glass Moon" arrives, the same feeling I had during their first album strikes again : this is a bit too much of the same music. The short "Wait For Sleep" breeaks this feeling. An acoustic moment to interrupt the wildness available from track one.

The closing number is the longest song from this album. It is also a different song. Very well constructed, I must say. Almost sweet (by Dream Theater standards) and long intro with a passionate LaBrie. Little by little the tempo catches up and the heavy metal riffs get in after three minutes. As a nice flow, actually. This is the most elaborate song of the album and also my fave. Probably for this reason. The most "prog" song from this album. The closing part is gorgeous.

As far as progresiveness is concerned I think that LaBrie said once that Dream theater was a metal band with some prog elements. I guess that this is the best definition of their music. Nonetheless, this is another good album from the band. Three stars (although "Learning To Live" deserves five).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#137902)
Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The album starts with their classic Pull me under. It's the song they play (almost) every concert. A compelling song that brings you right in the mood. The second is Another day, probably the best ballad they ever made. It's followed by Take the time, another great progmetalsong. The next is another ballad: Surrounded, good but less than Another day The 5th is Metropolis, the song I noticed becoming more and more popular over the years both with the band as with the fans and rightly so ! Under a glass moon is a good song but compared with the others one of the lesser. Wait for sleep is a short ballad, a nice in between. The last is my favourite: Learning to live. The most progressive of this album and the best composition.

A prog metal classic of the highest order, have to give it 5. (4.75)

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#139261)
Posted Thursday, September 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The perfect prog metal album? Yes.

That statement might need rationalising so... here goes...

Dream Theater are easily one of the finest assembled groups of musicians in existence today. Mike Portnoy's up there with Peart as one of the world's greatest drummers, Petrucci is a guitar marvel and would make many of his peers blush. Myung is an underapreciated bass virtuoso, and it's a shame he's not put to more use in the band's music. While DT have gone through several changes in the keyboard department, at this point it was the great Kevin Moore, my personal favourite DT keyboardist. And of course, when LaBrie wants to, he can really sing, and this album showcases some of his best vocal performances (unlike the highly overrated SFAM).

The first song is the ultra-catchy 'Pull Me Under', which, at first glance could be considered a commercial song of sorts, but closer inspection will reveal it to be anything but straightforward. A great song with some of the best lyrics on the album. 'Another Day' may seem like a pretty weak ballad at first glance, but once the sax kicks in it reveals itself to be a beautiful piece of music. Not prog, but great nonetheless. Now it's time for 'Take the Time', in my opinion Dream Theater's best song (although ACOS and Home are pretty close). From the atmospheric introduction, to the ever-changing verses, the soaring chorus, and the mind blowing guitar solo. Every member of the band is on top form here, and is probably includes the best vocals DT have ever come up with, along with some of the best drumming, guitar etc.... I love this song. 'Surrounded' is the next song, an uplifting little number, with some very nice vocal and keyboard melodies. Not as good as other parts of the album, but still very fitting.

Now cue the mighty 'Metropolis part 1'. This is another highlight of the album, and another great showcase of all the band's abilities. This is the track where Myung gets his moment, with an absolutely amazing double handed tapping bass solo. Being a bassist, this is one of my favourite DT moments. Also the concept would lead to the band creating their most popular piece of work to date. Next up is 'Under a Glass Moon', my least favourite track here, but by no means bad. It really shows the band's heavy metal influences, especially Metallica (it's more obvious in their later work that this band is very influential to Dream Theater). It is the only song here that's based around a truly heavy riff, and also includes some of Petrucci's best soloing. I don't really think it fits in that well with the uplifting feel of the album, but it adds variety to the record.

Now it's time for the keyboard driven interlude 'Wait for Sleep', a track which is good in the context of the album, but is maybe the only song that doesn't stand up on its own. Very catchy melody though, and some great lyrics. And now we have yet another great song: 'Learning to Live'. The longest song on this album, and also the most prog I think. Very keyboard driven, you must really listen to this to understand how great it is. This one will apeal to non-metal fans as well, because it's not really a metal song.

Well overall I have to say that I am surprised that this hasn't got a higher rating on this sight, as it is far superior to Scenes from a Memory, but I am aware that there are many DT haters out there and I would urge them to really listen to this album before they rate it based on their prejudices against the band.

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Send comments to burtonrulez (BETA) | Report this review (#141434)
Posted Tuesday, October 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It´s not easy to talk about an album that really started a whole new genre. Ok, there were other bands before that started the mix of metal and progressive, and it goes as early as the 70´s (like Kansas in Point Of Known Return) or the 80´s (Iron Maiden´s Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son), but clearly they were eithera Prog band with some heavier moments (Kansas) or a metal band that has a prog influence (Iron Maiden). Dream Theater on the other side was hard to label.

Images and Words was the first real album to be called prog metal because that what it really was. The formula, no matter how many groups before had laid the basic foundations (Queensryche, Fates Warning, etc>) has finally reached a point were you could no longer consider it prog or metal. It was both. A new genre was born. And this album is its most perfect exemple, even by today´s standards. It was a great feat, specially if you remember It was only Dream Theater´s second release (and the first with the great James LaBrie on vocals).

I won´t go track by track on this album, because this is the kind of CD you have to hear to believe (but, please, with no prejudice!). From beginning to end a perfect album that many bands try their whole career to record to no avail. Everything works here: the musicanship is perfect, the songwriting is superb and the production is absolute amazing. Never again Dream Theater would reach such perfction that included simplicity, melody, skills, technique, inspiration, delicacy, energy and guts. So what? Even if they had broken up after this one, they´d had made their names in the prog music history. And, believe me, they did quite few albums after Images And Words (some even excellent like Metropolis). But their sophmore release was truly their finest hour ever.

One of the few albums that stabilished a new era in prog music. An absolute classic. And a must have for any proghead that does not limit himself to traditional 70´s symphonic sound.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#143050)
Posted Tuesday, October 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars After having debuted with a great album, Dream Theater change their vocal and record Images and Words in 1992. This time things not only sound different, but they sound better. If "When Day and Dream Unite" had a NWoNHM root, this one focuses more on glam metal and turns into true progressive metal. At first i wanted to write a complex review but i quickly changed my mind because the music here speaks for it's self. I would like, though, to put emphasis on the fact that in spite of not being very complex, it has a lot of feeling and and the interpretation is very good. The first song is one of Dream Theater's greatest hits:"Pull Me Under" is one of those tracks that simply flies away. It has a lot of acoustic elements that provides the sound with a atmospheric reverie on top of which James LaBrie performs one of the best vocals i have ever heard. Just as all the other songs of this album (except "Wait for Sleep") "Pull me Under" has a very fast and technical guitar solo. "Another Day" is another big hit which has a blues structure with some very nice instrumentation that turns to jazz there and there. The slower it gets the better the music becomes - this is not typical for metal at all. "Take the Time" is a sophisticated song with "chit-chatting" vocals and some great bass/guitar collaboration. The rhythm section is directed by Mike Portnoy and it's excellent, especially when they switch to ballad and then turn the rhythm around breaking the musical order and crushing into "cruel" metal. "Surrounded" is a song that surrounds the listener with unpredictable and fast keyboard and guitar notes. It's very progressive! Although it is a very good track as well, "Metropolis - Part I" doesn't really exacerbate me as the others do. Perhaps the most notable aspect of this song is it's melodic part. Under a Glass Moon has certain things in commune with "Pull Me Under" only this one is more profound and , in spite being faster, it's not as aggressive. "Wait for Sleep" and "Learning to Live" are representative for the entire Dream Theater discography: creative, fast, susceptible, classical and modern, clean and distorted. In conclusion, this album contains only hits. And it's greatest lies in the fact that it manages to satisfy both sophisticated progressive rock fans and simple music listeners.

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Send comments to Zarec (BETA) | Report this review (#148343)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is still my favorite Dream Theater album. When ever I am feeling down or I need to lift my spirit I can put on Images and Words and I´m feeling fine. This is after all these years still one of my favorite albums of all time. Don´t be shocked when I will call this a progressive masterpiece and give it 5 stars.

This was my first meeting with progressive metal ( the softer style, I had listened to Atheist before this) and I was in awe but at the same time I was confused as James Labrie was a little to pop/metal for me at the time. But after many listens, I fell in love with Dream Theater and I played this album over and over again. This album never gets old on me and I can always find new things I haven´t heard before.

Dream Theater´s music is a mix of many genres from Thrash to Pop and everything in between, but it is all blended together to make that signature Dream Theater sound.

There is not one note on this album that is not godly and allthough you can hear easily some of their sources of inspiration ( Rush, Queensryche, Kansas and others) it´s not copying.

I remember being awe strucken by the fact that these guys had such a high musical standard, and me and my pals idolised them like the teenagers we were. But to this day I still haven´t found any other album were I enjoy the high standard so much.

The production is rather special and in particular the drums sound like they are half electric which might be the case. But I find it perfectly suiting for the music.

This album has what I think many of the later Dream Theater albums lack: Lots of melody and controlled comlex playing that is complex yes but melody is never sacrificed. This is partly because of Kevin Moore´s presence in Dream Theater. I love his keyboard playing as it is so soft for the ears, very pop like ( Comlex Pop.

I can only say that if you haven´t heard this one yet, go buy now, leave your wife and children, but you have to have this album. It is a masterpiece.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#149861)
Posted Saturday, November 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Whilst undoubtedly very important in the history of prog metal, I would struggle to give this the title 'classic', due to much the same reasons that I have doubts about any potential stand-alone greatness of other DT albums. The problem is this: There are songs here that the album would be better without; songs that decrease the consistancy of it; make it worse. The culprits: Another day, and Surrounded, the two shortest songs in the album. (Wait for sleep being less of a song, more of a prelude to Learning to live) Interestingly, DT's questionable policy of placing songs on their albums that should not necessarily be there has continued up until the present day, with rubbish like Prophets of war appearing on Systematic chaos. Oh well. Gripes over, those songs not included this album is a stunner. The opener, Pull me under, may have worn somewhat with overplay, but when that is taken out of consideration, it is as good a commercial song as the genre has produced. Take the time, when one ignores THE MOST EMBARRASSING VIDEO IN MUSICAL HISTORY, and when one focuses on the awesome instrumental section (a hint of what was to come), is vey rewarding to the listener. Then, Metropolis part 1, which is an undeniably canonical piece, especially when Metropolis pt 2 is taken into consideration, and includes the mental un-timable 12/8-but-not-really section, which must be heard by all musicians even vaguely interested in technical excersises. A song that is superb from beginning to end. Under a glass moon is amazing the first time you hear it, but does wear a little; however, that is only by comparison to the pieces around it. Then, Wait for sleep/Learning to live, which is good of a piece as Prog metal had in '92. In conclusion, brilliance marred only by a strange inabilty to excise the weaker songs from the album.

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Send comments to La fraisne (BETA) | Report this review (#150976)
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater has not been getting enough respect on the Archives of late. It's not right when Areyon and Pain of Salvation are higher on a Prog Metal list than Dream Theater. Prog aside, this is one of the greatest metal albums ever. The riffs and melodies are very memorable and the soloing is some of the most impressive ever recorded. Pull Me Under is a classic and has some great melodies and the lyrics are epic, probably the best track on the album. Another Day is a super corny ballad that has this great saxaphone solo from the Spyro Gyra guy. Take the Time is another great song, almost as good as Pull Me Under and again has very memorable parts. Metropolois is an epic song for sure. The beginning has one of the most epic keyboard melodies of all time and the track does get overly-complex at times, but it has more than enough great parts to make up for it. Under a Glass Moon has one of the most insane guitar solos ever. The solo is very impressive of course, but it's also very catchy, with some jazziness to it. Learning to Live is another good track. What I remember most about it is the acoustic guitar solo in the middle of it; beautiful. This is truly one of the greatest prog metal albums and essential to anyone interested in the genre.

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Send comments to King Crimson776 (BETA) | Report this review (#151927)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Dream Theater - Images and Words 5.0 stars

Incredible, stunning, brilliance, nirvana.these words are not strong enough to describe the power of this album. These songs were written during one of Dream Theater's toughest times where they attempted to hold down full-time jobs and do what they love most, to make music. Their dilemma was that they were more or less forced to work in basements and yet they were able to craft this masterpiece. The songs really came from the heart on this album and they gave it everything they had.and succeeded. Charlie Dominici was removed from being the vocalist for Dream Theater and James LaBrie stepped in. James was able to do what Charlie couldn't.sing higher and use his range to the max. All the songs were written as instrumentals before James came aboard. This album has what a listener should always want.the rockers and the epics.

'Pull Me Under' is the first song on the album that was a huge hit although it was not regarded as the best by the prog community. It's has a wonderful intro with some nice metal riffs in the verse and some clean ones in the chorus. Unlike the first album.the drum work by Mike Portnoy has drastically changed for the better.

'Another Day' is a wonderful ballad. The track starts off with a clean acoustic guitar and piano duet, followed by a short but powerful guitar solo. The song is slow and also features a saxophone.it was very nice to hear Dream Theater do something experimental but they have unfortunately stopped this practice for the majority of their career following, The symphonic work on the synth is great throughout the song. You will also get a real good treat from Petrucci, the guitar solo is stellar.

'Take the Time' is another interesting track. It begins with a cool intro with an awesome solo by Moore. Right after that the song gets into a real 'funky' vibe. To me, this is Dream Theater's first true 'progressive' song. I can't really describe this track as it reached tons of boundaries and word would only do it injustice. You can hear the Yes, Metallica, their own signature sound and everything in between. This ends with another incredible guitar solo that fades right out (why???).

'Surrounded' is probably one of my favorite tracks by Dream Theater. Ironically this one is regarded as just filler by a lot of people. The track begins with a very symphonic intro by Moore and pleasant singing by Labrie.and explodes into a full Rush inspired rocker! The song just kicks ass and has one of the best Petrucci solos.

'Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper' is a fan favorite. I'll have to admit the song has worn off on me, but that could be because I spent a while learning it on my guitar.a long while. Anyway, the instrumentals are very powerful in this piece. The drumming is bombastic and you'll get two great guitar/keyboard solo's that are then followed by an intense build-up to the outro.

'Under a Glass Moon' is another great rocker track. It sounds like a mix of most of the previous tracks on this album, which isn't a bad thing at all. What stands out the most is the guitar solo. It is by far one of Petrucci's most 'virtuosic' solos. I still can't understand how he does it.

'Wait for Sleep/Learning to Live' are complimentary pieces. 'Wait for Sleep' has one of my favorite keyboard intro's of all time. very pleasing to the ears. It is the only voice and piano duet but still holds its ground as an outstanding track on the album. 'Learning to Live' is a nice 11+ minute epic. The pace is everywhere too.it's slow and melodic at parts, then fast and mind-blowing so at others. You'll get some of the best guitar and keyboard solos ever.then it just cuts back to the 'Wait for Sleep' keyboard line and then brought right back into the song in the direction it was originally going. An extremely well thought- out song, if I may say so.

I'd have to tip my hat off to Dream Theater with this album, it was a beautiful experience and still well over a decade after its release it still sounds as fresh as ever. Dream Theater is at their best here and Images and Words is my most recommended album by them. Next to 'Close to the Edge', this is my favorite album of all time. They damn well deserve it too. 5 stars.

Sources - "Score" DVD and dreamtheater.net biography.

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Send comments to ProgBagel (BETA) | Report this review (#154423)
Posted Wednesday, December 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tapfret
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Prog-metal standard

Sub-genre: Progressive Metal (strong fit)
For Fans of: Fates Warning, Queensryche, Metallica
Vocal Style: Hair metal vibrato galore
Guitar Style: Crunchy distortion power chord mayhem with speed picked solos.
Keyboard Style: Multi-synth patch and midi-piano
Percussion Style: Metal set, lots of double bass. Occasional funky flurries
Bass Style: Standard metal picked
Other Instruments: None

Summary: Dream Theater's second LP introduces several new things for the band. The most prominent is the addition of rangy, wailing vocalist James LaBrie. Rangy may be a bit to flattering as anything below a high-mid-range seems to escape Labrie's grasp. Also obvious was the huge improvement in recording quality over their debut,When Dream and Day Unite. These two elements had the trickle down effect of allowing the band to explore a more contrasting lighter sound. This in turn created a more "radio friendly" gateway to the album and the first nationwide airplay with Pull Me Under, and soon after Take the Time. It also opened the door to what I refer to as the "cheese variable", when bands try to balance a falsely perceived technical coldness with formulaic pseudo-emotion, as exemplified by the yawners Another Day and Surrounded. The latter of these two songs has much to offer in instrumental proficiency, but goes way overboard with syrupy themes, while the former is really nothing more than a hair metal ballad. They were harbingers of material to be released in later, less enjoyable releases.

On the other hand, the album contained 4 brilliant pieces, Metropolis - Pt.1, Under a Glass Moon, Waiting for Sleep/Learning to Live, and the aforementioned Take the Time. Each had the meat and potatoes of strong metal sound, technical tenacity and progressive structure and ideology of '70's greats like Yes and ELP. Metropolis - Pt.1 was most certainly the most important of these as it was the forbearer of their masterpiece album, Scenes from a Memory.

Final Score: This is an undeniably important album in the evolution of prog-metal, for better or worse. This album is at the apex of tech/extreme, trash metal, progressive rock and hair metal. Through much of the 90's it was the litmus test by which other progressive-metal was measured. The sub-genre gained a semi-mainstream voice (unless of course you bought into the Queensryche thing). It is, whoever, separated from masterpiece status by a couple of slices of cheese. 4 stars

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Send comments to Tapfret (BETA) | Report this review (#155114)
Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another one of Dream Theater's great albums. I decided to purchase it after my friend Graham, a fellow Dream Theater fan, suggested this album after I fell in love with Metropolis Pt. 2, Scenes from a Memory. In it's overall sound, it seems somewhat of an intermediate between the pop-driven hair metal and grungy thrash metal of the day - put progressive. It was without a doubt a ground-breaking album for progressive metal and launched Dream Theater as it's forefront runner in the 90's, and gave progressive metal something to relate to. When you consider that the only even moderately well known "progressive" metal bands around at that time were Queensryche and Fates Warning, you can see my point. The music itself is very well composed, especially for it's time. The first half is made up of shorter, less proggy though very well written songs including the only metal song I have heard so far to include a Saxophone. The second half has longer songs (besides Wait for Sleep of course), each of which is very progressive and creative, with a complex quality that never lets up. It is great considering it's only the band's second album, and the overall playing ability and song-craft is superb. I would name a few highlights of the album, but an album such as this has every song as a highlight except perhaps Under A Glass Moon, which is still a really good song. I can't seem to make up my mind on whether to give this a four or five, but I guess I'll give it the former as to reserve my fives for the few better albums out there. All in all I rate it a 4.5 out of 5, an excellent album, if not a masterpiece and I recommend it to anyone who wants to give progressive metal a try.

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Send comments to Draith (BETA) | Report this review (#155866)
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Metropolis found

Released some 3 years after their debut, Images and words is Dream Theater's second studio album. In the intervening period, original lead vocalist Charlie Dominici was sacked in 1989 after a gig in New York opening for Marillion. Steve Stone was brought in as his replacement, but his stay was very brief and did not include any studio time. James LaBrie, the band's current vocalist, was then recruited for the recording of this album, the rest of the line up being unchanged.

The album opens with one of the band's strongest and most popular numbers, Pull me under, a perhaps surprising hit single in some territories. LaBrie's now familiar vocals immediately sound totally at home in the Dream Theater environment. There is a strong Iron Maiden feel to some of the passages, but instrumentally, Dream Theater tend to add an extra dimension to their music.

Another day was another single from the album. This is really an AOR melodic rock piece, complete with some fine soprano sax. The song may not suit the dedicated prog metal fans with its symphonic instrumentation, but for me it is one of the finest things they have ever done.

Take the time is the first of several less impressive songs. This rather rambling, directionless number is not actually bad, it just fails to make any great impression. Under a glass moon is another example of this.

Surrounded begins as another softer track, the second in four tracks, with some tasteful guitar and vocals. Even when it becomes a more orthodox Dream Theater piece, it retains something of a reflective feel. Wait for sleep maintains the melancholy, reflective atmosphere which prevails for a surprisingly significant proportion of the album.

The centre piece of the album is Metropolis - Part 1, The miracle and the sleeper. This is of course the reason why the subsequent album is called part 2, something which puzzles those unfamiliar with the band, who seek an album called part 1. The heavy riffing and solid rhythm section cannot disguise what is for me another rather rambling track, which jumps around from theme to theme, but lacks depth. Learning to live is a similar track of considerable length which appears to offer all the right ingredients, but flatters to deceive.

In all, a decent album when we bear in mind that the band was still in its early days. For me, there are too many tracks which are unfocussed for this to be any sort of classic, but there are a few which make it a worthwhile listen.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#156640)
Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album simply changed my life. The first time I listen to this masterpiece I was blown away. Excellent songwriting and incredible musicians came up with this 8 track album without any weak points. Beeing a keyboard player I find Kevin Moore's work here amazing. Every little thing he does is perfect.

Every progressive metal fan should have this record in his collection.

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Send comments to JPKalvo (BETA) | Report this review (#157727)
Posted Saturday, January 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Wow... what a fantastic album. Also qualifies for a great rock album as well as a piece of progressive genius. The highlights of the album are by far Pull Me Under, Take The Time, Metropolis Pt. 1, Waiting for Sleep and Learning to Live (LtL being my very favourite). Surrounded and Under a Glass Moon are average to good and Another Day is a typically good piece of cheese that is only really enjoyable for the first 5 listens.

Musicians wise, I think that Petrucci and Moore and Myung are at their peak, while Portnoy and LaBrie have yet to reach their's in the later albums Awake and Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. Petrucci for his work in Pull Me Under and Learning to Live, Moore for his work in Waiting for Sleep and LtL and Myung for his fantastic bass playing in Metropolis. All round however, stunning musicianship.

Overall scores:

1. Pull Me Under - 9/10 2. Another Day - 6/10 3. Take The Time - 8/10 4. Surrounded - 7/10 5. Metropolis - 10/10 6. Under a Glass Moon - 7/10 7. Waiting for Sleep - 9/10 8. Learning to Live - 10/10

[b]4.25/5[/b]

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Send comments to The Pessimist (BETA) | Report this review (#157757)
Posted Saturday, January 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars DT at it's best

There is a good reason why Images And Words is Dream Theater's propably most succesfull record. It has same same time great depth and great catchiness that almost all other DT-records lack (Scenes from a Memory and Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence get close). Many people think that The absence of Keyboardist Kevin Moore might cause their averageness but i strongly doubt it, there must be some other reasons why DT never achieved anything this great since Images And Words.

Few words about the songs. Opening track is the hit single Pull Me Under wich main riff sounds a bit like Metallica (or does it, i'm not sure...) and it sounds very much like a typical single track and the band hasn't clearly attempted anything very ambitious, but it's still quite nice, with especially fine chorus. The second track, Another Day is pretty average 80's pop-ballad, but after that the record really kicks in. Third track, Take The Time is absolutely great, nearly ingenious song that just makes you happy, James LaBries vocals are simply great compared, for example, to the latest album. Record continues with Surrounded, yet another great uplifting track. You might call the keyboard chords at the beginnig a bit cheesy (i do, at least) but it can be forgiven since the rest of the song is so amazing. The next track, Metropolis has one of the finest Hard rock-riffs ever written and a considerably crazy solo- section. Some 80's hair-metal fans might enjoy Metropolis as much as some prog enthusiast and that's quite an achievment. My favorite DT-song is without a question Under A Glass Moon, which follows Metropolis. It has power metal-, space rock- and prog- elements in a perfect balance and the guitar solo is propably John Petrucci's best. His playing is usually clinic and rather boring but in Glass Moon he manages to get some groove in his playing though the solo consists mostly of shredding. Following tracks Wait For Sleep and Learning to Live form an entirety that closes the album greatly.

Definitely recommended to all progfans.

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Send comments to delirium (BETA) | Report this review (#157838)
Posted Saturday, January 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is my main musical influence...I think this one is far better than every thing else in the world... I place this to be the number one in my collection and I am pretty sure it will stay there forever... Everything about this album is perfect...The ideas,the sounds,the melodies,the vocal lines,the production, every thing is perfect... I am a huge fan of Kevin Moore and in this album he is at his best inspiration moments... I thank Dream Theater for making this album and giving all of us the opportunity to have it... It has changed my life...

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Send comments to Silentmanww (BETA) | Report this review (#158237)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
JLocke
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is Dream Theater's debut album. No, not their very first record ever released, but certainly the one that got them recognized by the general pubkic. The first single of the album, ''Pull Me Under'', became a huge success literaly overnight, and the five young men were launched into heavy touring, numerous record sales, and the first group of an ever-growing, dedicated fan base. Fast-forward to now, and you can see the many different directions the band has gone since this album, yet many of the Prog Metal die-hards out there still consider this to be Dream Theater's most influencial and crucial album to the genre as a whole. So, the question is, what makes this album so special? Furthermore, does it live up to all of the hype? In my view: yes, it does. This album is certainly good even now when compared to the five-piece's later efforts, and while it is still debatable as to whether or not it is their best, who can deny that it is the album that put Prog Metal into the forefront of the public for a whole new generation to discover?

''Pull Me Under'' is the album's opening track, and despite its length (over eight minutes), was the song that started it all for the DT boys in terms of fame and fortune. Unfortunately, it would be the only single and/or music video to really make it big for them for many years to follow. It begins with a very airy, almost surrealistic guitar riff provided by John Petrucci, and is soon accompanied by Kevin Moore's psychedelic keyboard sounds. The song continues to build, and after a short while, the distorted guitars come in full force, playing a truly metal riff, and Mike Portnoy then reveals his echoing, powerfull drumming for the first time on the record. Things go on like this for a little while longer, and already it is apparent to anyone with a half-decent ear for music that these guys are a very tight act, with some of the cleanest, most exact accuracy a metal band has ever displayed. The guitars are indeed distorted, yet you can still hear distingtively what chords he is playing without struggle, and then we hear James LaBrie's vocals for the first time ever in DT history, and let me say that this man can sing! I know many people have complained about his voice, but as far as I am concerned, he is the best Prog Metal vocalist of this generation (before and AFTER his vocal rupture, by the way). John Petrucci's solos on this song are very tasteful and don't go on too long at all. The music found on this entry really feels like it has a point, and instead of just being a really good technically-proficient act, Dream Theater proves on this album that they were, at least at one point, true ARTISTS, because everything on this song, and all the songs to follow, feels like it has a purpous for being there, rather than simply being drawn out to pass the time. The choruses here certainly aren't the strongest in their career, but the song is good enough to stand on it's own as a heavy rocker, without being considered a 'progressive' song, exactly.

''Another Day'' is a very mellow power-ballad, basically. Nothing wrong with it, really. In fact, it's quite nice, but the only thing really progressive about it I suppose is that it is suprisingly soft and maybe a little too 'pretty' for most traditional metal releases, but since this is prog metal, it doesn't seem out of place. The sax work on it is also very colorfull. The keyboards are also there to give the song some majestic orchestra work, and unlike what the keyboards would do later in Dream Theater's career, they simply create an atmosphere and aren't too out in front. This is almost surely do to Kevin Moore's inclusion in the band at this point, as the real key 'wizard' was one Jorden Rudess, who would not join the band until three albums later. Moore does a very good job of keeping the over-the-top nature of his instrument to a minimum, and while apparently the Dream Theater guys didn't like that, I find it much more fitting for them, since they already have a virtuoso amongst them with John Petrucci. Two of the same breed sometimes makes the music seem too busy, but luckily, since they had a much more reserved keyboardist on this album, the mood isn't lost. Great track.

''Take the Time'' Is the first real exhibition of the band members' playing capability, but once again, nothing seems to get too out of hand, and even the really fast virtuostic work fits within the context of the song as a whole. I rather like ther song's opening, which starts out with John Myung's short but sweet bass hits, then Kevin Moore's sounds compliment the odd time signature before the entire band comes blazing in. James LaBrie's voice on this song is especially nice, and he sings some of the best melodies on the record. There is a musical interlude, which features Moore's real first moment of fast- playing, and he keeps it tasteful, with an actual tune accomyning it, and not just mindless wankery of scales being played over and over at lightning speed. Following that, Petrucci breaks out some really great guitar rhythms that get stuck in my head for a long while after I listen to this track without fail. The song quiets down, but then comes back for one last burst of energy, bringing out the lyrics ''Find all you need in your mind, if you take the time!'' Petrucci then plays his fastest solo yet, but it still rocks without seeming like soulless speed-playing.

''Surrounded'' is the album's softest, and most beautiful song. Clean piano work backs singer LaBrie, starting slowly at first, then slowly picking up the pace, which introduces a very beautiful guitar melody plays artfully by Petrucci. ''Let light surround me'' James sings as his musicians produce incredibly moving music all around him. This song isn't much longer than it's mellow predecessor, and clocks it at a nice five minutes and thirty seconds.

''Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper'' is the only track on the album who's storyline is actually a 'theme' in the traditional prog sense, although I'm not too sure how much about it even the band members themselves knew at the time. It would be fully realized in the form of a complete full-length album later on in their career, SCENES FROM A MEMORY, but I will review that album at a later time. All you need to know at this point is this . . . the song is epic. Truly. However, I personally think the odd time sigs and unconventional lyrical structure is a bit too frequesnt in this particular track, and as a result always have a difficult time sitting through it all. That could change over time, though, as each time I listen to it, I appeciate it a bit more. (This is most likely due to the fact that I now know the full story from listening to the SCENES album, so can now understand this track better). Some things to note: okay, well, John Myung plays a very good bass solo in this song, and it is often referred to in high regard by the bass player proggers out there, and with good reason. Also, a really cool rhythm introduced here near 06:26 into the song that is reprised later on the SCENES FROM A MEMORY album. Well, others are as well, but that rhythm in particular always jumped out at me as particularly unusual and interesting. This song does tend to go on a little too long in my honest opinion, and this is really the closest to the later, more pompous Dream Theater stuf the album ever gets, but you can definately where the band is headed at this point in their career, and it only got more ridiculous and frilly as the album progressed. Overall, though, this is a very nice track, and if you like that kind of thing, then maybe later Dream Theater is right for you; it just doesn't always suit me particularly well.

''Under a Glass Moon'' - Really nice track, I like this track alot. Enough fast stuff to satisfy the elitists, but enough good old fasioned rhythm and beat to satisfy more straightforward metal fans. Myself leaning more toward the latter of the two forementioned groups of listeners, this is heaven for me to listen to. There is even some clean guitar work to be found here, which mixes things up a bit. Usually I have found with this band, it's either one or the other, so when a song has both soft and heavy in it, I am particularly pleased. At the four minute mark, the song becomes a battle between guitar and keyboard, resulting in a very head-boppy beat that always makes me smile. Petrucci not long afterward breaks into a really dreamy solo that once again shows that he is capable of more true artistic expression than he seems. I just wish he would do more real music playing like this nowadays.

''Wait For Sleep'' is pretty much an intro for the following track, ''Learning to Live'', but still has enough unique aspects to be talked about as a seperate track. Well, the piano playing is supurp here, and LaBrie's singing is top-notch as usual, with some really atmospheric strings being thrown in for good measure. Really moving song. Also the shortest track on this album, finishing up at only two minutes and thirty-one seconds.

''Learning to Live'' - Forget 'Metropolis''; THIS is the epic track on the album, taking so many interesting turns that it was what made me a Dream Theater fan. It was the first song by them I ever heard, and my jaw dropped when I first heard it, and it is still my personal favorite song of theirs. It begins with some epic keyboard work from Moore, then Portnoy comes in, and soon the entire band comes in stronger than ever. Everything here is very consise, and I get the feeling that this was the track the band worked hardest on to get 'right', but I could be very wrong about it. Whatever the circumstances, this song has the best vocals, melody, instrumentation, and lyrics. It's a true shame that John Myung no longer writes lyrics for the band, because he is by far the best at it out of the group. Truly a poet. I will give you a hint what this song is about: this causes everyday lives of people to completely turn on them, and ultimately becomes very cruel at times. The subject matter here is unusually deep for this type of band, but then again, Dream Theater would prove later on that they weren't just about the bright, sunny side of metal, and could crank out the heaviest riffs imaginable as well. Not on this record, however.

Once the first real shifting of gears takes place, we are treated to once again some truly beautiful guitar work from Petrucci, first playing very mexican-style diddies, then becoming almost a force of his own, building up the epic feel of the song. What happens next still gives me chills to this day: James LaBrie delivers his finest vocal performance ever, followed by John Petrucci's greatest guitar solo I have ever heard, and it always fills me with hope and pleasure as I listen to it. It is a true shame that (in my view) neither one of these men ever quite got to that point ever again, but at least they did get there at some point, for had they not, many people would have been missing out on one of prog metal's finest hours. The song once again dies down, and Myung delivers yet another great bass solo, leading up to the final encore of the song, which has Petrucci playing some truly haunting riffs on his guitar, while LaBrie sings open notes in the background. This continues, along with Portnoy's mammoth drumming, as the song fades out, concluding the album.

Please keep in mind that everything I have gone over in this review is merely a quick observation, and by no means gives away all of the goodies that are awaiting to be discovered on this truly milestone of a record. If you like either Yes, Rush or Sabbath, I would suggest giving this album a try, as it incoorperates elements from all three of those bands and more in a very successful way that was never quite matched again. This does not mean that it is Dream Theater's best per say, but it does mean that it had the best marriage of all of the different genres that could appeal to many different people. I think later releases of theirs should be avoided until after you have listened to this album first, because after this, the band became much more focused on the virtuostic side of their music, and much less focused on, well, the music. I will not tive this a five, because I think they have done better progressive work, but this is probably their most accessible (aside from FALLING INTO INFINITY), and serves as a great introduction piece for anyone interested in them.

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Send comments to JLocke (BETA) | Report this review (#161322)
Posted Friday, February 08, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater`s music is a mix of metal and progressive rock played by very talented musicians, the result is one of the few bands that in my opinion deserve admiration these days. The balance between heavy and progressive music is variable in their albums. "Images and Words" has, according to my personal taste a very good balance. Heavy and complex songs like " Pool me Under" or " Take the Time" and especially the final track "Learning to live" are among the best songs DT has produced. The interplay between guitarist John Petrucci and keyboard player Kevin Moore is excellent. As a contrast "Wait for Sleep" is a beautiful song with a very nice melody in which Labrei`s voice sounds really incredible. Another great track is Metropolis - Pt. I The Miracle And The Sleeper that is the origin of their extraordinary concept album " Scenes from a Memory". Conclusion: if you like progressive rock combined with heavy metal you will love this album. 5 stars

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Send comments to Jorge_B (BETA) | Report this review (#163475)
Posted Saturday, March 08, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow! The Dream Theater's best album, overcoming to Metropolis II.

I remember when he was younger my brother was showing myself a compilation of Heavy metal, which was the whole history of this genre, was mentioning me from his origins with Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple since it was evolving, later he happened with other groups as Judas Priest, Motörhead etc, I was continuing without understanding very well all that.

On having gone on already to a more modern stage hem, mentioned Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Venom between others, but since even he was not finding a lot of interest, until he went on to the last stage of this genre and me Nü Metal mentioned any groups (System of to Down, Korn, etc) and later he began to speak about the merger of the Metal with the Prog and others subgenres about this one, until he said to me on Dream Theater a great group of Progressive Metal and since he decided to put to the song the name of this sound it was Learning To Live .

I was pleased much that song and then started to investigate that group (Dream Theater), and because I am not pleased at the beginning as I am pleased now, but at that time I really did not know much about music, and it gave me quite interesting because it is on time one group was much I liked Rammstein.

But let us not shift, then heard Metropolis of this group and fascinated me was tremendous and one of the best songs I have heard in my life

Then my brother told me a disc on Dream Theater, his name was Images and Words, and then I decided to buy it and I took a surprise.

Have high level songs as Pull Me Under, Surrounded, Metropolis, Take The Time and Learning To Live. As well quietest songs but we have a beautiful example Another Day, Wait For Sleep, and Under A Glass Moon.

This is an excellent record in all aspects, and has many variants undoubtedly much I love with the sound of Dream Theater and therefore my paracer album is a magic and full of surprises just a collector's item for people who likes music produced and excellent quality.

Five stars certainly.

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Send comments to Prog_Sonicc (BETA) | Report this review (#165383)
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Their best album i think!

DT is lifting up into a new level with this one, seriously. Sound is usually very good and LaBrie's vocal is pretty good, neither in other DT's works. Every song here is a masterpiece of progmetal music.

1.Pull Me Under

One of the most famous DT things. Pretty melodic and sometimes power... it's almost prog song. Brilliant! (5/5)

2.Another Day

Sax rules here, oh yeah... (5/5)

3.Take the Time

Good power, but not so good prog. Differently not easy-listening one. (4/5)

4.Surrounded

Charming, i really love it, great real-prog stuff! (5/5)

5.Metropolis Pt.1

DT's masterpiece, nothing to say... (5/5)

6.Under a Glass Moon

I may call this power prog, some style from Surrounded, some from Take the time, but it's unique piece. (5/5)

7.Wait for sleep

Relaxing and... preparing for the next one :) (4/5)

8.Learning to live

Such a good stuff, but not as good as Metropolis for example. (4.5/5)

Great one! I'm very proud of it!!!!

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Send comments to Resurrected (BETA) | Report this review (#165785)
Posted Saturday, April 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
horsewithteeth11
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars While still on the heavy side of progressive metal, this is easily an album someone who doesn't like metal at all could still get into. An album that was only topped by DT's concept album, Scenes From a Memory, this is a great place for someone who's never heard DT to start from (although that may be because I'm spinning this album while I'm writing my review). James Labrie's vocals are amazing and very emotional especially with this being his first album for Dream Theater. The instrumentation included by the three original DT members, John Petrucci (guitar), John Myung (bass), and Mike Portnoy (drums) is of the technical complexity that has come to be identified with Dream Theater. Kevin Moore (keyboards) is also a very memorable figure for Dream Theater's first three albums, but in my opinion doesn't come close to Jordan Rudess who appeared later on. Pull Me Under, which I might add was played on a college radio show run by someone I know, is a great progressive metal song and great intro to the album. The synths at the end of the track also make it extremely special (but then again DT has some of the most amazing synths of any band I've ever heard). The album proceeds into the ballad-like Another Day, which might I add has a terrific sax solo. I won't mention all the tracks, but two other notable ones are Under a Glass Moon, easily one of the best DT songs ever in my opinion, and Metropolis Pt. 1, which helped lead to the creation of Scenes From a Memory, easily one of DT's best albums. The last track, Learning to Live, is also notable for its synths at the beginning of the song, which helps draw you into the song that much more. This album is easily 5 stars, if not 6, and for many people who don't like the heavier sounds presented by other progressive metal bands (Opeth, Tool, etc) this is a highly recommended album and band to explore. If you don't already have it now, get it!

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Send comments to horsewithteeth11 (BETA) | Report this review (#169938)
Posted Monday, May 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars In my previous review I accused Dream Theater songs of sounding all the same. Well, this album changes the pace. But, it goes too far in my opinion. There are a couple of mellow songs that are too sappy for me to enjoy ('Another Day' and 'Surounded'). 'Metropolis Part 1' is an excellent song so I cannot be too harsh. The rest of the album has it's good points, but I find myself getting annoyed by James Labrie's vocals.

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Send comments to digdug (BETA) | Report this review (#170477)
Posted Saturday, May 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is made up of about 75% essential music to the progressive metal fan, and possibly Progressive Rock in general.

I'd have to say my least favourites are Take The Time and Learning To Live. A lot of reviewers praise these 2 songs. I just cannot get into them. They just seem generic and uninspiring.

Aside from these 2 tracks, this album is a must. Historically and musically. There is wankage, but it's controlled. There are instrumental parts, but they're constructed, to the point that Metropolis Part 1 is probably the best solo section I've ever heard from DT. Everything has feeling on this record. It's a band making a point and not just 5 guys fartarseig around with wanking solos and generic metal riffs like with their post-Scenes works. We already know they're gods o their instruments. But not all the time do they have to show it. Images & Words is a prime example of this. Dream Theater show they're good without going over the top and losing any creativity in the process.

Stand out songs: Pull Me Under, Another Day, Surrounded, Metropolis, Wait For Sleep Not as Stand out songs: Under A Glass Moon Skippage: Take The Time, Learning To Live.

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Send comments to Sacrilege (BETA) | Report this review (#171238)
Posted Saturday, May 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars A masterpiece of progressive music is exactly what describes Dream Theater's first studio album with vocalist James LaBrie and the second studio album of their progressive metal careers. I recieved this album from my grandmother as an Easter present a few years ago, and I can honestly say, it was the greatest Easter gift I have ever recieved. The first time I put on this album, from the first note of Pull Me Under to the fade out of Learning to Live I was completley captured and amazed by the music that these 5 individuals came together to create on this album.

I can honestly say that there is not a dry or boring song on this album. Every song is completley brilliant in their own way, but at the same time, every song is alike in the sense that it captures the attention of the listener and has you lost within the music.

Some amazing points of the album are: -The improvised sax solo in Another Day -John Myung's bass tap solo in Metropolis part 1 -John Petrucci's absolutley amazing guitar solo and Mike Portnoy's beginning drum beat in Under A Glass Moon -Kevin Moore's beautiful, but still equally technical piano work in Wait for Sleep -James LaBrie's F# in Learning to Live

I would recommend this album to any progressive metal fan in a heartbeat. The musicianship of this band is incredible, and it really shows on this, their best album to this date. A true progressive classic.

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Send comments to Statutory-Mike (BETA) | Report this review (#171302)
Posted Saturday, May 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
crimson87
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Well I am not a prog metal fan, and to be honest I don't consider this album progressive or original enough.So to be fair I am going to review it as a metal record.

There is some influence from pink floyd , and some genesis sounding in keyboardist Kevin Moore, you can tell by his playing which is not as bombastic as Ruddess's but it blends well with the other mucisians.Secondly i have to state that this is the kind of album that you can put in order to show off your new home theater , the record has an amazing sound (specially the drums).Also LaBrie's voice was at it's finest at the time.

This is a fairly enjoyable album once you get used to all the cheese , and it's also the most accesible one however I can't concider it as a masterpiece because I can't find the originalty.

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Send comments to crimson87 (BETA) | Report this review (#173941)
Posted Saturday, June 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I remember back in 2003, I was looking in some random music shop (Virgin, HMV, etc) with the intention of parting with my cash on a new band that I've never heard. Whilst looking around I stumbled across this album... Dream Theater... "where have I heard that name?" I thought. Of course, they covered Master of Puppets! "Wow! They must be really good. I'm gonna check 'em out!".

At first I got home and heard it, and I was speechless. "This album sucks" I thought. However one thing kept me coming back for more, the amazingly heavy intro to opening track 'Pull Me Under'.

As I heard more and more, the album grew on me. And all these random traits of Prog music such as time changes, long, complex arrangements, open-minded musical influences (the jazz bit on 'Another Day' or the funky feel of 'Take the Time' for example), keyboards, random lyrics and massive instrumental sections started to make sense to me.

Obviously this was my first true Prog experience, and the more I heard the album, the more it blew me away!

To this day I believe music-wise that was the second most important find of my life (the first being 'Destroyer' by Kiss). 'Images and Words' opened me up to a whole new world. Not just a new music genre, but a new way of thinking in music.

So what makes it so great? The awesome songs. The amazing structures. The fact that every song is a musical journey. This album has everything and more. It crosses to so many different styles of music. It has long and short tracks. Heavy and melodic. Amazing playing and amazing production. Every note will jump from your speakers with a smooth, crisp sound. You will not find any fillers on this record. An absolute masterpiece!

This is the album that made Dream Theater, and defined all Progressive Metal bands/albums for years to come. Any fan of Prog Metal should not be without this album, and I'm sure there is something for most old-school Prog fans too. Without a doubt, 'Images and Words' is my favourite album of all time.

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Send comments to Valarius (BETA) | Report this review (#175114)
Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I'm willing to admit I'm not the biggest expert on Dream Theater; by and far, I found IMAGES AND WORDS to be the greatest of their achievements. For some reason, I feel the band exonerated an urgency here that is not present in any other release that I've heard. It's where their technical soloing blended well with whatever they did compositionally, barring a few length issues.

Some of their finest pieces of work are here, including ''Metropolis'', ''Under a Glass Moon'', ''Surrounded'' and the softer ''Wait for Sleep''. ''Learning to Live'' gets plenty of kudos too; if only it wasn't as long as it is, I'd enjoy it more. However, it is the first two tracks that ruin any hopes of this album being a masterpiece, the worst being the lame attempt at a smooth jazz hit in ''Another Day''.

For me, this is THE Dream Theater album; their talents are at their best here, and I feel the songs here are proof of that.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#176104)
Posted Friday, July 04, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Images and words confirmed and enhanced the good impression evoked by its predecessor album. Even 16 years later (at the time of writing), some of this album's songs appear so clear and fresh to seem to be recently recorded. It also introduced a peculiar sound that influenced so many clone band later on. It has to be considered one of the landmarks of progressive metal.

The band had its first commercial hit in the opening Pull me under, which constituted an encore for long time and whose structure has been referenced in many other bands' songs later. Another day is probably the first poppish ballad from the band, which still included a nice guitar solo. Take the time is the first small epic of the album, featuring several informal miniparts, very tight playing and bright sound. Surrounded is another poppish song with a nice 9/8 theme and good structure. The following Metropolis - part 1 is considered one of the best song of the band, probably rightly so. It features several heavy guitar riffs, clear keyboard work and an amazing instrumental interlude - the first on a long line for the band. Under a glass moon is rythmically and structurally complex, and is a showcase of Petrucci's ability. Waiting for sleep is a delicate piano ballad introducing the conclusive epic of the album, Learning to live, again built upon several sections, very well written and played by all.

The album features a far better production than the previous When dream and day unite, with the drum and guitar in evidence. Particularly, Portnoy's playing is very energetic and crushing here. Still, Myung's bass is creative and audible - the latter will not always happen in the future.

This is one of DT's best release to date, with really few things out of place. As a side note, A change of seasons should have originally be included in this album. That would have definitely elevated it to the masterpiece level.

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Send comments to mangoo (BETA) | Report this review (#178562)
Posted Thursday, July 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
5 stars What better title could there be for an album by a band called 'Dream Theater' than 'Images And Words'?

This album is a true classic of the progressive metal genre and in my opinion the very best of the whole genre. The opening song, Pull Me Under, is the one I like least, it has an alternative feel to it and it also ends rather abruptly for no good reason it seems. But it is still great! The closer, Learning To Live, is a true masterpiece of progressive rock. And all the songs in between are fantastic too!

The influences on the music include among many others a Jazz-Rock/Fusion influence which creates a truly unique sound together with the 70's and 80's metal and Symphonic Prog influences. This is one reason that this album is so groundbreaking.

In my opinion Dream Theater would sink like a stone after this album and never again create anything even remotely close to the brilliance found on this album. This album has all their best songs.

Essential for anyone with even the slightest interest in Prog Metal. This is the place to start!

Very highly recommended!

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#178750)
Posted Sunday, August 03, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Albums that I like fall into one of two categories: listenable at any time, or listenable only when I'm in a certain mood. While albums in the former category get more spins, albums in the latter category are typically more rewarding. Dream Theater's Images and Words, the band's most influential and commercially successful output to date, falls into the latter category, and is one of the most purely entertaining releases in the band's catalog.

I cannot listen to Images and Words at simply any time because of the record's flamboyance and technicality. Moreso than any other Dream Theater album, Images and Words is filled to the brink with long instrumental breaks and guitar-keyboard duels. Three-minute instrumental sections are not uncommon here, with songs like "Metropolis" and "Under a Glass Moon" halting at their mid-sections so that each Dream Theater member may showcase his considerable skill.

What makes these barrages of self-indulgence bearable is the thought that goes into each note of each solo. There is no experimentation or overwrought shredding to be found on the album; instead, all instrumental segments are used to make their respective songs better, as opposed to making their respective songs more 'prog'.

It is funny that this, the band's craziest record, also happens to be their most popular. The album struck gold with its opening track "Pull Me Under", which became a hit song and propelled Dream Theater into a realm of borderline mainstream acceptance. The appeal of "Pull Me Under" and its addictive melodies put the band at the top of the progressive rock world in 1992 and established Dream Theater as the progressive metal band of the decade.

In truth, the rest of Images and Words doesn't get much better than its opener. Only two songs on the album surpass the mastery of "Pull Me Under", those being "Take the Time" and "Learning to Live".

"Take the Time" is a rare example of metal being driven by keyboards, and the song is all the better for it. Kevin Moore glides above John Petrucci's frantic riffage to create perhaps the band's best pure rocker while then-new vocalist James LaBrie enhances the song with his operatic voice, and Mike Portnoy takes things to otherworldly levels with his greatest performance ever. Don't forget about John Myung, folks; he's just as prominent a force here as any of his bandmates.

"Learning to Live", which follows Kevin Moore's beautiful companion piece "Wait for Sleep", is the best song on the album. It traverses across all genres and climaxes towards its conclusion with the best instrumental break on the record. LaBrie shines here, showcasing range, power, and emotion that is only rivaled elsewhere on the CD by the fantastic "Surrounded".

Much has been made of the album's '80s-ish production and Mike Portnoy's triggered snare. While the record does indeed sound like a product of its time, it is a wonderful sounding record with each instrument organized into dutiful layers. In fact, it's a shame that more CDs today aren't produced like Images and Words. The drum sound on the album is strange, but in no way does it detract from the quality of the work as a whole, and it is often forgotten about over the course of the album's (perfect) running length.

Images and Words is Dream Theater's quintessential release. It features every ingredient that has made the band a success, from their mild cheesiness to their fluctuations in subtlety to their great vocal melodies to their infectious individual abilities. Days that call for Images and Words, as rare as they may be for me, are always great days because IAW is a great, great album. It is perhaps the greatest progressive metal record ever made, and is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the genre's history.

NOTE: 4.5/5 rounded up

©Kevin Martell (TheOutlawXanadu)

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Send comments to TheOutlawXanadu (BETA) | Report this review (#179403)
Posted Monday, August 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I listened to this album for the first time I was a thrasher who used to listen to Metallica and Slayer, or simple a metaller at his first steps. Day by day, my cousin talked to me everyday about this group called Dream Theater as the most important progressive metal band. I already knew something about prog music but my heart was metal! Each single day when I was on holiday they spent a lot of time to talk me about this band but I never imagined it was going to become my favourite one. I didn't have a bad reputation for their sound but I prefered other heavy metal genres, easier than prog-metal. But my curiosity forced me to listen to this album too and when I listened to it... I saw that this album had something different than the other ones. I found it so amazing and particular, I was struck by those riffs, those keyboard solos, those complex structures. This is the album that made me become a progster. You have to thank just this album if now I'm here on progarchives! The first track Pull Me Under, although is one degree down the other long tracks is a good example of prog-metal with heavy riff and good keyboard melodies. Another Day, dedicated to Petrucci's father, is a very good ballad with a good piano supported by a great sax excellently played by Jay Beckenstein. Take The Time was, at the times, my favourite song, with a funky-oriented rythm and the first complex instrumental section where Petrucci's guitars an Moore's keyboards are protagonists with very good solos. Surrounded begins with a piano, like a ballad but when Petrucci comes in with his guitars he gives power and vivacity. And what could we say about Metropolis, Part. I? Masterpiece is the one word we know to describe this song, the symbol of prog-metal genre! After a theatral intro we are struck by the instrumental section where all musicians show all their abilities! Under A Glass Moon is a thrash- oriented song, heavier than the other ones but with a good atmospheric sound created by Moore's keyboards; the song contains one of the best guitar solo in Petrucci's carreer followed by a good keyboard solo. Wait For Sleep is a short but strong ballad perfectly written and played by Kevin Moore. Learning To Live is another masterpiece that gives us a real prog lesson! It seems like we're listening to real '70s prog-rock!

I don't want to think how many stars I should give to this album... 5 stars is the right answer. Giving only 4 stars I would just get wrong! And it would be a very big mistake!

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Send comments to The Cerberman (BETA) | Report this review (#183633)
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Images and Words is one of the most significant releases in progressive metal history, whether or not you really enjoy the band at all.

This album is pretty difficult to look at for a rating because, though I recognize its significance and originality, it really doesn't rank up there for me. First off, still, it's a vast improvement over the original. The sound quality is excellent, the music has its own life and can exist independently of its influences, James LaBrie is sharing through the band his operatic and fascinating voice, and the general quality of the instruments are leagues ahead of the brief taste When Dream and Day Unite gave us. Now, instead of a classic Rush sound, the metal comes forth and greets us like Iron Maiden with serious intent to prog us to death. A very nice improvement. However, despite the success and popularity of this work, the band still feels a bit underdeveloped. Some of the songs are really impressive, while others are weak and drag the album down. So if it were entirely up to me, this would probably get three stars, but the importance of the album cannot be denied.

It opens with one of the most widely known prog songs from the 90s, Pull Me Under. This track is nice in the Dream Theater catalog because it's pretty straightforward, it's patient, and it doesn't spend three minutes noodling away. Moody lyrics built off Hamlet first showcase this voice that is James, and he fits very nicely with the dramatically heavy guitars. Another Day follows this, slightly less interesting and mellow. What we have here is a U2-inspired ballad with well-meaning, sad lyrics, but even still, the emotive guitar solo and the silly saxophone bit at the end (now, I like saxophone, but this is as stereotypically 80s as saxophone can come). Thankfully, Take the Time rides on that songs wake, bringing us right back to some energetic metal and excitement. The intro of the song is perhaps some of the strongest music on the album. It closes with a fading guitar solo that always makes me wish the song carried on a bit longer.

Surrounded wanders in next, a very nontraditional song in the Dream Theater catalog, being very gentle and moody and then fast-paced in the middle without being all heavy and metal-oriented. Rather, this is a kind of pop-rock with intelligence that makes it a fun and unique track. Right after that becomes the song that was to the prog community as Pull Me Under was to the mainstream metal community. Metropolis, pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper. This song almost perfectly anticipates the future of Dream Theater, especially when Jordan Rudess enters the scene. To those who don't like noodling and shredding and unisons and pointlessly odd time signatures and all that: look out. This song is almost entirely noodling. A perfect showcase for the band's talent, it somehow (actually, unfortunately) became the direction for the band's future. Nine minutes of incredible wails, ripping guitars, bass solos, whipping drums, and even lightning keyboards from the famously not-into-shredding Kevin Moore. Now, while this track certainly is mostly pointless, it's a fair bit of fun and a very important song in the band's history.

The next song, Under a Glass Moon, is a bit more atmospheric (though the band will never really delve into much atmospheric songwriting save for on Falling into Infinity) and less complicated, though the chorus is a multi-staged beast with some very high pitched singing by James. The guitar solo here, though really famous, is only considered a great solo because it's almost a compendium of the complete skill set of John Petrucci: look, here are each of the techniques he can do. It's neat, but very random and doesn't really go anywhere. Wait for Sleep is a nifty little piano bit with a catchy vocal line over the top, a break from the excessively thick metal (this is early 90s metal, by the way, not as heavy as they are now by any long shot) sound before the concluding track, Learning to Live. This song, featuring lyrics by silent bassist Myung about AIDS victims, really does get some emotion out of the listener, even though there's a very large amount of noodling here, too. The intro is a pretty neat bit, and the reprisals of it only get more progressive. It closes the album with a building and fading outro, which works very well as a way to end this record.

It's got some important flaws to it. The boys noodle a lot. Some of the songs are not that good. But in the end, this is a very important release to the genre, and so anyone interested at all in progressive metal should at least give it a try. Just a warning, though: you're expected to like it. If you don't, have a good reason why not ready.

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Send comments to LiquidEternity (BETA) | Report this review (#185272)
Posted Friday, October 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater's Magnus-Opus, something they say they will never be able to Equal, but u truly hope they do as this is a truly fantastic piece of prog metal!

Images and words is an absolute masterpiece, in my opinion one of the few albums that are far, far ahead of its time. Everything in this album is top notch. From the cunning, clever song writing to the mind-blowing musicianship.

The vocals are stunning, LaBrie hits even the highest notes with ease and his low tones are very soothing, just as any good singer should be able to achieve and I cant imagine anybody else suiting DT;s style more.

Portnoy's percussion on this album is revolutionary, not before have I heard drums played like this, catchy beats, crazy fills and very interesting time signitures.

Petrucci's solo's are very distinctive and only equalled by the most talented guitarist's. His riffs are also very interesting and combine alot of different styles.

Myung's bass playing is very impressive in the song Metropolis part 1 especially the solo consisting of rapidly played arpeggios.

Moore's melodies are brilliant, extremely catchy and rival his solos. His style works very well with petrucci and his duets with him superb. Any person who says they're a prog rock or metal fan should give this one a good listen. Even if you're not a fan of Prog, you can't help but enjoy this album and appreciate the technical musicianship and songwriting. I really can't express how much I love this album, all I can say is that IT IS AMAZING!

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Send comments to YtseJam1 (BETA) | Report this review (#186673)
Posted Wednesday, October 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars New force, new love, new wave.

Here's a review I've put off for too long. Dream Theater's second album could easily be considered their true debut since on the first album the band were mainly mucking around with their first singer and a bunch of ideas. On this album not only did they find a voice for the band in the form of James LaBrie (who these days has just as many haters as hard-core fans), but they also defined their sound and came up with a sound that would define the progressive metal genre to this day. While the band certainly had more under their belt as we would see on their subsequent masterpiece, Awake, this is where it really all took off for the band. The sound is heavy yet refined, as though Yes lost their minds and joined forces with Metallica in some sort of bizarro world where saxophone and keyboards fit in with heavy metal. While Dream Theater often gets attacked in the more ''minimalist'' circles for going on their extended 'wanking' solos, this album shows a bit more restraint in the band being that they seem to be a little hesitant with their abilities. Still, the musicianship on the album is impressive and shows that even a headbanger's band is capable of pulling off song writing skills on par with the 70s greats.

Somehow this album also had some success with the MTV crowd. This would be the album which would get the word of Dream Theater out to the masses, some of which would become their die-hard followers, thanks to choice cuts such as the breakout single Pull Me Under with it's chugging riffs and wailing voice, and the ever fast Take The Time, which exemplifies the use of an atmospheric buildup to a chaotic launch of guitars and power vocals. The saxophone and emotion laden Another Day was also released as a somewhat less successful single, although it seemed to have been structured for the job. Still the emotion portrayed in the song has aged well along with the performances to take the edge off of the pomp by being wedged nicely between the powerhouses that open the album. Surrounded finishes the first half of the album as a soft but powerful tune that's a little more sing-along and listener-friendly than the last 3 tracks with it's prominent synths care of Kevin Moore. An impressive solo from Petrucci accompanied by some quick drumming from Portnoy are a great sign of things to come later in the band's career.

What's to come is usually the section of the album which is of peak interest to the discerning prog fan. Most fans by now know about the band's highly successful album Metropolis Pt II, and so it should come as no surprise that Metropolis Pt I: The Miracle and The Sleeper is one of the album's standouts. A creepy keyboard atmosphere gives the song life as it moves through its more powerful sections, and LaBrie's voice is at the top of its game as it tells this chilling tale. Under A Glass Moon is no less impressive with its slightly more rhythmic approach. But then after the brief and chilling piano led Wait For Sleep, we're into one of the band's greatest achievements. Dream Theater has always been a band about mixing the melodic with the chaotic and the pomp with the subtle, and on Learning to Live they show off just what this mix is capable of. The song is absolutely sublime throughout it's 12-minute duration, mixing catchy hooks with impressive solos and sections that are sharply distinct without alienating the rest of the song. Progressive metal at its best.

Many people call this the most influential album on the progressive metal scene, and while this can be argued to be death there's one thing for certain, you have to hear it to believe it. Dream Theater may be a controversial band in some circles, but there's a reason why even the most rabid Dream Theater hater will occasionally spin this album. An absolute must, it would be a crime to end this review without having given the album a full 5 star rating. In the realm of progressive metal, this is close to perfection - although the band would truly achieve that with their next record, this one is more accessible. 5 Glass Moons out of 5 - Essential.

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#187659)
Posted Saturday, November 01, 2008 | Review Permalink
J-Man
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.

THE MUSIC:

"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.

Conclusion:

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.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#191971)
Posted Friday, December 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars In Dream Theater's catalog, I believe there are only 5 items worth assigning a 5-star rating; this is one of them.

IMAGES AND WORDS is the quintessential Dream Theater album and the album that all Progressive Metal is judged by, even though Dream Theater were yet to reach true metal status until 1994's Awake. This album houses all upon which Dream Theater stands for; masterful instrumentalists, beautiful song writing, technicality, deep lyrics and pure epicness (sorry but it had to be said). The production values are through the roof, especially considering their debut's shoddy producing. James LaBrie's voice is still at it's peak, well before the food poisoning incident that caused Falling Into Infinity to be such a poor album vocally. Kevin Moore was at his keyboard playing and lyric writing peak and would be the last album he truly wanted to be a part of. Plus all of the songs on the album are true Dream Theater classics, especially Pull Me Under, Metropolis Pt. 1 and Learning To Live.

The songs:

Pull Me Under: The opening track of the album sets the stage for the whole album, a heavy record that blends technicality with beauty and a side of metal. The lyrics are some of Moore's best and will be a lasting testimony to his genius mind. LaBrie's vocals here immediately send the message that this is the man for Dream Theater, clearly sending his voice to those high notes and delivering perfect harmonies during the chorus and a screaming shockwave during the bridge and pre-chorus. John Pretucci's first signs of shredding are shown in this song during the pre-chorus, foreshadowing some of his later solo and DT works. Mike Portnoy and John Myung hold up well here but don't really add to the song and deliver unique parts like the others do. Probably my second least favourite on the album. 9.5/10

Another Day: Ah yes, the first Dream Theater ballad, this is one of the few songs that Dream Theater would continue to play well into the 21st century and rightly so as it holds up well as a crowd favourite at shows. The outstanding saxophone work of Jay Beckenstein is also present in this song adding a nice feel to the overall product. The only real downside to the song is the somewhat cheesy lyrics and vocals but it is far from being a turn-off. A pleasant song, yet not one of my favourites. 9.5/10

Take The Time: This song is fantastic, though I won't go out and purposefully play this song, when it comes on during an iPod shuffle session, I will be more than happy to listen to it. LaBrie's vocals are outstanding on this song especially during the second verse where he hits all those frequent high notes in quick, smooth succession, 'tis a shame whenever they play this song live they always cut this verse, but LaBrie's current voice just still isn't up to it. The instrument section of Moore, Myung, Portnoy and Petrucci are all at their best here, each showing off their skills and adding to the song at the same time. Overall, my least favourite but a fantastic song. 9/10

Surrounded: This song is a piece of beauty, the vocal melodies and drumming are some of the best on the album, accompanied by Moore's fantastic keyboard texturing and layering during the intro and throughout the whole song which add a whole new level to the song. The most fantastic though is the dual accompaniment of Myung and Petrucci during the verses and the latter's lightning solo. My second favourite song on the album. 10/10

Metropolis Pt. 1: The quintessential Dream Theater song on the quintessential Dream Theater album, every fan knows this song and any fan that doesn't isn't a true DT fan. The technicality in this song is the highlight and what the song is known most for (so much so that DT later created a sequel as an entire concept album based around technicality). The vocal harmonies mid-way, just before the instrumental section begins are astounding, so astounding that they never try and replicate it live (with the exception of Live Scenes From New York, where Portnoy delivers an average attempt at it). The highlight of the instrumental section for me is one of Myung's few bass solos, the man is an absolute master of the instrument creating a lightning fast shred-fest rivaling some of Petrucci's fast solos; all with his fingers! Probably the most famous song on the album but not necessarily the best. 10/10

Under A Glass Moon: My favourite song of the album, though not as technical as the previous track, the band chooses to slow down the technicality somewhat (only to be revived later by the closing track) to produce a more texturized, metalized and beautiful song. The vocals are some of LaBrie's best, with Surrounded and the Metropolis harmonies beating it by only a slight bit. Petrucci's solo here is so good it was placed at #97 of the Best Guitar Solos Of All Time list. Portnoy and Myung hold up really well here and work together to create a strong and heavy rhythm section that rival that of Chris Squire and Alan White of Yes and Geddy Lee and Neil Peart of Rush. Moore has a much more subdued role here, providing background pads for most of the song, coming out with a fantastic and much overlooked solo straight after Petrucci's. My personal favourite on the album but still not the best. 10/10

Wait For Sleep: This short piano and vocal piece suits as a perfect intro to Learning To Live (in which this piano line is repeated during the closing sections of the song). LaBrie's vocals are strong as always here and Moore has put all his heart and soul into writing this piece and it's easy to tell. 10/10

Learning To Live: And here it is, the best song of the album and one of my favourites, coming in straight after Surrounded on my list. Learning To Live is DT's second epic and first track to break the 10-minute barrier. This song features lyrics by Myung, who has only contributed to 4 song in Dream Theater's entire catalog; he is a one-of-a-kind lyric writer, the lyrics themseleves aren't really that good but his style of writing is so different from the other members, which is probably one of the reasons he decided to stop contributing. This song features powerful work from all members, Moore's keyboard skills are at his best here, with tons of different patch changes throughout, giving multiple sounds and feels throughout the entire track. Petrucci uses a lot of clean guitar work here, giving a much more melodic and less metalish feel to parts of the track. Myung's bass is the most audible in this track, giving the most unique performance on the album from him. Portnoy deals with multiple time signatures on this track well, providing some of the best drum work from him, and LaBrie offers an astonishing vocal performance mid-way during the instrumental wordlessly singing and building up the notes until he hits that famously high F#, something he finds difficult to do these days (and on the Live Scenes rendition sadly). But the true treat is how all these parts come together to form what I would honestly call Dream Theater's second best song so far (surpassed only be A Change Of Seasons). All of these talented musicians come together to perfectly form a Progressive Metal masterpiece that should be listened to and adored by all Dream Theater and Prog Metal fans. An easy 11/10

This is Dream Theater's defining album and, like I said at the beginning of the review, one of only 5 pieces of their work to score an honest 5 stars here at Prog Archives. If you are a fan of Dream Theater and haven't heard it; get it now, illegally if you must. If you're a fan of Prog Metal or even simple Prog Rock, I HIGHLY recommend you try this album, it will be well worth your time, even if you only enjoy one or two tracks.

Rating: 10/10 - 5/5

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Send comments to Close To Delirium (BETA) | Report this review (#192622)
Posted Thursday, December 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When progressive metal was young (or even still unborn).

When I hear the name of the second Dream Theater album - Images and Words - conflicting thoughts come into my mind. I would say this is another band. It's not the same band as Dream Theater I adore. It's something else. It's a band of young and precise musicians who's trying to find themselves. They combine some wonderful ideas into an ambitious album. In my opinion the conception of progressive metal in that period isn't built and mapped out. It's developed in some elemental way, yet! And sounds somehow dry and poor, despite lots of nice themes, virtuosity and creativity of the musicians. For me, Images and Words remains a beginning of this wonderful fairy-tale called Dream Theater, but the best is yet to come much, much later, when the band had been reached to the height of its professionalism and the conception of the genre had been clarified. Images and Words: nice addition to most of the metal collections. 3,25 stars!

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Send comments to poslednijat_colobar (BETA) | Report this review (#200912)
Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is amazing. It is nearly perfect. There isn't a single song that I dislike, my favorites being Pull Me Under, Metropolis Pt. 1, and Under A Glass Moon. This is a very good edition to any progger's collection. All the band members give amazing performances. James' vocals are nearly perfect, John absolutely wails on the guitar, and Mike, Kevin and John all give great performances on their instruments.

Key tracks: Pull Me Under - A near-perfect song. James' vocals are probably the best on this album. John's solos are awesome and show his virtuosity. Metropolis Pt. 1 - Just a great song. John Myung has a great solo. Under A Glass Moon - Another great song. John's guitar solo is slightly overrated but still good.

Along with the aforementioned tracks, all the other songs on this album are good.

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Send comments to estes (BETA) | Report this review (#201852)
Posted Friday, February 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is easily dream theater's best album and I strongly recommend it for anyone getting into the band. There are no weak points on this album, it is great from start to finish.

We start with Pull Me Under, DT's most commercially successful song. This is a good song and it makes a good addition to the album, but it is probably my least favorite track, which speaks to the quality of the album because it isn't a bad song at all. 7.5/10

Another Day is a softer track with great vocals from Labrie and good emotional playing by the rest of the band. The softer tracks on this album are far more than just filler, dream theater is great when they play with emotion like this. 9/10

Take The Time is a hard rocking piece of progressive metal with great playing by all members of the band and well written lyrics. This is a great example of the band's talent and ability to write songs that are catchy and proggy at the same time. 9.5/10

Surrounded is another beautiful emotional track with more great vocals and instrumentals. This is a song that always makes me feel great no matter what kind of mood I'm in. I've never been a big fan of the shorter, softer songs on dream theater's later albums, but these pieces on I&W are some of my favorites. 9.5/10

Metropolis Pt1 is another great prog metal song with great instrumentals once again showcasing the talent of the band. While part 1 in the title was originally just a joke, the band went on to write an entire concept album to follow it. This is another classic dream theater song. 9.5/10

Under A Glass Moon is another interesting song with great solos and some unusual lyrics. Another great piece of prog metal, showing the band display their talent in a way that flows and makes a great song, something they seem to have trouble with on later albums. 9/10

Wait For Sleep is a short song leading into the last track, with great piano playing and vocals. This track creates a good atmosphere with great imagery and leads perfectly into the final track. 9/10

Learning To Live is in my opinion one of dream theater's best and most progressive tracks. I don't know why John Myung doesn't write more lyrics for the band because the lyrics here are great. This is my favorite progressive metal song of all time and anyone who says dream theater aren't prog should listen to learning to live. Overall, a beautifully crafted and preformed song. 10/10

Anyone who is looking to start listening to dream theater should start with this album, especially if you aren't a big metal fan. This is prog metal at its very best, highly recommended!

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Send comments to rpe9p (BETA) | Report this review (#202462)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was the first album I heard from DT...I still remember that I was on a summercamp with my scoutgroup in Wiltz, Luxemburg in the summer of 1993...when one of my groupmates,,,that first intruduced me to Yes (which I didn't like at all) and Genesis (which I totally adored together with Pink Floyd) forced me to sit down and listen to it....if you pretend to like Prog...then sit down and listen to this...The first song he put on was Metropolis and I was totally blown away.....what a song....that intro.....once again he threw me into something I could bite teeth on...and I did. When I came home I ran to the recordstore (where I later became to work and where I have taken all that amazing prog to me) and I brought the cd together with Live At The Marque that was just released.....that month.....I took them home and played it again....only this time from start to finnish....and WOW !!!....Its true Metropolis is one of the best tracks of the album and stands out by now as one of the everlasting classics of Prog metal.

The rest of the album gave some good tunes...and ofcourse the absolute highlight (I think the first highlight of their carrear.....Learning To Live). The album kicks of with Pull Me Under..basically the song that made them famous and the song that brought them even on MTV....Im sure it took alot of Metallica lovers (who were still very hot back then, due the release of the Black Album that brought even more popularity for a Metal band....however it was in a time of Guns N' Roses, Pearl Jam and Nirvana...so metal was hot anyway....Pull me under is right from the beginning a stagering piece of music....that creates an enormous melody once song is on full speed....Really like the heavy Metallica kind of Rif.....but the audition of Keys is what DT is making better than they will ever be....Some great drumming here of Portnoy...........and LaBrie shows himself from his best side right from the beginning. Another day is a typical single and sounds indeed rather commercial...although I think it has some stagering guitarwork. Take the time is much better...another by waves very heavy song.....that has a great riff and this time a really amazing bass....especially in the beginning right before the vocals comes in the first time.....The bridge again has some great guitar. Like how the song ends aroun 6,5 min and them comes back again....very beautifull....although later Live renditions truly improved much on the song....Surrounded is another single based song that has a very nice piano intro...and some great singing of LaBrie....The song builds up like a typical ballad but soon gets into a more heavy song again...creating another typical DT song....with a sound that is actually very much the same as the rest of the album........Som great guitatwork....On 3,5 min.....Metropolis is......Wow !! The beginning...the haunting keys and then...that heavy riff over it....before the full band kicks in....fantastic......and than screaming guitar....awsome.....some good drumming of Portnoy here. The riff that starts at 1.40....really good....and LaBrie shows his vocal skills here....I think in this one all band members show their best side......under a Glass moon starts of with some great guitar....and took me a long to get used too...A long time I always only listened certain parts of the album and skipped this one cos I thought it was too heavy....Or perhaps cos it is simply falling into shreds because its location before the great master of all songs..Now I van digest it better and here too the band created a really great meolody...lovely heacy...especially during the chorus..towards the end....an amazing solo of Portnoy again......This song has some truly amazing drumming...... With Wait for sleep we get some time to breate...finally....a really amazing piece of keyboardplaying and a great voice.......Beautifull lyrics this one.....and I think a very Moore song, that does remain the best keyboardist DT ever had....and the one that brings emotion in the band.......its so regretfull they let him go.....The shortest song on the album but the most emotional and a perfect buildup torwards the mangun opus of the album...Learning To Live....Great beginning....amazing riff.....the first innstrumental part......is really setting the tone...we think...but then then she song slows down a bit after 1 min....and we get one of the most amazing vocal parts LaBrie ever did...guided by some amazing bass, keys and drumming......Once again beautifull lyrics.....This is a song with so many rythm changes and so many to offer......one can write a book about it.....Its said that the only reason they recorded this song was because they wanted to create THE perfect song...and it took them 2 months in the studio to complete it....It deserved.....what a song......what an album.....

To this day one of DT's 3 best albums.

Comes highly recomanded....

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Send comments to Daniel1974nl (BETA) | Report this review (#202583)
Posted Friday, February 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Most albums I have to seriously think to myself, whether or not I'm exaggerating when I rate it a 5. But not with this album. I click 5 stars without even thinking. This album is as important as the greatest progressive rock albums ever, Dark Side of the Moon, in the Court of the Crimson King, etc. This album is on that level. The only reason it's not amazingly well known is because Prog has becoming very underground since the 70s, and DT are from the late 80s, and this came out in the early 90s. But this is Dream Theater's equivalent Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and Scenes from a Memory is Dream Theater's The Wall.

The nature of Images & Words is just like what they were called before recording it and WDADU. They were called Majesty, and all of Images & Words sounds extremely Majestic. Perfectly written, very complex and creative, like nothing other, with an amazingly original sound. Each album usually has its certain songs that are amazing, and others than are just pretty good, but on this album, ALL the songs are amazing. Each and every song has segmented parts and creative complex instrumental parts.

Pull Me Under is popular, but it's not as good as it seems, in my opinion. It's an amazing song with a catchy tune, very majestic and surreal sounding, but heavy at the same time. I think it kinda gets a bit old when you hear it repeat itself after a while, because it's probably the slowest song on I&W. Another weird thing is that it ends completely abruptly, mid note. No, there's nothing wrong with your player, the song ends that way. This can be good or bad in certain peoples' eyes, in my personal opinion, it's a humorous kind've ending, but I think Pull Me Under is WAY too epic of a song to have a random abrupt ending like that.

Another day is relaxing to listen to, it's a nice ballad and features a wonderful saxophone in it, by some guy from Spyro Gyra.

Take the Time is one of the catchiest songs on this album, probably the catchiest. It is kinda funky at times, and other times is just very majestic. It's heavy and progressive and surreal sounding, as well.

Surrounded begins with a keyboard part from Kevin Moore, and becomes a nice, optimistic sounding song.

Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper is definitely the best track on this album. It is the most epic track, and features extremely poetic lyrics, wonderful singing, and amazingly progressive instrumental bridges. It sounds majestic, progressive, heavy, and technical/electronic at the same time. This song is one of my favourite Dream Theater songs ever, and had a sequel 8 years later, which emerged as a 20 minute song, but then became a 77 minute album, known as Scenes from a Memory.

Under a Glass Moon is really good, once again, Majestic and surreal sounding, beautiful lyrics with voice singing it, and amazing instrument solos.

Wait for Sleep was Written by Kevin Moore, and it's a Keyboard solo featuring LaBrie singing surreal lyrics. It's very soft and mystical, and is a wonderful intro to another great song on that album,

Learning to live, which is definitely one of the greatest Dream Theater songs ever written. Once again Majestic, this song is very progressive and somewhat heavy, but has surreal lyrics and many parts, one of which reflects the original theme played in Wait for Sleep.

Anyway... All the songs are amazing on this album. This is Dream Theater's Dark Side of the Moon, and is the most important Dream Theater album. James LaBrie's voice is simply fantastic, and is able to hit wonderfully high notes, due to it being recorded before his voice was screwed up from food poisoning. Sounds very majestic and heavy at the same time, although I wouldnl't even call it metal, because the prog influence out shines the metal by a LOT. I wouldn't even call it progressive metal, I'd call it Heavy progresive rock, or progressive rock with slight metal influences. It's not fair that the word metal, when applied to any genre, always becomes the core of the genre. It can never be used as an influence, anything with any little bit of metal is automatically (fill in the black) metal.

This album should satisfy anyone... even if you hate metal, you'll love this album, it's amazing and very majestic. The perfect Dream Theater album, and the most important one, in my opinion.

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Send comments to HammerOfPink (BETA) | Report this review (#203418)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Images And Words, Dream Theater

Images and Words is, on the whole, a fairly good album. It's not, in my view, a masterpiece, and I share Certif1ed's doubts on how 'progressive' most of it is. The instrumental side is generally excellent, even if occasionally perfectly good songs are dragged down by the band deciding to throw in a basically unrelated bit of noodling, the lyrical side is a bit shabby, ubiquitously positive in feel, and completely lacking any subtlety, but not often emphasised enough to be a huge problem (exception: Another Day...). All in all, however, a number of excellently-played good tunes, of which my favourite is maybe Metropolis. No bad effort.

The band can clearly play, and particularly enjoyable are Myung and Petrucci's excellent performances, Moore's understated keys act as a sort of emotional anchor for the whole thing, and generally acquit themselves very well. Labrie is clearly a technically capable singer, and maybe the paragon of the generic singer-with-a-big-range, however, he really doesn't, most of the time, convey a lot of emotion or innovation and his voice becomes really rather unbearable when he's reaching after the high notes. A good singer, but not a great artist, in my opinion. Now, onto Portnoy... he admittedly has a lot of energy, but the drum performances here end up as an annoyance rather than an attraction, with one homogenous thick drum sound drowning out a lot of the other subtleties of the music just about every time he wants to make an impression. Finally, a note on the mix, I wouldn't mind hearing Myung a bit more audibly, and it sounds much better through headphones than through a decent sound system.

Pull Me Under is a catchy opener, from the first twanging guitar note through to the end. The band manages to build up a bit of communal tension, emphasised by occasional One-Of-These-Days-esque jabs from Moore through the intro and the verses, and then release it in the heady chorus before resuming it again, a burst of lone vocal and disorienting guitar-and-bass runs sort of focussing in a point maintain interest, while the solid riff and wailing guitar act as a constant. Mostly excellent, but it could have done without the rather abrupt ending, I'm afraid.

Another Day is, very much, a rock ballad, complete with tacky drumming and god-awful lyrics (I mean, just look at the chorus... 'you won't find it here, look another way, you won't find it here... so die another day'... it's offensively bad) and a rather irritating James Labrie moment, where he's making overtures to innovation by singing fairly high every now and then and adding an 'a' sound to every bloody vowel. Isolate those gripes, though, and there are a few very redeeming features. The soprano sax, courtesy of Jay Beckenstein, is smooth and moving and Labrie manages a rather impressive, if disconcerting, Eva Cassidy imitation at the start, along with a generally strong vocal when he's not messing around with a sounds, if you can shut out the lyrics. Petrucci pulls off some excellent guitar soloing as well as some vague shimmering sounds which don't really add a lot to the piece, Moore's piano, if a bit patronising, is nice. Comfortably the worst song on the album, and if you somehow like the lyrics to this, you're welcome to them...

Take The Time could well have been the best piece on the album, but it sadly isn't. The opening synthy whispering meets a tense bass part, and develops with rather Jacob's Ladder-esque metal drumming into an aggressive, punchy creature, bleeding cool guitar lines all over the place. A bit of impressively funky Myung playing underpins the first verse, with actually superb vocals from Labrie, complete with insidiously awesome high bits. The little deceleration before the lightning playing of the chorus is entirely merited. Thus far, incredible stuff, complete with catchy harmonies, hilarious dynamics and an ability (largely provided by Moore's tender piano) to slow down whenever needed. Unfortunately, the single most forced, unneccessary and baffling bit of random noodling follows the second verse... it's just so blunt, so utterly uncalled for. Despite a rather neat little bit of stop-start guitar thrown in there at some point and a rather cool bit of synthesque, or maybe even synth, soloing the instrumental break could surely have been introduced much, much better. Still, the only reason that annoys me this much is that the rest of the song is so good. Completed with another Cassidyesque outro, and a not-entirely-necessary bit of feelgood soloing and chorus repeat. Still, a very enjoyable song, and it could well hit my top ten bass performances list.

Surrounded is the seond of the 'soft' pieces, opened by a flood of delicate, almost nervous, Moore keys with an obligatory calm vocal, before a lukewarm Petrucci solo leads onto the whole-band bit. A rather tasteless bit of metalness leads onto increasingly annoying Labrie yowling and a tedious pop beat. The only real redeeming features of the latter part of the song are the occasional excellent Petrucci bits, but really, it's a mediocre pop rock ballad which ends up crippled by its own grandiosity.

The majestic, powerful, sweeping Metropolis is probably the album's highlight, opening with a tense distorted guitar riff, mysterious percussive twinklings, and a thick, murky keyboard background. Even the lyrics have shaped up here, or, more accurately, sound a little better without the constraints of rhyming. Even Portnoy comes across as an interesting player, and the keyboard lines run in perfectly with the shredding guitar. The interplay between the steel (I think) guitar and the the bass is intricate and precise. Labrie contributes a highly emotional performance to the piece, using harmonies rather than simply extended notes, to good effect. After the end of the first sung bit, a very nice bit of keyboard work turns up, and the band even manage a couple of rather neat pause-based transitions as well as a fantastic sort of ultra-complex guitar-bass thing. I've no idea what one particular, rather distinctive synth sound is, but my word is it cool. Anyway, I do like the 'jam' in the middle, even if it maybe relies on messing around with a few motifs a bit. The return of the vocals, subtly underlined by Moore, and assisted by a superb bass part leads to a drum-based outro. Fantastic song. Maybe a tiny weak patch somewhere in the middle, but strong enough to make up for it.

Under A Glass Moon opens with a rather tedious bit of grandiose guitar-led metalness, hamstrung by a wallowing tone, much as Portnoy seems in his element. The piece comes together a bit more when Moore adds some frantic organ jabs, and then weakens again as a dire case of lyrics-music non-relation hits home (cf. Red Barchetta... absolutely not convinced about the nervous flashlights bit). Portnoy is particularly agonising as the piece develops, just adding volume, not effect, from behind the drumkit, and the piece is only really redeemed by the weirder keyboard choices, and the fantastic playing of Myung and Petrucci. Admittedly, those are pretty redeeming when we get to the solo part towards the end, but it's a shame that the first part of the piece has no effect on me. Underwhelming, really, searing though the guitar part is.

The tender Moore piece, Wait For Sleep, is a really quite careful piano-dominated piece, and even if I think it could do with a little more challenge, movement and dynamic to live up to the charming intro and maybe a less blanketing string-synth, it's nice. The lyrics are actually quite nice in a slightly naďve way, and Labrie manages the vocal quite well. Pleasant.

Learning To Live is maybe a bit anti-climactic as an ending. Extended feelgood metal song, really. An amusing jumpy synth part complemented by a sort of aggressively-restrained drum part opens the song, and a bit of tension-creation through various keyboard song leads up to the 'main song', which has a quality Labrie vocal and rather Floydian keyboards, even if the rest of the band doesn't seem to be doing a lot of any interest, and though the intent is clearly to keep up the tension, the continual irksome drum stabs let it out as soon as it is created. A medievalish-sounding synth and an unoffensive, but unexceptional, Spanishy guitar solo add a bit of colour to the middle of the song, often underpinned by a rising vocal harmony and more subtle keys. The band pulls together a bit at around the seventh minute, with a bit of effective soloing, a hilarious retake of the Wait-For-Sleep keys, before the fairly nice chorus comes on again. A bass solo, always welcome here, ushers in a guitar motif, vocal backing and all, and the piece fades out to a bit of overriffing. My issues with the song are twofold... one, it's not a satisfying conclusion... it's not invested with any lasting emotion, or resolution... just comparing the end guitar fade with Supper's Ready shows exactly what it's lacking. In Supper's Ready, the fade feels like it's going on endlessly towards an eternal celestial goal. Here, the fade just doesn't feel like it's going anywhere. Two, it's just not as solid as many other songs on the album, and could've lost a bit of the 'metal' parts without anyone noticing.

I'm wavering between a three and a four here, and I think I'll have to settle on the former. The three high points of this album are very high, but I've dropped albums to three for having stronger 'weak' material than this (Nadir's Big Chance and McDonald And Giles come to mind). Anyway, I suppose the point of this review is to say that Images And Words will get the occasional spin from me, I'm certainly interested in acquiring more Dream Theater albums and that's fairly high praise in itself, coming from a not-particularly-metal man.

Rating: Three Stars, but with some exceptional material.

Favourite Track: Metropolis

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Send comments to TGM: Orb (BETA) | Report this review (#203437)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#205523)
Posted Thursday, March 05, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok where do i start, maybe when i got started in prog. My first real contact with prog came via Yes, i saw them in 2003 in mex city and i was just blown away by the abilities and music of this group as the years passed i got into Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Rush, Genesis, King Crimson and ELP, by the time i was 16 i was a true diehard progmaniac and i was very strict about which groups were admited by my ears, besides prog i also like The Who, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and many rock giants but always considered prog as the greatest genre so it was really hard to start listening to any new groups; but one day as in return of a favor i was given a cd called Images & Words I pushed play and i was blown away by the music, the singing, the virtuosity, everything. The Tracks Pull Me Under: even though it was the bands greatest hit it's probably the not so eargasmic song in the album that don't mean it's bad it's a hard cachty tune (thats a say because being 8 min long can't be radio friendly is it?)great drumming great structure and Labrie singing here is probably the less imposible one of the album. Another Day: ufff excellent song really really emotive , it's about Petrucci's father fight with cancer and is in this song where we meet the emotional and sensitive feel the band can capture and the man that steals the spotlight of this record MR James Labrie ,of course all the guys play like gods in this cd but labrie is another thing, plus great guitar solo and sax Take the Time: a classic the first track in the album where we hear them play all out-,insane intro, the second verse is imposible to sing, the instrumental section in the middle is awesome and to kill it the eargasmic keyboard solo by Moore. Just perfect Surrounded: ooohh yes the intro is so calm and mellow but so emotional, the drums enter with a 9/8 signature and it reminds me of yes for moments, again Labrie steals the show specially in the part the shadows slowly fading from the wall and throughout the end Metropolis: if there are 50 or so perfect songs in history this is for one for sure. The lyrics, bass solo, drum fills,the unisons between Moore and Petrucci and the cherry on top of the cake: the singing it's too good to write so just hear it Under a Glass Moon: the theater won't stop so they attack one more time with this one: great double bass drumming and fatalist environment at the begining, Labrie comes in and it just breaks loose, the song brings out the best of Mike and later of Moore but this one is for Petrucci giving us one of the best solos ever Wait For Sleep: a short interlude to catch our breath between glass moon and the monster that is to come, but this is not only a filler, Moore and Labrie keep it flowing very nicely very very calm and the main theme of this song will be heard again in ... Learning To Live: a great epic, the best moment of the album(along with Metropolis) the begining gives us a little preview of whats coming, the first verse comes, the tension begings to rise, the second verse enters, the lyrics are about AIDS very squeakly presented by Myung, the metal riffs begin, now comes the rally good stuff, Moore smoothes the feel a little bit before Mike flips out, yet another change now with classical guitar and great drumming, labrie adds some singing in the back just to add more pressure, guitar shifts to electric again with bass as a suport, the tension rise as Labrie comes with a 3 high pitched screams only to break when the eargasmic guitar solo enters, another shift now Moore has the control, wait for sleep appears courtesy of Myung and Moore's Piano, the theme at the begining of the song comes in but with more power until the last verse and chorus are sung and then when you think it's over Myung keeps it coming and Petrucci enters to make the perfect ending again with labrie providing good background singing This album is perfect there's no other word for it PS-sorry about repeating some words too many times but since english is not my mother language i must write what i know(what i like in your wardrobe)

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Send comments to progman18 (BETA) | Report this review (#210614)
Posted Monday, April 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Not much can be said about Images & Words that hasn't already been said. Not only is it great music by a talented band in its prime, but at the time it was a refreshing breath of air for music, containing a new sound that would be used in the years to come: prog metal. Of course there were bands like Queensryche and Fates Warning producing progressive metal before this, but Images & Words is something different. It focuses far less on the metal attributes and far more on the prog attributes of the genre, creating a wonderful new sound.

Of course, there are metal elements. "Pull Me Under" and "Metropolis" both contain standard palm mute chugging by metal bands and have a few heavier elements, while "Under a Glass Moon" and "Take the Time" give off a power metal vibe. But there are also plenty of songs on the album that aren't heavy in the slightest. "Surrounded", for example, would fit well on a neo- prog album, opening with soft keyboards and James LaBrie's beautiful vocals.

Every song on this album contributes to the whole very nicely, but each also has a unique personality unlike the other songs. Therefore, every track is a highlight of the album. From the metal opener "Pull Me Under" to the energetic and complex "Take the Time" to the unique ballad "Wait for Sleep", every song is wonderful. However, there are some standouts among standouts. "Metropolis Pt. 1" is a near perfect blend of emotion and complexity. It has one of Dream Theater's most complex instrumental sections, and once they build at the end of it, they create one of the most emotional endings as Labrie belts out "Love is the dance of eternity". Also notable is the beautiful closer "Learning To Live", which, along with plenty of complexities has soaring melodies and wonderful keyboards, closing the album with an epic outro.

As I said, nothing much more can be said about this album. Any fan of prog should enjoy it wholeheartedly, as there truly are wonders to be found on Images & Words.

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Send comments to topofsm (BETA) | Report this review (#218415)
Posted Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#218569)
Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fates Warning meets Rush, or didn't they already do that?

In the equation scheme, it probably goes 4/8ths FW, 3/8ths Rush, and 1/8th Pink Floyd.

That being said, this definitely shows much promise for Dream Theater as a highlight of progressive metal for years to come. The songs are complex, diverse, emotional, and highly impassioned, at times. Pull Me Under doesn't show the entire arsenal this band has at its disposal. Many songs vary wildly from each other, yet pull together, forming a strong and coherent atmosphere. Pull Me Under rocks, and it rocks in that lovely knotty and technical fashion.

Another Day drops things off into Pink Floyd territory, constituting dark and pretty guitar lines, along with a fine saxophone solo. This is quite restrained, and well done. It is still quite complex. Take The Time is another longer track, and is in the vein of Pull Me Under, albeit a bit less focused in approach.

This is one of those fine albums that has Petrucci not only restraining himself and allowing room for other not so generic solo wank storms. The playing is quite mature when it wants to be, and it shows off well. Surrounded is a weaker moment, but it is still bright and epic heavy rock with a progressive hint. It is still a dip in quality. I quite like the change of pace, though. Miracle and the Sleeper comes in, and is possibly the album's highlight. So good it has an entire album sequel, anyway. Adventurous to a fault, and multifaceted. The keyboard lines that arch over the entire album get a bit old, but they don't offend. Metropolis is very complex and technical.

Under A Glass Moon falls to a more epic and powerful setting. I don't feel it has as much to offer as previous songs, but it is still a fine listen. James and his high voice doesn't bother me, but it could put a lot of people off, here. He gets his highest in this song. I also must cite the keyboards as being quite weak, here. Wait For Sleep has piano arrangement, and is probably the prettiest overall moment of the album. Nothing here gets too dark or too light, and they excel in their chosen atmosphere, even if it could be a bit more vibrant.

Learning To Live caps the album well, the longest song here, but not the most progressive. It is somewhat stale, with its extended length, but it storms furiously. It feels like a sort of underture to the album as a whole, and showcases Dream Theater in all of their capabilities, while not actually fulfilling any of them. The lyrics go from great to not so good.

In all, the album has so much potential and skill showcased, it is easy to get lost in just that, but it does have flaws. Mainly the writing and disjointed atmosphere, followed by the uninspired and downright bad at times keyboard playing. Still, it is a rewarding listen.

Best Song - Metropolis pt. 1

Worst Song - Surrounded, but the album has very consistent quality.

**** Powerful stars

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#218616)
Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have been listening to music for decades, I have heard hundreds of albums of all genres, but this is just something that is beyond anything ever recorded in a studio. Images And Words is a masterpiece you definitely do not want to miss . It is amazing how a progressive metal band managed to fill the album with emotion, and made it so easy to listen. All though some of the tracks are almost 10 minutes long, the time just flies by, due to coherence which is present from start to finish.

The album starts with the famous Dream Theater hit " Pull me under ", which is a live favorite for 17 years now. The short clean intro is followed by powerful and memorable riffs. The song is about the sudden end of life, which is why the song stops so suddenly. "Another day " is a brilliant ballad, starts with an acoustic intro, and is filled with emotion. Lots of MTV potential, but still it was ignored. Maybe that is a good thing, cause mainstream success would probably prevent the band from writing quality songs in the future. "Take the time " is a musical masterpiece, with great dual solos by Petrucci and Moore. "Surrounded" is a wonderful ballad that starts with a piano intro and angelic Labrie´s vocals. It bursts into a celebration of music and life. " Metropolis " is a classic that is played on every DT show, amazing playing, awesome lyrics and great singing by Labrie. " Under a glass moon " is an another classic, jazzy style positive song which makes you feel happy. It is followed by " Wait for sleep ", which actually is an intro to the last, but definitely not least song of the album. "Learning to live " is a beautiful, and musically amazing song about struggling with AIDS. It is filled with brilliant guitar work by Petrucci, and keyboard playing by Moore. John Myung on the bass and Mike Portnoy on drums also contribute to this masterpiece perfectly.

This is one of the best albums ever recorded. If you don´t have it, get it.

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Send comments to MetropolisSleeper (BETA) | Report this review (#221748)
Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Call any of this much: "The Bible of the prog-metal", after the not so accepted by the market "when dream and day unite", the Dream Theater album that launches will be a burst of sales. Highlighting the technique of the drummer and leader of the group Mike Portnoy, and new vocalist James Labrie that there is clearly is the weight and value of composite bars, the beautiful ballad "Another Day" with the right soil to wind instrument, "surrounded "being a topic at the same time light and with its technical details that accompany the entire cd, it stressed that the technical exaggeration worshiped in this cd and also the great legion of fans of prog metal and the generations that follow Labrie who" married "with the style of band. "Under a Glass Moon" sounds more to the same heavy metal (metallica, and a legacy of speed and creative guitar break of Jhon Petrucci. "Wait for sleep" with an interesting melody of piano that will give more brightness in the range that has the album.

the DT can counter the more conservative proggers exaggeration on the technical or the weight of the guitar, but something is indisputable: the technical skills, talent, and their contribution to the current progressive scene.

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Send comments to nandprogger (BETA) | Report this review (#221750)
Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater's Pinnacle

Few bands on progarchives are as shrouded in controversy as Dream Theater. They have committed the ultimate taboo of combining elements from the sacred 70's prog giants with the styles of 80's hair metal. Though the band has gone on to make eight albums since this one, expand their musical horizons, and admittedly, make a few mistakes, it all comes back to "Images and Words." This is Dream Theater's finest hour.

Lets take a look-see at the line-up of this prog metal powerhouse, in case you are unfamiliar. The main men behind Dream Theater are Mike Portnoy (who since this album's release has inherited the title of God Behind The Drum Kit), and John Petrucci (virtuoso guitarist whose range of style does not come close to stopping past archetypal metal shredding). Alone, these two men represent some of the biggest talent in modern music, but the rest of the band deserves mention. James LaBrie is a singer in the vein of eighties wailers like Geddy Lee (Rush) and Steve Perry (Journey) - his voice soars above what is considered possible for human vocal cords. John Myung is a commendable bassist, though too much of his contribution is lost in the mix. My personal favorite member is the keyboardist, Kevin Moore. His masterful touch, perfect choice of tone, and use of restraint puts the finishing touch on this album with a clear sheen of professionalism. Without Kevin Moore, Dream Theater are destined for troubled times.

Dream Theater is known for pioneering a genre known as Nintendo Metal. It's true - the new-age synths and the super retro production of this album make it sound straight out of a video game's soundtrack. I swear I heard the keyboard/guitar interlude following the second verse of "Learning to Live" in Golden Sun. But fear not, this is a good thing. The producer has electronically triggered Mike Portnoy's drums and cymbals so that there is absolutely no unwanted ambient noise caught in the mix. The production here gives Dream Theater a unique sound that makes "Images and Words" a completely original piece of music.

The first two tracks of this album are their commercial successes: their top ten charter "Pull Me Under," a Metallica influenced rocker with excellent lyrics courtesy of Kevin Moore. The song does not drag throughout its eight minute length, despite limited diversity in music (by Dream Theater standards.) "Another Day" is a gorgeous ballad with a beautiful saxophone solo at the end.

Starting with "Take the Time," this album really takes off. "Take the Time," "Metropolis Pt. 1," and "Under A Glass Moon" are all excellent mini-epics with exceedingly complex middle sections. "Metropolis Pt. 1" features an instrumental bridge so eclectic and frantic that it defies belief. Combined with curious song writing and tremendous lyrics by John Petrucci, this song is one to take particular note of.

"Surrounded" and "Wait for Sleep" are keyboard-driven shorter songs that round the album out nicely. The former is an uplifting tune sandwiched between two sentimental piano/vocal segments. Mike Portnoy's drumming is inspired, he leads the band through 5 distinct phrasings of 9/8, over which the musicians operate and flow seamlessly. The latter is purely Kevin Moore contribution, nothing more than keyboards and vocals. It makes a fine introduction for the masterpiece that is to come.

"Learning to Live" is that masterpiece. In eleven minutes the band covers more musical ground than they will in the second half of their career. This is simply a wonderful song that must be heard to be understood. Prog metal newbies - this song may take a couple spins to sink in.

All in all, this is an album of masterful music that can not be compared to anything else made by modern humans. Complex beyond comprehension, at times beautiful, at times unrelenting, topped off with surreal lyrics and of imagery, "Images and Words" is the crowning achievement of Prog Metal genre. Recommended to all fans of progressive music.

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Send comments to The SaidRemark (BETA) | Report this review (#224436)
Posted Saturday, July 04, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Images and Words" is an album that will forever remain close to my heart. What an incredible milestone for prog-metal!

What I love about Dream Theater's music is that they create a unique atmosphere with a blend of different harmonic modes. This really stands out in this album. Major key, minor key, Phrygian mode, blues scales, I love it all!!

The magic and energy of this album is unique to anything that came before.

"Pull me under", "Take the Time", "Metropolis pt 1", "Wait for Sleep" and "Learning to Live" contain anthems that will surely echo into the 21st century! The other tracks are brilliant too. I love live versions of "Surrounded" and one of my ALL time fav DT songs is "Under a glass moon".

The density of musical ideas, and the effortless flow of the instrumental sections of these tracks make for an unforgettable experience.

4.35 stars in quality. Elevated to essential since it is an historic and pioneering album.

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Send comments to Kassimatis (BETA) | Report this review (#229221)
Posted Friday, July 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars This album was my introduction to Dream Theater. Back in 1991, Jason Rubin, publisher of On Reflection, a progressive rock newsletter in the time of very little prog, had just returned from an interview eith Derek Shulman, president of ATCO records (and former front band for a little known prog band). Shulman had played some demo tapes of a band he just signed that he thought Rubin might like. Jason told me that I had to hear this band. When I received this promo I listened to it immediately. At the time I was delighted that WEA was actually promoting prog. Now it doesn't seem nearly as great.

The album does have some greatness. "Metropolis - Pt. I" is an amazing tune. One of the best DT ever made. But the album also is about half arena rock. But the good songs do shine. And Kevin Moore sounds more like a traditional prog keyboardist than any of the subsequent players.

And from time to time, you can hear what Myung is playing!

3.5 stars, rounded up.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#232292)
Posted Tuesday, August 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
jampa17
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The signature for a generation...!!!

As simply as that. If you go to the other albums reviews from DT or all the prog bands from the 90's, you'll always find a reference to these incredible masterpiece. Well, I heard it after hearing the Awake album, so it was a different experience for me, 'cause I was searching something more short and heavy... but I end up really begging for more of them...

The album feels like that magical time in our life where everything seems to be on it's right place. The band shares some of the greatest inspired songs in prog rock and makes a huge a high standard for all their posterior material. You know, it's possible that the metalprog couldn't be there without this album, 'cause it shakes all the walls infront of the prog music cliches of that time.

Labrie sings high and maybe too much over the edge -but I love that just like that- and the rest of the band manage to serve all DT classics. You know, Take the Time, Under a Glass Moon, Learning to Live and Metropolis are really classics with everything included. Great arrangements, song writting, inteligent and original subjects, all surrounded by a magical beat of good vibe.. you can feel it...??? despite of the trigger sound of the bass drum and the snare, you can hear the real Dream Theater here...

Well, I know must of the new fans could say is not that heavy, that fast, that technical... but hey... this album is kind of Kevin Moore trying to held the band not so loud and technical, and been more emotional and touching... you know, there's no song like Surrounded in all the other albums... it's just beautiful and well composed... and Wait For Sleep... you can feel that emotional vibe, that mix of sadness and "give up" feeling... really... Kevin was the master of songwritting... And if you see, he dominates must of the songs, not playing just fast and loud, but with soul and emotion... almost the half of the album has his leads... He can be fast, check the unisons with Petrucci in the instrumental part of Metropolis or the solo in Take the Time... but he liked to keep it cool and great... Sure will get the tradicional JP amazing solos, the Portnoy intricated performance... Myung significant as always... you get the complete package...

This is the album for all prog fans... even for the DT haters... you know you will like some of the songs on this one... just accept it... Prog music is alive, and survive through the 90's with these piece... "I once could see but now and last I'm blind..."

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Send comments to jampa17 (BETA) | Report this review (#232402)
Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is music for young people. The musicians are really very good. The vocalist Labrie is not so good and I would say with a very standars vocals. I think that all in the album is very standard as composition. I would say that at some moments is quite boring. From my point of view this is a metal band with simple lyrics. The riffs are enjoyable but are very standard. I give three stars and refrain to give two because I only have listen five times. I will come back later to redo my review to see if I can give more.

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Send comments to amontes (BETA) | Report this review (#235944)
Posted Sunday, August 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars If i would reviews this album when i was teenager i would give much more high vote, but nowadays i give two stars only for the goal they reached. Thanks to DT many people get more close and interest in progressive music! But if i have to judge their music, i found it quite masturbative...just showing "oh yes we are good, we can do this, we can do that"... It's good for teenager, to get their attention to see how high a singer can sing or how fast riff can play a guitarist, but real prog music is not this! Music is not a sport

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Send comments to bungle77 (BETA) | Report this review (#245765)
Posted Friday, October 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars IMAGES AND WORDS. This CD is one of those that I would take with me to a desert island. I could not imagine life without this CD. Over the past several years of listening to masterpiece I have come to the conclusion that I don't think there is the possibility me loving an another CD more than this one. It all starts with "Pull Me Under" which happens to be the only real "hit" in Dream Theater's career. It is one of the heavier songs on the album, it starts out a little slow but as soon as it gets going it never lets up, it is a truly great song.(5/5). Next is "Another day" which is a nice little ballad with a great saxophone solo in it.(4/5). "Take the Time" another Dream Theater classic, a true progressive masterpiece (5/5). "Surrounded" possibly the worst song on the album, its still enjoyable, its a very upbeat song(3.5/5). "Metropolis" is one of the coolest songs i have ever heard its very progressive and complicated, it has numerous time signature changes and complex rhythms. If only hear one song from this CD make it this one. (5/5)." Under A Glass Moon" another great song that has one of John Petrucci's greatest guitar solos ( he has a lot of great guitar solos so I don't know if thats saying a lot.) but is still love this song especially the beginning.(5/5) "Wait for Sleep" and "Learning To Live" are practically the same song they blend together very well its just as great as the rest of the album(5/5). I think that "learning to Live" and "metropolis" show all the talent that this band has they have one of the best drummers in the world in Mike Portony and John Petrucci is a great guitarist. James Labrie has a great voice, there song writing ability is very good here the lyrics are great. Dream Theater is not at there creative peak here, because in my opinion they peak several times throughout there career. Images and Words is just there first peak and, this CD is truly great in every sense of the word.

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Send comments to kawkaw123 (BETA) | Report this review (#250043)
Posted Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover and E&O Teams
5 stars Erm, what the ? I threw my eye on this album because everyone was saying how good it is (I started with Score best of album). After all, this is early Dream Theater, they should be good here. And I've tried to be critic, not to easy fall for this and rate blindly with best mark as a lamp in herd. But nope, I was unsuccessful. I had to refuse this futile attempt on changing the way, because this album is simply perfect. Facts (all these epic tracks, not one best and others average, but every one of them great, some of them more, some less) proven persuaded me. From melodic Another Day, Take the Time with unusual singing in the first part of the song (but later improving with guitar solos). Or very special track for me, Under a Glass Moon, first track from DT I've ever heard few years ago, great show of John Petrucci skills (and probably the main reason why he's considered as one of the best guitarists). Not talking about prequel to my favourite album SFaM which is quite satisfying.

5(-), only bad thing would be keyboards, which sometimes sounds, well, weak, strange, not familiar. But other good things are enough for me to give this. Unusually melodic album though.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#250703)
Posted Sunday, November 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars I will have to add my voice to the other 1 and 2 stars here. It will be challenging though. I mean, how to review this album without using the word cheesy and horror ten times? Hang on, let me get my synonym dictionary!

Around the time of this release I had a short flirt with Dream Theatre, which was entirely based on the opening track Pull Me Under. Most of the other songs didn't appeal much to me and guess what? They still don't.

Another Day is a cheesy ballad complete with syrupy saxophone and sticky vocals. Horrible. Take That Time isn't much better but at least it tries to be complicated, something Dream Theatre often confuses with progressive. The music isn't very remarkable though, something between Rush around the time of Hold Your Fire and the kind of cross-over that was popular back in 1992. The vocals are terrible: annoying timbre and tacky melodies. Surrounded is another attempt to beat Elton John at cheesiness.

Metropolis. The intro is nicked from Saga, the melodies aren't very convincing and the composition is worthless. Well at least they try to make the music interesting, something that works reasonably well till they head off for that instrumental section around minute 6. Warning! Pointless solos and instrument abuse alert.

Under A Glass Moon is a decent track with some good rhythm guitar. Again the vocals could have been better and the solos are pointless and self-important. Well, we've had so much dreary stuff already that anything is an improvement. The same can be said about Learning To Live.

As a prog lover I've always found this album to be one of the worst things that ever happened to the genre. By the focus on virtuosic self-indulgence, Dream Theatre extracted everything that was dreadful about 70's prog and discarded everything that had made it so wonderful. If you look for originality, creativity, innovation, adventure, emotion and substance, you shouldn't pick up this album.

It is very unfortunate that exactly this very album served as an example for a whole generation of neo-prog-metal bands that clutter the genre. Mind you, I don't care that they exist, if you like them then that's all the better for you, I just wished this wouldn't be called progressive rock, not for any formal or technical reason, but simply because they lack all the qualities of it. Pull Me Under saves the album from one star.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#251869)
Posted Friday, November 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This was the second DT album I obtained, the first being Train of Thought. I immediately saw the difference between both albums. ToT was really heavy, with some progressive elements, mind you, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But coming across Images and Words, I was completely hit in the face. All of the songs were extraordinary! At the time, progressive metal was at its infancy, one could say, and this album surely brought prog metal onto the map. One of those iconic albums...just a couple of guys mixing their metal influences alongside their progressive rock influences. What a combination!

1. "Pull Me Under" - 7/10

2. "Another Day" - 8/10

3. "Take the Time" - 7/10

4. "Surrounded" - 8/10

5. "Metropolis Pt. 1: The Sleeper and the Miracle" - 8.5/10

6. "Under a Glass Moon" - 7.5/10

7. "Wait for Sleep" - 8/10

8. "Learning to Live" - 8/10

62/8 = 77.5% = 3 stars

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Send comments to Lark the Starless (BETA) | Report this review (#252513)
Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Images And Words is a masterpiece by DREAM THEATER. This album starts of with Pull Me Under. This song is a bit more pop and metal than prog, but it is still an excellent song. Another Day, Take The Time and Surrounded are great songs but they seem like a filler when Metropolis - Pt. I "The Miracle And The Sleeper comes in. This song is by far the best song on the album. i have listened to it many times and never get bored of listening to it. the next songs are Under A Glass Moon Wait For Sleep and Learning To Live . these are also very great songs, but after listening to Metropolis - Pt. I, it's hard for those songs to top.

Images And Words is an album that you can listen to many times and still want t listen to it again. This album rightfully deserves a five star rating.

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Send comments to gorgi321 (BETA) | Report this review (#258670)
Posted Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the essential releases from this band, the first album with vocalist James Labrie, who in my opinion is a really good singer. Along with guitarist John Petrucci, drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist John Myung and (former) keyboardist Kevin Moore make up Dream Theater. I can't remember exactly why I bought this album, or who recommended me but I love this album t's not as heavy as their later releases and the cover art is very usual of this era's prog the child in her room with the floating heart its a nice cover if I do say so myself.

The album opens with PULL ME UNDER, the most famous Dream Theater song (apparently played on the radio when it was first out) Its a pretty good opener though not as strong as the later songs I guess it could be considered quite commercial sounding. ANOTHER DAY is roughly half the length of the previous song and is added quite strangely by a nice saxophone, its doesn't sound like the usual Dream Theater style song.

TAKE THE TIME is up next with a great riff from Petrucci and some tasty bass from Myung. Kevin Moore even gets his own solo, which is pretty good. SURROUNDED is quite mellow thanks to the soft vocals of Labrie. The brilliant keyboards adds a key sound coupled with the wonderful bass.

METROPOLIS PART 1 is without a doubt my favorite Dream Theater song, its epic and doesn't get much better than this, the middle section is especially impressive. All of the musicians blend together perfectly in a wonderous performance. And even has Labrie's singing at the very top of his range.

UNDER A GLASS MOON is the heaviest song on this album, and is in my top ten songs by this artist. Labrie's vocals are similar to the last song, Starts off with a pounding on the drums from Portnoy until masterful Myung comes in with his tasty bass. There's also a fantastic solo from Petrucci

WAIT FOR SLEEP, its the shortest song on the album and a very good song with Moore's great keyboards and the soft tones of Labrie. It serves as a sort of intro to...LEARNING TO LIVE is a brilliant way to end the album on a definite high, again the playing on this song is just almost pure perfection, it even has an acoustic solo from Petrucci (The song WAIT FOR SLEEP is played during an interlude by Moore but faster)

A highly recommended album, 5 stars.

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Send comments to deathlifereborn (BETA) | Report this review (#266967)
Posted Friday, February 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here it is, Images & Words, The most epic Dream Theater album ever made! Why? I'm going to explain it to you, 1 song at a time.

Pull Me Under: The first song on the album, a a great way to open it. It's a very powerfull ballad that anyone can like. Even the not Prog/Metal fans, beacuse it's so diverse. It has it soft moments, it's headbanging moments, and it's prog moments. Great song 4/5

Another Day: A beautifull ballad, very mellow, yet very powerfull. The saxophone solo and the guitar solo are lovely. A song that shows how mellow a metal band can be! 4/5

Take The Time: Epic Progressive madness. Wow, just wow. This song just has it all, the powefull drumming, kickass keyboard solo. LaBrie's mellow voice in the beginning. A real Dream Theater Epic, if you ask me 5/5

Surrounded: My least favorite song on the whole album. It just doesn't cut it for me. It sounds very cheesy at times, and not like Dream Theater. 3.5/5

Metropolis Pt 1:The most epic Dream Theater song ever written, in my opinion. The story it tells is great, and it just feels very epic when listening to it. It sucks you right in. And thats just the story. The music is great, especially the instrumental part, which is mindblowing. A great dual solo played bij John Petrucci and Kevin Moore keeps this song going. Epic. 5/5

Under a Glass Moon. After the crazy prog madness in Metropolis Pt 1, it's time for a somewhat more mellow moment. The song starts of really mellow, and then slowly goes into a guitar driven rhythm. The middle section + Solo are very prog, as they are supossed to be. The solo just blows people's minds, even if the don't like Dream Theater. 4/5

Wait For Sleep: A great short ballad, just not really my style. And certainly not the most original. Although LaBrie's singing is great here! 3.5/5

Learning To Live: A great song, for me a very keyboard driven song. It's build very well, mixing the softer elements with some harder guitar work, with even a little classical solo in the song! And i'm not going to mention LaBrie's F#, but, wow, it rocks! 4/5

Adding all the numbers gives me 33/8 = 4.125 stars!

Written by Bas Weijenberg for Progarchives.com and Metalmusicarchives.com

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Send comments to Metalbaswee (BETA) | Report this review (#274344)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album single-handedly revolutionized and defined prog metal for nearly everyone else to follow. Yeah, I'd say it's essential.

From the swooping epic hit "Pull Me Under", to the thoughtful, mesmerizing not-so-hit but still excellent (and probably better in fact) "Learning to Live", this thing just never lets up.

If there's a standout instrument here it's the drums. I didn't know who Mike Portnoy was before hearing this album, but after I became a big fan. He can be relentless and subtle, more than you'd think at the same time. But he's not the only major talent here. All of the band members put full effort in I&W and the result is nothing short of a masterpiece.

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Send comments to CinemaZebra (BETA) | Report this review (#277707)
Posted Monday, April 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The band's second effort is for sure known as one of the very best progressive metal albums ever made. And boy do I agree. I consider this also to be one of the very best of the decade( precisely, I ranked it #2 in my personal list of best albums of the 90's). I remember I first listened to this album when I was in my freshman year of high school, and it completely blew me away. And that is how I got into this band. The elements that I loved about this album are:

1. the Technical Virtuousness. that never becomes excessive, even during the solos of the different musicians, especially of guitarist John Petrucci. Unfortunately, after this album the virtuousness will start to become excessive, especially in their very last albums.

2. The Melodies. always and in every single song hearable, from heavy and fast songs, to beautiful and delicate ballads (I rarely like a Dream Theater ballad, I always find them too pop oriented). It was very surprising for me, I didn't think, until my first listen of the album, that Dream Theater were so melodic.

These two elements in this masterpiece are perfectly combined together, creating very refined tunes and moods.

"Pull Me Under' is hands down the best DT song ever. It is so catchy, heavy, and outstandingly virtuous, but keeping always at a right distance.

"Another Day" is a beautiful ballad, surprisingly moving, like no other ballad written by the band.

"Take The Time" is a particular song, long, but still with a catchy melody. It's definitely the most experimental song of the album, and I like it quite a bit.

"Sorrounded" is a miracle, two great ballads in one DT album!! It has a beautiful atmosphere in the beginning, very jazzy and mellow and calm. The song then gets more enlivened, but never in a heavy way. Great song.

"Metropolis pt1" is one DT's best songs, and the most technical song in the album. Long, heavy, fast, with a long solo by Petrucci, it is however an epic masterpiece, to be listened carefully.

"Under A Glass Moon" is another unbelivable song. I underrated it initially, now I think it's one of their best songs. Similar to the previous track by structure, it is though very different and interesting, almost mysterious in some points.

"Wait For Sleep" is a brief prelude to the final track. It's a piano based song, very relaxing, I really enjoy it.

"Learning To Live" is the longest song of the album, even though it's my least favorite. It has however some great moments, very epic sounding and unforgettable.

Don;t have anything else to say about this masterpiece, if not that it's a shame that many progheads dislike this band and this album, since they consider this too virtuous. I think it's an essential masterpiece for understanding prog music today.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#280710)
Posted Thursday, May 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Images and Words marked a change in musical taste in my life and it germinated a desire of musical exploration that I will eternally be grateful for. Unlike very many Prog Archivers, I was not fortunate enough to be alive during the Golden Era of Prog, and my first exposure had already been filtered through several stages of musical evolution and influence. It has been 9 years since I first gave this album a spin, and I still have a great deal of appreciation for it; admittedly, there is quite a bit of nostalgia coating its cover, but this album excels in its technical and compositional aspects. There is not a single song here

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Send comments to Darracker (BETA) | Report this review (#281601)
Posted Wednesday, May 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the great debut 'When Dream And Day Unite' Dream Theater were not too sure if they would make another album after mutually firing their singer Charlie Dominici, but hope came in the form of Canadian James LaBrie, and what a fantastic singer he is and he really shapes this album. Overall the sound is very 80's rock/metal with a bit of Genisis like 70's progressive rock (only the best of course), the production isnt the greatest but of course it is the songs that really make up for it, the tones on this album i really love especially the guitar tones, the cleans that Petrucci can get are to die for and John Myungs bass lines are superb, from the almost sad opening bass line of first track PULL ME UNDER to the fantastic bass solo on METROPOLIS, PT I: THE MIRACLE AND THE SLEEPER, John Myung really is a very underlooked bas player and deserves a hell of a lot more credit than he does these days. Of course other standout songs include TAKE THE TIME, SURROUNDED, the solo on UNDER A GLASS MOON is unreal and of course the epic final track LEARNING TO LIVE is just a fantastic way to close an awsome album, just really kickass stuff;

Pull Me Under - 8/10 Another Day - 8/10 Take The Time - 10/10 Surrounded - 10/10 Metropolis Pt I: The Miracle & The Sleeper - 10/10 Under A Glass Moon - 9/10 Wait For Sleep - 9/10 Learning To Live - 10/10

My Conclusion? The first DT masterpiece and of course the first in a long line that still continues today, long may they reign.

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Send comments to FarBeyondProg (BETA) | Report this review (#284072)
Posted Saturday, May 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
3 stars Oh the classic Dream Theater album!

Images And Words (1992) has been considered so much of a perfect album, that finally united Prog and Metal.

Don't get me wrong, this is a really good album, really good, but the sounds here... I mean, guitar sounds, bass sounds, and to be more specific, the drums sounds and keyboard sounds on this album are really, really bad, dates sounds and production. Like a cheap B production of the early 90's. It doesn't stand the test of time for me. And prettu much the same goes for the next album of the band Awake (1994), things only began to change in A Change Of Seasons (1995) (maybe the name were a clue).

'Pull Me Under', 'Under a Glass Moon' and 'Learning to Live' are great songs of the genre known as Prog Metal, if only this record was release some years later...

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#285211)
Posted Sunday, June 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars It was said of Rush's Permanent Waves album that progressivism and the heavy metal idiom were not meant for one another. I think they couldn't have been more wrong. Rush isn't all that metal in my mind, but Dream Theater sure is and if there's anyone out there who is want for proof you can look no further than Images and Words. The assessment I got from my friend's dad after loaning it to his is that it was one of the most pretentious and self-indulgent album's he'd ever heard. It probably is, but I can never argue with self-indulgence when I share the tastes of the responsible parties.

Images and Words is one part metal, one part progressive rock and one part distilled 1980s. More than a few of you are now going, "Hey jerk! It came out in 1992!" I am well aware of this fact, you needn't bring it up; I stand by my comment. Dream Theater has never really been a band that's stuck with the general trends. In 1992 they were a hair metal relic in the age of Seattle Grunge, but they kicked more ass then flannel ever did, and I'm Canadian. The musicianship is top notch. Dream Theater is relentless and exploratory.

Maybe Metal isn't totally to my tastes, but Images and Words is an interesting and entertaining album. The average track length has to be significantly above the five minute mark. Most of the songs do exactly what you expect progressive rock songs to do, progress. I would suggest Images and Words to anyone like me who is curious, but sceptical of progressive metal. It has proven to me that good things can come of the marriage. I give it four out of five.

Theat-RE

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Send comments to R-A-N-M-A (BETA) | Report this review (#285816)
Posted Wednesday, June 09, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars It took the band a few years, and multiple vocalists, to find their voice in more ways than one. All eventually settled in 1992 with the union of Dream Theater with James LaBrie with the release of Images and Words, the album that many progressive metal fans still use to this day as the point of reference to which all albums are compared.

"Pull Me Under", in an edited form, was my introduction to the band. When I first heard the song in it's entirety, with the once edited-out "Watch the sparrow falling .." section and the outro included, I was hooked to the band. The song went from a rather straightforward metal song to something with some unexpected twists and turns. At the same time, in compared to several other Dream Theater songs, this song is more traditionally structured and contains more tasteful instrumentation.

Only two tracks in, and "Another Day" may leave some scratching their heads. If you can make it past the lack of heaviness on the track and the cheesy sounding sax lines (courtesy of Jay Beckenstein of Spyro Gyra), "Another Day" is actually a beautiful song.

"Take the Time" is one of the more energetic song off the album. The middle section of the song contains some great fretwork by John Petrucci.

"Surrounded" starts and ends with a great duet between keyboardist Kevin Moore and singer James LaBrie. The heart of the track is a rather melodic song

"Metropolis Part 1" is the track on the album that best shows where the band would head in the future. It starts with a light but powerful instrumental intro, and gradually builds into a heavy song that refuses to stand still. It doesn't follow the standard verse-chorus pattern that many of the songs follow, and the band takes more liberties in letting loose on their given instruments. The instrumental mid-section of the song is among their most frantic and memorable. Seven years later, the band would go on to make "Part 2" of this song (which lasts an entire album!).

"Under A Glass Moon" contains some powerful vocals from LaBrie and is one of the heavier songs on the album. Occasional detours are made to allow for some nice soft and melodic sections (the dual "by my hand" melody on vocals and guitar among them).

"Wait For Sleep" is a brief ballad featuring only keyboard and vocals. Like "Space Dyed Vest" on the Awake album, Kevin Moore is the sole songwriter. This means the band rarely play it live in the future. Unfortunate, as it makes for a nice contrast to a good chunk of their material.

"Learning To Live" closes the album in style. The groove during the verse, courtesy of the rhythm section of bassist John Myung and Mike Portnoy, commands the listener's attention. The song builds into an epic that closes fittingly with a catchy fading outro.

The album suffers slightly from a dated sounding production, but several cuts from the album hold up currently when performed live. That being the case, it is the radio-friendly "Another Day" and to a lesser extent "Take The Time" that have, in my opinion, aged the worst.

However, weaknesses aside, I still brand Images And Words as an essential prog-metal listen!

(originally posted on metalmusicarchives.com)

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Send comments to Stooge (BETA) | Report this review (#291771)
Posted Saturday, July 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I've been a fan of Dream Theater's music ever since I heard them on the radio somewhere around 2001/02. My first impression was strong enough to make me want to hear more from the band. I did just that by purchasing Scenes From A Memory followed by Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence and attending it's supporting tour in 2002. Since I wasn't a one of the hardcore supporters who have been following the band ever since the '90s, I had a lot of catching up to do with the band's history and seeing that Images And Words was considered a break-though release for Dream Theater it obviously was highest on my purchase list at the time.

To tell you the truth, Images And Words was initially a huge disappointment for me. I really made an effort to get into this album's material but it just seemed to reject me as its target audience. My main concern had to do with the typical '80s sound production that had no appeal on me whatsoever plus there was also a concern related to the quality of this material that I just could never overlook. Most of these compositions are really great like Learning To Live and Metropolis - Pt. I, but then there are those moments like Take The Time and Under A Glass Moon that come off sounding too sloppy and unfocused for my tastes. It's like the band has a great idea around what riffs they want to play but forgot to create noteworthy transitions between the different sections and let's not forget that hideous '80s metal production which at times makes me feel like I'm listening to a highly technical Glam Metal band.

Lately I've become more accustomed to Images And Words which by no means implies that I consider it a great album, but at least I can now appreciate some of its charm. This album was the reason why it took me another 7 years until I finally had the courage to experience Awake, but more on that in my next review! As for Images And Words, it's a good album that just doesn't work for me as much as I would have wanted it to so my rating should come as no surprise.

**** star songs: Pull Me Under (8:12) Another Day (4:23) Metropolis - Pt. I (9:32) Surrounded (5:30) Learning To Live (11:30)

*** star songs: Take The Time (8:21) Under A Glass Moon (7:03) Wait For Sleep (2:31)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#294490)
Posted Saturday, August 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Images and Words is considered by many a breakthrough album - both for Dream Theater and for Prog Metal in general. This reputation is not ill-deserved.

This album is truly an amazing album. Amazing melodies are carried by equally amazing riffs and accompliments. There's always more than just melody + chords going on in this album - be it the amazing drumming of Mike Portnoy, synth accompliment by Kevin Moore or heavy riffs from John Petrucci there are always multiple layers in this album, from the fist acoustic guitar note of "Pull Me Under" to the dramatic fade out of "Learning to Live".

The songs, although indeed with a metal edge, follow some of the main principles of prog. They rarely follow conventional structure, us interesting harmonies and chords and intruments not normally associated with metal (Saxaphone solo, anyone?).

Alas, this is not a perfect album. There are very few "perfect albums" and if I only gave 5 stars to completly flawless albums, there would be hardly any. Bassically, the biggest flaw for this album is the mediocre "Under a Glass Moon" - though it has a great solo, it is not up to the standards of the rest of the album - it is uninteresting in comparison with the other songs.

The lyrics, though lyrics interest me little, are often quite interesting, especially on "Pull Me Under", "Take the Time", "Another Day", and "Wait for Sleep/Learning to Live".

"Learning to Live" is the epic of this album - "Wait for Sleep" is part of the same song - an intro to the larger, much heavier piece. "Learning to Live" is an amazing composition work, especially in it's use of 15/8 time (or 5/4 in triplets) it's an astounding progression - going from strength to strenght - including an amazing piano solo. This song is the biggest masterpiece of the album.

In conclusion, this album is still a masterpiece, despite a few very minor flaws. It's most beautiful moments are very beautiful and it's most headbangingly metal moments are very headbangingly metal! An awe-inspiring mix of beautiful melodies, thick compositions and metal sensibilities.

4.7 out of 5

***** songs; "Pull Me Under", "Take the Time", "Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper", "Wait for Sleep", "Learning to Live"

**** songs; "Another Day", "Surrounded"

*** songs; "Under a Glass Moon"

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Send comments to Nathaniel607 (BETA) | Report this review (#294636)
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater is a band that needs no introduction; nearly every fan of prog, and even those who are unfamiliar with the genre, knows of the band. They have impressed numerous audiences with their masterful musicianship and have managed to stay intact for the last 25 or so years.

Indeed, this is their breakthrough album, and quite possibly their best album as well. Several songs on this, such as Pull Me Under and Metropolis Pt. 1, have become very popular, and even reached mainstream exposure. The tunes are very distinct from one another, and the album has great transitions.

Objectively speaking, this album is very creative and features an amazing performance from each band member. However, I cannot listen to more than 2 or 3 tracks at a time without becoming bored. This album still, though, deserves praise for the excellent musicianship, and is great for what it is, albeit not my style.

Highlights: Pull Me Under, Take The Time, Learning to Live

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Send comments to Mystery (BETA) | Report this review (#294956)
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don't really understand why this album is considered by so many the cornerstone of prog-metal, perhaps I would have to been aware of their existence and of the metal and prog doings at the time of the release, but as it is, by then I was rather obliviuous of the musical world back then. However, ofcourse I do like this album, it's got some real gems, and the rest is at least enjoyable. For me, the gems in this album are Pull me Under, even though it may be the most mainstream song in the album, it's indeed really enjoyable. Then Metropolis, with it's trademark beginning that influenced the whole Scenes from a Memory album, though this song does have a rather long shredding-tedious section, it's still very good. Wait for sleep, even though it's very short and simple, is one of the most beautiful things DT has done. And Learning to Live is indeed a great Prog piece, enjoyable all around, and taking and expanding the theme from Wait for Sleep near the end of the song (which makes both songs more enjoyable if they are listened together). The rest of the songs aren't so outstanding for me. Another Day is just a pretty ballad, but can get a bit boring, and the other songs have many shredding-tedious passages that I could just as well do without hearing. All in all, a very good album. 4 stars.

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Send comments to Dellinger (BETA) | Report this review (#302331)
Posted Tuesday, October 05, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Images and Words is a remarkable work and represents the true spirit of progressive music as a whole. It showcases the raw talent of each member while remaining a compositional masterpiece. The album flows incredibly well, and is ordered in a truly perfect manner. "Pull Me Under" is to this day the band's most well-known and most-loved song (although it is not my personal favorite). The second track, "Another Day," is a traditional metal ballad, although it does contain the usual proficient musicianship. "Take the Time" is a wonderful blend of the entire band and is also one of their better known songs. "Surrounded" brings out the band's true prog nature, with poetic lyrics and beautiful melodies. "Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper" represents both sides of Dream Theater's musical prowess: groundbreaking composition with absolutely mind-blowing instrumental sections. The song opens with some fun E minor metal riffs with a short keyboard solo. The vocals come in with a chugging groove and LaBrie gives an incredible performance. After several minutes of prog-metal heaven, the instrumental section departs into a few minutes of syncopated, odd-metered mania. They then return to a vocal section with the perfect amount of closure. "Under A Glass Moon" is one of the most well-written tracks on the record, and contains one of the most favored Petrucci solos of the band's (and his) career. "Wait For Sleep" acts as an introduction to the album's epic closing, "Learning To Live." This 11-and-a-half-minute conclusion is a compositional gem, with the expected high level of musicianship and remarkable vocal performance. Although the lyrics are somewhat cliche, the band pulls it off better than any other band would be able to. This song contains LaBrie's renowned high F# scream, followed by a soulful, humongous solo by Petrucci. The song ends the album with a bass-driven groove, and fades out softly. Portnoy's high level of performance goes without saying, providing befuddling off-beat measures throughout. Kevin Moore, the primary songwriter on this album, keeps the compositional level at the top of the list. Images and Words is a groundbreaking prog-metal album, and is wonderful from beginning to end.

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Send comments to hotrats93 (BETA) | Report this review (#307750)
Posted Sunday, October 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of those albums that I can see what attracts others, but for whatever reason Images and Words has yet to take hold of me personally. In my heart, this is a 3 star album, but given the historical contexts (a pretty unique sound for 1992), the bright spots (Metropolis, of course, among others), and...well...let's say the cool flaming heart on the cover, I'll round Images and Words up to 4 stars.

Highlights: Pull Me Under, Metropolis, Under a Glass Moon. These songs probably rock the hardest, have the minimum of LaBrie stylings, and fit together nicely as coherent songs (unlike, for example, Take the Time or Learning to Live).

Lowlights: Just because LaBrie was capable of singing higher way back when doesn't mean he should have been doing so, and that's clearly the case here in certain spots (i.e., the end of Metropolis). Also, Petrucci's crunching feels so light at times that it really makes the music feel cheesier in places, although they would address this in later albums (the same could also be said for Portnoy's sound).

Anytime an album gives me at least a couple songs that I regularly come back to, I consider it a worthy investment. Sure, I always hope for a bit more, but that just makes finding those special albums (i.e., Scenes from a Memory) all the more special.

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#313269)
Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Really the album that marked the DT.Altough I like the different albums that the band would later release, I think "Images and Words" was the album that really made me fall in love with DT, along with "Metropolis". The opening track "Pull me under", is one of the most classic tracks of the band, and one of my favorites.Her starts with some heavy riffs before the vocals come Petrucci. "Another Day" is a simple ballad, but with a beauty unsurpassed. The heavy sound left by previous track disappears totally . "Take the Time" begins in an odd way, with Moore's keyboards dominating everything, but music evolves, and the much-very over its 8 minutes.The their next track, "Surrounded "is a bit more commercial but still very boa.Os Labrie's vocals are really very good, even if they do not give the highs of" Another Day. And then we have one that is in my humble opinion , the masterpiece, the magnum-opus, the band's quintessential track: her, "Metropolis pt.1-The Miracle and the Sleeeper".This track meet in 9 minutes everything a lover of prog metal search.Absolutely heavy! everything works well in music.The five members are more cohesive as ever, and it ends on a amazing. "Under a glass moon" is another of my favorite tracks of the DT, the guitar solo of Petrucci is amazing. "Wait for Sleep "is a short song that serves as the rest of the tracks, and which prepares the ground alongside the last song," Learning to Live "and other classic among fans (at least in my case). Labrie's vocals reach their peak here ( he could never sing that note again) and the instrumental jam in the middle of the song is perfect, one of the best DT ever created.

(10/10)

-Pull Me Under -Another Day -Take the Time -Sorrounded -Metropolis pt.1-The Miracle and The Sleeper -Under a Glass Moon -Wait for Sleep -Learning to Live

Average-10

5 stars

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Send comments to voliveira (BETA) | Report this review (#319893)
Posted Sunday, November 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Admin / Heavy Prog Team / Math Rock Team
5 stars The beginning of it all.

Some despise it, some adore it, and some think it's just alright, but I, Andyman1125, contributor to ProgArchives.com, say that this album is one of the best albums ever produced in this millennia, butt up against Selling England by the Pound and Close to the Edge. Albums like these encompass everything that makes humanity good, skill, passion, desire, self-knowledge, and overall joy of being alive. This album started everything for the now "famous" prog rockers Dream Theater, whose technical ability and passionate devotion to their fans has rocketed them up through the everyday prog band that just doesn't cut it compared to Dream Theater. Certainly Dream Theater can't stand up to the legends such as Yes, Pink Floyd, or King Crimson, but they are certainly the best of their bunch: the leaders of the progressive metal movement.

In the very late 80s and the very early 90s, Dream Theater lost their first singer, Charlie Dominici. His voice led the band for only a few years, and he only appeared on the mediocre debut When Dream and Day Unite. The band began to audition for a new singer in 1991. After sifting through dozens of singers, even including John Arch of Fates Warning, the band called James LaBrie all the way from Canada, the current singer in the glam rock band Winter Rose, to audition. Flying down from Ontario, the young LaBrie (although he was the same age as the rest of the band) auditioned and blew Petrucci, Portnoy, Myung, and Moore out of the water. His incredible range, his melodic tone, his compassionate timbre and vocal strength, he was the perfect fit for the prog metal band's soaring harmonies and instrumental masterpieces. To the fans, LaBrie was the best new singer in the entire progressive scene, and he was.

Images and Words remains the band's only real commercial hit. The song Pull Me Under remains the only song that Dream Theater has released that has had major radio commercial play and even appeared on MTV and other networks. It had won them international acclaim and countless fans from every corner of the globe. But often one might forget: there are 7 other absolutely perfect tracks left on the album. It's easy to rate your "favorite" album 5 stars, despite insignificant flaws that should lower it to a 4, but on this album, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of the 8 tracks. Each is creative, exciting, compassionate, melodic, heavy, beautiful, rhythmic, and every single other desirable trait of music that one can imagine. Well, now we can start to analyze each track for itself.

You could probably get away with rating this album 5 stars by just saying three words: Pull Me Under. That opening progressive riff somehow even caught the attention of the corporate giants at MTV, a feat in and of itself among the (at that time) pop stars Tupac and other rappers. The music video aired in late 1992, sending ripples throughout the music community. It reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Heartseekers chart, and this song rocks! The opening instrumental section breaks into LaBrie's vocal debut, an epic show of melodic mastery. Vocals mesh with instruments into a beautifully done embroidery of musical genius. The slow and tear-jerking beauty of the keyboard solo flows effortlessly into a sweeping guitar solo, synonymous with John Petrucci. The chorus opens yet again, and a creative and abrupt ending transitions perfectly into the next track.

Another Day is a ballad among ballads. But it's still progressive, don't you worry. This song really allows LaBrie to show off. Moore's beautiful piano backs LaBrie's supreme voice. Some of the most beautiful melodies I've heard in my entire life are heard on this one track. Every note is perfect. Every harmonized second is perfect. The saxophone fits perfectly into the music, which flows in between melancholy beauty and sweeping power. The lyrics are poignant and creative. After absolute beauty ala James LaBrie, John Petrucci takes over with a spectacular solo of his own. Every single transition throughout the song fits beautifully. From vocal to instrumental to vocal to instrumental, the song is definitely a classic Dream Theater ballad.

Take the Time is one of the more fun songs on the album. This song breaks way from the traditional metal sound and incorporates a strong sense of funk. The opening is a creative and rhythmic and sets every listener up for a joy ride of funky bass lines and popping guitar work. LaBrie's exercises his extensive pitch range with piercing heights throughout the song. The bopping fun of the funky verses transitions perfectly into a slower melodic interlude exploring LaBrie's softer and more compassionate side. The soft quickens right back up into that swinging fun of the funky song with a strong (oh so very strong) instrumental section. Each instrument gets a part, even if it is a small one. The band sets the stage for their legacy as a great force of harmonic synchronization, with every instrument playing the same thing at the same time that just infects you with a joy so great you have to fight yourself viciously not to jump up and start dancing around. The instrumental section slows down to a short vocal piece before yet another guitar solo opens up, which ends the song on a great note.

Surrounded is the second ballad on the album. The delicate beauty of the intro could easily make one cry with its melody. But fret not, yee of dour emotion! This sad sound soon sweeps into a explosion of major scales and beautiful polyrhythms! This is definitely one of the happiest songs on the album, despite that sadder intro. Even standing up to the bopping and fun Take the Time, the solos, vocal harmonies, and overall composition of the meat of this song can slap a smile onto the most depressed's face. After all that fun, however, the song beautifully transitions into (a very short) reprise of the intro. Overall, however, the happy body of that song still makes you bob your head and happy satisfaction every time.

Yes, here it is, the fantastic Metropolis Part 1. Nearly no song under 10 minutes can even slightly compare to this song's overbearing epicness. Everything, not specifically the transitions or the melody or the rhythm is perfect about this song, *everything* is perfect. Not one thing is wrong. Not even a millisecond of flaw could be found in this song. This song is the prelude to an entire album, Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory, which is my favorite album, without a doubt. To say that a meager 9 minute track can be a predecessor to one of the (if not *the*) greatest progressive metal album in history is preposterous to most, but not anyone who knows Metropolis Part 1. The song opens with a different sound ?Jingle Bells! But continues on with one of the greatest keyboard progressions I've heard in my entire life?the "na na naaaa?. Na na nuhhh?." This breaks into a rhythmic-melodic perfection known as John Petrucci. After a short riff-solo, LaBrie enters? in perfect harmony with himself and everything the instruments are playing. This song is like jazz?everything communicates. The drums talk to the bass, which talks to the guitar, which talks to the keyboards, which talks with the vocals, which talks with everything all over again. Everything is in its rightful place, right where it should be, as it should be. The lyrics address everything from love to death to politics to the environment. And then, after the vocal piece, the instrumental section opens. It's hard to even think while this instrumental section plays. Everything that has been right with music for the past 700 years is exemplified in perfection in this piece. Rhythm, harmony, melody, technique, compositional superiority, and I can think of a list a mile long of other excellent traits. Complex time signatures, polyrhythms, technical solos, varying tempos and dynamics, this is like a perfectly composed music theory final composition. Everything good is in it. Myung's solo blows every other bass solo ever out of the water, Moore's creative keyboard parts keep even the most experienced pianists interested, Petrucci's solo defeats any other guitarist ever (well, that's not new), Portnoy can keep time no matter what (even the time signature was 471/67. Yes, they can play in 471/67 =P), and just the overall band performance is absolutely breathtaking. Everyone knows exactly what the other is doing, even if he is playing a solo with a half a million notes in the span of a few seconds. After this rhythmic instrumental beauty, the song transitions ever so slightly back into the vocal section with a crescendoing synchronization piece that could spin the heads of harmonized orchestras (well, maybe not. But still.). LaBrie comes in with his sweet melodic voice. The remaining minute of the song is one of the best in the song. The final touches on Moore's beautiful lyrical poem are put into the song, and this is the true lyrical prelude to the Metropolis Part 2 album. The song ends with some simple instrumentation, seeing as no complex cadence could possible appropriately end this song.

Under a Glass Moon is the next song. This song's heart lies in its guitar solo, but we'll get to that later. The shorter intro sets up the backing instrumentation quite nicely. The vocals come in on a very nice beat, keeping this steady rhythm afloat. The lyrics paint some of the most vivid images of the album, even the title is beautiful thought. The vocals are the most present theme in most of the song, accompanying the beautiful rhythm and backing instrumentation nicely. When the instrumental section, you know something is coming. The guitar sound tightens, and his playing gets more precise. Then it happens. Most certainly the best on the album, the best in the Dream Theater catalogue, and one of the better guitar solos?? ever...starts. It just up and slaps you in the face. It's absolutely exhilarating. Every note and measure is like an adventure of progressive proportions. The use of the guitar's accessories, most notably the wammy bar, is fantastic. Overall, that is one of the best guitar solos I have ever heard. The keyboard solo is great too, but nowhere near the beauty of the guitar solo. Still, however, the track is fantastic. The track follows a similar form as the rest of them, where after a lengthy solo section there is a short vocal reprise and then an instrumental outro. What a track, what a solo. Damn.

Wait for Sleep is the shortest track on the album, clocking in at a mere 2:31. This song is essentially a duet between Kevin Moore and James LaBrie, and what a job they have done! It is definitely the most beautiful and tear-jerking song on the album. It isn't even a ballad, just a beautiful duet showing LaBrie and Moore's passion behind their instruments and not just their incredible skill with their instruments. Most people could play those individual notes, but very few people could play those notes with the passion that LaBrie and Moore show whilst playing the music.

Learning to Live, the final track, is certainly an appropriate ending to a musical joyride. The guys can ride a bike with no handlebars?and win a race. The creative keyboard intro breaks into a sweeping melodic vocal section with some poignant lyrical themes. I can't say this enough, also: the instrumentation is just superb. Everything harmonizes perfectly with what LaBrie is signing, and every note transitions perfectly into the next. As with every other song, the vocal section transitions into a fantastic instrumental section. This is the closest one to come close to Metropolis'. Its instrumental section is just superb; each solo has something special to say to the listener. Each instrument also gets a chance to express itself fully. Whether it's the piano solo's yearning to be free, or the synthesizer's soaring sound flying into the sky, or maybe the guitar solo's ability to do what it wishes among the other instruments. These solos transition beautifully, as always into a short vocal section, that transitions into (oh boy) another instrumental section! Oh joy!!! (Not sarcastic) In this act, the bass gets a moment away from its cage of low frequencies that keeps all the music harmonized and gives his statement of complaint. The drums join him in his parade, before the guitar joins him in an epic backtrack for yet another impressive guitar solo. No, a guitar solo does not have to be 700 BPM with 3,000 notes per measure to be incredible. A s simple (even repeating) riff that is catchy and creative can be incredible too. This small solo fades out into eternity, the same amount of time that I will be listening to this record, over and over again.

ALBUM OVERALL: This truly is the beginning of the legacy that is Dream Theater. Some people spit on the band's name, but in most cases that is purely based on bias. When truly looking at this album for what it truly is, I can't fathom not liking Dream Theater. Certainly someone could say in turn that my rating is based on my own bias, but Dream Theater was the first progressive band I ever heard, which opened up a world of music that 80% of the world has never even heard of. This gate that Dream Theater opened for me has led me to respect them as much as a classic prog fan respects Yes and Genesis. Their technical ability, compositional skill, musical genius, and overall epicness has led me to the conclusion the Dream Theater is and always will be the ultimate prog metal band of all time. No, they are not symphonic prog, and no, they are not from the 70s, but they certainly have not tainted the progressive genre, but rather have added a new chapter in the certainly long book of progressive music.

Images and Words is an album that any musician can look up to. Whether your pride is mellow acoustic riffs reminiscent of Harmonium or thrashing intensity similar to Meshuggah, every aspect of music can be connected to this album. Musically, it is genius, commercially, it was a smash hit. Overall, this is just a fantastic album. I can't even think of an adjective in my expansive vocabulary to describe the overbearing beauty and monstrous amazingness of this album. Well, here ends my 2,447 word review! 5 ++ stars!!!!!!!

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Send comments to Andy Webb (BETA) | Report this review (#344178)
Posted Sunday, December 05, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Three years after the convincing and very strong first album "When Dream And Day Unite", Dream Theater came back with a new vocalist and created a new masterpiece of progressive rock or metal. While this album is maybe not as diversified as the first strike, "Images And Words" is able to create some really magic moments and has even some very catchy songs.

The magic moments are presnet on the calm songs of the record like the wonderful ballad "Another Day" that is brilliantly sung and convinces with some strong piano leads and a soprano saxophone that adds a very special note to the song. "Surrounded" is even better with its amazingly harmonic and chilling keyboard sounds and James LaBrie that delivers on of his strongest performances of all times in my opinion.

The catchiness that was lacking on the last record is now present with the opener "Pull Me Under" that has a very simple but strong chorus and some mystical and exotic rhythms. But to be honest, I think that this track is one of the less profound on the record and is a little bit too long in the ending just to end in a very abrupt and senseless way.

I rather prefer the progressive side of Dream Theater like in the very diversified "Take The Time" or the interesting "Learning To Live". But both of the songs are just good average on this record because they share the album with the masterpiece "Metropolis", maybe the best song the band has ever written. In almost ten minutes ever instrument gets the place it deserves and everyone is working over the top, beyond all limits to create a very diversified surprising and still logical and atmospheric track. This memorable piece of music unites everything what the band stands for and if I had to present Dream Theater to a good friend with just one single song, then I would chose this masterpiece that inspired the band to write a whole album around this track a couple of years later.

All in all, there is not much to argue about this album. It has some magic moments, every musician is doing his very best and the production and sound is more accurate than on the first record. There are a couple of songs that I would rather describe as average tracks that I like less, especially the complicated and somewhat faceless "Under A Glass Moon" or the overrated "Pull Me Under". This album is not as consistent as the underrated debut album. But on the other hand the band puts two of their best songs ever on this record with the unforgettable "Surrounded" and "Metropolis" and that's why this album is surely and easily in my top five ranking of the best albums in the band's biography even I would not put this record in the first places. But for any fan of progressive music, this masterpiece that somewhat reanimated a whole genre is a definite must have that offers a lot to discover. I would put the band's first to albums on the same level even though the have all different forces and weak points.

Originally published on www.metal-archives.com on January 3rd of the year 2010.

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Send comments to kluseba (BETA) | Report this review (#379064)
Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Post Rock Team
3 stars This is the first DT album I have heard in full. I was familiar with "Pull Me Under" since I seen the video when this album just came out. I heard the title track to Octavarium once, and it put me to sleep. What I heard here pretty much met my expectations. Some parts I liked a lot, other parts I thought were cringe worthy. The rest fell somewhere in between. The don't like the very '80s sounding digital synths used here. The songwriting sometimes comes close to Hair Metal.

I had the single edit of "Pull Me Under" on a cassette comilation from the early 1990s. I know this song well; I always thought this was one of the best metal songs of the '90s. I hate how the ending just gets cut off on the album version. I generally can't stand LaBrie's singing on this album, which is the first with him. Nonetheless, I've often had the "living my life too much in the sun" line stuck in my head over the years. "Another Day" has some saxophone, which I wasn't expecting. I don't like the song anyway.

"Take The Time" begins good with the fast and heavy pace. Then goes funk-metal. They sample Public Enemy in this song! Too bad you only hear Chuck D and not Flava Flav. More melodic guitar playing later on. The harmony vocals sound very Hair Metal. Nice piano in the middle with a sample of someone speaking Italian. Good guitar solo. Last 2 or so minutes is the best part of the song. Sounds like a cross between Hair Metal and Thrash Metal. I don't like the synth sounds at the beginning of "Surrounded". Very cheesy and '80s sounding. This song sounds like a cross between Michael Bolton and Queensryche. I like the "dark to light to dark..." line. Awful song overall.

The best song is "Metropolis Pt. 1". I like the guitar when the singing starts; very Metallica sounding. After 4 minutes begins the best part of the whole album. When I listen to this section I think: "why can't all prog metal sound like this? all the time!" Simply awesome 4 minutes of music. "Under A Glass Moon" has a part that reminds me of Voivod. The instrumental section beginning in the middle is pretty good. Don't really care for the parts with vocals.

"Wait For Sleep" is a short piano-based ballad. Filler. "Learning to Live" is the longest song but not the best. The synths at the beginning are awful and cheesy. Good acoustic guitar later on. Some interesting piano playing even later on. You actually hear the bass for a bit near the end. Not a bad album but I've heard a lot better proggy metal. This album does not make me want to check out any more DT albums. But I might check out some of their later stuff just to see how different it is. For Images & Words I give 3 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#379247)
Posted Thursday, January 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best albums by this american band called Dream theater.. it is hard to ignore this piece of art.. and is a wise choice listen to this album..this album combines metal with progressive stuff... and thanks to this album many bands in the future will takes the influence in their Music..

a lot of things have been said about this album..the virtuosity of this band is amazing, just listen to metropolis!..wow!! amazing!! i think , in my opinion, that labrie's voice on this album is the better on his career.. and along with awake his voice sounds very well with the music of DT.. Dt after some albums will change their music in a heavy side..one of the best bands in the progressive metal scene without doubt..

This album is a legend..

5 stars!!

Cheers....

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Send comments to JgX 5 (BETA) | Report this review (#402584)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
baz91
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars After their debut album 'When Dream And Day Unite', Dream Theater went through a tough period trying to replace their lead singer. Of course, they finally stumbled upon James LaBrie, and the rest is history. His voice, then unmarred by the tragic food poisoning accident that was to happen just three years afterwards, perfectly suits the music, making Charlie Dominici a thing of the past. For all of you who love links between various prog bands, you may notice that Derek Shulman of Gentle Giant appears in the credits for this album. Indeed, he was responsible for signing the band to the Atco label! (Time for some GG jokes) 'On Reflection' that was a very good move. Without him they would have been 'Nothing At All'. I shall never grow tired of prog rock and all its 'Funny Ways'. But really, to be 'So Sincere' I should probably get on with this review.

If you've avidly stalked my profile, (or if you're just some friend I've decided to share this review with) you may know that I was once a keen Dream Theater fanboy. During those months I quickly singled out 'Images And Words' as my favourite Dream Theater album, and hence for a while it was my favourite album of all time. Each song on the album is a great standalone track, and together they make a powerful ensemble. This has the advantage over 'Scenes From A Memory', say, because, while that album as a whole is awe-inspiringly brilliant, the tracks by themselves don't really deliver. It also features some of their best-loved and classic tracks, such as Pull Me Under, Take The Time and Metropolis (although I'd like to argue that all of the tracks on this album are classics).

The album start's with the surprisingly popular Pull Me Under. When I say popular, I don't mean among DT fans or prog aficionados, I mean this song actually featured a fair amount on MTV and got radio airplay! Sixteen years down the line, Dream Theater would satirise the fact that only one of their songs has been able to do this by titling their first compilation album 'Greatest Hit (... and 21 other pretty cool songs)'. However, upon listening to this song, you will be completely baffled as to how this could ever have been on MTV. For a start, this song is just over 8 minutes long and has many elements of prog and metal throughout, a recipe that doesn't exactly scream "Commercial!". For fans of prog and metal though, this song is an absolute treat. With lyrics inspired by Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' penned lovingly by Kevin Moore, perfectly written instrumentals appearing throughout and an anthemic chorus, it's not hard to see why this song has become a fan favourite. The obligatory music video - sloppily editing the track down to under 5 minutes and showing Images that definitely don't fit the Words - simply does not do it justice, and makes the song sound much worse, especially to the commercial ear. However, history is history, and whatever it was that got this song so much recognition is probably the reason that Dream Theater are so well known and so highly regarded today. Dream Theater's big break so to say.

While Pull Me Under is not the commercial song that MTV somehow thought it was, this is not to say that Dream Theater weren't trying to gain some radio airplay. Another Day is far more commercial-minded, with effort put into it's ballad-like nature. The song expresses John Petrucci's struggle to come to terms with his father's cancer in a beautiful way. This subject matter would reprise on Take Away My Pain from 'Falling Into Infinity' after his father passed away. While this track does feel more pop than prog, there is nothing corny about this extremely powerful, moving song. The song is decorated with tasteful soprano sax riffs played by the sensational Jay Beckenstein, although in a few cases this comes desperately close to sounding cheesy. Mike Portnoy brings the piece to life with some great drumming that is creative but not too distracting. In the second verse he executes a fantastic groove that he would later use again in both Lifting Shadows Off A Dream and the non-album instrumental Eve. This is one of Dream Theater's best attempts at a radio-friendly song, and I am bewildered as to why MTV didn't single out this track instead.

To hear Dream Theater at their best, you need to listen to their longer, more technical tracks, and Take The Time is a good place to hear this. Littered with bizarre time signatures, this track is every prog-metal fan's wet dream. With lyrics credited to all of the band, this track features wildly changing verses, and break-neck choruses. The instrumental is phenomenal: lasting just over 2 minutes, it can be split into at least 4 different sections, each as complex and mind-boggling as the last. However, it is surely the outro that makes this song so unforgettable. After the final chorus we are treated to a brilliant triumphant section, where we are invited to chant the phrase "Find all you need in your mind if you take the time!" This is followed by what I believe to be Petrucci's best and most memorable guitar solo on record. It may not be his best in terms of length or technical precision, but if this playing doesn't make you want to get up and perform an impromptu guitar solo, then I honestly don't know what will. Perhaps the most infuriating thing about this song (and possibly this album) is the fade-out ending, no doubt left that way so that the band could experiment with different endings during live shows. It is heartbreaking to hear such a great solo fade away, and we are left with a burning desire to know what happens next. Indeed, this a very satisfying song to hear live, as there is no possibility for the band to fade out at the end. Live versions of this track include a longer guitar solo, and, in one case, a cover of the famous guitar outro to Lynyrd Skynyrd's Free Bird. As infuriating as it is, one has to admit that the fade-out was the right decision for this song.

Surrounded is a softer piece, with more melodic tendencies. This track has a bold structure, with the main section of the song being sandwiched between two keyboard sections which act as a distinct intro and outro to the song respectively (rather like Yes's Awaken). The disadvantage of these sections is that they take up around 40% of the song, which feels excessive when the song is only 5:30. It's rather like having a painting where the frame is too large. The intro and outro, while both beautiful, are the less interesting parts, and it can feel like a chore to listen to them along with the rest of the track. The main section, on the other hand, is extremely engaging. Starting in subtle 9/8, the melodic beauty of this track becomes apparent very quickly. The lyrics are great, and can instantly be recognised as Moore's. One highlight for me is James LaBrie's accurate timing when he sings 'Light to dark, Dark to light, Light to dark, Dark to light.' The main section ends with a very powerful section, all strong chords and beautiful singing. The intro and outro are a little too long, but otherwise this is a really well-written and beautiful track.

In my opinion, the best prog rock songs are epic, complex and memorable. It is for these reasons that Metropolis - Part 1 is my favourite Dream Theater track of all time. Beginning with a majestic instrumental intro, this song epitomises the word epic. The intro gives way to strong verses featuring theatrical and evocative lyrics (which some may argue as being pretentious). The music that follows these verses is one of the most complex, well-written rock instrumentals I have ever heard. Lasting a staggering four minutes, this instrumental section showcases the talents of each band member (minus of course singer James LaBrie). There's even a bass solo, for the usually subdued John Myung to shine! Starting in 13/8, the instrumental is of course awash with time signatures. There are too many sections to count, and substantial listening is required to be able to remember all the parts in the right order. To demonstrate how intricate and complex progressive rock can be, one needs to go no further than this song. After four minutes of one of the best instrumentals of all time, James LaBrie returns to bring this epic song to it's symphonic close. If I had to sum up Dream Theater with one song, it would have to be this one, as Metropolis showcases just how intricate and epic the band can be. Of course, they released a sequel 'Metropolis - Part 2' in the form of a concept album, 'Scenes From A Memory'. The album, while not explicitly linked to this song, employs musical and lyrical themes from it, and gives you a better idea of what the first part is about. In case I haven't made myself clear, Metropolis is Dream Theater's magnum opus.

Under A Glass Moon is best known for Petrucci's high-paced guitar solo in the instrumental. The song on whole is very enjoyable, and Portnoy's handling of the complex time signatures is also very remarkable. While there is little to fault this song, I find this track less memorable than the other tracks on the album. The high level of complexity on this track has now become a standard for Dream Theater, which is really the reason why they are so highly regarded.

Wait For Sleep is a beautiful keyboard track with sensational singing from LaBrie. It's usually quite difficult for a band like Dream Theater who are known for lengthy songs, and complex songwriting to come up with a simple track which is of the same quality as the rest of their work. In my opinion, Kevin Moore was their best songwriter, and consequently this is a sublime piece, with subtle time signatures boosting it's quality on this progressive album. The title 'Images And Words' is referenced in the song, making it an integral part of this album.

With lyrics by John Myung, Learning To Live closes this album in the most progressive way possible. This song has a very odd structure, with lyrics cutting out less than halfway through the song, to give way to an epic instrumental. The instrumental is not quite as technical as the one on Metropolis, but has many other standout features. For example, LaBrie famously hits F# at 7:05, which is the highest note on any Dream Theater song besides Octavarium's G5. The theme from Wait For Sleep is also reprised, as if it were the intro to Learning To Live. The song ends with a fantastic bass-driven outro, giving an epic, anthemic end to the album. This song engages me in a different way to other Dream Theater songs, in a way that's difficult to describe. This track is very unique amongst the other songs in Dream Theater's catalogue, which is typical of Myung's songs.

'Images And Words' continues to be an inspirational album. This album would have been a very strong indicator that Dream Theater were destined for greatness. The sound quality is far superior to that of their first album, although notably Portnoy's snare drum was triggered so that it lacked all subtlety in some of the tracks. The artwork is also brilliant, and one can gaze at the cover discovering new things each time, although the band pictures are extremely dated. To anyone wishing to discover the legend that is Dream Theater, this is a perfect starting place, and is THE essential record from this group. With so many great classics on this album, how could you refuse?

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Send comments to baz91 (BETA) | Report this review (#435142)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater has produced many great albums, but although Scenes From A Memory comes close, they have yet to top Images and Words. The energy and creativity displayed in every song is just amazing, with the highlights being of course Metropolis, Learning To Live and Take The Time, altough the most famous song (and only hit) is Pull Me Under. They even left out the epic Change Of Seasons due to time restrictions, so you can tell the guys were full of inspiration when they recorded this album. Here's the perfect balance between prog and metal, my 2 favorite genres. Whenever I recommend this band I always mention this album which I consider highly responsible for renewing the interest for progressive rock in the 90's, and bringing along a new generation of fans who were initially interested in metal only. Of course that wouldn't have been possible if this was not a great album. A masterpiece! Five stars.

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Send comments to eddiefang (BETA) | Report this review (#456704)
Posted Friday, June 03, 2011 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Extremely Uneven Album Foreshadows a New Genre

Dream Theater's second album IMAGES AND WORDS, their first with singer James LaBrie, has now achieved iconic status as the official beginning of progressive metal. I distinctly remember when the single "Pull Me Under" was being played on rock radio, and my surprise that a distinctly late 80's sound was still viable in the face of the bludgeoning force of grunge that was going on at the time. Indeed, Dream Theater was combining several of the dominant musical forces from around 1988-89: Over-wrought pop balladry in the vein of Bad English / Journey, faux-operatices vocals a la Iron Maiden / Judas Priest, shred guitar a la Steve Vai, and some heavy riffage a la Metallica. Two new elements were folded in, however. The first was a drummer whose showmanship, virtuosic skills, and love of odd time matched or surpassed the guitars. The second was that Dream Theater was a BAND. Every member had a significant part to play and no one really upstaged the other. For guitar junkies like me, this was probably the freshest aspect of DT. Joe Satriani's great albums were basically guitars over lifeless drum machine grooves, and vocals were often an afterthought on shred albums. At best, keyboards would emerge to swap solos with the guitarslinger (Yngwie Malmsteen). But with Dream Theater, the songs had clearly been developed as a collective.

However, the band was clearly still was trying to find their identity. The band's best songwriter, keyboardist Kevin Moore, was clearly more interested in melody and texture, while guitarist John Pertucci loved heavy riffs. Where everything seemed to come together was during complexly composed instrumental sections, which would become their signature and become the basis of the entire prog metal genre.

1. Pull Me Under - This is simply a great metal anthem. It's not particularly complex or recognizably "prog." It combines some riffage and firebreathing from Pertucci and a superb soaring chorus hook from Moore that deservedly became an anthem. "Pull me under, I'm not afraid" is such a great line. Sadly, the band would never produce another song quite like this.

2. Another Day - A completely generic radio power ballad, though adequate for what it was. The Kenny G-ish solo simply capped off that this was supposed to be the one that made them millionaires as the style had for many bands in the previous years. If it had been 1990, it might have worked.

3. Take the Time - This is the first time that we actually get a glimpse of what the band was to become. A slightly funky beginning with a sing-a-long chorus really grabs the attention at 3:50. The off-time break and solo would become the blueprint. Though not my favorite song, this is where it began.

4. Surrounded - Starting as another pop ballad, Moore actually lifts Jonathan Cain's intro from Bad English's huge hit "When I See You Smile." Instead of being another snoozefest, the song evolves again and again into unexpected places. The syncopated vocal of "Light to Dark, Light to Dark," and the delightful fast solo section make one forget where the piece began by the time it finishes.

5. Metropolis, Pt 1 - For diehard fans of the band, this is the song that defines IMAGES AND WORDS. The extended composition would become the blueprint for the remainder of the band's career. Pseudo-intellectual lyrics with minimal melody are offset by odd time riffs and multiple instrumental sections and solo spots. Ultra-fast leads are played in unison between guitar and keys, and the bass even gets an impressive solo section.

6. Under a Glass Moon - A fairly straightforward Pertucci song that supposedly contains one of his best solos. Here I must mention that though Pertucci now has a reputation as one of the best shredders of all time, in 1992 he was just another face in a crowd. This solo is basically a poor man's Steve Vai solo, with none of the otherworldly tonality. Though JP would improve his technique on subsequent albums he has never to my ear matched the giants of guitar. However, the way he has been able to interweave with his various keyboard partners in crime is fairly unique. I would argue that that element is about all that's left of the band at this point.

7. Wait for Sleep - This jazzy Kevin Moore composition is probably the best song, in the true sense of the word, ever to be recorded under the Dream Theater name. Like all good songs, I can imagine any number of vocalists tackling this and making it their own. LaBrie pulls in the screams and does a good job. The difference between this piece and Metropolis makes it easy to understand why Kevin Moore left the band. I would argue both were worse for the separation, however.

8. Learning to Live - Another extended piece, this one announces itself as prog metal from the first notes. While this song offers a number of tasty morsels, there really isn't a signature hook or riff that stays with me. It's really a typical prog metal album track, though this album is really only about half prog metal. Therefore, it was quite interesting when the album first came out but has lost a little luster with all the imitators that have followed.

IMAGES AND WORDS is really a record of two bands - a Kevin Moore led melodic rock band and the Pertucci / Portnoy led prog metal band that would ultimately define DT. I still think most would argue that the band was best when both were active. For this reason, I think AWAKE is the definitive DT album, with this one being a less developed version showing lots of promise.

To deny the historical importance of this album is folly, and so I am rounding up a 3.5 to a 4 star rating. But it's simply too uneven to truly reach masterpiece status.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#460430)
Posted Monday, June 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars "Just let me catch my breath..."

Towards the end of the 1980s the likes of Operation Mindcrime and Perfect Symmetry had started to sow the first seeds of Progressive Metal, but it wasn't until 1992 that Images & Words' fusion of Rush inspired compositional intricacies with Maiden'esque' grooves and melodies truly gave birth to the genre.

The Good: After recently watching an amazing set at High Voltage which opened and closed with songs from this album, it feels like the time is right to finally review it.

After a slow but sure opener comes the super smooth ballad, Another Day. Featuring some pretty cool (albeit slightly cheesy!) saxophone from Jay Beckenstein, this track is just a warm up for what comes next... five absolute classics of unbelievable quality.

Take the Time was the very first Dream Theater song I ever heard and to this day remains my absolute favourite through a combination of nostalgia and masterful song writing. No matter how many times I listen it just never gets old as there's so much going on in this multi-layered treasure chest of musical goodness. The only possible flaw is the gradual fading of that stratospheric outro, which, in my imagination, always carries on till the end of time... and then some! In comparison, Surrounded is more laid back than an opiate-infused Pat Metheny gig on a bed of feathers. This subtle approach works equally well, and is accompanied by some really great lyrics which are sadly now but a distant happy memory when compared to Dream Theater's more recent output.

Under a Glass Moon. Guitar solo. Mind = BLOWN. And then there's Metropolis, Pt.1: The Miracle and the Sleeper, a composition so epic that it's sequel arrived in the form of a 77 minute concept album, and even that didn't quite do it justice.

On its own Wait for Sleep isn't particularly special, but when heard in the context of the album it segues perfectly into the awesome finale, Learning to Live. This is another track overflowing with subtle nuances, moving seamlessly between each flawless section. The vocals are fantastic which is also true for the rest of the album, and whilst James Labrie's voice has noticeably deteriorated over the years, there can be no denying that during his prime he was pretty much untouchable.

The Bad: Despite it being their only commercially successful single to date, Pull Me Under is probably the weakest track on the album and feels a little bit one dimensional when compared to the rest.

The Verdict: A benchmark within progressive that has inspired countless imitations, but few (including Dream Theater themselves) have matched.

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Send comments to Starhammer (BETA) | Report this review (#499109)
Posted Sunday, August 07, 2011 | Review Permalink
Wicket
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is the true milestone where progressive metal finally kicked off, the record that sparked a movement, an album that revolutionized the way prog and metal would forever be played.

But it is not Dream Theater's best album.

The creation of this album was an extremely bold venture after dumping the deadweight in Charlie Dominici and hiring James LaBrie from the band "White Rose". Obviously Petrucci's songwriting skipped the popularity of the rising 90's at the time and went straight to power metal-esque vocals, stratospheric guitar solos and complete obscurity, starting with the track DT is most famous for. Hell, MTV aired it once (when they actually showed music videos)!

Yes, it's a great song, the song the band will forever be known by. We all know that. Yes, even Petrucci once stated that he hoped the fanbase would also appreciate their newer albums. But at one point or another, every DT fan comes back to this very track, and who wouldn't? The chorus is catchy, Petrucci is spot on, the chords are recognizable, and it made 8-minute long tracks popular! It makes sense, when you dig deeper into this album...

"When Dream And Day Unite" shot the gun in a typical straightforward metal approach. Of course, the entire way the album was approached was terrible, so Petrucci, Portnoy and Myung scrapped the old formula and went for a more "poppy" approach. The band will admit they never expected "Pull Me Under" to become a big hit like it did. They expected songs like "Another Day" and "Surrounded" to be more popular, and when you listen to them, you'd agree. Both songs immediately demonstrate the popular "ballad" that many hair-metal bands in the late 80's (and many metal bands in general) would take pride in. In fact, these songs provide almost nothing in terms of advancing the progressive metal brand!

However, coming off from the dreadful thrashing "When Dream And Day Unite", you could tell off the first two tracks that the band took two steps forward instead of two steps back. No, it's the best album in terms of the genre, but it proved that this outfit did, indeed, have a softer side in them (comes naturally when you have a sweet alto sax on any song ["Another Day"]).

Contrary to popular belief, "Pull Me Under" wasn't even the most groundbreaking track on the album. It was another (by today's standards) 8 minute song that Dream Theater used. If you look at many of their songs today, some of their "singles" (using that word lightly; metal bands like these rarely release true singles) are within the 8-8:30 minute range. In fact, it was songs like "Take The Time" and "Metropolis, Pt. 1" that truly broke ground on something special. Musicians finally had the foundation to create songs with catchy lyrics and chorus' that stretched beyond the typical 4 minute pop song.

While "Take The Time" was more lyrically based (Petrucci didn't really shine until the end of the album, even though there was an instrumental break in the middle), it was the proof that this band wasn't afraid to make long songs, and long songs that kicked ass! Sure, it all seems commonplace today, but 19 years ago, it would've been a million-dollar suicide attempt to release an album like this! Luckily though, it was the combination of hits like "Pull Me Under" and "Surrounded" along with the technical prog epics like "Metropolis, Pt. 1" and "Learning To Live" that allowed this band to live another day (no, that was NOT a pun on the song).

Digging deeper into the album, it's clear to see "Metropolis, Pt. 1" as the true forefather into this genre. Conventional wisdom was forgotten, the stereotypical pop song format was thrown out the window, the instrumental sections were given steroids, and instantly Boston's high-pitched singing and Rush's time-signature changes and Yngwie Malmsteen- esque arpeggio's were on display. It erupted as a mass conglomeration of elements both progressive and commonplace in other genres today. It was the ultimate musician's nightmare. This was now turning into a type of music that not only was directed towards accessibility and good songwriting, but now this was turning into technical, demanding music that only the most gifted, talented and trained musicians could even grasp the slightest complexity behind this song. 7 minutes into the song, additional 2nd's were being added onto the main notes, and twisted, atonal chords were being formed, and key signatures were being altered. Finally, Dream Theater would begin to take shape.

And MTV would never be the same again. That's why they're now making reality shows.

Dream Theater's "Metropolis" is the modern day equivalent to The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". It completely re-wrote the book on progressive music. It would be a standard that would (attempted to be) duplicated and improved as time went on (as evidenced by DT's "Metropolis, Pt. 2" released 7 years later.

"Under A Glass Moon" begins in a sort of epic fashion, something that the band members always took fancy to. In fact, you could easily mistake it as "Metropolis, Pt. 2" if it were just for the intro! Then LaBrie begins to sing some wonderful verses and the band revert to their "pop" form (even though it was nothing near the pop of the 90's ["Thriller", this was not]). But as this track begins to end and into "Wait For Sleep", the final interesting fact comes in. Looking back on Dream Theater's history, the outfit has gone through three different keyboardists, each more interesting than the last.

This album would showcase Kevin Moore, quite possibly the most ambient and haunting of all of them. It was quite hard to tell on this record, as he mostly played in the sounds of a keyboard string section. However, "Awake" would unleash his true nature, and the haunting soundscapes and elements he would bring would soon translate to his solo work and OSI, something DT didn't want for all of their albums, so he was dumped. Next came Derek Sherinian, known only for his infamous "squeal", as he always played a "synth-y" type of prog (on DT's second-to-worst album). Of course, that all turned to a s***show real quick, and Sherinian was show "das boot" to the door. Finally, in came Jordan Rudess, the classically trained keyboardist whose improvisation, talent and wonderful improvisation techniques fell in line with the band's demands.

But back to this album. Moore's ticket to fame (so to speak) was the ability to create an environment so real, so emotional. It seems like the environment he created was the true key to the success of "Pull Me Under" and "Surrounded", but it was on "Awake" that the haunting nature of his plans were revealed, highlighted by the most overlooked of any Dream Theater song, "Space-Dye Vest" (which was actually written by Moore himself)

Yes, there was also the real "epic" on the album in "Learning To Live", but by now it seemed old at as it followed the footsteps of "Metropolis" and Under A Glass Moon". Yet by now, true progressive enthusiasts and musicians (such as myself) can tell that this was the groundwork for the future; Dream Theater stuck one foot firmly into the ground of progressive metal, but it would be their future work that would build a future of its own and create music like no other, music that will no doubt see this band into infamy (and in my dreams, the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame).

There might have been a few "80's-90's" sounds thrown into the album (seeing as the disc was released in 1992), but it doesn't really deter listeners from the album at all. The one problem I myself have is the fact that some DT fans praise this album's groundbreaking and innovative element for their more popular songs like the aforementioned "Pull Me Under". No. That song by itself has done nothing to elevate the genre of progressive metal to the upper echelons of instrumental deityism (yes, I just made that word up; sue me). It's the rest of the album that shines in ways that no band had ever invisioned music to be played before, and it eventually became the jumping off point for the Dream Theater we all know and love (and hate) today.

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Send comments to Wicket (BETA) | Report this review (#509900)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
5 stars The reinvention of Progressive rock

Did Images and Words begin prog metal? 1992 seems like an eternity away now but in its time this album was absolutely the pinnacle of what became prog metal. So many bands owe their existence to this album. It is little wonder why crowds get excited when LaBrie shouts "we are going to do one from Images and Words!" The real master tracks are obvious as they are the ones played live often and they are the ones that every DT fan loves. One of those tracks is the brilliant Pull Me Under. Infectious riffing and melodic cohesiveness makes this one of the all time greatest prog metal songs.

Another one of the classics is undoubtedly Metropolis - Pt. I "The Miracle And The Sleeper". This may be in the top 10 best DT songs, as it features an epic majesty made possible with layers of Moore's keyboards over Myung's relentless bass and Portnoy's sporadic drumming. The time sigs are off kilter and deranged at times. Amidst the chaos LaBrie shines on vocals. If that does not grab you the lead guitar fret work is impeccable from Petrucci.

Under A Glass Moon is a definitive DT track appearing in many concerts. The guitar solos are phenomenal and there are quite a few. The riffing is incredible too making this a bonafide classic. The lead breaks are indispensable and ingrained in metal history.

Learning To Live is quintessential DT with virtuoso solos and musicianship. LaBrie is on fire and you have to love the time sig and bassline. LaBrie's voice is powerful throughout the album, higher than recent years of course because his voice was undamaged by age.

Of course there are other tracks and they are all very good, some may call them masterpieces. The point is, this album is a vital component in the resurgence of prog rock. Prog was dying in the 80s, and barely surviving in the 90s, but Dream Theater created the music they wanted to hear despite the avalanche of rap and other so called musical styles trying to drown out the voice of prog for ever. Images and Words is all killer and no filler the way an album should be. It may not be as genius as Ocatavarium or in the same vein as Scenes From A Memory to come, but this is an important album that cemented prog metal as the new giants of the industry. After this album there was no looking back - the gods of prog metal had been awakened.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#524553)
Posted Friday, September 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars in retrospect, reviewing Images And Words almost 20 years after its release is not quite a good idea. but i saved it for the last to see how reviewing the rest of their catalogue would relfect on my opinion of their "break-through"album...

my first taste of DT was actually the follow-up to Images And Words, the phenomenal piece of music that is Awake. many years, many albums and a (just the one) live concert later, Awake holds on strongly at the top of my list of DT favourites, threatened only by the amazing Scenes From A Memory...

so, what does Images And Words hold for me still? lets see:

Pull Me Under: the "greatest hit" and DT's claim to fame is a really interesting song showcasing what DT were capable of. innovative intro, heavy riffs and 8 minutes of gripping music...

Another Day/ Surrounded: i see these as a 2-part medley split by Take The Time. similar moods but with different melodies and different messages, both of these tell us that DT are more than you average prog-metal band (a saxophone solo?)

Take The Time/ Under A Glass Moon: i prefer the latter to its single-minded hard hitting riffs and the awesome guitar intro but they are otherwise quite "straightforward"

Metropolis Pt.1 interesting only as a technical showpiece and a prelude to Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory - almost everything on that entire album is better, in my opinion.

Wait For Sleep: one of DT's best piano+vocal ballads, they keep trying but never quite manage to make something as beautiful...

Learning To Live: one of the best closers ever...enough said!

in summary, i'm only going to give this 3 stars - a trifle unfair but we know now that there is much better to come...

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Send comments to sv_godspeed (BETA) | Report this review (#540720)
Posted Monday, October 03, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars 2 1/2 stars.

I have been hard pressed to figure out the mass appeal of this band, who I have seen live with ELP and Deep Purple. I see nothing ground breaking, no amazing song writing, and run of the mill, hurried execution. I find it very hard to compare to... say... Queensryche, Shadow Gallery, Fates Warning (perfect prog metal), Symphony X, or even Iron Maiden, which it can not come close. It is purely in the amount of notes they play, save for the singer, who is mediocre with no standout qualities save for a few high F#s or the sort. It's like Dixie Dregs meets Kansas with a dynamic glam metal singer in my opinion.

With the later albums wrought with more of the same repetitive gunk, except for Train Of Thought which was beyond abysmal, this wasn't a bad spin. I actually liked it. Typical Prog Metal with the past masters thrown in: Dregs, Kansas, Rush... and we all know Derick Shulman signed them to Atco. (insert applicable GG lyric here).

Stand out tracks are the typical metallic "Pull Me Under", the Kansas inspired "Take The Time" complete with Morse soloing mode engaged, the proto-prog "Surrounded", and the typical solo laden Prog romp "Metropolis" (again a Kansas influenced ditty a la Magnum Opus and Closet Chronicles) ... and I can say I heard "Another Day" as muzak in a King Kullen. No lie. Many songs are featuring multi solos and some time changes with a little Music Lab experimentation. Dream Theatre is good at Music Lab work.

The guitars and keys were quite a high point for the album. Well varied solos from Petrucci, who can show he sounds like every Steve (Howe, Vai, Hacket, Morse... and a few others), as well as other rock fusion greats, but with no identity of his own. Moore uses peculiar sounds from stock "Yamaha" or "Roland" patches to be heard, none that I heard enough of, maybe I'm too used to Hammond and Moogs, but he plays with proficiency. It also seems that Moore was also the main song writer and it shows on future albums since he wasn't involved. The bass was buried with nothing defining save for the famous Metropolis solo and some unnecessary bleats in a song here and there. I have his bass instructional vid. He's quite good alone. I felt the drums were too much. Over playing as much as he could with no true feel or grove and an over abundance of those damn splash cymbals.

In short, the musicianship is purely based on pyrotechnics and acrobatics. It's hardly necessarily if you can write a good song.

I have always had a problem with Dream Theatre. There's also the same elitist circle: Rush/Opeth/Tool/Dream Theatre. I'll never understand it. Music is to be enjoyed, not labeled as a class system. Dream Theatre is a band who is not like Yes. They seam stronger alone than the sum. I have heard Platypus, Attention Deficit, and other outings which were much better... and DT proves that this moniker is it's bread winner.

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Send comments to Monsterbass74 (BETA) | Report this review (#603602)
Posted Thursday, January 05, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Although I don't consider it the classic many Dream Theater fans rate it as, I do find that Images and Words is an intriguing and very enjoyable followup to their debut album. When Dream and Day Unite was an excellent tribute to their various influences, but for the band to sustain itself it really needed to develop its own sound, and Images and Words is where it all came together with a seamless mixing of crunching, thrashy riffs, virtuoso and delicate keyboard work and complex prog songwriting.

The main thing which stops me giving this more than four stars is that the music here regularly threatens to cross the line into unappealing schmaltz - as, for example, on Surrounded - but at its best, Images and Words is an exciting, muscular, adrenaline-pumping piece of prog metal which outlined the Dream Theater sound marvellously.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#606390)
Posted Monday, January 09, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars A perfected, polished version of very familiar sounds and songs from the late 70s through the 80s. I hear WHITE SNAKE, QUEENSRYCHE, RUSH, DEF LEPPARD, SAGA, LOVERBOY, even TEARS FOR FEARS and THE CARS in this music. The only thing I'm hearing new are the more complex drumming, time signatures and time changes. I have to admit, though, for a 'metal' album, this is very likable. But then, metal from the 70s and 80s was, IMHO, much more accessible. Love the sax, good vocal melodies, stunning guitar solos. Also, I get the feeling that often the drummer is the lead instrument--the instrument which all others follow--which is very interesting. No one song sticks out as better or worse--or even different--than the others (except the little beauty, "Wait for Sleep," which, at 2:32, hardly counts). 3.5 stars, rated up for it's polish and for the technical skills of all of the band's individual members.

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#626976)
Posted Sunday, February 05, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another milestone album, both for Metal and Progressive music. This album is quite possibly the most important album in the history of Progressive Metal - kind of a game changer, genre-defining album. For me, this is a personal milestone as I feel I began to truly understand what Progressive music was all about through this album. I had already started getting into Dream Theater, and had a couple of their other albums when I started listening to this one. I remember HATING Metropolis Pt. 1 - absolutely loathed it. I don't remember why, but I did. But a funny thing happened - part of the instrumental section got lodged within my brain and I could not shake it loose. It would repeat over and over again. So I decided to listen to the song again. I loathed it a little less, and this time I thought "hmm, there's something interesting going on there, but I don't know what." I had to listen to this song again now, and did so a few more times and then I had an epiphany. I began to understand how the band was switching time signatures (compound time), and though I didn't understand fully, thought they might even be layering different time signatures on top of each other. This is when I began to truly appreciate and understand what Progressive music was about, and also probably the point at which Dream Theater became my favorite band.

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Send comments to dtguitarfan (BETA) | Report this review (#717411)
Posted Sunday, April 08, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars I am going to start out this review by saying that I am not a fan of Dream Theater. So maybe I'm biased. Although, I have listened to the majority of their discography and given them an equal chance to impress me. The thing about Dream Theater is that they want to impress me too much. When I am listening to something that is obviously a band trying as hard as possible to show off pure talent (which I will acknowledge Dream Theater for having more than enough of that). This insanely talented band just doesn't do it for me. I will express exactly why I dislike their music, and it has nothing to do with their talent.

1) I dislike LaBrie's vocals. You can call me a bit of a hypocrite because I thoroughly enjoy a lot of Queensryche's music, even the vocals, especially on Operation:Mindcrime. LaBrie's vocals remind of very stereotypical metal vocals, kind of like an 80s hair band. Again, he is talented, but I do not enjoy his style as some do.

2) I really wish Kevin Moore would just get rid of those terrible sounding keyboards already. They are the worst. They sound like a cheap $200 Craigslist find, and I wish he would find some good key sounds. The are not pleasant to the ear in the same way that 80s keyboards are not pleasing to my ear.

3) There is only so much unnecessary shredding I can take. I say that with all due respect. I do not enjoy 2 minutes of straight blistering syncopated parts in weird time signatures. When those types of things occur, I feel that the music has become way too superficial.

I actually somewhat enjoy some parts of songs on this album, but I really do not feel like I can honestly say, "Hey, do you wanna pop Images and Words into the car radio?" I hope I have made it clear that I respect Dream Theater's insane talent, but I just do not enjoy their music, including Images and Words.

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Send comments to bb1319 (BETA) | Report this review (#744289)
Posted Wednesday, April 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Images and Words is Dream Theater at their finest. This is well before they lost a bit of their progressive touch and adopted a more metal style. What metal IS on this album, however, is played tastefully and in a progressive nature.

Every song on this album is fantastic; everyone was truly at their creative peak here. The bass is an integral part of the sound, and Myung is not drowned out as he is on future albums. The keyboards also play a very important role in the overall atmosphere of the record, but are also used in a lot of the melodies as well. All the instruments are of equal importance here, opposed to the guitar dominated later albums.

The album opens with the popular 'Pull Me Under.' The song shows an obvious Metallica influence, which I guess is not a bad thing. However, when listening to the rest of the album it is clear that this is the "least impressive" and most simple in structure. Nonetheless, it is simply a solid metal track.

'Another Day' shows the more melodic and slower/ballad side of Dream Theater right off the bat. Labrie's vocals truly make this song amazing, as well as the saxophone which was unfortunately never used again. Though taken out of the context of Dream Theater the song may just sound like another pop song, this is clearly not the case.

'Take the Time' starts with a really funky bass groove courtesy of Myung but evolves into a metal extravaganza near the middle. It ends with one of Petrucci's best solos, in my opinion.

'Surrounded' is more melodic and shows a bit of Dream Theater's pop influence. Kevin Moore lays down some nice synth passages; but when he is more in the background he does an even better job supporting the song. There is nothing overly technical about this song, but then again, there doesn't need to be.

'Metropolis' in my opinion is the signature Dream Theater song. It shows what they were really about specially early in their career. It begins with some metal riffs in 4/4 time supported by Labrie's vocals. At about halfway through the song begins one of DT's best instrumental sections. The time signature changes several times throughout, and features a Myung bass solo and a keyboard and guitar unison before ending similarly to how it began.

'Under a Glass' opens with a memorable riff played in unison by guitar and keyboard before drums and bass join in. The song continues with a mixture of metal guitar riffs and atmospheric parts supported by Moore's keyboard before one of Petrucci's most technical and well known solos.

Besides Space-dye Vest on Awake, 'Wait For Sleep' is Kevin Moore's ultimate composition. It is a nice piano melody that alternates between 5/8, 4/8 and 6/8 time and is supported by Labrie's vocals.

'Learning to Live' is probably the best song on the album and is certainly one of my favorites. It starts of with a memorable keyboard melody in 15/8, before guitar enters. The whole structure of the song is quite odd yet they are able to string together different parts beautifully. Perhaps the best thing about this song is the mixture of metal riffs and atmospheric parts that seamlessly segue into each other.

Overall, Images and Words is Dream Theaters best album and shows the ultimate contribution from all its members. This album would easily rank in my top 5 all time, it is THAT good.

10/10

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Send comments to Mr. Mustard (BETA) | Report this review (#771374)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Album that still is a landmark in progressive metal history. This is in my personal top 3 albums with A Sceptic's Universe and Awaken the Guardian. Great musicians, great music, great quality so "Without further ado, let's continue that musical journey right now with Images and Words" ;)

Pull me Under is the cool opener. It has gained a nice commercial respond. Great track that I enjoy a lot, but the worst of the album. Btw the lyrics contains a reference to Shakespeare ;)

Another Day is a nice ballad that had recieved really positive mass respond like previous track too. Lyrics deals with Petrucci's father who had a cancer. It helps people, who don't have the will to live, to survive to another day.

Take the Time is an energetic piece. This is probably the second song (after Pull me Under) that i have first heard of Dream Theater and it really cought me ear. Nice one.

Surrounded oh Surrounded ;) It is really personal song of mine. Excellent lyrics that deals with self- enlightment. It have helped me to carry on through some really hard times. The composition is marvellous and links with the lyrics( it opens and ends with similiar motive and really shows emotions throughout the song). Second best song of mine on that album. Btw I recommend you that song on live from Tokio 93 along with proceded Wait for Sleep. James has really got it there right ;)

Metropolis pt. One. A Legend !! An outstanding piece Brilliant vocals and instrumental section that has became a legend. Lyrics deals with Romulus and Remus- founders of Rome, but maybe it has some hidden message that I don't know ? Third best for me from the Album

Under a Glass Moon is a nice tune with one of the best guitar solos of all time. Lyrics are a bit enigmatic and poetic.

Wait for Sleep is warm and sad in one. This short piece is really emotional. Nice keyboard work here. The lyrics reminds a bit a scene from the cover art ;)

Learning to Live closes the Album. It's my favourite track here. Brilliant lyrics by Myung. Cool drums, keyboard, bass, guitar, vocal, compostion, everything ... And that section where James hits the high F# sound is pure eargasm.

So that is the end. That Album showed how progressive metal should be made. Sadly, Dream Theater haven't ever get to the level of brilliance in their next albums. And of course I give it 5 stars.

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Send comments to NastyProgger (BETA) | Report this review (#815069)
Posted Tuesday, September 04, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Images & Words, the monumental 2nd album by Dream Theater, was released in 1992. This album produced Dream Theater's biggest ever hit to date: Pull Me Under. This was unexpected from the band. The rest of the album is fantastic also, and shows Dream Theater finding their musical style. Musically, it could be described as a fusion of Rush, Metallica and Genesis.

There are hundreds of bands today who would note this album as a very influential album. If there's one thing that you remember after listening to this album, it's the talent of the guys in the band. Oh boy can they play! The music on this album is (most of the time) extremely technical and difficult to play, but the members of Dream Theater don't even act as if it's hard at all. The songwriting on this album is fantastic also; some of Dream Theater's best and well known songs can be found here.

Images & Words is very consistent. One of the reasons this is heralded as Dream Theater's best album is because there's not a weak track. Some of my personal favourites are Another Day, Metropolis Pt.1 and Learning to Live.

The songs on the album all feel very individual and strong in their own right. Under a Glass Moon is a more catchy, metallic song, whereas Wait for Sleep is a short and beautiful piano and vocal ballad. There's something for everyone.

Dream Theater was at their lyrical peak on this album. Still, the lyrics aren't amazing, but lyrics have never been DT's strong point. The lyrics here don't sound stupid like they do on later albums, and they suit the music nicely.

This album was a landmark release for progressive metal; a masterpiece to be remembered for a long time. There are hundreds of bands today who would note this album as a very influential album. 5/5

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Send comments to zeqexes (BETA) | Report this review (#823845)
Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Images and Words is a masterpiece from the prog band Dream Theater. This album combines beatiful ballads, heavy songs and epic ones, plus virtuoso parts and a wide palette of sounds.

Pull Me Under it's the most popular DT track. It's a heavy song with a dense atmosphere and various solos.

It's remarkable the vocal range of James LaBrie on this album, specially in "Take The Time". This song is a rollercoaster of solos, fast arrangements, all packed in odd meters. The intro's arrangements reach a level of musical synergy never heard before.

Metropolis Pt1 it's another classic track. Played in the majority of live gigs, it's a powerful and complex song. The drums sounds really hard (or harsh, maybe) but, musically, Portnoy makes and excellent job.

Learning To Live is the epic song of I&W. Just listen to Kevin Moore's arrangements, Petrucci's solos and Portnoy's sensitive drumming. The outro is amazing too and invites you to play the album over and over.

I give it 5/5.

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Send comments to Marcos87 (BETA) | Report this review (#843426)
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Before writing this review I took a minute to read over what was written about the album by reviewers who assigned it a low rating. Words like "unemotional" and "cheesy" seemed to pop up fairly often. For the life of me I simply can't fathom how someone couldn't be stirred by these songs. Sure, some people make the statement that feeling is sacrificed as technical proficiency is increased, but I've never believed that idea even for a split second. This album hits emotional peaks in each track, stirring my feelings in a truly unique and profound way. This album balances the drive, bombast, and wild technical figurations of metal with the atmosphere, diversity, and adventurous spirit that are to me quintessential elements of prog. If this marriage sounds too cheesy for one to appreciate, that's just a reflection of their taste, and that cannot be disputed. But don't ever say this music is unemotional, even for a second. At the end of the day, pushing the envelope is a quality integral to the progressive genre, and this album did just that. It leads you into a world all its own. Every time I listen to it, I discover something else, feel emotionally satisfied, and can barely believe that much time passed, as it only seems like I've been listening for mere moments.

Pull me under starts with a dark and melancholy atmosphere. The energy picks up as the track winds through multiple changes of mood and texture, demonstrating strong form and technique. Even though it may have hit-like qualities, given its verse-chorus-solo-etc structure, there's enough going on to keep you from getting burnt out with repeated listens and is an undeniably appropriate and effective album opener.

Another Day is a song I have a real soft spot for. This song opens with such a powerful, uplifting theme on the guitar that is later repeated by soprano sax. The mood is very calming and reflective throughout, crescendoing to a powerful climax with Petruci's solo, perfectly marrying technique and emotion. The atmosphere evokes such powerful images every time I listen to it, and while some find it cheesy for whatever reason, I believe it to be an indispensable track.

Take the Time is one of the grooviest metal songs ever. The rhythm section and sparse guitar comping in the verse is really tight. This song, like several others on the album, showcases the unique talents of each member while presenting a tight, unified tune where the whole of the mix is ultimately greater than the sum of its parts. The unison guitar and keyboard work is really tight, and the balance in each passage is remarkable considering the activity of each part. This is a track you're guaranteed to continue learning new things about with each listen, and your appreciation for it will undeniably increase every time.

Surrounded took me a few listens to appreciate admittedly. The 9/4 meter after the beautifully calming and reflective keys and vocal intro didn't quite gel with me at first, but after I got used to it the song became more cohesive. The lyrical delivery by LaBrie is quite remarkable here, not because it's overtly technical or virtuosic, but because it fits with the more subdued (by comparison) approach exhibited by the band, giving the words a chance to stand out more. The rhythmic delivery is quite catchy and seems very natural, which is an impressive feat considering just how precise the articulation becomes in the second verse over the asymmetric meter.

Metropolis Pt 1 is an over-the-top display of virtuosity by each instrumentalist between the vocal passages, and I love every minute of it. The level of playing on the whole album is already top-notch, but this is a milestone achievement in all of music for both individual and collective technical talent. I won't take the time (pun intended) to dissect the song given its dense nature and innumerable changes in meter, key, and texture, but I will say it's a truly remarkable song with some of the best playing you'll likely ever hear. It's an auditory workout, for sure, and absolutely impossible to digest on the first, or even tenth, listen, but it's fascinating on all accounts and shouldn't be missed by any prog fan, whether or not you like the metal aspect. I feel it's important to see just how far the envelope is being pushed by this powerful sub-genre.

Under a Glass Moon is a track I absolutely love. Of all tracks on the album, this one has the greatest sense of drive and focus while retaining that adventurousness characteristic of all the others. Each section has a unique power all its own, propelling the action forward to one of the most exciting breaks on the whole album, if not the most exciting one. The unison key and vocal part peaks above Myung's most solid groove ever as the guitar adds a colorful counter-melody in the background. The guitar solo that comes later is one of Petruci's best, and the support by the rhythm section is so solid. Of all the songs I've listened to in my life, this is undoubtedly one of the best examples of balance within a solo passage. The solo is powerful, inventive, and memorable. I don't think it could've been any better with 100 more takes. To exit the passage, the band regains their unified status and keeps the energy going up in a driving 7/8 passage with the keyboard soaring above the action, pulling you further and further in. What a tight song! So strong yet so balanced. Every member contributes something truly exemplary to the track, but if I'm picking an MVP, it's Myung. His bass groove was so tight in the pre-solo and solo-sections. It's one of my favorite grooves ever and it stands out so well without dominating the mix. Basically, if you're a bass-lover like me, you'll latch on to that and love every second, but if you want to focus on everything else, you won't have to feel like it's standing in your way.

Wait for Sleep brings you to a whole new emotional place. Its melancholy atmosphere wraps around you, as opposed to the forceful delivery of every other track. The only instrument to accompany the vocals is keyboard in a frequently shifting meter that somehow doesn't detract from the more reflective, ambient quality of the music. LaBrie delivers the vocals in a restrained, emotional style similar to the other more laid-back songs on the album. Even though I liked the power behind his higher wails, it was great getting to hear this instead to show he has a broader expressive range, and I really connect with the somber approach he adopted here. The keys end on a minor chord and the atmosphere dissipates before the final track begins.

Learning to Live is a truly phenomenal track from start to finish. It serves as a terrific culminating statement for everything this album encapsulates. The first section begins in a driving, asymmetric 15/8 meter where the keys play a theme that will serve as a foundation for future passages. The activity subsides and the vocals begin over a calm pad of background keys, a leaping bass part, subdued yet still interesting drums, and interjections of guitar between lyrical phrases. The vocals here are the best on the album. LaBrie's layered part is so strong, so compelling. Every time I hear it, I reach an emotional peak unlike any of the other tracks. The range of feelings and expressions he uses from verse to chorus to following verse to bridge is so great that you can't help but run the gamut from positive to desperate feelings with everything in between. Following many transitions and unique instrumental passages demonstrating just as wide a variety of moods and textures as the preceding vocal ones, we are treated to one final reprise of the chorus and an outro that sums up not only all we've heard in this track, but the prevailing atmosphere and energy of the album as a whole. As the final passage fades while the lead guitar strums its penetrating part over the focused rhythm section, ambient keys, and layered vocal harmonies in the background, you are brought out of the magical world this album creates with a sense of satiation and invigoration. Paradoxically, it seems to beckon you back again just as easily, as if to say you'll never truly discover all its secrets, but you're welcome to try.

I've heard other dream Theater albums since, but this one still sits above each of them in my list of personal favorites. This album represents the perfect union of the boundary- pushing spirit of the early prog masters and the drive of the newer generation. I can't recommend this album highly enough, and insist that each listener be willing to give it more than one honest listen. There's a lot to discover here, and it continually rewards those dedicated enough to revisit this wonderful album. There's a lot of depth here, no matter how some people like to make a habit of maligning such a high degree of technical prowess by writing it off as unexpressive and unnecessary. 5 stars for this sensational masterpiece.

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Send comments to Neo-Romantic (BETA) | Report this review (#905956)
Posted Monday, February 04, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Images and Words is Dream Theater at their best, and that's high praise indeed. I would give this one 4 and 1/2 stars if half stars were allowed. This album consists of well-written and entertaining music, which should be what matters in any genre.

As for songwriting, Kevin Moore seems to have been "instrumental" (pun very much intended!) in this one. He had a big part in the lyrics. Although the music was apparently composed by the band, the keyboards play a large part in Images and Words. Wikipedia and Dark Lyrics are my sources for this info, btw. Images and Words contains some of DT's best melodies and most memorable songs.

Several of them are at the beginning: "Pull Me Under', "Another Day", "Take the Time", "Under the Glass Moon". "Learning to Live" is not a favorite of mine; it's simply too long. The lyrics on Images and Words are frustratingly vague. The band makes a point of letting us know that the lyrics are apparently dream-based, so understandably they're not going to tell a linear narrative. To demonstrate, this is a sample from "Take the Time": "The unbroken spirit, Obscured and disquiet, Finds clearness this trial demands." Huh?

I'm not a huge fan of keyboard-driven rock; I would never choose to listen to ELP. However, it's a given that "Images and Words" is brilliantly performed by all the band members. I am a church choir singer, and I am a James LaBrie fan. If you have the skills, you should use them IMO. For those listeners who thinik that LaBrie oversings, he is more subtle here than on other Dream Theater releases. There are no bad songs on Images and Words. There are some of their most popular and memorable songs here, and that's what earns Images and Words 4 and 1/2 stars.

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Send comments to thwok (BETA) | Report this review (#997208)
Posted Saturday, July 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have a really tough time with this band. Most of their work, in my opinion, have such a cold, dry metronomic quality. It doesn't really move the listener, in my opinion, like other forms of prog. What they lack is the sublime, subtle nuances or "feminine" essence as some would say. With that being said, that is not what Dream Theater intends to accomplish, after all they are "progressive metal." Metal itself is a celebration of a total display of machismo with a lack of softness or showing any vulnerability. The progressive element of Dream Theater's music is the shifting of meters, the expert chops and the lyrical content for the most part. Based on this, DT does a fine job of synthesizing the two. In a way they can't win because they are not "prog" enough for most prog fans or metal enough for metal heads. But what they did gain is their own legions of devoted fans.

Images and Words is a great progressive metal album. There is not one bad song on the album save the ballad, it sounds a little too 80's metal for my taste mixed in with some soft jazz. Without going into a song by song review, i'll just say that each song shows that each band member is ridiculously skilled on their given instrument. Songs shift from heavy, softer (not subtle), funky, twisted, theatrical, incredibly accurate and tight. Think 80's hair metal meets YES and ELP. In fact this album sounds like the sum of their influences. I hear, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Rush, Yes, ELP, Styx and Triumph. One song (Take The Time) even has what sounds to me, a funk section that sounds like "Jungle Boogie" on hyper drive! One knock I have on this band is the drummer and the guitarist. They seem to feel like constantly reminding the listener how good they are at every turn. They could learn a thing or two about restraint from the other members of the band. Also each member doesn't really have much personality or style. For example, you know, Steve Howe, Jimmy Page, Rick Wakeman, Bill Bruford, John Bonham, David Gilmore or Jon Anderson as soon as you hear them. Even DT's singer sounds like Sebastian Bach who sounds like numerous other metal singers. Even with these faults, Images and Words in a lot of fun and a hell of a ride. These guys know how to play and don't hold back.

I would have to say that this is probably their most accessible album and probably the best one in which to start. DT got much heavier and clinical since this release.

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Send comments to ster (BETA) | Report this review (#1009712)
Posted Friday, August 02, 2013 | Review Permalink
1 stars It is offensive to me that this band is even considered a progressive rock band. How is it progressive to rip off every prog rock band that came before you? If you ask me that is regressive behavior not progressive. The word Dream Theater should never be uttered anywhere near the same words as King Crimson or even the word Rush. Please for the love of all good music everywhere remove this so called prog rock band from this otherwise very reputable and reliable source for good music. That being said I can't really review this album because I can't listen to it for more than a few minutes at a time. In a word, lousy.

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Send comments to Tempel (BETA) | Report this review (#1024737)
Posted Tuesday, August 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Images and Words is Dream Theater's first album with vocalist James LaBrie. It was the beginning of a huge journey for the band who are now progressive metal giants. Everything about this album is classic DT, from the technical yet memorable guitar solos, the abundance of crazy time-signature changes, and the high-pitched, wailing vocals from LaBrie. I really love every song on here, I consider them to all be classic Dream Theater tracks. The only thing holding this album back from true perfection is the 80's sounding production (especially the drums), which I'm completely used to so it doesn't bother me much. Chances are, if you don't like this album, then Dream Theater is just not your cup of tea. It's one of their defining albums, and a milestone in progressive metal.

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Send comments to Lord Anon (BETA) | Report this review (#1028945)
Posted Wednesday, September 04, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the album that changed the course of Progressive Rock and Metal in the nineties!

In an age when Nirvana would take the world by storm and everyone would rave about a band that was all about drugs, problematic behaviour and short unmelodic songs (with all respect to an artist, like Nirvana, but grudge was just all about that) Dream Theater came and showed another way of making music.

With this album Dream Theater sent all musicians back to music schools and made well played music, complex melodies, rich and thick layered tracks mainstream again...

For someone who has never heard progressive before, this is a difficult album, but for ears that have practiced in the genre before THIS IS IT! The absolute masterpiece of progressive rock and metal of the new era!

Building on the legacy of Rush, Yes, Pink Floyd and all the Prog Rock Giants of the past, blending with influences from Metallica, Iron Maiden and the metal of the 80's and still putting in a personal touch and signature songwriting and performing that was destined to create a whole new scene, Dream Theater deliver the cornerstone of any serious Prog Rock Collection.

Metropolis is the track that will leave you speachless bout how can a band can contain such virtuosos and create such compled yet interesting songs.

Learning To Live will just take you to a journey undescribable by words, being one of the best prog songs EVER composed!

Pull Me under, actually an MTV hit in an age when MTV had no clue (and no airtime!) for that kind of music, is the trademark of an era about to rise...

Take the time, Surrounded, Under a glass moon all wonderful compositions that take the listener to another level....

And the ballads Another day and Wait for sleep, both left their mark also being wonderful and so full of passion and emotion.

Not a masterpiece...

T H E M A S T E R P I E C E !!!!!!!!!!

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Send comments to greenblooded (BETA) | Report this review (#1112044)
Posted Friday, January 10, 2014 | Review Permalink

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