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Dream Theater - Images and Words CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.29 | 2963 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

1800iareyay | 4/5 |


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