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Dream Theater - Images and Words CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.29 | 2963 ratings

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Eclectic/PSIKE/JRF-Cant Teams
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

Tapfret | 4/5 |


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