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Dream Theater - Images and Words CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.29 | 2963 ratings

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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.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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