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Dream Theater - When Dream And Day Unite CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.19 | 1256 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars This is definitely Dream Theater's weakest album, but then, it's not really unfair to realize that most bands' debuts are pretty weak.

With When Dream and Day Unite, we are graced with a band that really wants to be a modern version of Rush. Certainly, other bands' styles are notable here, but it seems to me on listening to this album that the band is trying very hard to bring more music like 70s Rush back to the market. You hear many intense fans of Dream Theater disliking this album on account of the lead singer not being that or good or just not being James Labrie. Understandable. Dominici is a fine and talented singer, however, his voice does not fit the music nearly as well as James will come to by the next album. The music here is pretty weakly written, for the most part, with some goodies here and there. The band does its shred and noodle thing, as well. In terms of sound, the recording value is much lower than the band would soon have, leaving this album all feeling like a single color rather than the blend of flavors in the snowcone of Images and Words.

The album opens with the speedy A Fortune in Lies. This song, Status Seeker, Light Fuse and Get Away, and Afterlife are all a touch uninspired and unmemorable. In fact, even after dozens of listens, I can't keep any of them straight very well. They are neat tunes, but overshadowed pretty thoroughly by the remainder of Dream Theater's songs. The Ytse Jam is a stunning and exciting track, though, and it pulses with a great instrumental energy. This is, of course, overlooking the fact that this song was very clearly inspired by Rush's YYZ. Fans of Dream Theater should consider looking at this album simply for this song, which has come to be a classic Dream Theater instrumental concert tune. A live staple something like Metropolis, pt. 1. The Killing Hand is the best use of Dominici on the vocals here, providing a cheesy but fun story of a soldier at war. The songwriting is probably the strongest here, with some really nice acoustic bits and an intense unison solo that foreshadows the impressive noodlings of Dream-Theater-to-come. The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun features a unique (for this band) atmospheric and creepy opening that sounds pretty cool, though the song declines from there. The final closing track, the lyric fan favorite Only a Matter of Time, is also a pretty solid tune, though Dominici's vocals get to be a bit much. With some better production and a bit of smoothing out, this could have made a great addition to Images and Words.

There's really not anything wrong with this album, exactly. It's just an immature effort that Dream Theater easily surpassed with each successive release. The band sounds like a young band in search of a sound and trying to be cool when they probably should have just settled for the nerdiness they've been doomed for since inception. A rough start for the band, and that's why I say everyone interested in the band should go with every other studio album from the band before trying this one.

LiquidEternity | 2/5 |


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