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Dream Theater - Images and Words CD (album) cover

IMAGES AND WORDS

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

4.29 | 2963 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Kempokid
4 stars Dream Theater's landmark album, Images and Words is definitely a much more entertaining and impressive album than their debut, with better, clearer production. a far superior vocalist, and music that keeps flipping between being either proggier or more pop focused, rather than the often awkward middle ground taken throughout the debut. That said, unlike many people, I personally don't find this to be where they reached their peak, largely due to the fact that I find this brand of prog metal to be nothing particularly special and found some of their later work to experiment more and just be more enjoyable. Nevertheless, this is still a great album and one of DT's better works, just definitely not their best in my opinion.

One other reason I find this album to be somewhat meh in certain areas is due to the fact that it very much sounds like a collection of songs, rather than a single cohesive experience, and while this isn't much of an issue, I do find it to be an extremely common thing to stop an album from being a masterpiece. Pull Me Under starts off the album in an excellent fashion, and I'm still surprised how this became their most popular song when Surrounded and Another Day exist. This is an amazing wall of sound, switching between lovely melody and aggressive passages of drumming perfection. I also appreciate this as it's before almost every Petrucci solo became nothing but shredding, and is an all aorund enjoyable song, even if the ending leaves me, along with practically every listener completely cold. The next three songs all highlight the playfulness that the band can have. Another Day is a good ballad with an awesome saxophone solo, and I still believe that this is the song that should, by all rights, have been the one that became incredibly popular, just on the basis of musical style. Take The Time is a very fun song, with a lot of bouncy rhythms, jumping all over the place, with some really strange rhythm to go along with it, along with an awesome solo that essentially summarises the song. Surrounded, while definitely the most fun song, with the "Light to dark" vocal section and my favourite guitar solo of the album, it overall sounds pretty weak and cheesy, especially the extremely dated sounding synths.

The second half of the album is really where things become much more proggy, with the majority of the longest songs, along with much more technically impressive stratches of music, especially in Metropolis Part 1, which has an insane, albeit slightly overlong and drawn out instrumental section, complemented by the amazing opening and closing movements of it. Under A Glass Moon is by far my favourite song on the album, with the incredibly grandiose intro, leading into an absolute adrenaline rush of a song. From this album, it's probably the only song by Dream Theater that I'd rate in my top 15 by them. The durmming and guitar playing throughout is nothing short of breathtaking and awe inspiring, and the song never lets up for a second, becoming more energetic as it goes on, starting off with a fairly restrained, groovy bessline and ending in an extremely fast paced instrumental section. Wait for Sleep works as a serviceable interlude into Learning to Live. This is another of the better cuts of the album, with some really cool melodies from Kevin Moore, along with the most dramatic, expressive performance from Labrie on the entire album. Other moments of greatness are found in the reprise of Wait For Sleep, and the incredible high notes reached by Labrie.

Overall, while I feel as if this album is extremely consistent and high quality, I don't feel as if it reaches enough points in wihch I'm impressed by much more than the instrumental prowess that the band possesses, and while in this case, it often works very well, it's definitely not going to be something I consider a masterpiece. This is a vast improvement over the flawed debut album, but it's definitely not an album that I'll return to very often, especially in favour of a few of the later ones by the band. That said, this is definitely a great starting point into DT, being likely the most praised and definitely the most popular in their discography.

Best songs: Pull Me Under, Under A Glass Moon, Metropolis Part 1 - The Miracle and the Sleeper

Weakest songs: Surrounded, Wait For Sleep

Verdict: Decent, dramatic, and extremely impressive progressive metal that would definitely appeal to the fans of said sort of music. One of the albums that I do think most people have heard by now, and if not, as long as you have even a passing interest in prog metal, you should probably do so.

Kempokid | 4/5 |

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