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


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.19 | 1261 ratings

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4 stars When Dream And Day Unite kicks off to a good/great start with A Fortune In Lies. The band interplay, with Petrucci's wailing guitar, Myung's audible (!!) bass and Moore's atmospheric synths makes a cool platform for Dominici's singing. This track made me happy to have the record, after looking for it for so damn long. However, as the song progresses, Portnoy seems confused. The sequence from 2:44 to 2:59 is a good case in point: his snare hits are incredibly random; stingy, almost as if he wasn't sure what to do there. However, it picks up right after that, with the band getting into the groove and Portnoy finding his feet (pun intended) again. His machine-gun blasts starting at 3:13 really make the song move. Sadly, this part of the song is bogged down by sampled vocal effects, which never work. Then again, the part after it-leading into the guitar solo at 4:08-is REALLY good. Petrucci plays so well here, it almost makes me forget about the other parts I didn't like.

Status Seeker is a short, 4-minute ditty. Pretty good, and I notice none of the problems that seemed to eat away at the armor of track 1. It's here that I notice the clean yet organic production. Without even looking at the booklet or back cover, I can smell Terry Date's stink all over it. Looking at the back of the case, I see I was right. Certain producers have techniques that are unique to them only. He's one of my fave producers, along with Bob Rock (Metallica, Bon Jovi), Rick Rubin (Slayer, System Of A Down) and David Cole (Melissa Etheridge, Richard Marx). I dig how this thing is produced; really. The record has a crystal-clear yet organic sound, and I'm a fan of that. I can see that here, unlike later releases, the group made no compromises to the record company (yes; that's an insinuation) on their production. Later records seem to compromise heaviness for sound quality (mind you; I'm still a big fan of Octavarium) while other records sacrificed sound quality for heaviness (mind you; I'm still a fan of Train Of Thought). Dominici's singing is nearly flawless here, along with the harmonies of Portnoy and Petrucci. I'm willing to go on record by this point and state that, while LaBrie is much more technically accomplished (he's a fucking classically-trained opera singer!), Dominici is much more (dare I say it?) emotional, as is the guitar solo. Fast, speedy, yet (I'll say it again) emotional. I like it.

A word about track 3: The Ytse Jam: GROOVE! Wow.this puppy rawks! Mind you; it don't just rawk but it rawks HARD!!!! Petrucci sheds some light on his all too rare rhythm playing, and then launches into a rather majestic solo at the 1:13 mark. He certainly didn't wait long, did he? Just wish there was more of this type of playing in other discs (for some reason, Falling Into Infinity repeatedly comes to mind). The keyboard lead (2:46-3:08) is almost as fast as the second guitar solo (3:08-3:33) But what in the hell is that that comes in right after it? Distorted bass? Baritone guitar? Some kinda fucked up keyboard sound effect? Whatever it is, it's low rumbling that sounds good on paper (I'm sure the group had all sorts of ideas), but it didn't work through headphones; leastways, not here. Petrucci takes yet another solo here at 4:51-5:14 and it's here that I begin to realize how hungry they seemed to be to grab the metal world by the balls (this is metal, not prog), and I wish they still had that feeling. The Killing Hand features Petrucci skillfully (and emotionally; yes; I said it again) executing on acoustic guitar, which leads into a bass-drum-synth-electric guitar part. This foreshadowing of the upcoming thunder (if you will) reminds me of

Fight Fire With Fire or Battery from Metallica. Dominici comes in with his throaty voice, and I find I like it, a lot. Portnoy's marching snare beat at 2:11 is a good contrast to the part right after the acoustic opening. They switch up the tempo (to a straight 4/4 groove) at 3:00 and Dominici starts to wail. As I said before, LaBrie may be more accomplished, but Dominici is MUCH more emotional. Ergo.if emotions are the basis for greatness, then-in my humble opinion-Dominici's the better singer. This begs the question: Why did they let go of him? How would he have done/what would he have done on TOT or Octavarium? One can only wonder. I certainly do. His high notes are a bit annoying here, but it's nothing that practice and group (Ytse?) jams wouldn't have worked the kinks out of. Sadly, it didn't happen. The keyboard solo at 5:38-6:06 is another example of Moore's genius, and I can't help but wish he'd never left (Chroma Key who?). The acoustic comes back in at 6:12, and I'm entranced once again. Dominici sounds relaxed here, as does Moore's synths. Myung and Portnoy add bass and cymbal accents, and it makes for a nice smooth part. The thunder returns at 7:10, and Dominici's voice gives me chills. However, when he sings "I am the killing hand" (at 7:40), his voice goes totally flat, which leaves me cold. It does end with a bass solo which I'm quite fond of, so it's not a total loss.

Light Fuse And Get Away fades in with the whole band navigating through some odd time signatures. Moore does a great job of working through them, even on his synthesizer. And as usual, Portnoy's at his level best. It seems to me like it's a "production song"; by that I mean that it seems to show off the great production rather than the individual talents of the band. The lyrics are great, I might add: "Stop your hands from shaking/Look at me/All your senses racing endlessly.Have you ever been used or will this be the first time?" It's pretty good for a band that, at that point in time, only had one major label record out. The chorus pretty well rocks out as well. At 3:21, it abruptly moves into a 4/4 thrash feel (much like Metallica), with Portnoy's drums front and center. This part is quite good, I must say. Petrucci's lead at 5:05 is pretty bluesy.

Afterlife's opening sounds like nothing I have ever heard. Again, the production is such that I can hear everything; particularly the rhythm section of Myung/Portnoy. The guitar solo is pretty good; really potent; in it, I can hear some of Petrucci's influences- namely, Van Halen, Lifeson, some Iommi, etc. Pretty good, guys.

The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun starts with samples, which I'm not too fond off; then takes off with either a really effected, heavily distorted guitar or a REALLY spacey sounding synthesizer. Weird, and not in a good way either. Moore comes in with a cool- sounding synth/keyboard/wacky thing, and I like it, I'll admit. Myung follows him in and the two make a nice couple, along with Portnoy's random cymbal accents. Myung then teams up with Portnoy-namely, his kicks and snare-at 2:47, followed by Petrucci, then Moore. Nice job! The time signature is pretty cool, and how Dominici is just going through it so easily is baffling.

This review is already too long, so I'll end it here by giving it a rating of a high three/low four. I won't give it the full marks simply because 1/Better was to come (Images And Words is breathtaking!) and 2/It's only a debut. But for what it is, it's fantastic. Try it on for size. You might like it too.

sbrushfan | 4/5 |


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