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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
4 stars This album is extremely underrated. While it would be irresponsible to give it a 5 star rating, people tend to overlook this album rather unfairly. The major upset is definitely the sound quality. Obviously the band had little cash, but this being 1989, I think there should have been better recording systems in place by then. Also Charlie Dominici's voice, whilst not being too much to complain about, sometimes sounds very strange indeed on this record, and it's a good thing they decided to continue without him aftwerwards.

A Fortune In Lies This is actually a fantastic opening track. The instrumental at the beginning is very anthemic, and sets the mood for the album. You can hear both metal and prog in perfect harmony (although with low sound quality). However the lyrics are very strange indeed. Strangely enough, the chorus is less catchy than the verse, and makes no sense at all "You can keep a giant alive". The instrumental section starts off with a super fast marching beat, which leads into Petrucci's impressive soloing. Nothing's changed in twenty years as far as that goes. Nothing wrong with this track at all, although you'll have to listen a couple of times before taking that chorus seriously.

Status Seeker People who think this is the worst DT song ever, obviously haven't 'Taken The Time' to actually listen to it properly. In my opinion, this is a really fun song! It starts off with a very cheesy 80s synth solo! Then after about 30 seconds that all disappears, and isn't reprised in the song (which makes me sad). What follows is an attempt at a radio hit. The verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure may be offputting to some, but they aren't actually that bad, the lyrics are quite cool really. According to interviews with the band, the lyrics describe people who hadn't taken the guys seriously before, suddenly started to when they had a record deal. The relatively short instrumental again showcases some more awesome Petrucci guitar. This is not the worst DT song! (Try Prophets of War... yuck)

Ytse Jam It took me ages to realise that the name is Majesty backwards (the former name of Dream Theater). This is a really tight instrumental in the style of YYZ. This song has been covered by a string quartet, which made me think that this actually sounds like a classical piece gone metal. At least thats for the first 2:20. After this the band go really instruMENTAL. This leads to a keyboard solo, guitar solo, bass solo and drum solo in that order, all of which are just stunning. After this a fast paced section leads us back to the beginning of the song. This a truly awesome musical journey, and one of DT's best instrumental songs.

The Killing Hand I won't lie, I used to be a bit of a DT nut. I collected all their albums and listened to many bootleg recordings. For this reason, I can say that The Killing Hand is a truly interesting song, for the way it has evolved in live shows. It has since grown new sections, such as 'Another Hand' that can be heard on 'Live at the Marquee' and bits have been tweaked and changed, and now the song that was 8 minutes can now last to over 14 minutes! As for the song itself, this is in fact a suite of music which concerns a time traveller who goes back in time to stop a tyrant, only to find that the tyrant is himself (sorry for the spoiler). The quality of the music is very good indeed, although I feel there is a lack of significant instrumentals, and the song is a bit lyric heavy. This song is far better listened to when backed with 'Another Hand', but on its own is still extremely enjoyable.

Light Fuse and Get Away This is one bizarre song. The structure is very strange (which is great for a prog song) as the first 2 minutes is entirely instrumental. Also the first 1:30 and the last 1:05 of the song use the same theme, but have nothing to do with the rest of the song. The lyrics, by Kevin Moore, are about having a one night stand, and once you know the theme the lyrics begin to make sense. The band change tempo quite a lot which I feel adds to the songs progressive nature. This is a superbly underrated song, which the band hardly ever play live.

Afterlife<\b> I really have to say, I don't like this one. This song was written way back in 1986, and actually had it's lyrics reworked by Dominici before being put on the disc. I guess the reason I don't really like it is because it's really repetitive. If you listen, the first 2 minutes have almost the same guitar sound all the way through, and I feel there are one too many verses before the chorus. The instrumental, which has yet another amazing Petrucci solo, is performed against the extremely repetitive chords of the rest of the song. The union solo of the keyboards and guitar is pretty spectacular though.

The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun<\b> Usually you'll hear this song start with one note from the end of Afterlife, which shows just how little care was put into the production of the album. If you can get rid of it, by using some MP3 cutting tool, the song sounds a lot better. In fact the song starts with the sound of a thunderstorm, which leads us into a very ambient 3 minute section, known informally as 'Death of Spock'. According to interviews with the band, this section signifies the protagonist carelessly falling asleep whilst driving in the rain. Indeed you may even forget you're listening to a Dream Theater album when you hear this. Afterwards, this turns into a very heavy yet also very progressive song with lots of time signature changes. The instrumental is definitely worth noting, as it has many twists and turns that turn it into another underrated classic. ONLY A MATTER OF TIME Without a doubt my favourite track from the album. Similarly to the opening track, this song also has the first minute entirely devoted to an instrumental. This instrumental is very anthemic, and quite keyboard based, seeing as this is a Moore song. The lyrics here are the best in any DT song I know. In fact I'd go as far as to say that Moore was the best lyricist Dream Theater ever had. a dream-stricken prince of a pauper's descent haunts the eavesdropping silence are just some of the impressive lyrics thrown around in this song. This song has no sort of verse-chorus structure, and so is very progressive indeed. There are instead many different sections, all of which fit together very well to make a very tight sounding song. The outro instrumental which is about 2 minutes long is also very anthemic, and also very fun to listen to! A great way to end an impressive debut album.

While this is definitely not the first album to listen to if you are a DT newbie, this is certainly one to consider getting after having the essentials such as 'Images and Words' or 'Scenes from a Memory'.

baz91 | 4/5 |


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