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


Dream Theater

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4 stars A great, great record, once again lost in the labyrinth of incompetence that is MCA America. They should have blown the world of Metal apart- instead they were niche marketed. A Fortune In Lies and The Killing Hand still sound great today, even if the vocals of Charlie Dominici were a little thin compared with the later Labrie offerings.
Report this review (#11342)
Posted Wednesday, December 31, 2003 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good power progressive metal, Dominici has good vocals for a power metal band, something like Helloween, but never for Dream Theater. Check out Afterlife, Ytse Jam (one of DT's best instrumentals), The Killing Hand, Light Fuse and Get Away and Fortune in Lies
Report this review (#11314)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars This could be good, but it seems that all harmonies have been written by MALMSTEEN! Dominici's voice is weak, and Drums don't sound very well, beacuse of the sound resolution of the time, I suppose. I would save only the first, the second and the third track, which are really prog! In the other ones DT just try to prog!
Report this review (#11321)
Posted Thursday, May 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amazing debut. This album really doesn't deserve much credit from most DT fans, but I think it's their 3rd best. Dominici's voice really suits the music and Myung's bass sound on this album is great. The intro to "The Ones Who Helped to Set the Sun" is very dark and really is appreciated at later times in the night. "The Killing Hand" is a DT masterpiece, exemplifying many different emotions with powerful lyrics. "Ytse Jam" is one of their best instrumental's. The guitar sound is unique on this album compared to their other releases. This was the first DT I ever got and it's really a joy to listen to. This was the start of the band that truly changed the prog metal spectrum, highly recommended as a starting point for newcomers!

Highlights are: "Status Seeker," "The Killing Hand," "Afterlife," and "Only a Matter of Time."

Report this review (#11322)
Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Main reason to purchase...the Ytse Jam. Could be chiropractician bonanza because of the serious neck pain due to headbanging. A signature song as memorable as YYZ (a Rush anthem). Lots of time breaks tooked from a Rush repertoire. But a solid debut. Kevin Moore shows that he masterizes the 80's keyboard sound quite enough to scrape off the cheesy effect. Almost every intro starts with a great, catchy keyboard line. Moore is my favorite DT musician and keyboardist of the 90's. Too bad he decided to leave the boat. Anyway, you can appreciate his art in this fine record. Sounds 80's by the way. Very 80's. Dominci's voice don't pass the test in my opinion. But it's less irritating than the stratospherics vocals of Labrie. Labrie shouts more than he sings sometimes. Dominici's has obvious vocal limits has shown in Light Fuse and get Away. Find the spot where his voice kinda 'cracks'. Funny. Anyway, as usual, superior bass by Myung and solid double-bass drum by Portnoy. Songs are not oscar-winning, but they are efficient. The're easy to remember and, as I said, very catchy. Could be a hard pill to swollow but just picture yourself in 1989 when the Karate Kid was cool... Man, I had a crush on Cheryl from the Whiz Kids...What was I thinking!?!
Report this review (#11324)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars A great debut!The songs are really cool,especially Afterlife,A fortune in lies,Only a Matter of Time & the instrumental Ytse Jam.The production is not so good though,but it doesn't ruin the final result.The vocals are kinda retro,they remind me of 80's poser bands,but not disturbing to my ear!Overall a must have for the fans & a good addition to any rock collection ...
Report this review (#11325)
Posted Friday, June 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's not Dream Theater's best, but it's not their worst. I honestly got the album because I listened to ytse Jam. It's such a great instrumental. The album is great except for the vocals. They aren't terrible, but I think Labrie is a better fit for the band. The killing hand is a good song too. The album is definitely worth buying.
Report this review (#11326)
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars For those who are seeing the "true "story from DT, this is the right start. I bought this record in 1994, actually a few weeks earlier than AWAKE, and i couldn't belive how strong this first effort was, so many has seen this as the "lost first labum" but to me is the right foundation for a great band that has changed the music business over the years. Well, first, we must understand that the guys (except DOMINICI) were young lads at all!!!, and the true sense of the songs is the exposure of their some what avarege skills in composing and playing, the greatest example of all: YTSE JAM. Now, the rest of the pack is quite good, like a diamond in the rough; to me the greatest moment apart from the famed instrumental is the last part of the record, the more complex, mellow, distant and sentimental of the record; AFTERLIFE, and ONLY A MATTER OF TIME, really shows the effort of the band, the true feeling of years to come. Perhaps the band should be accepting that Moore's influence is bigger than they thought and "forget" the pop voice of Dominici. Enjoy, this is a classic that survived from the 80's and made it to the 90's
Report this review (#11329)
Posted Saturday, September 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Cymbolic

Dream Theater attracts a large following, and clearly in their chosen field they are one of the leading bands. For me, their music is in general terms enjoyable, but their leanings towards the metal end of prog can at times become a bit too "heavy".

With their first album "When dream and day unite", the band appear to be in the process of finding their feet, unsure whether to make straight forward metal along the lines Black Sabbath, or to venture into more complex prog territories, while retaining that metal basis. The plusses are that the band is instrumentally proficient, with searing guitar solos and fine keyboards. I also enjoy the vocal style, which is melodic and tuneful.

On the downside, the songs tend to have a similarity, which becomes tedious. Only "The killing hand" varies the pace a bit. The guitar solos don't really go anywhere, and after a while I also found I became aware of the somewhat excessive use of cymbals on many of the tracks (which I found a little irritating!).

The band was of course destined for greater things, but while this album is competent, it has few signs that Dream Theater had much to distinguish themselves from the rest of the metal crowd.

Report this review (#11333)
Posted Monday, November 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars a great debut album. Charlie Dominici's voice is not as good as labrie's, but it is a bit reminiscent of Geddy Lee. Kevin Moore's keyboard work is impressive. not as good as Jordan Rudess, but still great. the guitar sound on this album is very unique. much more 80's than the other DT albums. John Myung is also great on bass. overall, a good album. it would get a 5, if their other albums were not so great in comparison.
Report this review (#11334)
Posted Friday, November 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Being perhaps one of the biggest DT fans around I can honestly give a rating of three stars and feel that I have accurately described this album to newer fans. Not a bad album by any means, this disc shows Dream Theater trying to find their definitve sound without really succeeding. The fan favorite "Ytse Jam" (Majesty spelled backwards, a reference back to the 1985-86 incarnation of Dream Theater) is possibly the best song on the album along with "A Fortune In Lies" and "Only A Matter Of Time."

The CD's low rating has nothing to do with musicianship as drummer Mike Portnoy, keyboadist Kevin Moore, bassist John Myung, and guitarist John Petrucci all play expertly over the albums 8 tracks. It does however lose points in the vocal category, with Charlie Dominici's Geddy Lee-esque stylings. Not at all a bad vocalist but not what was needed in DT. However, if anyone has heard the two "Official Bootleg Series" CD's that chronicle the band from 1985 to 1989, you will agree that Dominici is head-over-heels better in comparison to their former frontmen.

If allowed I would have given this album a 3.5 for the effort, but all in all this is not the album to start with when beginning a DT collection.

Report this review (#11335)
Posted Sunday, December 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars In a few words : excellent debut album. As it was said and said through the years, the main negative point about this release is the quality of the mix. Otherwise, the musicians are outstanding, the songs good or great (songs like "Ytsejam", "Only A Matter Of Time" or "The Killing Hand" always are a nice treat in live). Overall more than sufficient for a debut album of a prog band (it was released during my year of birth). Mike Portnoy said that at the time, 8 out of 10 reviews cited RUSH as a main and hearable influence. NOTE : The recent re-editions of this album are not legal in some way, because Dream Theater don't get any royalties of it, as they changed for Atlantic Records, but didn't buy the rights still held by Mechanic Records. If you want to support the band, go to , where you will be able to find the official live recording of the 15th anniversary of the album for pre-order (which will get the band some money for what they've written).
Report this review (#11339)
Posted Sunday, February 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is an important part of the DT catalog, and not just because it's their first album. It's important because it has elements that do not (and probably never will) appear on any other DT album. First, the John Arch meets Geddy Lee vocal tone of Charlie Dominici. Not exactly a unique style, and not very agressive, but his phrasing was spot on. He is never over the top.

Next, there's the band interplay. This album is the most balanced. Each member shines, each member plays aggressively, and no one dominates. This is different from today, where Petrucci is the most dominant player. Listen to how he lays back when he knows that Moore has a lead keyboard line (which is often). Notice how Myung gets his moments in the sun. And notice how Portnoy is bashing away in the background, propelling everything forward.

I could go on, but the most unique thing on this album for me (since I'm a bass player) is John Myung's performance. He was so AGGRESSIVE! His tone, his playing, his soloing....he let it fly and was very unique for the day. I wonder why he dicided to go to a beefier tone and a more subtle style?

This is Dream Theater at its youngest, hungriest and most balanced.

Report this review (#11341)
Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars This is the worst album I ever heard from a prog-metal band. Understand... I like very much of the "Images / Infinity" era, but this debut album is very under under under anything you could imagine from a band that gave us great tunes like "Trial of Tears", "Learning to Live" and "Change of Seasons". The vocalist Dominici is a cruel joke. He is so bad, that I can't compare with anything else. To understand better: the best song in this album is the instrumental "Ytse Jam". The band makes an inteligent change when invited LaBrie to their line-up. If you are new DT fan, pass away this album...
Report this review (#11349)
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Muddy and unbalanced production values flaws this album for me, but it got clear hints of what to come later in the band's career. Still miles away from Fates Warning's "Perfect Symmetry" and WatchTower's second album although the strongest songs here are definitely memorable. Vocalist Charlie Dominici is an acquired taste but if you can stomach his high-pitched style you'll be in for a little treat. Excellent musicianship all the way through though Kevin Moore's somewhat dated synths tend to get in the way sometimes, but that only adds to the charm of these old progmetal records, right? Not essential but definitely worthy for any DT fan, I suggest starting out with "Images & Words" or "Awake" before this one however.
Report this review (#11357)
Posted Saturday, May 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, this is only the first release of Dream Theater. It's true they were not the great band they are now, but this album have two great reasons to buying it: The Ytse Jam and The Killing Hand. This tracks are amazing. Apart from this, there are a lot of songs very good too: Afterlife, A Fortune in Lies, Only a Matter of Time... In conclusion, not an obligated album but a very interesting addition for anyone who loves good music.
Report this review (#11358)
Posted Saturday, May 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars This album is just metal, the voice is so bad, so uninspired, the music is so poor, this album, in fact, deserve less than 1 star, it's amazing how a band can improve from this to "Images and Words".

The only good thing about this album is Ytse Jam, a good instrumental song; the music is bad itself, i remember when Dt came to Chile and played some of these songs, wuakala!, even then, whit the actual line up, the music was awful, it's some chronic problem, with the genes of the music, bad beyond time or line up.

Just for fans to death of DT, or maybe some really fan of metal, me?, neither

Report this review (#38590)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars For many this is the worst album that Dream Theater ever made, but it's not entirely their fault.The album is pretty good and remember that at the time DT were just a kids in Prog scene.The tracks are full of energy and the musicanship of the band is out of question.Technically DT show us an impressive ability on their respective instruments and the highlights goes to John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy.What is a shame on this album is the mix of Terry Date.It's terrible!I've never weard such a bad mix in all DT's albums.The voice of Charlie Dominici is acceptable and fits on "Status Seeker" and "The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun".On the other tracks Charlie almost looks like an hungarian singing in english.The real voice of DT is Kevin James LaBrie.Even the tracks of this album sound better with his voice and sound even better when played live.This is a memorable album because started a new era of Prog Rock and made Dream Theater one of most respected bands of this genre.Highlights:"YTSE Jam","Status Seeker" and "The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun".Weak points:the voice of Charlie Dominici in the rest of the tracks and the terrible mix.With a different mix this album could go more far, but at the time DT were just starting out and that is evident in the album.If you are a DT fan you must buy this album.If you are just looking for good progressive music buy "Images and Words" or "Awake", the masterpieces of DREAM THEATER.
Report this review (#39397)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This debut is formidable and a great preview of what was coming on. In spite of the production the music sounds very powerfull. Singer´s voice is great and it seems they used to get fun and enjoy playing all together. There´s no a big deal whit lyrics they are just respetable.
Report this review (#42313)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
The Crow
3 stars Decent debut from this essential band.

The Charlie Dominici's voice it's simply correct, like the poor production of the album. But there's some good songs here, like The Killing Hand, YTSE Jam, Light Fuse and Get Away and Only A Matter Of Time (the best of the album, in my opinion...)

I you get a little of Rush (Status Seeker, Afterlife), another little from Queensr˙che and some Metallica's riffs and rhythms, and other contemporaries and classical progressive influences, you'll get this album!

The band hasn't developed their own style yet, but here you can hear some of the elements wich would make Dream Theater one of the most influential prog metal bands.

Conclusion: not bad, but maybe it's not worthy for Dream Theater's non lovers!

Best Tracks: The Killing Hand, YTSE Jam, Light Fuse and Get Away, Only a Matter of Time.

My rating: ***

Report this review (#44865)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album was a bright sight in the late 80's, giving a new breath to prog metal. This was the Debut album for the biggest proggressive band out today, DREAM THEATER This album shows many different influences( yes, Rush, queensqyche, ect.) and many unique ideas. The use of odd meters and time changes are quite abundant through all songs on this album. the downfall of this album is the amount of time they were a band before they were signed. This album is a product of 5 years of writing together. It seems like they crammed to many different feelings and ideas and remnents of songs into this album. PLus the vocals and production value are quite under par. Overall a great album that is a must for any fan.
Report this review (#46031)
Posted Thursday, September 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Progressive rock must change constantly and this album pushed its boundaries in 1989. Although only few prog fanatics noticed the debut album of Dream Theater at the time, it changed the prog style forever. This complex music isn't easy to get into because of the many moods & rhythms which change constantly even though most tracks are quite short in length when compared to recent work. The voice of Charlie Dominci is another major difference from other DT efforts. He left the band after this album. You could easily compare his voice to Geddy Lee's high voice which was considered as a standard voice in metal at the end of the eighties. I must say I really like his voice. Although the metal elements are undeniable this album sounds more prog than metal due to the omnipresence of the keyboards. Unlike on latter albums, the keyboard lines are more substantial. Throughout the whole album Moore's keys are simply outstanding. In 2005 these sounds may come across synthetic and dated but no one can deny it gives the music many layers of colour. What can I say about the other players ? They're brilliant, as always.

When hearing this album for the very first time you'll get the impression the music is chaotic but in fact the compositions all are structured very well. The instrumental "Ytse jam" is good example of this. The album holds only one real epic. "The killing hand" which starts quietly with a gentle acoustic guitar followed by a lot of varied atmospheres. The intro of "The ones who help". must be one of the most fascinating intro's which has ever been used in prog. This is another awesome track where the technical aspects of the sound are combined with the emotional vocal lines. There 're no flaws to be found on this magnificent record but the absolute highlight is "Only a matter a time" which still is a concert favourite. This symphonic gem is a delight to listen to. There seems to be an army of keyboard wizards but in fact there's only one !!! One of the best closing tracks ever.

From a lyrical point of view this album has lots to offer as well. A line like "You can make a fortune in lies, you can keep a giant alive" sounds more than interesting. The production isn't as polished as on recent efforts. These were still the eighties and that's obvious by the AOR influences but especially the rhythm section definitely deserved a better sound. Anyway this is decent enough for delivering an unforgettable listening experience. From the moment you get to know the many unusual musical turns and interruptions, you'll discover that the basic melodies for the tracks are quite simple and very melodic. Let's take the single "status seeker" for an example. After the majestic opening chords the track has a recognisable (chorus - verse) structure. The melodies and rhythms change rapidly from one to another.

For many people the Dream theater saga begins with "Images & words" but I don't think they gave a proper listen to this great record. When the album ended up in the sales bin at the beginning of the nineties I thought we never would hear of DT again. Fortunately time decided otherwise. Till today this remains my all time favourite Dream Theater record.

Report this review (#53959)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Rather weak debut from Progressive Metal icon Dream Theater. Maybe it's the cheesy synths and guitars, maybe the bland hair metal vocals, maybe the heavily Rush inspired riffs and the awful audio quality, whatever it is, this album is really just for devoted fans. There are a few good songs within this album, but they are few and far between. John Petrucci is at his metal best, although he doesn't have the sophistication he'll have later. Myung is probably the strongest musician on the album with creative, often somber bass lines. Portnoy is energetic and frenetic, but doesn't have that precision that he'll have on later albums. You can see some promise in Moore, but he doesn't really shine with his bland synthesizers. Charlie Dominici, who makes his only album appearance with DT on this album, has the generic 80's metal vocal style, very monotone and very high-pitched.

Anyway, the good tracks on this album are Ytse Jam, a malevolent instrumental that has all the DT flares. Creative riffing and superb bass playing top off this track. Only a Matter of Time concludes this album, a very abstract piece lyrically but a very strong musical piece, but sound quality is less than par on this one.

Overall, if you are a DT fan, you own this. But if you want a good representation of DT, check out Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence or Scenes From a Memory. 2/5.

Report this review (#55447)
Posted Tuesday, November 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Great album!!!

This album is criminally underrated. This is Dream Theater's first, their only album with Dominici singing. His vocal style is perfect for the kind of music played on this album whereas LaBrie, who took over, sounds like every other metal singer in the world. Also, these were the DT days when they new how to play more than just metal chords over and over. Maybe I'm exaggerating...I do like later DT, but this is by far their best.

If you like DT then you must get this one!!!

Report this review (#59107)
Posted Sunday, December 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This was a great first album for dream theater. It is not my favorite, but probably not my least favorite. The guitar, as always is great, the bass is good, and so is the keyboard. The vocals by charlie dominici were surprising when i first heard them, but, even if they weren't that amazing, like James Labrie, they really went with the songs well. A good album, but, if it were the first album i ever heard, i probably wouldn't be as much of a DT fan as i am.

Report this review (#60586)
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars First, let me say that this album is highly underrated. An amazing album to be a debut. It's extremely heavy but also very progressive. You can say that this album started this genre. WDADU influences other progressive metal bands also as much as the I&W -abum. These incredible virtuoso-players sounded as professional back then as they sound now. So there is lots of extreme creativity on this album too than on any DT album. But the production and the sound have both good and bad sides. The music sounds great, typical eighties' metal, but on the other hand, in some situations some instruments sound kind of funny. For an example, the bass doesn't sound so good in some situations. The guitar sounds great, almost perfect. The drums weren't trggered like in I&W, so they sound almost like on the Awake album, but sadly the snare-drum doesn't sound so good. The keyboards sound pretty good, but not as perfect as in I&W. So the mixing isn't so perfect after all. This album needs remastering. But the sound doesn't bother so much, you can still enjoy very much of the music. Also one minus is Charlie Dominici's voice, that doesn't fit in the DT music as good as James LaBrie's voice. But Dominici's voice doesn't sound so bad, it's quite good. I could say that DT is more progressive and comprehensive on this album than on their newest, Octavarium. Both styles fit DT very well. Actually, whatever DT has tried so far, they always have sounded amazing anyway. I don't know if I could recommend this album for the new DT-fans, but the all-time DT fans are going to love this album, like I do.

Sorry about my english...

Report this review (#69061)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The ambitious debut of Dream Theater is often overlooked by fans and critics since it has a different vocalist, and Dream Theater had yet to find their own sound. These criticisms while not unfounded, are sometimes exaggerated. Charlie Dominici was a fine vocalist, and was comparable to other metal vocalists of the 80's and although James LaBrie would come be to identified as the voice of Dream Theater, Charlie's performance is not found wanting on this album.

If WDADU looks back more than it looks forward, that is not necessarily a bad thing unless the band stays there, and Dream Theater certainly moved passed that phase and progressed quite dramatically with their subsequent releases. They were clearly inspired equally from progressive bands from the 70's such as Yes and Rush, and metal acts from the 80's particularly prog-metal forerunners Fates Warning and Queensryche. While not as significant to progressive metal as Awaken The Guardian, Operation: Mindcrime, or their own Images and Words would be three years later, this still proves to be an important and enjoyable release from one of the premier progressive bands around.

Not satisfied to simply regurgitate the same type of material as their predecessors, Dream Theater pushed the boundaries of instrumental display especially in the instrumental "Ytse Jam." At this point John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy were not recognized as two of the most proficient musicians in the genre, but were a force to be reckoned with. Right from the energetic opening of "A Fortune in Lies," they let you know that they really know how to play. They also display a strong sense of melody in such tracks as "The Killing Hand" and "Only a Matter of Time." There's really not a weak track on the record, and if it has a weakness it is the lack of diversity throughout, although it stays focused and never feels redundant.

While Dream Theater certainly exceeded the excellence of their debut, there's a freshness and a youthful energy in this recording that makes in unique in their catalog. It may not be the best place to start for a newcomer, but certainly should not be overlooked by fans of Dream Theater or progressive metal in general. 4/5 stars

Report this review (#71567)
Posted Friday, March 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This first release by Dream Theater sports some good songs with remarkably poor production values. Charlie Dominici's voice may sound like a lukewarm Geddy Lee with some AOR overtones; however, his overt "lack of character" works both negatively and positively. By negatively, I mean that the vocals are delivered mostly in the same tone of voice, without the dynamics that current singer James LaBrie tries to deliver (albeit with inconsistent results). By positively, I mean that he avoids the pitfalls of histrionic, out-of-my-vocal-range slingshotting vocal delivery that LaBrie often stumbles into. Again, poor production is what is most notable here, with a frightening lack of both bass and treble frequencies. Highlights of this album include "Status Seeker", the always propelling "Afterlife", and "Only A Matter of Time". The last of these songs is a pretty good anthem for dedication to musical ideals, and closes out the album on a positive note. Also of note is "Ytse Jam", which is an instrumental which seems to have an almost talismanic rating in the eyes of the Dream Theater fan community. It's not bad, but they've released better songs.
Report this review (#74997)
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars When Dream and Day Unite shows the unrefined early days of the soon to be monumental Dream Theater. The compositions are a bit less virtuose and powerful than they are now notorious for. Still, you can see the obvious skill and great potential. And sometimes, of course, the band shines both in writing and performance. LaBrie was not yet on board, Charlie Dominici does vocals on this album. His voice is rather weak and bland in comparison to James'. He does make for a good, though standard, 80s metal vocalist.

I might be a bit hard on this album because I am not a fan of 80s metal, and I adore the later work of this band, which is far beyond this. It may also because of the next topic I will address, which is to me the biggest down fall of the album: the production. The production, in short, is very poor. The remaster sounds quite a bit better, though. The remaster alone gives this an extra star!

For me, the most enjoyable songs here are "Ytse Jam," "Afterlife," and "Only a Matter of Time."

I bet if the current Dream Theater re-recorded the album, it would be worthy of the ranks of their later works. I do like these songs live (at least from the ones I have seen), which supports my reicarnation theory about this. In the state that we have it, I can only recommend it to those collecting all of Dream Theater's studio albums or big 80s metal fans.

Report this review (#77788)
Posted Wednesday, May 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
5 stars Now here's an album for which my appreciation has grown every day. Look beyond the strange, malnourished production (which I might add, sounds great when you crank it) and the emphatically un-James singer and you'll find one of the coolest damn debuts in metal history. This is insane, intricate, thoughtful, and theatrical prog/power metal of the highest order, a progged-out feast for the ears and mind as these hyperspeed technicians bounce around the studio totally unencumbered by such concerns as restraint and maturity. Unlike later overburdened and underthought platters like Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and Train of Thought, "When Dream and Day Unite" combines bohemian wankfest excess with structures that support, nay, demand their existence and melodies that pulsate with life and a burning heart full of love for fast, epic metal.

This is like the culmination of early Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force, Queensryche, Rush, Watchtower and Fates Warning, combining the speed and frightwigged over-the-top neoclassical assault of Yngwie J. Malmsteen's Rising Force or 'Ryche (think the Queensryche EP or an amphetamized The Warning) with Fates Warning's mist-shrouded mood, Rush's complex and bent structures, and Watchtower's overarching impression of size and power. "The Killing Hand" is a damn near awe inspiring example of how to take somebody else's characteristics and then blow them out of proportion and make them into something new and exciting. The blistering solos seem oddly weightless, keys and strings dancing through the night sky as if gravity were no concern. Other than one oddly disconcerting moment where we drop out of a truly amazing riffset into a melodic interlude, this song is a perfect example of how to build tension through dynamics. We've got a delicate intro, big-time power chords, epic vocals over acoustics, start building up the intensity, and then... riffs, riffs, glorious handfuls of golden riffs being tossed around willy-nilly while Dominici skulks around the laboratory mixing strange fizzing chemicals and cackling wildly.

The really effervescent thing about "When Dream and Day Unite" is how fresh all of the players are. Here's Kevin Moore experimenting with his canny atmospheric work, his regal leads, and of course his majestic and buoyant melodies that will soon bloom into the joyous conglomeration of Images & Words in which he is omnipresent and unforgettable. There's John Myung before producers and band pressures toned him down, providing an unshakeable rhythmic foundation but also playing some of the best bass leads I've ever heard. Seriously, the man is absolutely all over the neck here, refusing to be shunted aside by the traditional lead instruments and doing some jaw- dropping stuff whenever a space opens up. Mike Portnoy, bless his heart, cannot play a wrong beat. Even early on, in spite of the complexity of his play the guy had a great sense of feel and he manages to make his presence known without grandstanding quite as much as he does on later recordings. Check the solid stomp of "The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun" (some of the coolest sounding kicks I've ever heard), the excellent little drum solo in "Ytse Jam", or the schizoid time changes in "Light Fuse and Get Away". And last but not least, Mr. John Petrucci on skullfrying axe-work. This stuff is passionate, headbangable, memorable, and unique and frankly, puts the similarly note-dense Train of Thought leads to shame. Every song has an incredible solo spot, from the swinging guitar heroics of "A Fortune in Lies" (absolutely godly shredding) to the "Afterlife" unison (along with that 'can do no wrong' riff, absolutely spot-on Shea), or in "The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun" where the usual shred showcase seems to go up and up until it explodes and surrounds the listener with shimmering notes aplenty.

Oh, I didn't mention the singer? Well, Charlie's excellent. His voice is willowy as hell and he partakes in one of DT's both catchiest and cheesiest moments "I am the killing haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...", but otherwise the guy does a hell of a job with the material. “Status Seeker" features some extremely passionate delivery, and the man brings life to some really difficult stuff such as Moore's hyperverbose "Only a Matter of Time" and "Light Fuse", as well as the bizarre fandango-thrash of "A Fortune in Lies". I grant you, his voice takes some getting used to and lacks force, but you couldn't ask for more emotion or sincerity than this guy provides. And hell, he's aged better than LaBrie has if the When Dream and Day Reunite DVD is any indication.

Oh, and I should add that lyrically this album is excellent. Although it is a bit stilted and leads to some interesting choices melody-wise, this is some cool poetry and leads to some really memorable lines. In general, obscure lyrics own the hell out of blatant, unimaginative lyrics.

Before I close this review out, I'll go into a little depth on the best track on the CD which is "Only a Matter of Time". While the first seven tracks on this album represent a strange proto-Dream Theater that would only sporadically pop-up in later years ("A Change of Seasons" is the last of the major Fates Warning influence, for example), "Only a Matter of Time" is a test-flight for the shining ebullient epics all over the next album. It begins with a brilliant symphonic keyboard introduction, almost like a fanfare, that gradually fuses with an aching guitar which dovetails nicely into the beginning of the first verse. It is on this song that Moore really defines the role of keyboards in Dream Theater's music. On previous tracks, he is a force and plays an important role in the song but on "Only a Matter of Time" he becomes a dominant force. Moore is absolutely everywhere, weaving brilliant melodies and breaks around his own amazing lyrics. This is a storehouse for some brilliant riffery, each verse given a different riff and vocal phrasing, constantly growing better and better as it rushes towards the massive outro with its imperative keys seeming to scream that time is running out on this stupendous record... the only thing I can about this song is that sometimes it is absolutely breathtaking. And so is this record.

Although they sometimes express some disdain for this record and these songs, and while it is emphatically the least popular Dream Theater record amongst fans, When Dream and Day Unite ranks as one of their absolute best works and is a must for any power, prog, or straight-up heavy metal fan. I tend to stay away from such recommendations, but this record has to face apathy from the band's fanbase and the lead weight of being released under the Dream Theater name, which might bar those who would get the most out of it from giving it a shot. This album rules. It was a baroque, underground phenomenon, which gave the prog metal world a important new breathe of life. A underappreciated, revolutionary debut!

album rating: 9.5/10 points = 93 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#78067)
Posted Saturday, May 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars When Dream And Day Unite

Three stars don't mean it's a bad album. For me, it's a really great album if looked from "debut album" point of view. However, when I compare with the standard of others progressive metal albums or other Dream Theater albums, When Dream And Day Unite is not the best album.

The album was recorded in 1988 and released in 1989, I wasn't born yet at that time : ) . In my opinion, the biggest flaw is Charlie Dominici's vocal style, which like Geddy Lee wannabe also, doesn't fit with Dream Theater progressive metal style. Another not-so- good issue is for me, the recording sounds very bad, the guitar sound is not so good. Maybe its just me, that this is the sound style at that era, but its just don't fit my ears. This is the first and last album with Charlie Dominici, who left the band shortly after the album was released. According to Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, "It was like having Billy Joel singing in Queensryche." A good singer in the wrong band, the band amicably parted ways shortly thereafter. Moreover, Charlie Dominici was the oldest with quite far older than the rest of the band, this issue was considered by some fans why he left the band. Well, actually, he wasn't "left" the band, it was more like an agreement between him and the band.

A Fortune In Lies - Great first track, very heavy metal with progressive elements, which is very important because most people will look at the first track in the first album to decide what the genre of the band is. However, all of the metal progressive heavy elements gone when Charlie started to sing, its [b]not bad[/b], mark my words, its not bad, just not fit with the intro and the rest of the song. Also, John Myung bass line is very heavy, so cool, just like the guitar solo!!

Status Seeker The intro of the song is nothing like metal, and more like pop, but then when the guitar starts, the energy of the song increased, the metal element can be felt. Once again, the guitar solo is very amazing, great solo.

Ytse Jam The best song in the album, which is an instrumental song and is still famous until now that Dream Theater always play this song in every concert. The song is very unique with a kinda strange melodic line, but that's progressive, being different. For those of you who don't know, Ytse Jam is actually Majesty read inversely, maJ estY. This is really a jam song actually, where four of them played as best as they can.

The Killing Hand - Mellow acoustic guitar intro, real nice, so relaxing after the jamming song. When the drum line begins, the energy of the song rose, somewhat metal but for me its more like typical rock song. In this world, there is always "but", this time, the "but" is Charlie Dominici's vocal style, very cheesy, "an angle's kiss." Besides that, everything is just OK. This is the first song where Dream Theater started to divide songs into parts, The Killing Hand was divided into five parts.

Light Fuse And Get Away - Very nice intro, heavy and metal guitar riffs followed by Moore's unique keyboard line. Overall, the song is great, very progressive metal, one thing missing is, nah, you know, I don't have to explain it again.

After Life - Very heavy guitar intro and nice guitar line in the first verse, combined with energetic bass and drum section and I think this is the most metal song in the album. In the minute 3:40, the tempo slows down, which is pretty good, before a sick ((positive sick!!) solo from John Petrucci. After that, Petrucci and Moore did the solo together, GREAT!!!

The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun - The most progressive song in the album, started with keyboard and bass lines, pretty much like Octavarium. The instrumental part then continued until the third minute, before Dominici started to sing. The chord progression is good, just like the solos, similar to other songs.

Only A Matter Of Time - The second most famous song after Ytse Jam. Despite the unfit vocal, the song is very good, in terms of lyric and the music composition. As a proof, Dream Theater played this song in Live At Budokan concert, which is very surprising because it's a very old song and with different singer. The feeling is at the fourth minute, the music is very nice with beautiful chords, and again, very cheesy!! "even when plans fall to pieces." then followed with beautiful solos.

Well, three stars. Once again, I don't review this album with "debut album" predicate, but just as an album, an album in progressive metal world. Great job from Dream Theater, if I review this album based on "debut album", I'll give five stars. Despite everything, you should still buy this album, which is a history in progressive metal world.

Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

Report this review (#78811)
Posted Saturday, May 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
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 [%*!#]ing 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 [%*!#]ed 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.

Report this review (#81569)
Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have to review this just because it's slightly underrated, and I have some strange experiences (if you can call them that) with this album.

First of all - I'd like to note that I never thought I would like this album. I listened to it for the sake of it, since I'm an avid DT fan, and I was impressed like all hell. In a way some of it is premature, although you can really see their creativity and their musical genius trying to struggle their way out of the hard shell of awful production and an arguably bad singer.

Now, I think I'll structure this review going song by song:

1-A Fortune In Lies: Very good start to the album, even just the first few notes make you want to listen more. Sounds like music out of a Megaman game: awesome. Not a masterpiece on the whole, but captivating to an extent and still worth the listen.

2-Status Seeker: Somewhat enjoyable, but irritating at the same time. The chorus is catchy and the music is nice, but it has a pop-ish feel to it.

3-Ytse Jam: I can see why this is the fan favourite from this album. One of the best songs on there to me (this one's an instrumental by the way). A five star song definitely. Even gets stuck in your head..

4-The Killing Hand: This song doesn't really do it for me, although it's not bad. I'm just not all that captivated by it... I'm speculating that it needs a trim.

5-Light Fuse and Get Away: Really clever lyrics (homage to Moore) and a catchy (and inconsistent) chorus. Makes for a really enjoyable song.. I'm just not too into the composition of the music. Too bad though, it really does have potential.

6-Afterlife: Again the chorus is good... however the vocals for the rest of the song are only tolerable. And distracting. Not bad on the whole.

7-The Ones who Helped to Set the Sun: Wow.. this song is really dark. The lyrics could be a bit more creative and inspired, but overall it's decent. The intro is the best part probably, amazing musicianship there. Reminds me a little of Octavarium (the song).

8-Only a Matter of Time: I really like the vocals on this song, and the lyrics too are extremely well-written (more credit to Moore). The music could be a bit more exciting, but nothing's perfect.

All in all, each song has a small flaw it seems, or that potential for that extra something, but it's worth it to listen to, and miles removed from the typical DT sound. Probably the album that non-DT fans will like most. Probably.

Four stars, and I hope my review was helpful.

Report this review (#81851)
Posted Saturday, June 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars The debut of the most famous progressive metal band shows the immaturity of the band. The album is sort of a mixed bag of tricks. You have some good songs here and there, and then you have some songs where you think to yourself, "what were they thinking".

The first 4 tracks here are the strongest, with Ytse Jam(Majesty backwards) being a fan favorite. It's still probably their most entertaining instrumental piece they've ever done, mostly because they just wrote from the heart rather than from their technical minds. It's fairly simple minded, but as a guitar player, you know John must have had fun writing and playing it.

Most of the album gives off a Queensryche vibe, and Dream Theater is more or less finding themselves here. Not a great album, but has a few strong points that we can enjoy.

Report this review (#84223)
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars For this review, I choose the well-known and respected progressive rock/metal band Dream Theater. But do they really deserve all what they've received? There recipe isn't very secret, first pour a bit of Rush, some Pink Floyd, an inch of Genesis and King Crimson with a bit of Metallica and Queensryche on the top. In resume, Dream Theater is somekind of marriage between classic prog rock and elements of metal music.

After some proeficient demo tapes recorded under the name of Majesty, Dream Theater recorded their first album in 1989. Unlike most of the people think, "Images & Words" is not their first achievement. The album in question, "When Dream And Day Unite", almost sounded like an usual power metal album but when listening to it, we quickly realise that this band as something new to offer to 80's metal. The song "Ytse Jam" was the first remarquable piece Dream Theater composed.

Only fans should mind getting "When Dream And Day Unite". A great album destroyed by the weak vocals of Charlie Dominici and the kitch over-used keyboard of Kevin Moore.

Report this review (#88828)
Posted Sunday, September 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Getting Charlie Dominici out of band was Dream Theater's biggest mistake. He had much better vocals than LaBrie. Music here is excellent, not soulless as on other Dream Theater albums. Accoustic intro in song The Killing Hand is awesome, as well as instrumental Ytse Jam. Perfect example of essential progressive metal, and probably the most melodic and poetic record from this band. kevin Moore also wrote excellent songs here, and his keyboards are atmospheric and tastefull. It is such a pitty that Dream Theater have chosen to follow more Metallica-like style of metal later in their career. This album is simply powerfull, and not boring at all, to me.
Report this review (#89173)
Posted Thursday, September 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This was the beginning, this was the first record made by the New york greats; after this, what was to come was the best collection of prog-metal in any band's catalog. The album that following this one is for me one of the five best of all time; so, how was the debut?

Well, it has hints of greatness. The Rush-meets-metal sound is more evident than ever here, as DT were yet to achieve the trademark, original prog-metal sound they created in their next output. But we could hear the origin of that signature style: long songs, complex riffs, interesting instrumental parts, lots of keyboards.

The main problem is not really their still inmature sound, but the awful singer thay started with. Rest assured that, if Dominici had stayed for Images and Words, that album, instead of becoming the angular piece in Prog-metal would have been forgotten inmediately, for this gentleman's voice is really bad, it's almost in a league of its own when it comes to badness (at least in this album; nowadays it has gotten better). I'm not going to describe it for, what's the point? It exists only in this album, and thank heavens it was replaced by LA Brie. Now that's contrast! After having arguably the worst singer ever, DT got the best voice in all prog-metal.

Highlights: Ytse Jam (a small gem, a preview of what was to come), After Life (good chorus, even Dominici couldn't screw this one up) and Light fuse and get away, a decent, well crafted long song, with very good instrumental parts.

All in all, a good, very good debut album, not up to par by DT's standards, but a fairly decent collection of good riffs, good keyboards, good solos, and horrendous vocals.

Recommended for every DT fan. If you are not one of them, try to listen to Images and Words or any other of the following albums first, for if this is your first encounter with Portnoy and Co., there's a good chance you will avoid them for the rest of your life, only not to hear that singer ever again!

Report this review (#94988)
Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars So here it is, the debut album of what is arguably the most successful band of the last 20 years, Dream Theater, so was it any good? Well, the answer is both yes and no, but there's no denying that this album began the career of a band that have left a huge mark on the history, maybe even the health, of progressive music, especially Prog-metal.

We all know Dream Theater, a band with a reputation for technical proficiency with their instruments and a tendency to write the occasional cheesy song. Most of all, though, is that they have a very divisive singer in James LaBrie (You either love him or hate him and we prog heads seem to be pretty divided on this) but here on When Dream And Day Unite there is no James LaBrie, instead we have Charlie Dominici, out for his only appearance on a Dream Theater album. And its a competent performance from him, but Dominici has a decidedly average voice, its not bad by any stretch of the imagination but there's nothing interesting about it, he just sounds like every other metal singer of the 1980's. This lack of character to the vocals is in stark contrast to what would come later, and the change would be a big improvement in my opinion.

Musically this band is on pretty hot form. Ytse Jam, The Killing Hand and Only A Matter Of Time are all stand out tracks that are made from the best aspects of Dream Theater's music from the years to come. Ytse Jam and The Killing Hand are two tracks that I believe are as good as anything they have since produced. All the songs on this album have the impressive technical, yet expressive, playing that they are well known for, without falling back on clichéd themes. Many of these songs push dynamically through different tempos and, more importantly, feelings, without ever loosing the sense of melody to the song. The three songs mentioned above do this the best, and are still fan favourites today, probably because of this, yet the other songs display this trait, just not quite as well. The one place were this album suffers in comparison to Images And Words and Awake (the other two albums with Kevin Moore playing keys and writing songs) is that they didn't have quite the touch for a killer groove or melody that they would pick up in the following three years before I&W.

Now that I've waxed lyrically about this album I get to its problem, and it's a big problem. The production quality is atrocious to say the least. All instruments throughout this album are under produced, resulting in what can only be described as a muddy sound quality were you have to really listen hard to pick up on some of the nuances in the music. This has wrecked what should have been a really good album as it lacks any sharp edge to the sound, everything seems to merge together, reducing the enjoyment I get out of this album.

Overall this album was actually quite a surprise to me, I didn't actually expect the songs to be of such a high quality as they are. This album looses 2 stars, though, because Dominici is not as good a singer as LaBrie and it has atrociously produced sound quality. It is one of the most enjoyable albums that Dream Theater have produced but the faults are just far too big for me to give it more than 3 stars.

Report this review (#95279)
Posted Friday, October 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good debut for the band! But great, eh, not to listen to. It has it's moments, it's good! Vocals suck, good thing they replaced with James LaBrie! Fwew! Yes great instrumentals though, Ytse Jam has always been the song of this album. The Killing Hand and A Fortune in Lies are the other songs I really enjoyed. The Rest are good or okay. Only a Matter of Time is actually one I really never came for. I don't know if it's the symbols recording that bugs me because the sound is really obnoxious for some reason. (Listen to the song live when James is singing it, it makes it sound a little better and not as falseseto or anything like the such!) so yes, is it good, yes, is it essential, no. Give it a listen and see what you think of. 3/5 to DT's debut!
Report this review (#95593)
Posted Tuesday, October 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars When Dream and Day Unite is the debut record from prog metal champions Dream Theater. The main difference from later releases is vocalist Charlie Dominici singing instead of James LaBrie. He's a very capable vocalist who bears a resemblence to Steve Walsh of Kansas. It's a very strong debut album, though it has its flaws. The first is the shoddy production, even on the remaster, though a plus is that Myung's bass is comletely audible. Next, the lyrics are nothing specail, but the instrumentation rocks.

Highlight s are the superb instrumental Ytse Jam (one of the band's finest numbers with kiler bass), A Fortune in Lies (good riff, catchy song), Afterlife (love this song, sounds even better on Score), and Only a Matter of Time (finest lyrics on the album). The other songs are good, but lack staying power. Any fan of DT should own this album, and really any fan of prog can enjoy this since it really pays homage to 70s prog.

Report this review (#103071)
Posted Thursday, December 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars My favorite Dream Theater album, besides "Images And Words".

Not as heavy or metal-sounding as the albums that followed, but the somewhat muted production actually gives the tracks a rather unique presence.

True enough, it's a debut album, and the guys have become better musicians and songwriters later on (those of the original members that still are in the band, that is). From a technical point of view at least.

But technical skills aren't the only aspect needed to make music. Creativity, the need to convey feelings and emotions through music, the guts to try the impossible, testing ones limits as a musician as well as a songwriter.

In my point of view there's lots of the abovementioned present on DT's debut, which gives the songs, imprefect technically as some -may- be, a unique mood - a soul if you like.

The vocals of original vocalist Dominici deserves mention as well. Although his voice is somewhat limited, I like him a lot better as a vocalist than LaBrie.

All in all not a masterpiece album by no means, but an album that's more than good enough to be a must addition to a prog metal collection.

Report this review (#105363)
Posted Wednesday, January 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This without question should be their lowest rated album, and it's the poor production that is probably the biggest reason for me saying that. The picture of the band made me cringe, i'm sure they laugh when they see it now looking like an eighties hair Metal band. They thank John Arch, Jim Matheos and FATES WARNING in the liner notes. The instrumental music is really good and the singing is o.k., Charlie has his moments.

Some of the highlights are "Status Seeker" with Kevin doing a great job on keys. "Ytse Jam" is the name of their former band spelled backwards.This is a good, heavy instrumental with a nice keyboard run 3 minutes in followed by some great scorching guitar.

"The Killing Hand" has an acoustic intro that turns electric, nice sound. The vocals aren't the best though."Light Fuse And Get Away" shows Portnoy having some fun but it's the sound 5 minutes in that sounds incredible with some good guitar melodies. "Afterlife" is probably the catchiest tune. "Only A Matter Of Time" sounds familiar. The drumming is good and the keyboard melodies stand out as well.

This is worth checking out if only to see DREAM THEATER in their infancy.

Report this review (#108763)
Posted Wednesday, January 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Subject of discussion is Dream Theater's debut, their sole record without infamous singer James LaBrie, but with Charlie Dominici instead. With keyboard player Kevin Moore, longtime drummer Mike Portnoy, longtime bassist John Myung and longtime guitar player John Petrucci already aboard, most typical elements were already there.

Still, the results are mixed at best. The record contains several interesting ideas, which pop up in songs like Status seeker, The killing hand and The ones who helped to set the sun, but none of them makes into complete greatness, just because most of the songs stay too messy and unfocused. Dominici sounds a bit like Queensr˙che singer Geoff Tate, but just less good... doesn't really help. A probable exception is the instrumental The Ytse Jam, which is more or less a classic DT track, paving the way for later instrumentals.

This record is interesting for DT fans, to see where it all began. For regular listeners this record hardly has any relevance.

Report this review (#114780)
Posted Saturday, March 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good, but non-essential.

If you listened to this album and their most recent album Octavarium you wouldn't even recognize them as the same band...The singer makes me cringe as much as Labrie's does sometimes so I think DT could've kept their original singer and expanded. This album as a whole sounds a bit more like Rush to me...Has a bit of that 80's feel. Their musicianship is not as good as their later DT stuff, you can tell that they were barely deceiding where they would be going with their music. The lyrics and flow of the music is alright, they actually put feeling into it so it's good and that's all i can say.

Report this review (#118204)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2007 | Review Permalink

The first record from one of the most important bands in Progressive Rock, for being a debut album is not that bad, there are some point that rescue this release from being real trash, one of those points is the outstanding"YTSE Jam"; which is one of the most creative things this band has done, but let's give every track its own chance. The whole album is full of energy, but I have to be very clear, at this point Dream Theater was some kind of power melodic metal band, and they were molding their own style, so this is one of the reasons it can't be considered as a true masterpiece in my humble opinion. The production is also one of the weakest points this album has and you can notice it on the drums; which have a poor quality sound. Something that really remarks this album is the bass playing by John Myung, who really shows what he can do when he gets the chance, and I think this is one of the things that the band should consider, they have one of the best bass players and they don't explode all of his talent.

Concluding, even when the compositions still sound a little immature, the musicianship is present, and of course, Charlie Dominici will not be in the band anymore, thanks God for that.

Report this review (#121762)
Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not their best work, for sure, but it's a great start for a great band. It contains all the elements one should come to expect from Dream Theater: the virtuostic solos and complex song structures. One thing that surprised me about this album is the shortness of the songs. The longest song here is "The Killing Hand", which clocks in around the nine minute mark. On this release, John Myung's bass is louder, something I enjoy, as he is one of the most talented bassists around. Vocalist Charlie Dominici isn't quite as good as his successor, James Labrie, but his voice is by no means bad. He reminds me of Geddy Lee and Jon Anderson. I recommend this album for Dream Theater fans, although I don't think it would make the greatest introduction to the band. Highlights are the epic "The Killing Hand", the instrumental "Ytse Jam", one of my favourite instrumentals, and the keyboard driven "Only a Matter of Time".
Report this review (#122254)
Posted Tuesday, May 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars First of all,the voice of dominici is espectacular,the range that he have,is AMAZING.. TALKING ABOUT this record,i think that is very good,because have a lot of brilliant emotion on all the tracks,petrucci on this record show his speed on the electric guitar and a very agressive way to play,but sounds GOOD..

ALL THE SONGS contains all the elements to first record,is not the best work,,but i highly recomend to a person that want to hear virtuosity..and a extremely range of vocals on this,thanks to the lord DOMINICI,by the way,i want to hear the new album of dominici,jejeje,long time no see...


Report this review (#122429)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars An impressive debut from such a talented band

Often underrated, "When Day and Dream Unite" receives controversial reviews, mainly due to the voice of the singer of this period, Charlie Dominici. But if you get used to it, then there is no reason for a metal or a progressive rock fan to not enjoy this record.

"A Fortune in Lies" is a classic from DREAM THEATER and opens the show with its changing introduction, its raging guitars and its powerful melody. A new style of metal is revealed. The number of transitions in five minutes is amazing and announces the direction taken by the musicians in their later albums. "Status Seeker" shows the band's neo-progressive influences. A weaker track, but still enjoyable. Then comes another classic and the instrumental of the record, the wonderful "Ytse Jam". Top-notch Egyptian sounding prog metal with surprising changes of themes and rhythms! All musicians demonstrate their mastery here. The next song, "The Killing Hand", is the most progressive of the disc. Beginning with a pretty acoustic introduction, the track sounds like a young "Metropolis Part I". Very inspired and enchanting.

The second half of the album may not be as remarkable as the first one, but has still its moments. "Light Fuse and Get Away" tends to be irritating and lazy whereas "Afterlife" is uneven. Fortunately, The two last songs conclude well the disc. "The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun" has a very strange and mysterious introduction, whereas "Only A matter Of Time" transports you far away into worlds of heroic fantasy.

Not often cited, "When Dream and Day Unite" is nonetheless a powerful and a convincing debut album. The young DREAM THEATER demonstrates its capacities and proves its novelty in the world of metal by adding progressive (jazzy like RUSH or neo like MARILLION) touches. A very recommended album if you like 80s' or prog metal!

Report this review (#125601)
Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I try to avoid write reviews on well-known and rated albums, but few days ago I came across my old DREAM THEATER DVDs. While watching I gradually came to a conclusion, that DT is probably one of the most important Prog bands in the world, despite both all the hate and hype. No one can play that way perfectly, no one can make millions of Prog fans expect for a new album so impatiently, and no one will receive such different variants of reaction on it finally ;) So here’s my DT reviews seria!

WDADU is recognized as being a bastard child of the band. Sound quality is average, band plays good, but sometimes falling into complexity for its own sake, vocals are wonderful but hardly unique (Charlie was great, but James is better despite all the issues one can have with his voice…he’s more recognizable!). DT’s manner was close to their fellow countrymen FATES WARNING, with some steps to and fro (weird “The Ones…” intro, hard-rocky “Status Seeker”, power-metalish “Afterlife”) in the area. Unfortunately, debut failed to gain a satisfying success, but everything that happens is for the good – I can recall another band, that made hardly amazing debut (in my book), but became huge with their second album ;)

Best tracks: “The Killing Hand”, “Afterlife”, “Only a Matter of Time”

Best moments: verses in “The Ones…”, solo in “Afterlife”

Report this review (#134156)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater debut album might not be their best one, but I have to admit that it is a good one. Of course, it is on the heavy side of prog; but everyone is aware of this. When you listen to "The Ytse Jam" you'll get the picture. This is wiiiiiiiild, powerful, technically brilliant. This band has really a place apart in the rock industry.

Before this brilliant track, one has already gone through "A Fortune In Lies". A superb hard-rock anthem which could please any fan of that genre (to whom I belong).

The longest song of the album is also one of my fave. It is a fantastic condensed version of what Dream Theater music is. Quiet moments with very pleasant vocals and the most violent instrumental passages. Great guitar and extremely powerful rhythmics. Portnoy is just amazing in his role here.

The same great beat is available on "Light Fuse And Get Away". High pitched vocals a la Byron at times, fantastic rhythm changes and great keys. Wild stuff again. Same tone with "Afterlife" which shows some weakness in terms of compositions at this time of the album. A bit of variety would have been welcome. Although I like this song very much. Dominici sounds just great, and again the beat is fabulous (but you should be ready for something strong to be able to digest it). Keyboards solo at the end reminds me of "Highway Star".

"The Ones" and "Only A Matter Of Time" confirm the "unity" of the sound throughout the album. Still, the closing section of "Only ..." is unique and puts a nice end to "When Dream And Day Unite".

Dream Theater sounds definitely different than classic hard-rock legends. Let's put it that way : they almost create a new genre of their own. This album doesn't hold extraordinary tracks but it is a collection of pleasant numbers and it is a rather promising debut.

Three stars for this good effort.

Report this review (#137393)
Posted Sunday, September 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dream Theater debuts!

Back in '89 prog was still dangerous, kudos, then to this young band, they've still got some kinks, but it's all good in the end. The voive of LaBrie not yet gracing the soundscapes, this album is a bit much for DT fans who have only heard the new singer. However, Dominici still delivers some good vocals, though not as sharp as his later counterpart. The other members suffer the same fate, each is still amature sounding as compared to the later works, though each still delivers the part.

Regardless of age and experience, this album still holds some true DT gems. THE KILLING HAND is the obvious standout of the alum, a chilling tale that encompasses themes that DT would later utilize. Others such as THE ONES WHO HELPED TO SET THE SUN are also good, with unique storytelling that the band would later evolve. Some tracks such as AFTERLIFE are better performed by LaBrie, as proved with the recent "Score", but one track that will never grow old is the great YSTE JAM (their demo band Majesty spelled backwards), a track with the instumental powers of Rush or even King Crimson.

So, though they've done much better, when put in the spotlight, this album still shines. 3 stars for attempting the impossible and succeding. Good, but don't fritter your life away trying to find it.

Report this review (#137497)
Posted Sunday, September 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "When Dream and Day Unite" is the debut full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Dream Theater. The album was released through Mechanic/MCA Records in June 1989. Dream Theater were formed in 1985 under the Majesty monicker and released their demos under that name. They were however forced to change their name because another act with the same name threatened to sue them. They opted for the Dream Theater monicker after drummer Mike Portnoy´s father suggested the name. The Majesty were relatively well received, but if the band had expected the big breakthrough with "When Dream and Day Unite", their expectations were not met. The album was barely noticed, and Dream Theater were dropped by their label and only toured locally in support of the album.

Stylistically the music on the album is technically well played progressive metal with occasionally dominant keyboards, which was not necessarily the order of the day, back when "When Dream and Day Unite" was released. Contemporary progressive metal artists like Queensr˙che, Fates Warning and Watchtower seldom used keyboards to this extent and while the metal part of the Dream Theater´s sound is definitely related to those artists and their ilk, there are just as many progressive rock leanings in the music. The Rush influence is especially strong. Tracks like "Status Seeker" and "Afterlife" essentially sound like Rush tracks played by Dream Theater. Lead vocalist Charlie Dominici has a voice and singing style, that may not sound 100% like Geddy Lee (Rush), but at times comes very close. Charlie Dominici doesn´t quite reach the excellence of Geddy Lee though and while his vocal performance is generally decent here, he is one of the weaker links on the album.

The sound production is another. I remember reading in an interview with Mike Portnoy, that producer Terry Date spend more time fetching joints for Dream Theater than he spend time producing the album (and this is the same man who has produced such well sounding albums as "Badmotorfinger (1991)" by Soundgarden and "Vulgar Display of Power (1992)" by Pantera). I guess it came down to not having enough money and time to record and mix the album (and Terry Date learning a thing or two in the years between this album and his later more professional sounding productions). The drums have an odd sound, that makes it hard to hear every drum hit and the guitar and the vocal production is thin. Later remastered versions of the album have helped correct this, but "When Dream and Day Unite" will never be a really well sounding album, no matter how you try to salvage and repair the original mix.

And it´s really too bad, because there are som quality material on "When Dream and Day Unite", that deserve better. Tracks like "A Fortune in Lies", "The Ytse Jam", "The Killing Hand" and "The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun" are pretty killer progressive metal tracks and while the remaining part of the album are not on the same high quality level, I´m still pretty well entertained all the way through. The playing are on a relatively high level too although especially Mike Portnoy´s drumming is less complex and more ordinary than it would be on subsequent releases. It´s still pretty crazy though, so don´t expect many basic 4/4 parts.

"When Dream and Day Unite" is an album that has grown on me over the years. When I initially listened to the album I honestly found it rather awful. probably as a consequence of being introduced to the album after listening to "Images and Words (1992)" and being blown away by that album. While "When Dream and Day Unite" is not in any way in the same league as it´s successor, today I´m able to appreciate it more. Considering the time of release, it´s actually a rather innovative progressive metal album, that doesn´t really sound like anything else that was released in those years and while the overall impression of the album suffers because of the rather poor sound production and the occasionally imature songwriting (which I admit is still kinda charming), the best material on the album do make up for some of it and a 3.5 star (70%) rating isn´t all wrong. Definitely not as bad as it´s reputation.

Report this review (#149859)
Posted Saturday, November 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater - When Day and Dream Unite 3.0 stars

A solid start for the biggest band in the prog metal scene today

I figured I would start my reviews with Dream Theater, the band that introduced me to the wonderful world of prog. They were my all-time favorite for a few years, but I have discovered better acts (off of this site especially!), but they still are way up there. Anyhow, this is only band where I can name any song of theirs within seconds and have a great deal of knowledge about their I hope I can help people check out, or avoid, some of their output.

This album is formed from the Majesty line-up with the exception of Chris Collins, their first singer. The line-up consists of John Petrucci (guitar), John Myung (bass,) Mike Portnoy (drums,) Kevin Moore (keyboard) and the new singer Charlie Dominici. The name Majesty had to be changed because there was another Majesty group that threatened legal action.good riddance. The name came from Portnoy's father that suggested Dream Theater after a movie theater in California. Now, with the music.

This album was not bad instrumentally.but you can hear a great sense of immaturity. Petrucci had some decent solos, but they were not tasteful or sophisticated like any of his solos that followed the debut album. Portnoy falls under the rag too, the drums are not as sophisticated on the later albums.they are very bland and un-tasteful. The singing wasn't terrible, but seemed just very cliché hair metal vocals. The bass and synth work were very decent.but what can you expect from Myung and Moore?

'A Fortune in Lies' starts the album off. This song sounds great on some parts.but extremely cheesy at others. The beginning of the song builds up epically.only to turn into a decent guitar solo, followed by Maiden inspired riffs and a cheesy keyboard solo. Apart from that the rest of the song has a pretty decent structure and flow to it. Not bad.

'Status Seeker' takes a lot of Rush influence. Catchy lyrics, the arpeggiated guitar chords fit nicely along with the 80's Rush trademark synths by Moore. A very good track.

'The Ytse Jam' is an instrumental track. A very good one and considered the best on the album by many. Features great guitar and synth work.very hard to describe an instrumental, but this is well worth checking out.

'The Killing Hand' is another great track. The track opens up with nice acoustic guitar work. Unlike 'A Fortune in Lies' this track's epic build-up is completed. Everything seemed to have clicked on this song. My favorite.

'Light Fuse and Get Away' is my least favorite on this album. This song seems extremely directionless and thrown together. The only thing good about it is a great keyboard solo followed by a decent guitar solo. Otherwise, a very crappy track.

'Afterlife' stuck with Dream Theater for a while, some of my friends consider this one of their best. I can somewhat is very good. A very nice Maiden inspired tune and the most sophisticated solo on the album by Petrucci. Very nice song.

'The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun' presents an extremely unusual start for a Dream Theater song. Haunting keyboard work for almost 2 minutes.followed by some bass harmonic accompaniment. Unfortunately, at around the three-minute mark, the song completely changes. The song to me seems to really recycled from the tracks prior.

The album closes with a beauty, 'Only a Matter of Time'. The vocals seem to fit this song nicely. They stand out the most on this piece for me. Very catchy song.the band seems to really come together on this song.a pre-cursor for what's to come perhaps?'s a good album. None of the songs are absolutely terrible.and a few are really good. People seem to be divided in which songs they like don't take my opinion on the tracks too seriously. Regardless, this was a decent debut, a decent collection of songs for a promising band.

Report this review (#154224)
Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Love them or hate them (and that seems to be the case around these parts), there's no denying that Dream Theater are probably the most successful of the Progressive Metal bands and it all started here on their 1989 debut. It's a promising start; the musicianship's there, though naturally it would get better, the complex song structures and a well balanced blend between the Progressive and Metallic elements. The most obvious downside is the abysmal production which makes the band sound like they're playing at the end of a long tunnel! Another problem and one the band would soon realise themselves is the weak vocal skills of Charlie Dominici who of course would be gone before their next album.

But what of the songs; are they any good? Well as already mentioned there's some pretty complex arrangements going on here which most lovers of Prog like to hear but they're sometimes let down by weak melodies and the flow of the music doesn't always work to best effect with some of the seams between different parts not always allowing the music to segue as well as it could. It's early days though and this is the sound of a band finding their feet. Interestingly the best track on the album is a powerful instrumental titled Ytse Jam where they get everything just about right.

A Fortune in Lies opens the album and gets off to a promising start with a well structured and powerful intro with some nice changes but is let down big style by a weak chorus where the band sound they're about to fall apart. Herein lies the problem with much of the album. Many of the songs have ideas that you think, yeah that sounds great but then the band don't capitalize on it and it's followed by a lack lustre section making it difficult to enjoy any particular song as a whole. Perhaps the nearest they come to getting it all right apart from the previously mentioned Ytse Jam is on album closer, Only a Matter of Time, tellingly one of the stronger melodic moments on offer with a grandiose finale.

Still, all the major foundations were there for them to build on. Even at this early stage we can see that Dream Theater are gifted musicians with no weak links (excepting the vocals of course), they just needed a bit of time to learn their song writing craft...and they did. 2 ˝ stars.

Report this review (#157725)
Posted Saturday, January 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars As we all know this debut by DT can be called a false start more or less because the band was besides unexperienced also working with their original singer, Charlie Dominici who in my opinion is no match for his successor James LaBrie. I don't really know why he left the band, I just know he left after this album and DT improved drastically with their next album, the famous Images and Words. So whether that was due to LaBrie or to improvement in production and compositions, I think it's a combination of all these things.

Talking about production. The production of this debut is below par. The sound is thin and deminishes the quality of the songs. This is proven by the sound of Live at the Marquee, the first official Live album from 1993 where DT played two songs of this album and these sounded a lot better, much richer than on this release. So that's a big minus for the album. But besides that the songs, and then I mean the compositions are not yet good enough at this stage of their career because if you listen to them individually and wonder where the inventivity is that became their trademark later on you will have to conclude it's hardly there. It can be no coincidence that the two songs on this album that do have this inventivity (Ytse Jam and The ones to help to set the sun) are the best tracks of the album. The other six are fairly simple unimpressive compositions, still good enough for roundabout 3 stars each I believe but no more than that. Just the 2 middle tracks (Killing hand & Light fuse and get away) are the slightly better ones of these six. The stand out tracks are Ytse Jam, a great instrumental and the first sign that this was a band with potential. The ones to help to set the sun proves that they can also do it with a vocal contribution in the song.

So all in all a mediocre debut mainly due to poor production and immaturity and inconsistancy of composing songs. Still not a bad album altogether and a must have for the real fans.

Report this review (#158694)
Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater is not my favourite band in the world. Not even in the top 20. But I do enjoy listening to them sometimes. In some ways they remind me of AC/DC. Not in musical style. But for both bands, their songs are pretty kool, but they all are very similar. If you hear the first 10 or 20 seconds of an AC/DC song that you have never heard before, it's not too hard to guess that the new song is AC/DC. Dream Theater hits me like that. A lot of their songs have the same feel to them.

This particular album definitely fits the above description. 'Ytse Jam' is probably my most favourite song on this album, but even it has flaws. I find myself thinking that the drumming is not up to snuff. I know some people think Portnoy is the best drummer in the world. But this album would definitely would not be exhibit 'A'. Overall the songs are OK, but nothing spectacular.

Report this review (#170463)
Posted Saturday, May 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars White trash get down on your knees / Time for cake and sodomy

When Dream and Day Unite is the most controversial album of Dream Theater mainly because of Dominici's performance. Here's what I think regarding this issue:

For a debut album, this one is excellent. At first, Dream Theater prove their great technique and originality. All the songs are complex and catchy, although they follow the same line, but since it's only the start it's sometimes good to define your style in order to experiment later. The roots genres of this album are glam metal (that's right, glam metal) that can be heard especially on the the keyboard layout and neoclassical metal - see the guitar solos.

As for the vocals, kind of cheesy, I must agree but it's better than LaBrie's on Systematic Chaos.

The production isn't good at all. It's simply wrong, no hiss, no power, no nothing. It's a shame that songs like A Fortune in Lies, Only a Matter of Time or Itse Jam didn't receive a better production.

Report this review (#171242)
Posted Saturday, May 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars When Dream and Day Unite: an album difficult to swallow, but not as bad as it looks like

Debut albums are always eccentric and almost always primitive, and When Dream and Day Unite is no exception. What we have here is a totally different manifestation than what Dream Theater is widely known for. I say this because the band does not yet have the controversial James Labrie to tackle singing duties. Charles Dominici is the vocalist on this album and he's living proof as to the drastic effect a vocalist can have on a band and/or album and why they are held in such high regard and called 'frontmen'.

Dominici is remarkably inferior to Labrie, in my opinion, despite Labrie having his issues. He's not as resonant, doesn't have as much conviction, and can't nail high notes as effectively, since his vocal amplitude is not a big thing, specially for high notes. He would be more effectual if he tried a different genre of metal, prog or music, such as pop or alt rock because he doesn't have the depth and chutzpah to pull this off. If Dominici had remained Dream Theater's vocalist throughout their career, it only leaves me to wonder if the band would have been as successful and popular as they are today. Sure, guitarists, drummers, bassists, and keyboardists are essential, but when the vocalist isn't adept, it's very grating and makes everything else happening in the music a nonentity. That's why SO many otherwise good albums on this website have lost points---it's because of the sub-par/terrible vocals; Dominici sounds like your average clean power or traditional metal vocalist: there's nothing distinguishing him from the vast crop of other singers out there in the progressive genre and in metal in general and that is another grade loss for him.

Unfortunately, When Dream and Day Unite is somewhat sub-par musically speaking as well. The overall tone of the guitars is somewhat muffled and soft, unlike on later albums where each instrument booms with confidence and charisma, burying itself in your subconscious. On a similar token, the riffing is quite competent, but not the soloing. Everything is presented in a much more primitive, compact package here, which is stifling for listeners thoroughly acquainted with the band's later work.. Also, the keyboards play a far lesser role here and don't have that squealing, spacey tone we're all accustomed to. Still on the keyboards, for those used to Rudess's way of playing (usually together with Petrucci and his guitars) and late Moore's keyboards (usually playing different, but related melodies / harmonies), here Moore plays a much more team role, being the glue holding the band's sound together and making the bridges needed on the harmony side.

One of the few highlights is the instrumental Ytse Jam, a tune that has gained a peculiar amount of fame in the Dream Theater universe, even spawning a website bearing its name, and the final piece of music on this album, the song Only a Matter of Time, which is, together with Ytse Jam, the most solid and developed piece of music here. It's not their greatest work, but it's very aggressive, something typical for a new metal band with a lot of things to say (luckily they left most of them for Images and Words and Awake). In keeping with the overall songwriting layout of the album, it cuts straight to the chase, not opting to enthrall the listener with unwarranted grandeur.

Basically, what we have here is the groundwork for much classier, less opulent offerings from a band who is continually evolving and adapting, yet trying to keep their sound and image intact. Often I wonder if all players involved with this intentionally held back to pique fans' suspense as to what comes next and to totally blindside everyone with Images & Words, possibly their best work and absolute milestone for prog metal. Ability is never and has never been something that people question about Dream Theater, but how exactly is the band choosing to present its ideas to listeners? What are they cutting and pasting?

Potential for excellence is written all over the instruments on this record and Dream Theater has impeccable consistency, but we'll never know if the band could have pulled off something more defining. That sense of wonder in itself is enough reason to buy this album. Personally, at least, I find all the 'what-ifs' of the world to be very gratifying and know that from day one these guys have pulled their best to surprise us all with whatever innovation they can make.

Rock on Dream Theater! and may the good winds of prog metal always be with you for ever

Report this review (#172370)
Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars When dream and day unite officially started the musical career of Dream Theater. Dubbed the next big thing at the time of publication, with so many remarks on inspiration from Rush and Queensryche, it was indeed a good start for the band, hinting at what could (and luckily did) come out later on.

The album starts with a bang: the first one and a half minute of A fortune in lies is so fast, dense and powerful to inevitably catch all the listener's attention. The song shows immediately the band in high sync and tightness. After the nice and well structured Status seeker, Ytse Jam lands the first great DT classic, a hypnotic and remarkable instrumental piece. The killing hand is the first example of multipart song in DT history, whose essentiality and good arrangement are well balanced, nothing too pompous or overplayed. Light fuse and get away and Afterlife are more metallish though still with good tempo changes and patterns. The one who help to set the sun is another sort of small epic, with an intesting keyboard introduction. The album ends with Only a matter of time, which the band chose to include in the Score anniversary setlist. The songs are quite short compared to later DT standards, but such compactness is here sign of self-control; later the band will, unfortunately, introduce more and more self- indulgence.

The overall album sound is rough and sort of ripe, but this adds in a way to the craftyness of the product, in which the band is notably willing to emerge and to demonstrate its status. In spite of such tension, there is no excessive show-off, all band players do a good job without overshadowing one another. This gives the listener the impression of an already experienced band.

A technically very good debut album, whose quality would have been even better with a superior production.

Report this review (#178559)
Posted Thursday, July 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#185270)
Posted Friday, October 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars A solid debut from a fledgling band.

Dream Theater's debut album, WHEN DREAM AND DAY UNITE is regarded but some fans as their weakest outing, I somewhat agree, for me it sits on the same level as Falling Into Infinity, and taking into account that I consider both albums to be musically strong (just strong, not excellent), it says a lot.

The biggest let down with this album is the production, from what I recall in the audio commentary on When Dream and Day Reunite DVD Mike Portnoy mentions that the band only had 3 weeks in the studio and limited funds so this might explain the shoddy production. But in all honesty, it's that bad that whoever their producer was should have been sacked immediately. Others claim that Charlie Dominici's voice is a let down on this record, on this I would have to strongly disagree, though I like James LaBrie better as a Dream Theater vocalist, Charlie's vocals do very much suit the songs on this album (except that one part in The Killing Hand where he tries to hit a terribly high note, he does manage to hit it, but it sounds like a part of his vocal chords died with it).

To the songs:

A Fortune In Lies: The second strongest song on the album, it has a thrashy fill to the riffs which highlight the Metal influences of the band. The lyrics are a bit out there, especially during the chorus, but I'm not particularly good at reading into lyrics so it might just be me. 9/10

Status Seeker: Beautiful intro riff with some 80s sounding keyboards from Kevin Moore. This song was obviously written with a single and radio release in mind, it's simple structure and vocal hooks point directly at this. Overall, a pleasant song, but fails to hold up with the rest of the album. 7/10

The Ytsejam: Ah yes, the famed YYZ rip-off...err YYZ influenced instrumental. This is the strongest piece on the album, with beautifully structured and strategically placed short solo sections highlighting each members instrumental capabilities; an early sign that they were more than just skilled musicians. Overall, this is the most interesting piece on the album and probably the reason the album gets significant attention, it would begin a tradition of placing instrumentals on each album up to Train Of Thought (minus Images And Words, which instead features long instrumental sections in Metropolis and Learning to Live). 10/10

The Killing Hand: Dream Theater's first epic, not too much to say about this one, nice acoustic intro which was replaced by Another Hand when played live. A beautiful piece that shows even early on Dream Theater could write some damn good songs. 8/10

Light Fuse And Get Away: An interesting song with pieces of metal influence scattered across it's rhythms and notes, particularly on Portnoy's double bass-drum parts. Overall, a solid song yet fails to grasp my attention enough to listen to it again anytime soon. 7/10

Afterlife: My favourite song of the album, which will later be fantastically rendered live on Score. The unison during the solo section is one of Dream Theater's first and best, shocking me that such young musicians were capable of achieving that sort of sonic beauty. 9/10

The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun: An odd song that starts off with some beautifully textured keyboard layers from Moore interlaced with Bass harmonics provided by the ever-talented John Myung. Not the best on the album, yet certainly not the worst (comes close though). 7/10

Only A Matter Of Time: Featuring famous lyric-writing by the ever capable Kevin Moore, this song is a fitting finale to a fledgling band's debut record. John Petrucci's guitar lines in the second half of the song are some of the best from the early Dream Theater days. A solid song that would later be rendered onto a live CD in the form of Live At Budokan (featuring LaBrie's vocals). 8/10

Overall this a very solid first record for Dream Theater yet it failed to attract the attention it deserved at first because of the music industries lack of attention at the band and later because of Images and Word's success. All members of the band hold up extremely well with Moore and Myung giving the best individual performances.

This is an excellent addition to any Dream Theater and Prog fan's collection, though it might be slightly off-putting at first, especially if you're much more familiar with later Dream Theater material.

Overall: 8/10

Report this review (#192617)
Posted Thursday, December 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars I'm not going to say a whole lot about this album. It doesn't really even deserve the attention I'm giving it with this review. To be honest, even though I'm a huge Dream Theater fan, this is my least favorite album by the band, and mainly because of Dominici. I absolutely CAN NOT stand his voice. I find it irritating and grating. I can understand why Dream Theater got rid of him as a vocalist after this album. I simply don't find him good enough for a band this good. The sad thing is that many of the songs on here are actually good, well-written songs, but the vocals ruin it for me, and combine that with so-so production quality and you kill any chances for me liking this debut. Ytse Jam is pretty much the only song on here I could still get any enjoyment listening to. But even then, it's not good enough to avoid me giving this album a single star. If you want to hear the "real" Dream Theater first album, then go with Images and Words. Skip out on this completely. You won't miss a thing.
Report this review (#200211)
Posted Thursday, January 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is a masterpiece, but there are some things that bring it down from that. The first and most noticeable thing is Charlie Dominici's voice. Most people would probably agree to me that while Charlie is an amazing singer, his voice does NOT go well with Dream Theater's progressive music. It sounds too Pop ish.

The 2nd thing is that the production quality is not very well, I don't think. All of the instruments just sound a bit weird... Indeed, I would totally be up for Dream Theater going back into the studio and rerecording it with better production and with James LaBrie... but they have stated that such a move would be a step backward, rather than a progression. Listening to it, it's still enjoyable, though. They have some great songs on this album, one of the most notable is The Killing Hand, which is the first epic, and details a messianic figure who comes upon a wall with names written upon it, those who died by some person or weapon known as The Killing Hand. Travelling back in time, he is able to stop the Killing Hand, but his name appears on the wall, and he realizes that he was indeed the Killing Hand, and that he had killed himself.

YtseJam is a fun song to listen to as well, it's instrumental, and has some amazing examples of Dream Theater's ability.

All in all, this would be 4 stars, but Charlie and the Production bring it down to 3. Still a good album, but if you want a DT album, there are many better ones than this you can get.

By the way, Charlie Dominici IS still a good singer, just not good with Dream Theater's music. However, if you're a fan of his voice, check out his band, Dominici, they're AMAZING.

Report this review (#200544)
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Founding Moderator
3 stars I came fairly late to DT, having been introduced to them with Scenes, moving forward from there, and then filling in from their debut. Having decided to listen to all my DT albums in chrono order, I felt it was time to weigh in.

One thing you can say for their debut: they didn't waste any time. They jump in balls out, with knock- your-head-against-the-wall, we're-not-your-older-brother's-heavy-metal. And although I would not make a direct comparison, opening their debut album with the hyper-kinetic, ultra-speed-metal (and best song on the album) A Fortune in Lies - thus defining their sound from the word go - reminds me of Zep and Good Times, Bad Times - the band, album and song that arguably godfathered the heavy metal era that ultimately spawned DT in the first place. (Yes, I know their influences are broader.)

I am also impressed by their gumption in including an instrumental as the third composition on their debut album. I'm not sure I can think of another band, in any genre, who had the unmitigated audacity to do that. And it works very well.

However, although there is much to like about this album - not least the almost frighteningly amazing musicianship of all involved - it is nevertheless an immature work, in the sense that there is a sameness about all the compositions: although the band jumps in feet first, it simply splashes around (sometimes wildly, sometimes not), without attempting to provide any relief by swimming (much less trying different strokes).

But that is almost to be expected on a debut album, particularly by a band as radical (for its time) as DT. As time would show, DT not only learned how to swim, but became Olympic-level by the time of Scenes (if not before) - and remained there.

Report this review (#203843)
Posted Friday, February 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'When Dream And Day Unite' - Dream Theater (7/10)

While nowadays, Dream Theater may be regarded widely as one of progressive metals most talented, proficient groups, their debut effort has always seemed to evade attention and as much respect as the Labrie Era material. However, put in context, it's a true powerhouse of ingenuity. One of the primary criticisms people usually have with Dream Theater is LaBrie's vocal style. Seeing as this is an album with a different singer, wouldn't people love it? Apparently not, but I do.

The songwriting is very good, and is alot more enjoyable on a musical level than some of their later works. Songs such as 'The Killing Hand' demonstrate brilliance early on, and obviously 'Ytse Jam' remains until this day a cornerstone of the band's repetoire. There is a strong keyboard sound on this album, more so then any of it's sucessors and while it tones down the 'metal' feel of the album, there is a feeling of a more classic prog sound which is refreshing from the usual DT 'hardcore jam,' to say the least.

Alot of the songs conform to pretty strict songwriting, which will be a relief to the detractors of the band; some who just dismiss the band's talents as 'music sports.' Here, there are tight melodies and more conventional songwriting.

As far as the singer himself is concerned, I actually quite like Dominici's voice. On a technical level, he's probably sharper than LaBrie himself! However, it was a good move that Dominici was ousted from Dream Theater, for the simple reason that he sounds too much like Geddy Lee, from Rush. This album (at the time of it's release) was being called 'the best Rush album Rush never released' and the band probably wouldn't truly have come out onto it's own had it been forced into the shadow of another band.

Overall, it's a fantastic album, and a suprisingly crisp debut from one of Prog's greatest bands. To those who think it's a poor album; I suggest to give it another listen or two. The stroke of genius in it will reveal itself in time. Recommended to all Dream Theater fans, and fans of technical heavy prog.

Report this review (#204314)
Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars The first Dream Theater album was, in my opinion, more metal than progressive but there are some composition tricks that made it a very interesting metal album. For instance, the intro for "The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun" is more meditative than most Pink Floyd wide-spaced themes. Also, Portnoy already gives us hints of odd-time-signature-fiestas.

I have always had a problem with Dream Theater's vocalist. Still, I like James much more than Charlie. Most of this album's vocal lines are kinda Iron Maiden wannabe. And I'm not referring to the notes played, but the vibrato.... awfully pseudo-metal.

It could also qualify for a power metal album. Then again, John Petrucci's playing is on it's way to outstanding, John Myung shows us that he is no ordinary metal bassist and Moore is just testing out his keyb textures for his next tunes.

Overall good album, especially is you know what follows after it.

Report this review (#233158)
Posted Thursday, August 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Sadly, This is album is WAY too underrated. When Dream and Day Unite is the elephant in the room. No one wants to acknowledge it as James Labrie hadn't joined the band yet, but this is in no way a detriment on the album.

From beginning to end, this album never lets up. Each song is unique, intense, passionate and original. This album well deserves the praise that Images and Words receives and blows away anything after Scenes from a memory.

When Dream and Dream Unite along with Image and Words and Awake are Dream Theater at their full strength and striving to reach their full potential as a unique and insightful band.

I assure you, that if Dominici had remained in the band, this album would be rated much higher.

Report this review (#247123)
Posted Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Was the first step of a long journey... Obvious precuel to the masterpiece...!!!!

The sound and production was really bad. If you think that they record it in 3 weeks, with all the complex riffs and instrumentation, is was really in a rush, so, maybe some arrangements wasn't that good, and the low budget reflex in the quality of the sound. It kills me, how good it might be if they record it with good support of their label... well, that's the bad things... lets start with the good points of the album...

The music is really like an earlier I&W... Kevin Moore dominates the moods with his great taste to develop moods and sounds rather than only soloing and show off. Petrucci was already a master, but eventually will become better. Portnoy shows quite well his capacities, and Myung was more present, more alive back then, his bass lines were really sad and moody... so It was a really interesting propuse... Dominici was way evident singing out of his range... sometimes he force his voice too much, it isn't bad, but I doesn't mean that shines, too much 80's for my taste...

Then, the songs are really DT trademark, with evident references to Rush and Queensryche... There are really monster songs that really deserve a better place in prog history... Only a Matter of Time is one of the better songs of DT, and of the prog of the last 25 years, easily... Kevin Moore lyrics were brilliant, and the music was a middle to an end... just great... of course, the trademark, the anthem YSTE Jam is really amazing and alive. I would say The ones who help to set the sun is one of their best songs... so you will enjoy this album, once you comprehend that the quality of production is low, and that Dominici was really out of this range here... is nice to try it, even for those DT haters... really, there's a lot of soul on this songs... really... too underrated album... but, hey, they become better with time... thanksfully, DT mark the path to this generation and is still here... nice beggining...!!!

Report this review (#247143)
Posted Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars There were the days when no one had ever heard of Dream Theater. Way before they got James Labrie on vocals, and Jordan Rudess on keyboards. A time when most of these gentlemen had just came out of Berklee School of Music and had layed down some rough tracks to become "When Dream And Day Unite".

I'll be the first to admit, nowadays I am totally lost at how many live and collaborative albums Dream Theater have put out. Everytime I turn around, I see DSOTM here and now Larks Tongues in Aspic. It just seems to me Dream Theater are becoming a little overindulgent with the whole idea of playing someone else's material.

Anyway, back to WDADU. When I first heard this album I gave it a lot of praise, Not because it was refined and the production could of really used some work. One thing is for sure it was fresh, it was raw, and it also exploited the talents of these very fine musicians. They were a bit sloppy but I found the songwriting to be really creative. I was blown away at songs like Light Fuse and Get Away, A Fortune In Lies, and espescially Only A Matter Of Time. It wasn't just the musicianship it was the structure of the songs. We definetely realize at this point that Kevin Moore was not only their best keyboard player,but also a clever songwriter. It's too bad he moved on to do different thingss. Portnoy, Pettrucci, and Myung showed off their technical prowess to great effect, and Charlie Dominici never has got the praise he deserves as their debut lead vocalist. There is definitely the inevitable Rush influence of this record. When you hear the drum fills on The Ytse Jam you'll say, God that really sounded like Peart. But that's what makes sitting down and listening to this album so enjoyable. And for years I always tried to get these guys out in the limelight. A Bit Rough and Sloppy at times, but memorable and fun.

After playing this album repeatedly in the old school casette player for a couple of years, those of us that were now fans chomped at the bit for 3 years to wait for "Images and Words" to debut. That's how much influence this album had on me as a young man still learning about the world of Prog Rock.

Report this review (#248137)
Posted Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I LOVE DREAM THEATER. In my opinion they are the greatest thing ever to happen to music but I will try to give a review of When Day and Dream Unite keeping my bias at bay. This cd is nothing like any of there other releases it feels as if it is almost a power metal cd. It seems as if when they were writing this material they were listening to a lot of Rush and Queensryche. A lot of people may find it some what dull and not as full as the rest of Dream Theater's discography that maybe because the production on this cd is not that great but, I like how you each instruments in it have the same level of importance in a way that no one takes over and shoves the other aside but, it defiantly does not sound like it was mixed well. Besides the poor production there is another down side and that is that James LaBrie is not the singer, instead its Charlie Dominici and after hearing the vocals you will be glade that Dream Theater found LaBrie to replace him. There is nothing wrong with a young Dream Theater's ability to write good music here and they do show off their mastery of their instruments ( though they will only become better in time.) There are a few Dream Theater classics on this debut such as "the killing Hand", "Afterlife" and Dream Theater's response to Rushes "YYZ", "The Ytse Jam".

Overall this is not the classic Dream Theater that I love but there are signs of what they will become and it's still a good Cd and any Dream Theater fan would love it.

Report this review (#250042)
Posted Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The only thing that takes this album below a 4 star rating is the vocals. Personally, I don't mind the Geddy Lee impersonation, but for anyone who has heard every other DT album, this will just not do. But people, this is their first album, and trust that the instrumental portions were painstakingly developed and practiced to perfection before recording.

But questionable vocals aside, there are some very strong tracks here, including one of my favorite DT instrumentals- Ytse Jam. Killing Hand is also a pretty awesome track, (although admittedly, a much stronger effort when Labrie busts this out in concerts).

For a real DT fan, this album should be a must own.

Report this review (#283103)
Posted Saturday, May 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the album that started it for Dream Theater and if the production wasnt as bad it would be a fantastic first release as the songs really stand the test of time from the unreal opening FORTUNE IN LIES to the epic KILLING HAND, the instrumental THE YTSE JAM and the closing epic ONLY A MATTER OF TIME each song is very well crafted and executed perfectly. Each member (yes even Charlie) all play and sing there heart outto really make this album a great one and its very underloked (mainly for the production as it was made in the late 80's and it being their first album.) Recently to mark the bands 20th year they played this album with both James and Charlie making a appearence it was really good to hear each song being played live as it really shows just how good the songs are, another standout track for me is AFTERLIFE;

A Fortune in Lies - 10/10 Status Seeker - 8/10 Ytse Jam - 9/10 The Killing Hand- 10/10 Light Fuse and Get Away - 7/10 Afterlife - 9/10 The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun - 8/10 Only a Matter of Time - 10/10

My Conclusion? A very strong debut from this fantastic band and just a small taste of the awsomeness thats yet to come.

Report this review (#284071)
Posted Saturday, May 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
3 stars A preview of coming attractions.

Just like fine wine, prog music often takes time to develop and mature. This debut is no different. Yes, it is a very good album, but there is some underlying quality of the music that leaves the slightest bitter taste in the back of your mouth. On the fringe of the 80s, the influence of hair metal is blatantly obvious, which at time overpowers their "better" influences, such as Yes and Rush. The album serves as a pseudo preliminary to the music that the band will come to produce.

A Fortune in Lies is a nice hair metal song with some proggy spritzes along the way. Most of the riffing is that stereotypical fast-paced chugging of a distorted guitar backing the soaring vocals of an extravagant signer, in this case the talented Charlie Dominici. Some interesting instrumental parts keep this song alive and well, but for the most part this is just a hair metal song, fit for a Whitesnake or Poison album.

Status Seeker takes all of the above mentioned qualities, and mixes them with 80s pop too! Yipee! But, you must remember that spritz of prog is still present in this song in even more quantity. Compared to the previous song, it is all in all better. More creative instrumental sections that closely resemble what the band's music will soon morph into. This is the first punch Dream Theater gives into the prog metal world, although as of right now it is still small.

Ytse Jam is the quintessential pretentious Dream Theater instrumental. Ridiculously skilled soloing throughout, this song properly shows off the band's impressive skill. Although musically it is a bit cheesy, the pure skill required to play the solos of each instrument is impressive. So, this is a very cheesy, but necessary song to assert Dream Theater into the world of pretentious prog music.

The Killing Hand is a more traditional prog song, and one of only a few on this album. The mellow acoustic intro melts into some creative harmonization with the guitar and bass. Dominci delivers some great compassionate vocal melodies in this track, which really meshes nicely with the instrumentation. This is the second great punch of prog on this album. The superior instrumental transitions really accent the track with its great themes and lyrics. One of the better on the album!

Light and Fuse and Getaway was one of my favorite tracks on the album even when I got years ago when I was first getting into Dream Theater. The development of the music at this point on the album is superior, and you can tell that the compositional skill of this group of musicians is spectacular. The subtlety of vocal melody and instrumental quality is superior on this track. Really fun transitions and harmonies are the up points of this album.

Afterlife is another hair metal/prog rock crossover for the band, with fast guitar riffing mixed with proggy meter changes, instrumental harmonization, and creative melodies really meshing together nicely. The guitar solos are great on this song, as are the vocal-instrumental relationship, which on some songs kind of lacks at some points.

The Ones Who Help Set the Sun is, for lack of better words, odd. I like this song when they played it live far better than the studio version, which sounds overly distorted and scratchy. The intro I think is the biggest thing that alienates me from the rest of the song, which is good. That really odd keyboard thing is just peculiar. However, after that passes, the great bass harmonics used are really fun and creative, somewhat reminiscent of Jaco Pastorias. The meat of the song is a little boring, with too many similarities to the rest of the album. It does have some really uncanny similarities with future compositions, which is cool to look at the roots of Dream Theater's album. However, I feel like this track really pulls the album back from its full potential, which is sad.

Only a Matter of Time is a nice closer to the album. It basically sums up all the aspects of the album, good or bad. You get hair metal, thrash metal, prog rock, fun instrumental, creative melodies and harmonics, great rhythms, and everything else good or bad found in the rest of the album in this song. It sort of acts as a message: it's only a matter of time before Dream Theater emerges and totally dominates the Prog Metal scene, and by golly, they've done it!

ALBUM OVERALL: Song by song, this album is great, with some creative instrumental sections and compositional qualities, but some of the overbearing qualities of the album mar the album to a certain degree. The very large amount of hair metal present in the album is a little peculiar, making the music a bit cheesy to a point. However, the other side of that is the prog aspect, which keeps the hair metal in check, thank god. Overall, the album doesn't flow as nicely as some future albums, with song dynamics jumping from this to that and there again, which kind of makes your head spin. But, the album is definitely a real nice flashback to what Dream Theater was at its core, and how the music has progressed throughout the years. 3+ stars.

Report this review (#284969)
Posted Friday, June 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Even though this album may often be overlooked by DT fans, I don't find it inferior to the rest of their discography at all. It does have the problem of the vocalist (who makes it difficult to get through the whole album), and the album does sound like a debut (somewhat immature). But it's got many really great songs anyway. As has been told before, The Ytse Jam is indeed one of the most important songs for the band. Status Seeker and Afterlife are very good songs on which Dominici doesn't sound so annoying. And for me, Only a Matter of Time, is the strongest song on this album, as good as anything they've released later on, with some really beautiful keyboard moments, and the vocals do totaly fit the song beautifully.
Report this review (#291576)
Posted Thursday, July 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars The best was yet to come, but this is where it all started.

Every band has a beginning. Every band has a debut album. Every band has a launching point. This is it and here's one to skip. Although I have all the Dream Theater albums and play them often, I rarely return to this lacklustre effort. Not that it's interminably bad, it's just not that good. What it lacks in lyrical talent it gains in musical ideas, I mean the music is incredible as you come to expect from Dream Theater. The guitars soar and there are massive lead breaks to savour. However the lyrics are rather poor, and the vocals are not up to what would become the Dream Theater standard of excellence. Dominici just doesn't cut it. it is a more mainstream album in terms of musical substance, it feels more like latter Queensryche than metal out of the box.

Well folks, there are highlight as always. Ytse Jam is an awesome treasure that has become a fan favourite for good reason. The Killing Hand is an 8 minute prog romp with huge keyboard flourishes and amazing guitar riffing. Portnoy, Petrucci and Myung of course were the mainstayers of the group but the missing ingredients are Labrie's towering vocals and the keyboard genius of Rudess. Dominici is horrid on vocals and ruins the album. Labrie totally lifted the band into the stratosphere when he joined.

Look at that appalling album cover! I usually love Dream Theater album covers but this artwork is self indulgent to the max; a bronzed man awaiting a DT brand, oh please! Thank heavens the band eventually were more inspired to create works of genius through Hipgnosis such as the iconic imagery of Octavarium.

I am aghast that respected proggers have given this 4 and 5 star ratings. Come on, not everything Dream Theater touches is pure gold, they were just getting started and this cannot possibly hold up to the brilliance of their later albums. The production quality alone is shockingly below par, and listening to Dominici attempt those high vocal passages is akin to having nails driven into your skull. Okay, nostalgically it has its place coming out in 1989 when metal was a driving force. But it was not a standout album for that year, and passed by unnoticed until Dream Theater actually became popular, and then it was a backlog item for the curious Dream Theater fan. Admittedly, Only a Matter of Time really resonates with me and is a favourite, but I am no fan of this album, and can barely wrench 2 stars out for this.

Report this review (#305967)
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9/10

The powerful beginning of the masters of prog metal.

Although millions of fans say that Dream Theater actually started with his masterpiece Images and Words, I must say that I join the minority enjoying his infamous debut, When Dream and Day Unite. Initially I did not see this album with good eyes, as to consider it the weakest of the band's discography. But time is wise and right now I have an affection for this neglected masterpiece.

Yes, the sound is very 80-like, but who cares? The true is I always loved the 80's, and I have made this clear in other reviews (the truth is that if I could turn back time I would come back for that decade). This is just the beginning of Dream Theater, in fact, the musicianship here is slightly different from what they were to perform in the years following, but remember that Images and Words also features a 80-like sound. Perhaps the weak points here would be poor production (whose only advantage was to demonstrate the Myung´s bass, always overshadowed in the overall sound of the band) and the voice of Charlie Dominici, but I must say that lately I have come to enjoy more of his voice (although James Labrie surpasses easily).

Now, the eight songs on this album are breathtaking. The only bad thing is that there is none that exceeds 10 minutes, WDaDU the only album where this happens. However there is already epic here, as the fantastic The Killing Hand, divided into five acts. But my favorite tracks here are instrumental Ytse Jam (an anagram with Majesty, the first band's name), the wonderful Light Fuse and Get Away (featuring one of the best keyboard solos of Kevin Moore) and terminated Only a Matter of Time (which was even better in your version of Live at Budokan show, in my opinion).

5 stars!

Report this review (#319894)
Posted Sunday, November 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This first official studio album by Dream theater and the only one featuring the singer Charlie Dominici is a very strong, soft and dreamy progressive rock record in the key of "Rush". There are even some very sligthly disco pop influences in a couple of songs that remind me of Genesis, Europe or Queen, mostly because of the keyboards, the choirs and especially the vocals. I would say that I really like those vocals and think that Dominici has a very unique and catchy voice and is not really worse than James LaBrie even if he doesn't have the same skills as the later singer. What I really adore about this album are the perfect keyboard sounds that perfectly fit to the progressive rockers and take an important place without being to dominating. Almost every song has some brilliant and catchy keyboard sections. Most people say that Kevin Moore did his masterpieces on "Awake" but I think that he already created them on "When Dream And Day Unite" or "Images And Words". Especially the intro of the brilliant epic "Only A Matter Of Time" is amazing and memorable.

The only negative points about the album are that the band has not yet found a quite unique style and copies a lot its idols and legends and the fact that a true catchy masterpiece is still missing on this album. The mediocre sound quality and production of this record is probably a negative point for the purists and progressive music maniacs but I think that it gives a certain early eighties charm to this record.

The band already shows its brilliant musical talent in th very surprising opener "A Fortune In Lies" that has changes in rhythm and style all the time but is able to sound consistant. The rhythm section with bass a nd drums is doing a very well job on this first track.

One of the greatest songs is the band's first epic track "The Killing Hand" that could have found a place on "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche with its very slow harmonies in the beginning and softly high pitched voice that tells us a complex story. I really like the fast keyboard solo and the quiet passages that always come back and build the core of the whole progressive structure that meanders all the time. But the other epic "Only A Matter Of Time" is even greater in my opinion and convinces with perfect keyboard harmonies and logically arranged changes in style. Songs like these two epics take some time to grow and I am just about discovering this first record of Dream Theaer and I am still highly adoring it. There is something fresh and magic about those two epics and the band later realized that they are really talented in creating those complex structures and focused on such material. But they rarely got the same original and charming level of those two early masterpieces.

"Afterlife" convinces with an excellent guitar play and proves us already that every musician in the band has special skills. The majestic instrumental song "The Ytse Jam" proves that in splendid colours where every instruments gets the right place and time to elaborate some very progressive rhythms and sounds.

To conclude, this album is the first but by far not the worst record by Dream Theater but maybe one of their most original and simply best albums. This album grows more and more on me and I would put it definitely in my top 5 of the band's discography. Many people discover this album quite lately because it is not as often and easy to find than the other works and be´cause some people don't seem to trust another vocalist than James LaBrie and that's a shame because this is a very strong and diversified album that I would recommend to any fan of progressive rock or metal.

Originally published on on January 3rd of the year 2011.

Report this review (#379063)
Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
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'.

Report this review (#407802)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars When band and label collide...

After a tumultuous relationship with Mechanic Records, Dream Theater finally released their debut album nearly a year after signing with them. It was also their only record to feature Charlie Dominici on vocals.

The Good: I've always considered When Day and Dream Unite to be the black sheep of the Dream Theater discography and for many years wouldn't even give it the time of day. However, of late I have a new found respect for this release and definitely regard it as one which becomes easier to appreciate with time. It's raw and barely recognizable for the most part, with a sound more associated with the likes of Cynic rather than what has now become the traditional, more refined Dream Theater style. Having said this the compositions are engaging, adventurous and incredibly underrated. Tracks like The Killing Hand and Only a Matter of Time wipe the floor with the majority of their post Awake material.

The Bad: The production sucks. The cover art really sucks. Whilst the vocals aren't as bad as a lot of people claim, they still pale in comparison to James LaBrie's early contributions to the band. In addition, most of the tracks were originally conceived as instrumentals and the later addition vocals has lead to an often estranged effect. A prime example of this is the cut and paste mishmash that is Light Fuse and Get Away.

The Verdict: Despite all its flaws there is more than enough class here to keep me revisiting again and again.

Report this review (#468890)
Posted Friday, June 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The great beginning of a truly legendary band. WHEN DREAM AND DAY UNITE is the first exposure of Dream Theater to the world, showing that they could develop prog metal leading it to new horizons. I must admit that the first time I heard this album it didn't suprised me very much, thinking of the next ones as a true "evolutionary" shift. But after rethinking (and re-listening) Dream Theater's music and history, it became clear that there's a true purpose in what we might call the "first era (1987-1995)" of the band. Listening to the first 3 albums makes you realize that. Every one of them is different from its predecessors, and attempts to investigate new forms and sensible ways of reaching a message that only music (conceived as art) can manage to do. This is a very important characteristic that they lost after the departure of Kevin Moore and a couple of albums (Falling... and Scenes...), but that is still present in this one.

Still, it is not a masterpiece of progressive music, but it has a lot of highlights that you cannot just ignore. If we want to be a little harsh, we can think of WHEN DREAM AND DAY UNITE as a Queensr˙che album taken a step beyond in every aspect: instrumental interaction, lyrical conceptualisation, general music pacing... No wonder why Derek Shulman from Gentle Giant decided to promote them at their beginning.

The songs that you must hear: A Fortune in Lies, Ytse Jam, The Killing Hand, The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun, and Only A Matter Of Time.

Report this review (#484216)
Posted Sunday, July 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The debut of our beloved Dream Theater is a glimpse of what was to come, but on its own it is nothing groundbreaking. Time for that came already with the next album, Images & Words. But I'm going too much ahead now.

In many ways this is the oddball of all DT albums, as it's the only one not featuring James LaBrie on the vocals, and also the production is the worst of the DT albums. The sound is thin and it sounds like they played in a tin box of some kind. No real dynamics here.

Charlie Dominici is a good vocalist, but was not really a good fit for DT. The problem with this album is that he sings way too high for his register. When he sings in his natural register he sounds so much better. This is proven by the three Dominici albums, released only a few years ago. At times his voice gets a bit grating on WDADU, but in general he is acceptable. Not on the same level with LaBrie though.

The instrumentation is superb throughout, only dragged down by the abysmal production values. Portnoy, Petrucci, Moore and Myung really shine already at this early stage, and in general I would say that Petrucci is the brightest star. He gets the most solos here, and every single one of them is a joy to hear. Moore stays a bit in the background, but his keys are always floating in there, creating atmosphere while guitar, bass and drums are driving the songs, intertwined and woven together.

The song material is strong throughout, with some now classic songs like A Fortune In Lies, Ytse Jam, Killing Hand or Afterlife. No weak songs whatsoever, my personal favourites being the aforementioned songs plus Only a Matter of Time.

All in all, a strong debut dragged down by the misplaced vocals of Dominici and the production. Solid 3 stars.

Report this review (#547491)
Posted Monday, October 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Whether or not it's quite the same kettle of fish as Dream Theater's subsequent albums or not, I still find it hard to dislike their debut, When Dream and Day Unite. Sure, it's a little obvious what their major influences are this time around - Iron Maiden, Fates Warning, a pinch of Queensryche, and a big heaping dose of Rush (Charlie Domini's vocals even sound a bit like Geddy Lee from time to time), but when the band blend those influences so expertly I don't feel inclined to complain!

The basic bedrock of the band's sound as it existed at this time was based around Rush's work from around, say, A Farewell to Kings to Signals, with DT's other influences working their way in mainly as a means to update Rush's sound from that period with more recent innovations in metal. The end result is an intriguing thought experiment in what Rush might have sounded like if they hadn't prioritised synthesisers over metal for most of the 1980s, and Dream Theater more than possess the technical skills needed to bring this experiment to life. Tracks such as The Ytse Jam and The Killing Hand in particular prove that the band were more than ready to hit the big time, and after a couple more years of honing their sound, they would do precisely that.

Report this review (#591022)
Posted Sunday, December 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Dream Theater's first album is quite an enigma to me; it definitely has some potential, but there are a number of flaws that get in the way of making this as good as it should.

Firstly, (please excuse my bias) it has too much of an 80's sound, for which a great number of the band's that influenced Dream Theater existed in. This may not be a big deal for many, but as I hate most of what came out in the 80's, I sincerely dislike the sound. The shoddy production doesn't help matters either.

Secondly, the singer, while perhaps not completely terrible out of the context of the band, simply doesn't work for me. He does sound a bit like Geddy Lee of Rush at times, which I always found interesting as Rush is easily one of Dream Theater's biggest influences.

On the flip side, there are plenty of things I do like about this album. The sound is still sophisticated, but not pushing it like many of their more recent releases. This is a young band, and a lot of the songwriting here is brilliant. The opening to 'Status Seeker,' most of 'The Killing Hand,' and all of Ytse Jam' are good examples.

Overall, what we have here is a massive ball of potential with an equal number of flaws. Had this been recorded with LaBrie in the 90's and had better production, I think it would have been one of their better albums. But such was not meant to be.


Report this review (#771378)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater debut When dream and day unite issued in 1989 is for me a real gem, in fact is my second fav DT album after Images and words and in same level with another fav of mine Scene. I'm really fascinating by this album and enjoy it for more then 20 years since I've discovered them. Another thing is, that I simply can't understand the low ratings this album got over the years, really what the heck, how many bands playing like DT in that period, none, they gone to another level incorporated Fates Warning progressive influences with Watchtower techno trash passages here and there, 2 of the bands that the band tanks in the liner notes plus thay had overall a typical late '80s feel. Instrumentaly speaking this album kick ass, from start to finish, also Dominici has his quite very good moments, like his voice here, is fiting perfect in the music. The already famous instrumental Ytse Jam, equaly famous in prog metal field as Yyz from Rush in prog rock realm, is a killer tune. Status seeker is another highlight, each musicin shines, specially Kevin Moore is fantastic. I like a lot the interludes between keyboards and guitars, very strong. Only A Matter Of Time is another worthy tune, in fact all are great to my ears. Besides not so fantastic and crystal clear production, the music is top notch, When dream and day unite is famous and quite influencial album in prog metal field, many bands following it sound more the later DT releases, bands like Empty Tremor, Hydrotoxin and I can go with the list untill tomorrow with prog metal bands influenced by this particulary album. For me, a truly awesome debut, and 4 stars easy, love it and enjoying listning constantly.

Report this review (#1116669)
Posted Monday, January 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars When I got this CD in 1994 or so, I wasn't very impressed. Unfortunately this unimpression hasn't changed until now and I doubt that it ever will.

While the instrumental parts clearly show the talent of the musicians, the voice of Charlie Dominici is nowhere near James LaBrie's. I wouldn't call him a bad singer, just not the right one for this band and style of music. It is similar with the songs themselves: While none causes immediate vomit, there's nothing that would remain distinct even after a hundred times of listening in. Finally, the sound, while not bad, hasn't developped into that wall I love on the later Dream Theater albums. Here, and to a slightly lesser extent on the second album, Dream Theater sound like Metallica plus keyboards. This is not necessarily bad, but on the other hand not good enough for a high rating.

So in the end, I can't justify more than 2 stars for a debut album which is not bad but overshadowed by the things to follow. Had Dream Theater not gone on to albums like Awake or Scenes From A Memory, I might have given 3 for this one, but it's unlikely that I'd thought about reviewing them at all.

Report this review (#1353198)
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2015 | Review Permalink
2 stars The point where Dream Theater started.

I'm not going to say this is a particularly bad release however to be fair, a lot of what is presented here is very raw. You can sense a band that is really trying to find themselves here, releasing a collection of their best Rush/Iron Maiden/Queensryche fusion of songs rather than a fully fleshed out album.

With that said, there are a few gems on here that remain solid Dream Theater works. The Ytse Jam is brilliant, The Killing Hand and Only A Matter of Time are also quite enjoyable.

I have to say there are some positives in this release, though it is by far their weakest to date. Of course given their now 13 studio albums this is the album on reflection that begun it all, and you can hear snippets of the band they will become in the future.

Probably one for the collectors or fans of Dream Theater/Progressive Metal.

Report this review (#1529804)
Posted Tuesday, February 16, 2016 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars The debut album WHEN DREAM AND DAY UNITE seems to have been a much hated album since the beginning by the now much worshipped progressive metal band DREAM THEATER that emerged from the primeval metal ooze all the way back in 1985 when the three long term members John Petrucci, John Myung and Mike Portney were all students at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA and formed a band under the name Majesty. Under that moniker they managed to release one demo before being sued by another band of the same name and ultimately changed it to the name of a movie THEATER in Portney's hometown. The three founding members started out covering Rush and Iron Maiden songs and it's no surprise when you hear this debut album. The title WHEN DREAM AND DAY UNITE actually was lifted from the song "Bastille Day" from Rush. After many auditions for lead singers, the band settled on Charlie Dominici who at times nails the Geddy Lee vocal thing which IMHO is no easy feat and certainly uncommon.

Fast forward to 1989 and the band known as DREAM THEATER released their debut album. It's pretty amazing but after only a few years of throwing all the musical ingredients into their magic musical cauldron, this band actually started sounding like a distinct entity within the musical universe although there is certainly no hiding where all the influences came from. Rush and Iron Maiden are the biggies, but there are many traces of the progressive metal bands emerging from the 80s including Fates Warning and Queensryche but what really separates DREAM THEATER from the pack is their inclusion of symphonic prog keyboards that add a whole new dimension to the big bang of progressive metal of the era. Not so much Rick Wakeman inspired but actually more like a neo-prog band like Arena or IQ where the keys add a background atmospheric development to the mix with occasional outbursts of virtuosic wankery. Portney and Petrucci also display total mastery of their respective instruments on this one as well.

I really don't understand why this album gets the flack that it does. Yeah it's a raw and somewhat archetypal for the band's future sound that would admittedly only gain power and focus to create albums much more magnificent and magnanimous than this one but nevertheless is filled to the brim with all kinds of metal rawness and hard driving energy that make debut albums of top notch bands like DREAM THEATER so much fun! Already on board this release are signs of completely distilled musical masterpieces such as on the all instrumental mind bleep "The Ytse Jam" where not only do the members display full command of their technical chops but we also hear the songwriting brilliance on tracks like "The Killing Hand" which deftly blends technicality and songwriting prowess and "Afterlife" which already blends addictive melodies with the top notch progressive metal chops of the day. True that Dominici might cop too much of a Geddy Lee worship complex and the other influences hadn't quite simmered down into the proper cohesiveness of the future albums but i am constantly amazed at how well the band pulled things off on this album and find it more than a thrilling album to revisit time and time again. The music on this one is a lot more aggressive and rooted in heavy metal but it still displays amazing progressive time sig workouts in full regalia.

Yeah, i know. It's that horrific album cover right? It's one of those WTF were they thinking moments in metal history. Nothing against pretty dude on the cover but all i know is that if i was about to be branded like a bovine in a stable i'd probably have a more emotional response on my face. DREAM THEATER really should offer an alternative album cover for re-releases of this album but don't let the horrible album cover scare you away. This music offers a complex array of many musical styles perfectly blended together in a very listenable way. The production may not be as good as it should have been considering there were like four guys in on it and in the end this album has a lot of prototype elements that were much better done on "Images And Words" as well as albums beyond, but damn if i don't find this a brilliant blueprint or rough draft of what would fully ferment in the next few years to become one of the progressive music's knights in shining armor to rescue the genre from the ever stagnating glam metal scene. Woefully underrated. Close your eyes, ignore the album cover, listen to the music! It's excellent!

Report this review (#1606525)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Quietly unleashed upon the world in 1989 to approximately no fanfare, radio airplay or any kind of recognition, 'When Dream and Day Unite', the debut album of progressive metal band Dream Theater, was the birth of a legend that approximately nobody saw coming.

It's a debut that has garnered mixed reactions since its release, despite the bands later successes. Personally, I think this is an incredible effort with some fantastic compositions, especially for such a young band. The band clearly know who their influences are, and hold no gripes against showing it, as there are definitely similarities here to bands such as Iron Maiden, Queensryche and most notably, Rush.

Vocalist Charlie Dominici, making his only appearance on a studio album, has always been a common complaint of fans. His pop-inspired singing grating to some, I think his voice has a very majestic tone to it that perfectly fits the raw sound of this album, especially when accompanied by Kevin Moore's 80's sounding keyboards. As for the others, guitarist John Petrucci, drummer Mike Portnoy and John Myung are all serious musicians (having met at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston), who are only just starting their incredible journeys to becoming some of the most revered and respected musicians in the world.

Another strong point of this album of "young" musicians is the lyrics, which contain some of the most random and yet, well thought-out passages I've ever heard. Especially on the track 'Only a Matter of Time'. Other gems worth checking out are 'A Fortune in Lies', 'The Killing Hand' and 'Light Fuse and Get Away'.

An incredible debut. Not as polished as 'Images and Words' and lacking the production values of 'Scenes from a Memory', but strip away any faults and there are some truly great songs here.

Report this review (#1679065)
Posted Thursday, January 12, 2017 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars When Dream Theater released their debut album, When Dream And Day Unite, let's just say that it was a bit of a shaky beginning. While this album isn't bad at all, with some really great tracks strewn throughout, the album does fall flat in a few ways, the biggest offender being the incredibly thin production that everything has. I also find the record to have an even larger quantity of cheese that I'm used to seeing from the band, complete with vocals that while not bad, are far from special. As for positives, the instrumental prowess of the band already shines through, especially in the extremely fun Ytse Jam, already displaying the ability to write catchy riffs and then back them up with some insane technicality. My personal favourite example of this is in the opening song A Fortune In Lies, which has a great duality between the fast paced verses, the frenetic transitions, and then the slower, more melodically focused chorus. While the synths can feel somewhat cheesy in places, I also find that it makes for some incredibly entertaining fun, especially in Status Seeker, which has a chorus that I can't help but sing along like an idiot to.

In general, while I personally don't think that this album has any particular track which is bad, I do find myself gravitating far more towards the shorter cuts here, with the longer stretches of music tending to feel quite samey and bloated at points, despite all of them having some merit. I definitely find that the album is also suited much more for the faster paced tracks, as whenever it slows down to attempt being emotional or powerful, it doesn't really work thanks to just how awful the production is, combined with lackluster vocals. This is why Afterlife works very well, being one of the more proggy songs on the album, while still maintaining the entertaining campiness present throughout. One particularly egregious misstep on the album is Light Fuse And Get Away, which I find to be extremely all over the place, with the vocal melodies feeling unusually choppy and awkward, dragging down the song immensely.

Overall, while this is definitely far from a perfect album, there's definitely some merit here, with instruments being well played all around, and composition being largely decent. It's just a major shame about how the album actually sounds, as I don't believe that the record deserves the flak it gets from many DT fans, yet also cannot deny a few serious flaws within. I'd definitely recommend a large variety of DT albums before checking this one out.

Best songs: A Fortune In Lies, Status Seeker, Ytse Jam, Afterlife

Weakest songs: Light Fuse and Get Away

Verdict: Not a terrible album by any means, fairly solid prog metal for the most part, but it's marred by its glaring flaws. I'd recommend that you check out other DT albums if you're looking to get into the band, as this is quite a poor introduction to the band.

Report this review (#2150689)
Posted Friday, March 1, 2019 | Review Permalink

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