Dream Theater’s sophomore effort is a seminal album, but it’s not without its tiny flaws and it’s not for everyone, but it is the ideal introductory album to Dream Theater and progressive metal in general.
Written by: MilenaG
ARTIST: Dream Theater
ALBUM: Images And Words
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: James LaBrie – vocals * John Petrucci – guitars * Kevin Moore – keyboards * Mike Portnoy – drums * John Myung – bass
TRACK LISTING: 01 Pull Me Under * 02 Another Day * 03 Take The Time * 04 Surrounded * 05 Metropolis Part 1 The Miracle And The Sleeper * 06 Under A Glass Moon * 07 Wait For Sleep * 08 Learning To Live
WEBLINKS: Site Link
The two years prior to writing this album were a bumpy ride for Dream Theater – they couldn’t find their perfect frontman and were beginning to lose hope. Luckily, super-talented Canuck James LaBrie was there to save the day, and the album that, according to many, defined progressive metal was unearthed.
‘Pull Me Under’ is everyone’s first Dream Theater track, and what a fine introduction it is, with its huge waves and ripples, immaculately nuanced yet not afraid to show its teeth. The young progsters made it clear that they weren’t kidding around, and then they confused the listener with the now slightly dated but still rather endearing hair metal style ballad ‘Another Day’.
After a progressive metal assault, a song with a saxophone solo? Only one of Dream Theater’s many specialties, and the next, jammy, jazz-fusion-y ride of excellence followed it in shape of ‘Take The Time’ – and it has probably the finest keyboard solo my ears have ever heard.
‘Surrounded’ brings Queen to mind, as an uncompromisingly upbeat, airy, natural power track, where James LaBrie made you question everything you knew about human lung capacity and vocal chords, filled to the brim with fine lyrical moments courtesy of Kevin Moore, who remains the band’s best lyric writer.
‘Metropolis Part I’ brings forth yet another side of the band – the unabashed progressive rock side. Nonsense fantasy lyrics, a crazy instrumental break with circus-like antics on the strings and keys and sticks, movements – name a progressive rock cliche, this song’s got it, but yet it never feels silly.
‘Under A Glass Moon’ seems to continue on on a similar note, testing the band’s (and sometimes the listener’s) endurance, full of acrobatics and flare, and it does seem a little pretentious, but it is all in good fun. ‘Wait For Sleep’ spellblinds with its parade of beautiful piano melodies and passages, and is probably the band’s most popular minimal piece, and it leads into a dazzling piece, fan-favourite ‘Learning To Live’.
Slow, slow, with a build-up most bands would kill for, leading up to the Spanish guitar break, James LaBrie’s ride up to a long-held, sustained F# note (that he can still replicate today, albeit not without difficulties). He And there’s the crazy chase of keyboard and guitar solos that follow, with a brief episode where the main piano melody from ‘Wait For Sleep’ makes its triumphant return. Top notch prog rock writing.
A seminal album, and one I can blather on about even more verbosely than I just did. Not without its tiny flaws (pompousness being one), and not for everyone, but it is the ideal introductory album to Dream Theater and progressive metal in general.
Pull Me Under
Take The Time
Entire Album (Select Tracks)