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1. Pull Me Under - Recently appeard on Guitar Hero world tour and underrated it badly. Awesome song 2. Another Day - Predominantly piano/keyboard based song. As you expected has a Petrucci solo. 3. Take The Time - Rather like 2. but has some awesome funky bass groove in the background on verses, more off beat than usual 4. Surrounded - Sounds more like classic rock than Dream Theater, softer beginning that progresses 5. Metropolis - Cheesy christmas beginning, bar that, nice melodic song 6. Miracle And The Sleeper - Very cool song, got me singing anyways 7. Under A Glass Moon - Wicked bass drum groove at the start, leading into a demonic riff, continues throughout. 8. Wait For Sleep - Predominatly LaBrie and Ruddess, as if like a duet. Petrucci, Portnoy and Myung dont do much. 9. Learning To Live - Typical DT, Soft start, kicking into heavier riff, insane solo followed by combining keyboard solo, terrific outro.
A true masterpiece of progressive rock in every sense, Images And Words was light years head of its time and like all desert island releases, still remains one of the very best progressive albums to this day. With a set list littered with classic tracks, innovative sounds and fantastic playing, Dream Theater forged its legacy with this disk, which helped them to go on to become of the greatest bands ever. The opener, Pull Me Under is a mainstay of the DT live set lists and justifies its high status with a majestic instrumental opening before catchy lyrics and a hard rock sound dominate the rest of the track. The following Another Day is the highlight of the album and is a much slower piano driven number, which has some staggering vocals and a couple of fantastic saxophone solos which is as original and cutting edge as it gets. Its no wonder the period tour was so successful with all this outstanding material. The legendary Metropolis Pt. 1 graces the back half of the album and received such critical acclaim that its Part 2 follow up warranted an entire album in its honour. A real progressive journey. Another of my favourites coined from this early nineties effort is Wait For Sleep which is the much anticipated piano ballad, which not only fits well it the concept but also rounds of a thoroughly enjoyable and mind capturing experience. Needless to say, I would recommend this.
"Dream Theater" and "mainstream" are not two words you would ever expect to find in the same sentence. (Except just then of course!) "Images and Words" is, in my opinion, the band's second finest words (after "Scenes from a Memory". It does a little dated, it does sound a little prentious in places and it does sound a little "noddling" at times. But it's so earnestly played and so perfectly executed - each member of the band is a true master of their craft and together they create an extremely powerful sound. "Pull Me Under" is, as far as I am aware, their only track that ever made any real headway into the commercial world. Almost paradoxically, Dream Theater seem to be rather well known - particularly amongst musicians. It's just a pity that no-one can really play "Metropolis" at an open-mic night - it's just far too demanding! John Petrucci pulls off some breath-taking guitar work - indeed, his playing is possibly the highlist of this album. James LaBrie sings with great sincerity (if not clarity!) and blows the listener away (quite literally?) with his high F sharp in "Learning To Live". For me, "Learning to Live" is the finest track on the album, closely followed by the epic "Metropolis". The former has a real lyrical edge to it, while the latter does feel a little lyrically over-poetic, that is, it's difficult to work out what it's about. "Under a Glass Moon" has an absolutely exquisite introduction and a meaty chorus that will have you singing along (or at least, attempting to sing along) every time you hear it. Petrucci's guitar solo in this song is, I believe, included in the top 100 guitar solos of all time. Quite rightly too :-) In summary, the album contains only one instantly appealing track, being "Pull Me Under". The other tracks require effort, but are extremely rewarding. After the fifth listen or so, the musical sense begins to shine through - you'll start to recognise certain repeating musical phrases, little snippets of melody or rhythm that hold the album together in one cohesive whole. Extremely impressive progressive rock.
That's very simple and clear possibly the greatest record of progressive metal and the record which brought progressive music in the 90's back from the dead... The Berklee collage graduates succeeded in making a record that combines heavy, double bass - heavy metal riffing, fusion rythyms, technical extremities , eloquent piano parts and soulful singing into completed and balanced songs. That wasn't a novelty by itself, but the way in which Dream Theater did it, a band in which the only thing that comes above their individual musical geniuses is their own alien communication, like one was actually made for another. Do yourself and buy one of the greatest masterpieces or rock music in general.
The sophisticated and enchanting music of New Yorks Dream Theater hangs on the precipice of my patience when it comes to music meeting art: the bands self-styled progressive metal sound has been in constant evolution since this 1992 debut, but for all the bombastic overblown intricacies and contrasting simplicity of some of their later albums, Images and Words remains their most popular and enjoyable offering, with the perfect balance of song styles acting as an excellent introduction to a very interesting and worthwhile band. STYLE Dream Theater was: James LaBrie vocals John Petrucci guitars John Myung bass Mike Portnoy drums Kevin Moore keyboards Dream Theaters influences from progressive rock bands of the seventies and eighties are equalled by their obvious inspiration from more traditional metal bands and classical composers, although in many ways this album sounds like a more refined sequel to Queensryches 1988 classic Operation: Mindcrime. James LaBries operatically-trained vocals may take some to get used to, but his high notes suit the excellently crafted music perfectly and express all the emotions necessary in the softer songs. He is a talented and exceptional vocalist who really adds to the experience, and has sadly departed the band since. The music is difficult to describe or relate, but this is essentially quite complex and layered music following traditional structures. Each song contains verses, rousing choruses and instrumental sections that wont alienate any casual listeners, but some of the deeper, experimental tracks may do just that. There is still plenty of guitar noodling and riffing for those who like their heavy metal more straight. At first I found the use of horn sections and orchestration a little distracting, but now these only add to the musical experience of the album. TRACKS 1. Pull Me Under 2. Another Day 3. Take the Time 4. Surrounded 5. Metropolis part 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper 6. Under a Glass Moon 7. Wait for Sleep 8. Learning to Live The eight tracks listed on this album indicate its progressive nature quite well; they certainly like to indulge in lengthier offerings, but some tracks have been kept at radio length for more easy listening. Some songs are more memorable than others, but this is an album that can only really become familiar after a large number of listens. None of the songs are particularly fast, and there is a general relaxed and melancholy feel to the whole thing. PULL ME UNDER is a strong opener, although I find the chorus a little repetitive. There is nothing too grand about this track to alienate listeners, and it features some excellent guitar parts. TAKE THE TIME follows a similar style but is more lengthy and keyboard-based, but both of these tracks could easily be contenders for metal anthem collections. The other accessible songs on the album are those based on acoustics, in the form of ANOTHER DAY and SURROUNDED. Occurring in the first half of the album before it becomes more involving and technical, these are both tracks that can be enjoyed by a wide variety of rock fans: Another Days high vocals are enchanting, while the funky drum and keyboard sections of Surrounded make it, surprisingly, one of the highlights for me. There is certainly no filler on this album, and LaBries vocals are at their very best here. The full, grandiose title of METROPOLIS PART 1 makes it an obvious contender for prog epic of the album, and once it has been listened to sufficiently it can be appreciated as something of a musical masterpiece. Not a song to listen to on any occasion though, although the record company refused the band permission to make it an instrumental for fear of alienating even more listeners. This is basically Dream Theater Plus, utilising every song style, instrument and innovation of the album and recreating it as an exhausting but satisfying nine minute song with a great chorus and some fantastic guitars and keyboards throughout. Maybe one of my favourites, but its quite hard to say. UNDER A GLASS MOON and WAIT FOR SLEEP are less impressive after the fun and complex songs but are still valid tracks, even if they do sound less original. There is a great guitar solo on Glass Moon, but aside from that the vocals and riffs sound similar to whats come before. Wait for Sleep is another good ballad song, with great piano work, but again isnt up to the standard of the more emotional tracks two and four, not that this really matters. This is also essentially a short filler before the final epic track, LEARNING TO LIVE. Very long, very complex and very enjoyable, this nevertheless feels a little similar to Metropolis, and is overshadowed by the bands later epic to end all epics, A Change of Seasons. VERDICT Not a band for everyone, but Images and Words provide a melodic and engrossing listen that can be enjoyed many times. The bands later albums all follow slightly different styles and have been quite disappointing in recent years, but Images and Words has an excellent early nineties rock sound with some impressive ballads to boot. Some fans see the production quality of this album as a little disappointing, but I love the way the instruments and vocals sound on here; this is a modern rock classic. The lyrics are all meaningful and often a little strange, which is nice. Dream Theater are pretty unique, but the progressive metal genre that they spearheaded has produced some equally interesting bands. New Jerseys Symphony X have a heavier and more classically influenced sound, while pretty much every European power metal band shows traces of Theatre and Queensryche. Fans of earlier progressive rock wont necessarily like Dream Theater, but Yes fans might as well give it a try.
Both critics and fans struggle to precisely define Dream Theater’s style because, like all great music, it represents bits taken from lots of different genres arranged into something that doesn’t particularly resemble anything that’s been done before (or since). Recurrently, this stuff is classified as “progressive-metal”, but the connotations of that generalisation won’t prepare you for Images and Words. This album – the debut of the latter-era Dream Theater line-up (which boasted an operatically-trained vocalist in James LaBrie) – was released a shade over ten years ago now and is still widely regarded as the band’s masterwork. Later releases may have been more technically accomplished, more conceptually complex or ambitious, but arguably none has bettered Images and Words’ sublime balance of varied song writing and artistic virtuosity. Its relatively scant eight tracks take in nearly an hour’s worth of music, but nicely the compositions are tight and varied, although just occasionally Dream Theater fall foul of a traditional prog pitfall and drift around somewhat aimlessly (if never unimpressively) before getting to the point. In this case, they’re let down by an 80s-throwback recording: the tinny-sounding synth lines seem to have been left completely untreated in places – a heinous mess-up in light of the unbelievable TLC that’s been lavished on the rest of the mix. Nonetheless, a couple of spins of the album’s best tracks – ‘Under a Glass Moon’, ‘Metropolis Part 1’ and the 11-minute conclusion, ‘Learning To Live’ – more than makes up for the occasionally dodgy production. Lighter territory is covered with ‘Another Day’ and ‘Surrounded’, while the blistering opener, ‘Pull Me Under’, is a work of undeniable brilliance. Images and Words is a very good disc.
Although this band has been together for years it was this 1992 album ‘Images and Words’ that was the initial eye-opener for me. The album itself contains some excellent compositions that really boost the thought provoking lyrics sung by first rate vocalist James Labrie. There really isn’t a bad song on this album. In hindsight this is largely a heavier guitar/keyboard laden album than their more recent ones with the possible exception of the beautiful piano/vocal track ‘wait for sleep’, a song which suitably demonstrates the bands lighter, more sensitive side and ultimately lends the album a well balanced feel.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Pull Me Under
2 Another Day
3 Take The Time
6 Miracle And The Sleeper
7 Under A Glass Moon
8 Wait For Sleep
9 Learning To Live