Dream Theater
Images and Words

1. Pull Me Under
2. Another Day
3. Take the Time
4. Surrounded
5. Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper
6. Under a Glass Moon
7. Wait for Sleep
8. Learning to Live

James LaBrie – vocals
John Petrucci – guitars and backing vocals
John Myung – bass
Kevin Moore – keyboards
Mike Portnoy – drums, percussion and backing vocals

When Dream and Day Unite (1989)
Images and Words (1992)
Awake (1994)
A Change of Seasons (EP) (1995)
Falling into Infinity (1997)
Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (1999)
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (2002)
Train of Thought (2003)
Octavarium (2005)
Systematic Chaos (2007)
Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009)
A Dramatic Turn of Events (2011)

Jay Beckenstein – Soprano saxophone on "Another Day"

Produced by David Prater
Recorded and engineered by Doug Oberkircher
Assistant engineer: Steve Regina
Mixed by D. Oberkircher and David Prater
Mastered by Ted Jensen

Released 7/7-1992
Reviewed 8/7-2012


Twenty years has passed since the Olympic games in Barcelona and Albertville, also since Nigel Mansell won the world championship in Formula one but also twenty years almost exactly, just a day late, has passed since the release of Dream Theater’s second album Images and Words. An album that besides being the best selling Dream Theater album to date, the album with the only top ten single of the band to date, also is the one that defined the musical direction of Dream Theater and also inspired a racket of progressive metal bands that we see around today, probably the single most important progressive metal album. It was released on june 7 1992 which is just over 20 years ago and it changed what could be done in metal forever I would say, sure there had been many others before Dream Theater blending the complexity of progressive rock and the power of heavy metal in many different way, but this was something different and also something more successful with an album selling gold and reaching respectable positions on the Billboard lists. So what better way to celebrate this album than reviewing it?

Musically it marks the start of the Dream Theater musical style we see today, with complex melodies and very skilled instrumentation and a flawless production they still manage to make easily accessible as well as catchy songs and that is probably what attracted people with this album. The songs are mostly quite long but unlike most bands in the progressive metal genre they never become stagnant or slow down but follows a constant progression throughout those long songs, very few bands manages to sell such long songs the way Dream Theater does, and believe me I have heard countless of bands trying to emulate this style of music but no one has ever surpassed the masters who are Dream Theater. It was here they introduced the high pitched vocals of James LaBrie who took over from Charlie Dominici who left the band after the debut When Dream and Day Unite, but also here the foundation was laid for their complex yet simplistic style of metal.

Probably the genre’s most important album, it should clearly deserve the highest rating you might think. But why should it? just because it is influential doesn’t automatically mean that it is fantastic. It is fantastic, there are no real weaknesses on this album, the variation is large and the album has some amazing music like for instance the very successful single Pull Me Under but also seven other fantastic songs which makes this a rather timeless album who stands as strong now as it did when it was released twenty years ago. Despite this it is quite far from being the best Dream Theater album as they have done several that are way better than this which definitely shows the greatness in this band because when other bands manages one or two amazing albums in a whole career, Dream Theater has managed five or six and at least three of them near perfect.

So if you look to only buy one Dream Theater album in your life you should look rather towards the latest album A Dramatic Turn of Events, Awake or Scenes From a Memory as I hold those as the three greatest albums of Dream Theater. But despite those being better, this is the one that defined the style that the band shows today but also set a stylistic benchmark for the entire genre to follow. So twenty years since its release and it stands as strong today as it did then and will probably stand as strong in twenty years as it does today, an amazing album that started everything for real for what is probably the best progressive metal band out there. Congratulations Dream Theater and Images and Words, an impressive album celebrates twenty years.



Label: Atco
Three similar bands: Pagan's Mind/Vanden Plas/James LaBrie
Rating: HHHHHHH (6/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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