Dream Theater
Images and Words


5.0
classic

Review

by Austin USER (41 Reviews)
April 17th, 2010 | 165 replies


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dream Theater rectify the mistakes of their debut, and create a classic album in the process. Strong songwriting and consistently enjoyable musicianship make this a great listen from start to finish.

The Journey Through Dream Theater, Part 2

Dream Theater’s first album, When Dream and Day Unite, showed potential but fell short due to poor production and Charlie Dominici’s sub-par vocals. Luckily, after ditching Dominici and picking up Canadian vocalist James LaBrie, Dream Theater wasted no time at all in creating one of their best and most well-known albums. Images and Words is a truly magnificent album, putting the virtuosic abilities of its members to good use without once sacrificing songwriting quality. It deserves the praise it gets.

Opening the album is Dream Theater’s biggest hit, Pull Me Under. If you’ve heard only one song from Dream Theater this is probably it. It’s a strong song and not a throwaway single in the least. The progression from the opening clean riff to the quicker distorted riffs is well-done, and LaBrie delivers a solid performance. Overall, the song is pretty straight-forward for a heavier Dream Theater track, it doesn’t feature different time signatures or lengthy instrumentals; the solo itself is only 20 seconds long. Catchy and accessible, it was definitely a good single choice and a good song to introduce people to the band.

There is simply not a bad track on the album. Metropolis Pt. 1 (which was later expanded upon for Scenes From A Memory), is a delight, truly capturing the epic feel that the band was going for, from the building intro to the excellent ever-changing instrumental section in the middle. John Myung, whose bass work in Dream Theater is often unappreciated, gets a rare moment in the spotlight with a short but excellent bass solo. It is followed up by Under A Glass Moon, which is equally impressive. It features LaBrie’s strongest vocals on the album, and also one of Petrucci’s finest solos, which is the centerpiece that holds the track together.

The shorter and softer tracks are a great complement to the more expansive tracks. Another Day is the weakest link on the album, but it still works well as a straight-forward ballad, incorporating a saxophone that adds a jazzy element to the track. Surrounded is a more progressive ballad, slowly building tempo but eventually cooling down at the end. Wait For Sleep is an excellent emotionally-driven piano track that lets LaBrie deliver a more restrained performance for once. It works well on its own, but even better as an intro to Learning To Live.

LaBrie’s vocals do take getting used to for the uninitiated, particularly his occasional high-pitched wailing, but he proves himself to be a powerful vocalist, and despite not being praised as a metal vocalist, his vocals actually fit the music Dream Theater plays quite well, especially on this album. He is just as essential to Dream Theater as any of his virtuosic band mates. He is particularly effective given that this was his first album with the band. While Petrucci typically gets the most spotlight, the rest of the band performs just as excellently as he does. Kevin Moore’s keyboard work is excellent, adding an extra level of depth to most tracks here. He also has a few solos (Take the Time, Under A Glass Moon). Mike Portnoy’s acclaimed drumming is in full force here as well, as is John Myung’s underappreciated bass work.

Images and Words is a true classic. Musically it is constantly engaging, and the songwriting is consistently outstanding. Dream Theater would be accused later in their career of being complex for complexity’s sake, overusing odd time signatures and letting their instrumental wanderings replace actual songwriting. (Or as many would say, “wanking”.) But none of those criticisms apply to Images and Words. While each member gets to show off his virtuosity, each song feels connected and not a moment is out of place. The instrumental sections that exist are there for the purpose of adding to the song, making the technicality that is displayed all the more enjoyable. This album is a treat for both the prog fan and the casual music listener alike. Only on Scenes From A Memory would Dream Theater ever make an album of comparable quality.

Top Tracks: Surrounded, Metropolis Pt. 1, Under A Glass Moon

For Images and Words, Dream Theater was:

• John Myung – Bass guitar
• John Petrucci – Lead guitar
• Mike Portnoy – Drums, Percussion
• Kevin Moore - Keyboards
• James LaBrie – Vocals

To Be Continued…



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user ratings (2368)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
tiesthatbind
April 17th 2010


7375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The next installment in my Dream Theater series. Enjoy.

Lakes.
April 17th 2010


28396 Comments


Enjoyed.

Digging: Scott Walker and Sunn O))) - Soused

Willie
Moderator
April 17th 2010


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Bam, I'll pos every one of these Dream Theater reviews. Good job. I finally watched their "Score" DVD last night. Pretty cool shit.

I can't give this a five because the ballad just barely crosses the cheese line -- that's my only real excuse.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2010


16422 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

my 2nd fav DT album to scenes from a memory...ace review, you have been pos'd

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Emim
April 17th 2010


26646 Comments


OMG another tiesthatbinds review! Good job, m8. Pos'd


What's up with the neg? Ghost neg or DT hater?

Willie
Moderator
April 17th 2010


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Troll Neg

tiesthatbind
April 17th 2010


7375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, y'all.

And yeah, Another Day was the one thing that made me hesitant about handing it a 5, easily the worst track here, but I still like it.

qwe3
April 17th 2010


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

no

RiseToRemain
April 17th 2010


128 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

By far the best and most influential progressive metal album of ALL times by the best and most influential progressive metal band of ALL times...with unprecedented instruments performance and unreasonably accessible complexity of composition 9 out of 10 drums & percussion college students who were studying music (drums) at the time quit playing for several months after listening to Mike Portnoy and realising that they will never EVER become half the drummer he is and that the whole Dave Lombardo is a God thing was just a silly fairy tale and a lie...
....and Another Day IS an amazing track for what it is....5 out of 5...

qwe3
April 17th 2010


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

really 9 out of 10 why thank you statisticsman

Athom
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2010


17222 Comments


no [2]


FadeToBlack
April 17th 2010


11034 Comments


no [3]

FadeToBlack
April 17th 2010


11034 Comments


but good review

Motiv3
April 17th 2010


8938 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

meh, agree with pretty much everything you said in this review. Good review, DT peaked out with this album and haven't been able to match this since.

burnafterbreeding
April 17th 2010


1466 Comments


Excellent review for one of the most irritating bands in history.

Pos'ed!

tiesthatbind
April 17th 2010


7375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks. I figured there would be mixed reaction in the comments, DT are quite a divisive band.

WeepingBanana
April 17th 2010


10186 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lol at people thinking mike portnoy is the best drummer ever

as much fun as it is to make fun of DT this album isn't too shabby. i still have my occasional listen to metropolis

Emim
April 17th 2010


26646 Comments


Portnoy's a very good drummer. There are better though. There are always better.

Willie
Moderator
April 17th 2010


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

For me, no one beats out Fates Warning for good solid progressive metal but these guys are pretty good too. Mike Portnoy might not be the best drummer in the world (but who is?), but he's pretty damn high up that list. I prefer Awake's songs more than these.

Parallels
April 17th 2010


6642 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

best album ever made. period.



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