Dream Theater
Images and Words


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jorn van Schaïk USER (172 Reviews)
October 3rd, 2006 | 13 replies


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist


Ahh.... perhaps Images And Words is one of the most famous releases of metal history. Back in 1992, just before when this album was released, nobody knew of these guys except the ones that had heard their debut album When Dream And Day Unite. Their lineup changed as they swapped Charles Dominici for James LaBrie, to complete the quintet.

Images and Words propelled these guys way into the mainstream. Pull Me Under even received MTV airplay (DT doesn't usually get airplay, especially not where I live.) Suddenly everyone had heard of these guys. But what makes this album so popular that so many swear by it as the standard of prog metal? Is there, in fact, any prog metal album at all that can top this one?

The answer is: Sure, some albums are better than this one. In my honest opinion, Metropolis Part Two: Scenes From A Memory trumps this album with ease. However, it IS a very solid record, and a genuinely good one indeed.

Let's start with the opener and "hit single." Pull Me Under is a catchy song (DT write catchy hooks? Blasphemy!) and works excellently as a solid opener. The song drags on for way too long at the end, seeing as these guys don't know how to match musicianship with songwriting structure sometimes; but hey, it sounds awesome, and I can hear John Myung! (no really. I can hear the bass. But only because Petrucci isn't riffing the *** over it.)

James LaBrie isn't quite as annoying on this album as he can sometimes get on other albums. Yeah, sure, his high notes can suck sometimes, but really, I've seen a lot worse. He isn't a bad singer by any means, and I think he fits well in this band, because this album isn't actually so much metal sometimes as I feel it is prog rock (this album isn't very heavy musically.)

Another Day is sappy, yes, but I like the sax solo and especially Petrucci's tearing guitar work is awesome on this track. I used to like Surrounded a lot, but it's a bit of a throwaway song in my opinion; ok, the piano is cool and it speeds up... but like all other DT ballads, it sounds bland as hell and James LaBrie isn't as ace as he is on Octavarium so he sounds very whiny overall. It's a good song overall though.

Take the Time is the band's "let's go guys" song, with each of the members adding in their bits to make a comprehensive song as a whole; It's nicely orchestrated and the song fits like a corset; good job guys; musicianship and songwriting can go hand in hand!

Metropolis Pt. 1 is epic. No other words can describe this song. From beginning to end, everything fits (YES EVEN THE SOLOS), James LaBrie doesn't sound like a ***ing deflating tyre, Portnoy, is, well, Portnoy-style awesome, Petrucci underlines his qualities as one of the best guitarists in the genre and maybe in metal, Myung....is barely audible but does his work solidly, and Kevin Moore really shines in the jam section of this track.

Under A Glass Moon is another good 'un, not really the most memorable song from this album but pretty solid, definitely a good track.

Wait For Sleep is the best ballad on this album, and perhaps the best one DT have ever done with the exception of maybe Through Her Eyes or The Spirit Carries On. Featuring only piano and LaBrie, the Canadian doesn't choke this song with high wails that sound like nails on a blackboard, and Moore knows how to lay down a melody as we've seen before.

Learning To Live is the other epic from this album, and I don't like it as much as Metropolis, but it's still a very solid track that keeps the momentum of the album flowing from soft to loud to soft to loud. Petrucci's soloing stands out here again.

The sound and production of this album is flawless... but somehow the riffs don't sound like metal to me on this album. I know this is a nineties album, but it sounds like it's been recorded eight years before or something. The drums sound clicky and not bashy, as they do on later albums. The songs still sound excellent overall... it's just that this album has quite an old school feeling and is more reminiscent of their rock influences than their metal influences in my opinion.

Overall it's a very solid album; song-writing is top-notch, musicianship has never been a complaint with these guys, the production is weird but okay, and the lyrics (although ***ty in parts) are not as annoying as on other albums. I'd say that this is one of the better albums these guys released, and a good way to get into DT (although I prefer Awake or Scenes From A Memory because they're heavier.) Definitely a must-buy if you're a fan of this band, if you're getting into the genre get this: it exemplifies what the album is all about without being too long-winded (which DT can sometimes get.)



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user ratings (2386)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
October 3rd 2006


1588 Comments


The sound and production of this album is flawless

I've found it is a bit of a let down.

Then later on you say its weird... :-/

But decent review, even if I can't dig this album (or DT really tbqh) outside Pull Me Under.

Altmer
October 3rd 2006


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

it sounds good. it's weird in the way they make it sound, but it still works.

wikuk
October 3rd 2006


1110 Comments


This is a pretty nice review, but sometimes you were a li'l fanboyish. This CD is certainly not one of the most famous metal cd's in the world. I can name several cd's that are bigger, cd's I like but also cd's I don't like.

Mikesn
Emeritus
October 3rd 2006


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Metropolis Pt. 1 is probably my favourite Dream Theater song, but aside from that I don't like this album at all. :/

Decent review, but some parts could use a little more detail.

The Door Mouse
October 3rd 2006


2092 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

pretty good review. i think that uagm is the 2nd best song on the album (first being metropolis of course). 3rd is either take the time or learning to fly. sry but im not gonna vote either way

Jev
October 3rd 2006


2 Comments


learning to fly you say?

whatduffhuck7
October 3rd 2006


163 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

most famous release in metal history? not even close i can name a few off the top of my head that are more famous than this. 1st 4 metallica albums. riegn in blood, rust in piece. but hey, i dont blame ya, this is a amazing album. great move to replace the singer too. labrie is purely one of a kind.

Bfhurricane
October 3rd 2006


6197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As much of a Dream Theater fanboy I am Im gonna have to disagree as well as this being one of the most famous in metal history, though it did get DT recognized accross the world. Pull Me Under is the song that got me into DT! Good review

Altmer
October 4th 2006


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i should have added prog, I just knew it

Jim
October 6th 2006


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This got me into them. A really special album I think, although I've found I prefer the heavier material like ToT.
Your review was a little unprofessional and "fanboyish" as some would say. And UaGM deserves some more description. Like the insane solo!

Altmer
October 6th 2006


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't really find UaGM to be a special song at all. It's solid, but no more.

Jim
October 8th 2006


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

In any case -

Under A Glass Moon is another good 'un, not really the most memorable song from this album but pretty solid, definitely a good track.

- is hardly comprehensive.

Zherkezhi57
April 17th 2008


71 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Myung....is barely audible but does his work solidly


That is incorrect.



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