Home > Music > Quickie: Dream Theater – Images and Words (1992)

Quickie: Dream Theater – Images and Words (1992)

Yes, this is much better than Awake ever was. If you want heavy Dream Theater, you probably should listen to Train of Thought, and if you just want balls out extreme prog metal, you’re going to have to listen to Gorguts or something (which you should anyways; Obscura is basically a crown jewel in death metal).

What makes it better relative to its successor is that it isn’t an attempt to mash up pop, prog, and Pantera all into one mold, rendering it disjointed and unlistenable. Frankly, the better songs on that album sound the ones on this – which means that there’s a great degree of indulgent soloing and captivating singing going on between the dynamic shifts.

Frankly, it’s John Petrucci and Kevin Moore who provide a majority of the songwriting depth here, or at least to my ears. Luckily for them, the rest of their band more than pulls their weight – I’m guessing that LaBrie got a lot of his technique from his Helloween and Judas Priest albums, as well as other various power metal acts. But I digress – if you really want to hear (and benchmark) the style of the album, “Metropolis” has everything neccesary waiting, especially with the lengthy solo section in the middle of the song. Even those who hate it shouldn’t deny that the instrumental skill is top notch here – Even when you consider bands like Brain Drill and Viraemia and their songs of pure sweeping and shredding, DT still holds up, because speed obviously isn’t everything. In lesser hands, it would’ve fallen apart and became meaningless wank, and I wouldn’t be here working on a largely positive writeup of the album.

Not entirely positive of course – this being an album that subsists on flaming guitar solo antics. The weakest moments are slower, poppier, and probably mistaken for maturity by paid music critics. I don’t know. At least they don’t “suck” – they manage to remain at least somewhat interesting throughout their durations.  More notably, they’re further chances for James LaBrie to show his vocal prowness – He can sing a great deal of styles proficiently, and further albums (even Awake) would go to show that.

But still, the ups outweigh the downs, and anyone who wants to explore the power metal derived sorts of progmetal should listen to this, amongst other things.

Highlights – The five longest songs on the album. I’ll leave the simplistic exercise of finding out to the listener.

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