Dream Theater - Images And Words
Dream Theater's second album Images & Words is one of the defining periods in the bands history. For those who do not know Dream Theater, they are a progressive metal band from New York, who have been around since 1986. The album was released on July 7th 1992, through ATCO Records. This record is one of the greatest albums the band has created and their first album to feature their current vocalist James Labrie. The album contains eight tracks tracking in around 1 hour. This album also contains the bands biggest single to date "Pull Me Under". I remember I was introduced to this band, and this album specifically. I first heard of the song "Another Day" by a classmate in high school from jazz band. After I looked it up I gave it a listen and found the song before "Pull Me Under". I was immediately hooked. This album, while it is not my favorite of their discography, always has a special place for me and is the one I see myself coming back to the most. The production on this album is amazing everything sounds so together, not to mention the steller musicianship. Even-though this record lacks a concept, this whole album is an experience within itself. The first note from the album is from the massive Pull Me Under, with a large instrumental buildup expanding over almost two minutes building from a single guitar line to this massive section with keyboard synths and heavy distortion guitars and bass lines and different time signatures, just a masterful way to start an album. The rest of the song lyrically is a nod to Shakespeare play Hamlet, with the lyrics being told from the Prince's point of view. However, there is only one line of direct dialogue in the song towards the very end of the eight minutes, "O, that this too, too solid flesh would melt", quoted from the second scene of the first act of the play. The next song after the triumphant beginning is the first song I heard by this band, Another Day, this one is more of a mellower slower song after the anthemic Pull Me Under, featuring a mostly piano ballad, softer section for the first section of the song continuing to a saxophone in the chorus, with a large buildup in the bridge with a beautiful guitar solo by John Petrucci. Ending the large climax with the similarity to the first part of the song, with the piano ballad with the saxophone solo over it. The next song, Take The Time, is one of the faster paced songs, while the vocal performance is spot on, the real part that makes this song special is the chemistry between the instrumental section of the band, with its long solos and its seamlessly flawless transitions between keyboard, drums, and guitar solos. The next song is a very interesting song for the band, Surrounded, starting with just vocals and keyboards/synths. After a build up in this section there is an immediate transition with a guitar solo and the drums coming in. Later going into a total different section of the song with the song having more and more of a similar anthemic feel around the solo section of the song with a massive buildup with all that later fading into just keyboard and vocals at the end of the song, just another masterpiece of not only instrumentation but also vocals. The next song Metropolis Part I - The Miracle And The Sleeper, while it is not my favorite song on the album, I think it is the most important song on the album because the ideas of it would be later expanded into what I consider is Dream Theater's greatest album, Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory, even referencing the title of the album in the song of Metropolis Part I. This song also containing one of the greatest instrumental sections in most Dream Theater songs. The next song Under The Glass Moon, is probably the one song I haven't listened to really, however it is still an amazing song and great piece to the album, with it just being a great song of Progressive Metal, with an insane guitar solo and lots of crafty drum works. The last couple songs on the album lead into each other, them being Wait For Sleep, and Learning to Live, Waiting For Sleep, the shortest Dream Theater song clocking around over two minutes, however this song is a very different song on this album with it being almost entirely piano and synth based, but still a very great song lyrically as far as both delivery by Labrie but also the topic of the song, sort of the avant-garde style of lyrics discussed throughout much of the album. Learning To Live, is the longest Dream Theater song on the album, their first to being over 10 minutes, a staple they had stayed with for years on several of their albums showing a massive closure to the album and wrapping up coming full circle from the first note of Pull Me Under, to the end of Learning To Live. Overall, while this isn't my favorite album by Dream Theater, it is certainly one of their greatest works and something I still listen to constantly.
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Cameron E. Narimanian