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Milan Fahrnholz Profile
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Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 17842
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posticon Images And Words - A Review


Images And Words – Dream Theater (1992)

Image

Personnel:

Mike Portnoy (Drums, Percussion)
John Petrucci (Guitars)
John Myung (Bass Guitar)
James LaBrie (Vocals)
Kevin Moore (Keyboards)


Notes:

In 1992 Dream Theater had their debut with their new vocalist and front man James LaBrie. Three stressed years after they debut, they released an album that´s considered as one of their best by fans. It also introduces many special DT things, like the burning heart or Metropolis Part 1 which, at the time, wasn´t even written with a second part in mind, but still many of the lyric of the song seem to hint on Scenes From A Memory.

1.Pull Me Under

The bands hit. Probably one of their most well known songs. Not without reason! In the song which´s lyrics
deal more or less with the plot of Shakespeare´s Hamlet everything is were it has to be. The lenghtly intro were the momentum for the entire album builds up, with drums that delilver a beat that can´t be misunderstood. The structure and heavy construction of that piece is unbelivable. And then the sudden endi...

2. Another Day

You could say that´s not a good idea to place the album´s first(of three) ballad in the second slot, where it could slow down the power the first track brought along. Not in this case, it makes clear how varied the music of Dream Theater really is. The saxophone is gorgeous and the quality guitar playing is rising above the rest of the tracks in my opinion.
The vocals are much smoother and clearer, still this is a powerballad were everything is where it should be. One of my favourites, it´s raising above most metal powerballads I´ve heard before.

3. Take The Time

This starts very interesting. Especially the short collage of samples that you hear before the vocals start. Great to hear Frank Zappa for one second(„Wait A Minute“). Drumming steps more in the foreground here and the vocals are fantastic. The chorus sounds more commercial than most of the rest of the song, but then come breaks that surprise you and then some sampled voices again. It´s a very rhytmic song and ideal for some serious air guitar and air drumming to acompany the music comming out of your boxes. In other places it´s different. Unexpected tempo chances and then again very unusual rhytms and interesting breaks that seem to come out of nowhere. The song is very complex with that goes through different sections and builds up to a final that sums up the whole mood of the song and then pushes back again.

4. Surounded

Another great ballad again. I don´t like it as much as Another Day, but it still has some very interesting twist to it(I love it). It starts out quite and calm with pretty unusual sounds on keyboard and percussion(conga?). Then comes the points were the calm mood of the song is broken and we enter the second section that adds the word power to the word ballad. It continously grows on you until a second break comes that leads you back to the calm mood with vocal, keyboard and piano only(as in the begining). And then the song gives you a happy goodbye.

5. Metropolis Part One – (The Miracle And The Sleeper)

Huh, it´s still Christmas? The intro has lots of percussion effects that slowly bring you into the main riff(which isn´t to be heard enough for my taste). It´s very complex structred again, although it seems to loose direction in some places. But it starts out like a well written play, with the drama set exactly where you expect it and where you don´t expect it. During the instrumental part, though you go through sections that seem to lose themselves. It sounds a bit over-indulgent and a bit to experimental to what it was in the context. Probably I still have to get used to what it is. It´s so many, but most of it I can´t classify and that´s good again. It´s a brilliant song with great drama and momentum, but maybe a bit too long.

6. Under A Glass Moon

Yes, the guitar in the intro is great, haunting if you like. Argghh, metal cliché comes along then. It´s loosing every kind of melody between the time the guitar intro ends and the vocals kick in. Then it´s okay again, good to listen to. Not really my favourite. I don´t skip it, but I also wouldn´t put it on my favourite DT collection CD for sure. They play in a style that doesn´t really fit to what they usually do. Many other metal bands have done that before and better...well, not throughout, there are still scenes(seems you really can say they song have scenes and sequences, rather then sections) where you go:“Uh, what´s that?“. You never know what to expect with Dream Theater.

7. Waiting For Sleep

You probably could call this one a duo of Vocal and Piano/Keyboard. It is by far the shortest song, with a lenght of only 2 minutes and 31 seconds. The calm of the vocal and piano dominated track does a good judgement to the dramatic and melancholic content of the lyric. Short but sweet and sad. That´s why they are called Dream Theater(well, actually it isn´t, but you could think it was)!

8. Learning To Live

Without a pause after the last song the most complex structured song on the album begins. It starts out fast and turbulent before the tempo for the accompaniment for the vocals is set. Speed and style changes rule this song throughout. Everytime you thought you´re able to hum along to it, it´s changing it´s face again. Then sections repeat again. The quiet releaxed keyboard solo is followed by spanish sounding guitar. You imagine a silent moon night when you hear that along with the rhytm section. Electric guitar drives you back into the song, but it´s not quite as before, as you again stepped into new and unknown terrain as it walks along. Drama comes up again. What´s this? Stop! Then, there´s the lead melody again, everythign is building up itself again. As you walk through the different sections of the instrumental parts all is always climbing up before it falls down to relax again and then rolls back to you like a wave. The surprise is the reprise, when the vocals kick in again and the expected ending of the album arrives...that´s stopped with a short bass solo that once again builds the song up for a last time that will make you remember the best things about that album. Then it´s faded out.

Conclusion:

Generally I must say: I really like it. Although not always the band members all seem the show their skills. John Myungs bass playing is great and unusual throughout. Still Mike Portnoy, although he´s using very unusual kinds of drumming styles couldn´t strike me as the talent he´s always described with. Doesn´t mean he´s not a great drummer but above beeing more experimental than most other metal drummers he doesn´t really seem to rise above most others of that genre. After getting used to the fact that James LaBrie´s voice mainly sounds like the voice of someone who could have sung for Helloween if he lived in germany, I like to listen to him a lot more than to his predecessor. John Petrucci, can play the guitar. Really well indeed, but he doesn´t show it often enough for my taste, as he´s spending a lot of time with sound experiments and stuff. But he´s obviously a lot influenced by the likes of Steve Morse and Dave Murray, and that´s not really a bad thing, isn´t it?
The keyboards, though sound often misplaced and the equipment seems, erm...cheap, although I really don´t belive it is. Not always, but on most occasions it adds a good feel to the music. All in all it´s great structured and they have something that Metallica or the likes don´t have. Complex songs and feel for how songs should be build and how long sections should be. Everytime you think you understood how they write their songs, there comes a new change. You see, all in all my impression on the album is really good. It does actually have some weak points but most of it is brilliant and for a band of that young age they play really self-concious and of course with a huge amount of enthusiasm. It´s very interesting to have commercial metal sound combined with more progressive elements. And people keep saying there were no great bands founded after the seventies! Images And Words is something I call an exciting album that gets more and more interesting you listen to it, and the good points make to seam the weak points to be more and more meaningless each time. It´s not a debut but fresh and for a second album...thumbs up!

- Milan

10/1/2004, 10:55 Link to this post  
 
Trollprincess Profile
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Swiss Cheese Grater

Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 11272
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Re: Images And Words - A Review


Congrats to to you! My respect. How much work to write such a review, detailed, exactly and interesting.
 emoticon

---
 "God save Ritchie Blackmore."
10/1/2004, 11:33 Link to this post Send Email to Trollprincess   Send PM to Trollprincess
 
Christos Gatzidis Profile
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Re: Images And Words - A Review


One of the best rock albums of the 90s IMO, which Dream Theather themselves have yet to top.
10/1/2004, 12:08 Link to this post Send Email to Christos Gatzidis   Send PM to Christos Gatzidis
 
RickWells Profile
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Re: Images And Words - A Review


A great review! And one of my top two Dream Theater albums, the other being Awake. On these first two albums, they really showed how diverse they could be.

As for Portnoy's drumming, I think it only gets better as the band progresses through their catalog. He may be a bit full of himself at this point in time, but there's no denying the man's talent. He is awesome to watch in concert, he is something of a show in and of himself.

And the U.S. tour for the new album has just been announced, April 1 in Boston, here I come!

Last edited by RickWells, 10/1/2004, 13:46
10/1/2004, 13:45 Link to this post Send Email to RickWells   Send PM to RickWells
 
Milan Fahrnholz Profile
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Re: Images And Words - A Review


I´ve heard Portnoy collapsed after the three hours marathon of Live Scenes From New York. Can that be seen on the DVD?
10/1/2004, 13:48 Link to this post  
 
RickWells Profile
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Purple fan

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Re: Images And Words - A Review


quote:

Milan Fahrnholz wrote:

I´ve heard Portnoy collapsed after the three hours marathon of Live Scenes From New York. Can that be seen on the DVD?



You know, I have the dvd, and I can't remember if they show that or not. I do recall that being said right after the dvd was released, I'll have to go back and watch it again and see if it's on there anywhere.
10/1/2004, 13:50 Link to this post Send Email to RickWells   Send PM to RickWells
 
Niko Vidgren Profile
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Re: Images And Words - A Review


Thanks for the great review Milan.
Now I recommend that you get Awake next. It's even better than I&W.
10/1/2004, 17:52 Link to this post Send Email to Niko Vidgren   Send PM to Niko Vidgren
 
Milan Fahrnholz Profile
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Re: Images And Words - A Review


Awake is the next one I´ll get. Together with Live At The Marquee.
10/1/2004, 18:04 Link to this post  
 
Gillans micstand Profile
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Re: Images And Words - A Review


Good on yer emoticon
11/1/2004, 3:21 Link to this post Send Email to Gillans micstand
 
Coirce Profile
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Re: Images And Words - A Review


YOu should defnitely write reviews for Tingo Creations.

---
Milan (*SIGH*)
12/1/2004, 9:50 Link to this post Send Email to Coirce   Send PM to Coirce
 


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