I still remember the day when I heard Pull Me Under on the radio for the first time. I was out of town for business in Detroit. The DJ didn’t say who it was, but I was immediately blown away. I had to know who this was, and quickly.
Images and Words was the release that opened up the world of progressive metal for this listener. At the time of this album’s release, glam metal was on the decline. Progressive metal offered listeners something new, and Images and Words, quickly put Dream Theater on top of the progressive metal scene.
Images and Words is Dream Theater’s second release, and the first for singer James Labrie. The first CD, When Dream and Day Unite, didn’t take off, and the band’s singer Charlie Dominici was fired. The band didn’t start gaining success until James Labrie joined the group.
I did not start paying attention to this genre of metal until I heard this album. Images and Words offers a somewhat unique style that was certainly ground breaking to me, and many others. The musicianship on this record is nothing short of stellar. John Petrucci showcases his awesome guitar skills, and Mike Portnoy proves to be one of the best drummers out there. James Labrie’s great voice ties it all together for one nice package.
There are a few songs that blend well with mainstream metal including Pull Me Under, Another Day, and Take the Time. It isn’t until later in the album where you find gems like Metropolis Part 1, a nine minute monster of a song that seems to fly by. Dream Theater can craft heavy tunes, and turn on a dime, and create music that is AOR quality. They back up their tunes with incredible live performances. For this listener, Images and Words is still an extraordinary listening experience. This release is essential for all progressive rock and metal fans.
Rating:Out of 10
1. Pull Me Under
2. Another Day
3. Take The Time
5. Metropolis – Part 1 “The Miracle And The Sleeper”
6. Under A Glass Moon
7. Wait For Sleep
8. Learning To Live
Dream Theater is:
James LaBrie – vocals
John Myung – bass
John Petrucci – guitars, vocals
Mike Portnoy – drums, percussion, vocals
Kevin Moore – keyboards
On the way home last night, I was listening to Eddie Trunk on XM41 the Boneyard. Eddie played the first track, As I Am, off of Dream Theater’s 2003 release, Train of Thought. I have always considered myself a Dream Theater fan, even though I do not own all of their discs. After hearing As I Am, I turned the car around and headed back to the local record shop, where I remembered seeing a copy of this in the used bin. As I Am has to be one of the coolest metal tracks I have heard in a long time. This ventures away from the progressive rock side of DT and into a new almost Black Sabbath sounding metal track.
Train of Thought has a low song count…only 7. Those seven songs clock in at well over an hour.
The Dying Soul is the first of 5 tracks clocking in at over 1o minutes in length. This track starts off with a two minute jam before you hear any lyrics at all. This song is a fusion of heavy and progressive metal. Plenty of heavy guitars and double bass drums on this track.
Endless Sacrifice starts as this low tempo melodic number with piano and awesome sounding guitars, and blasts off in short intervals into a heavy track full of distorted guitars and swirling keyboards, before returning back to the slow pace it started with. You really have to hear this track to appreciate it. The music on this track is incredible!
Honor Thy Father is a heavy prog rocker that is about a conflict between a father and son. It is a hate filled number lyrically, and the music seems to fit that perfectly.
Vacant is a short piano based number that seems out of place when combined with the other tracks on Train of Thought.
Stream of Consciousness is a beast of an Instrumental track, clocking in at over 11 minutes.
In the Name of God is the longest track on T.O.T, clocking in at over 14 minutes in length. This is a heavy based track with lyrics that are about violence and war in the name of religion. This is a well written track that you really need to listen to and absorb.
Train of Thought is full of stellar musicianship. If you are the type of hard rock fan that will only listen to KISS style, sing along anthems, you probably aren’t going to like this disc. If you like good progressive, heavy metal, this disc should be a no brainer for you. As I Am may be the only track that you will load into your mp3 player and listen to over and over, but, like many Dream Theater discs, this music has to be experienced soley for the amazing musicianship.
Enjoy the mini concert for Train of Thought below:
As I Am
The Dying Soul Part 1
The Dying Soul Part 2
Honor Thy Father
In the Name of God part 1
In the Name of God part 2
Rating: Out of 10
- As I Am
- The Dying Soul
- Endless Sacrifice
- Honor Thy Father
- Stream of Conciousness
- In the Name of God