Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dream Theater-Images and Words

Post #153 [Poll Winner: Favorite Dream Theater album of the 90's]

Dream Theater established themselves in the 90's as the premier force of progressive metal. 1992's Images and Words, their second album overall, was the album that put this band on the heavy metal map. It contained their highest charting single, 'Pull Me Under', an 8 minute progressive-thrash song that in their early days, drew some comparisons to Metallica. The rest of the album illustrated how truly versatile they were. Images and Words was just the beginning for Dream Theater, but it remains one of their most memorable albums, as confirmed by your votes in the recent reader's poll.

Dream Theater quickly became masters of grand thematic elements in the music and lyrics. Now a trademark of the band, there were several 8 minute-plus songs on Images and Words. Songs that sometimes seemed to push the limit of musical intricacy. They contained a blend of heavy and melodic elements, with balanced instrumentation of guitars, keyboards and drums. Long instrumental segments of some songs were where you found the band jamming on a catchy chord progression, highlighted by multiple leads and solos that traded off from one instrument to the next. Then, just when you thought they've exhausted the musical potential of a given chord progression, they fell back into the song's chorus, or another verse, and brought the song to a conclusion.

Dream Theater are now a major influence to many metal bands. Though their career may be far from over, they already have a unique and significant legacy. They have no shortage of fans. Their ambitious musicianship has given them a strong and diverse following. Should you not already be among that following, here are my picks from this classic album from their early days- my favorite songs from Images and Words:
-Pull Me Under (Their first single, and biggest hit, this song foreshadowed a promising career.)
-Another Day (A softer, keyboard-driven number. More of a ballad than a rocker)
-Surrounded (An uplifting tune that builds in intensity near the end.)
-Metropolis-Part I: "The Miracle and the Sleeper" (This one is a heavy, thrash inspired epic! It's musical themes have resonated so strongly within the band that they made their entire 1999 album it's sequel. You can listen to this song, then their 'Scenes From a Memory' album, and you'll hear many melodies incorporated from Metropolis-Part I.)

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