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Review of the Album "Images and Words" by the Progressive Metal Band Dream Theater

Updated on November 20, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

The Chorus of the Song Pull Me Under Is Very Memorable

"Images and Words" is the second studio album by American and Canadian progressive metal band Dream Theater and it is the first one to feature James Labrie as the lead vocalist. It is also the very first Dream Theater album that I heard back in the late 1990’s. The chorus in the first song called Pull Me Under is most memorable as Labrie says “pull me under, I’m not afraid.”

Images and Words Front Album Cover

The album's cover shows a young girl standing in a house that looks like 19th century England. She is looking at a pot of flowers as the night sky with the stars is outside.
The album's cover shows a young girl standing in a house that looks like 19th century England. She is looking at a pot of flowers as the night sky with the stars is outside. | Source

Who Plays on the Album Images and Words?

Kevin "James" Labrie: vocals

John Petrucci: guitars

John Myung: bass guitars

Kevin Moore: keyboards (note: Kevin Moore would later join the band Fates Warning.)

Mike Portnoy: drums

What Is the Song Pull Me Under About?

Sometimes, we have to go with the flow of life. Sometimes we are dragged into the memories of our past and many of these memories are not good memories. If we feel honor and spite, we can do what we can to set things right. A part of the solo by John Petrucci sounds like Bay Area band Testament even though Dream Theater is a progressive metal band. What I can say is that don’t be pulled underneath dragged down into bad influences. If life tries to pull you under, do what you can to push yourself back up.

The Song "Another Day" Features the Power and Skill of James Labrie's Voice

Then comes the impressive ballad song Another Day and this one has some of Labrie’s best vocals ever. We have to live another day to aim a little higher and get out of our comfort zone sometimes. I used to figure out the first few notes of the song while playing the piano. As Labrie sings the words “you won’t find it here, look another way,” once again the power and prowess from one of Canada’s best singers is on display.

The Song Take The Time Is a Great Song About Reevaluation of Our Life's Goals and Objectives

The song called Take The Time is a song that the message of it can apply to so many times. After making so many mistakes and having so many tough breaks, we have to go back to the beginning (square one) and reevaluate our life and take the time to figure where we are going. In the middle of a song is a riff that the band Fates Warning has been influenced by especially in the album A Pleasant Shade of Gray. There are times in life that we need a new way and a new path that is more positive and more fulfilling than the path that we were on before (myself included). Life consists of moments or in the context of this song they are called waves. We can either allow these waves to destroy us or they can carry us on to new and better places. As the song slows down, a piano part comes in and we can hear the bass as well shortly thereafter. The soothing voice of James Labrie makes us want to sing along with the songs especially the song called Surrounded which is a semi-ballad.

Images and Words: the CD


"Another Day"

More Songs on Images and Words to Enjoy Including Metropolis Part 1 The Miracle and the Sleeper

Metropolis Part 1 “The Miracle and the Sleeper” is one of the more interesting songs in Dream Theater’s career as the beginning of it is a totally progressive style with Kevin Moore’s keyboard creativity kicking in as well. Life is sometimes filled with various emotions such as fear, pain, loss, and panic. We sometimes think that as children we can live without pain and sorrow. But as we grow up into adults, the reality dawns on us that life is filled with more hardships than we think. Then there is another progressive style catchy riff before the impressive lead guitar work of John Petrucci starts to impress us.

"Take The Time"

Why Is the Ballad Song Wait for Sleep Significant?

The nice ballad song called Wait For Sleep is influenced by the Greek musician Yanni .The song is about a woman who is standing in a room gazing out at the full moon and is hoping that an unwanted memory will leave her spirit soon. She just waits until the moment that she can finally drift off to sleep. There are many thoughts and images in her head. Sometimes we have to call upon the power of GOD to restore our body and mind to its optimal state.

"Waiting for Sleep"

Learning to Live Is a Great Way to End a Solid Progressive Metal Album

It should be mentioned that if you listen closely enough you can hear the Yanni influence in the piano playing in that ballad. Learning to Live is about living life in ways that others have never lived. The song tells of a confident man walks the streets during the winter and he is able to exercise a great deal of self-control. As our heart beats we must learn how to truly live and not just exist in life and go through the motions. Sometimes we fall in love to be let down as the song mentions. After that, we must pick up the pieces and just learn to love life without setting our expectations too high. As we go through the amazing journey of life through new horizons we are able to get to a place of inner peace. We then hear kindness, beauty, and truth. "Images and Words" is a very good album by this American and Canadian band but it is not perfect. Even though this is the case, the album gets excellent marks for the power and goodness of the vocals, good songwriting, and the good lead guitar work by John Petrucci and THIS is the way to compose an almost 60 minute album.

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© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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