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Dream Theater’s cornerstone album “Images and Words” celebrates its 25th anniversary

By Joel Barrios, Rock at Night Miami’s correspondent

…And prog would never be the same

“Images and Words” turns 25 years old today. Dream Theater’s second, and most famous release, is undisputedly hailed as a progressive-metal defining classic, given its tremendous influence on the further development of sub-genre with an identity of its own. It marked a pretty major change from their debut for a variety of reasons, the most obvious being the appearance of James LaBrie as the new vocalist, the crystal-clear production, and the evolution of the group’s composition and performance, while at the same time was also the first album that brought critical and popular attention to the Long Island-based collective, in a time where grunge dominated the airwaves. “Images and Words” later became a gold selling album with videos for “Pull Me Under”, “Another Day”, and “Take the Time” (which is quite a progressive composition). Such video and sale success is rare for progressive metal bands, something which to this day not even Dream Theater has matched.

Labeling Dream Theater’s music as progressive-metal is disingenuous to say the least. Their work runs the gamut from virtuosic instrumental jams to gentle piano ballads, and nearly everything in between. The band’s many influences are always in the forefront of the music on “Images and Words”, marking the point where they truly found their niche and exploited it to its fullest, at their deepest and most emotional, resulting in their finest work to date. If Mike Portnoy himself called me on the phone and told me I was allowed to change one thing about this record, I wouldn’t.

Our friends at The Prog Report ranked “Images and Words” #1 in their Top 50 albums from 1990-2015 and Metropolis Pt.1 as the Top Song of the same era. This is not just one of the best progressive metal albums ever made, but rather one of the best music albums of all time. Regardless of your affinity to prog-metal, this is an essential album to have. If you buy one Dream Theater album, make it this one.

About Joel Barrios (115 Articles)
My name is Joel Barrios. I'm a Miami-based freelance multidisciplinary designer and professional photographer, born some decades ago in the mysterious and beautiful island of Cuba. For me web-programming, graphic design and photography are just way of life. It's not a job but a passion that you grow with every day. Despite I studied software development, I've been a self-taught designer and photographer for most of my life, and dabbling with code and digital manipulation software have become my natural element. I enjoy many other types of photography, but my passion for music has driven me into concert photojournalism. I strive at capturing the moments you might have missed even if you were at the show, I want my photographs to help you to relive the moment or to make you feel like you were there part of the audience. I have a big family, my happy team: my wife, four daughters and two cats.

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