Dream Theater's first album with new vocalist James LaBrie is an excellent mix of progressive metal stylings with heartfelt vocals and thought-provoking lyrics. Guitarist John Petrucci, bassist John Myung, and drummer Mike Portnoy, all of whom trained at Berklee, show impressive ability on their respective instruments. Kevin Moore's keyboards weave strongly through the intricately constructed songs, while operatically trained LaBrie shows an impressive range with his tenor. Standout tracks include the complex "Metropolis, Pt. 1," the Shakespeare-influenced "Pull Me Under" (also released as a single and video), the dramatic "Take the Time," and the 11-minute, thoughtful "Learning to Live." Dream Theater's musicianship and songwriting are a cut above the norm; this is a very good disc.
Images and Words Review
by Phil Carter