Sound — 10
Dream Theater's first album, debuted in 1989, would sound just a bit different from their present-day material, but should please any Dream Theater fan. This particular CD would even please fans of Queensryche, Journey, and all those power-rocker bands with keyboards and soaring singers. It's 1989, so Dream Theater had a sort of a speed-metal style in their sound, which is very strong and driving. Dream Theater had Kevin Moore on keyboards on this album and I like his sound a lot, but I must admit I like Jordan Rudess better. Great keyboards, though. Now, the solos were unspeakably fast and beautiful. Guitarist John Petrucci does all that work to make DT's music complete and innovative, while crappy emos and wannabes and nu-metallers get all the attention of the public just by strumming a pile of crummy powerchords together and calling them songs. You have to credit John Myung and Mike Portnoy well for bass and drums, too. Great work.
Lyrics — 10
This is the first and last album with singer Charlie Dominici. God, that man can sing! I like James LaBrie too, but no Dream Theater fan should forget the amazing vocalist that started them off with their first album. This singer soars in his vocals. Very reminicient of the good metal bands of the '80s, he is my most recent influence.
01. A Fortune In Lies (lyrics: Petrucci) - starts off the album with a fine song.
02. Status Seeker (lyrics: Dominici/Petrucci) - fair song with a fine, bright intro. I thought this line from the chorus was catchy: "You draw the bottom line with a dollar sign."
03. The Ytse Jam (instrumental) - this is like one of DT's classics. If you own DT's live CDs and DVD's, you'll probably be familiar with this one. Very catchy main lead riff, something i like gettting stuck in my head lol. Great instrumental.
04. The Killing Hand (lyrics: Petrucci) - this is a five-part epic song composed of "The Observance," "Ancient Renewal," "The Stray Seed," "Thorns," and "Exodus." I love the lyrics, though I'm not sure what it means, myself. Fits perfectly with the singing. Something about this guy who stopped the Killing Hand that has killed many, but on "Exodus" he realizes he is alone in that land, and he was the Killing hand, or something. Not sure. Nice Spanish guitar intro and some military snare drums in the first 2 minutes of the song.
05. Light Fuse And Get Away (lyrics: Moore) - nice lyrics that match the tempo changes, etc, but in the chorus, I think one of the lines should have been written "No pain no gain" instead of "No gain no pain" but otherwise good.
06. Afterlife (lyrics: Dominici) - I like the theme of the song, about what happens to us in the afterlife.
07. The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun (lyrics: Petrucci) - great song, although I'm still vague on what the song's about.
08. Only A Matter Of Time (lyrics: Moore) - this properly concludes the album in my opinion. Nice outro, especially the keyboards. I like the first verse: 'A suited man smiled said: "It's just a matter of time You can have the world at your feet by tomorrow just sign on this line." Hold tight... limelight! Approaching the paramount with the sun in our eyes fearing family ties, legalies, compromise'. Mostly because Dominici sings it well. A line from this song is the decided title of this album: 'When Dream and Day Unite'.
Overall Impression — 10
Dream Theater basically defined prog-metal as a number of us know it. They are the most disciplined rockers/metallers of today. I'd even call them the Bachs, Beethovens, Mozarts and Schuberts of metal music. They put so much work in their music. Get this one to learn of how they musically started off. It's the only album with Charlie Dominici on vocals, and since he's a great singer this will make at least a good DT collector's item. The mainstream is giving nearly all their attention to crap bands like Slipknot and Green Gay and all that nonsense, but I'm kinda happy DT's not so mainstream because while they stay out of it, they get power to write music on their own way and the songs are not rushed, and they stay innovative this way. This is a great album from a great band. A must-have for enthusiasts of super-technical guitar playing, soaring clean vocals, great keyboards, and just plain innovation.