Directly in the vein of Rush, Queensryche, and Fates Warning, Dream Theater displays a potpourri of '70s-style prog-rock on their latest release. Images And Words (their major label debut) features lengthy and dramatic arrangements, intense, intelligent songwriting, and brilliant musical performances. But far from a wanna-be band, Dream Theater establishes its own creative niche and sweeping vision with truly captivating compositions.
The same can be said for Mike Portnoy, who constructs drumming masterpieces out of an endless series of syncopated grooves, blistering fills, and mind-blowing rhythms. From cut to cut, Portnoy stamps his signature on a variety of styles, from hard-edged metal ("Pull Me Under" and "Metropolis") to funk ("Take The Time") to soft rock ("Another Day" and "Surrounded").
Portnoy nearly crosses the line of overplaying. But like Neil Peart, Scott Rockenfield, and Mark Zonder have done for their respective bands, Portnoy stays true to the music, making it all flow and bend together with a strong sense of dynamics, song structure and dramatic flair.
Some say that progressive rock died when bands like Yes and Genesis began catering to the mainstream. But with Images And Words, Dream Theater proves itself a true torchbearer.
- Matt Peiken