1989 (Mechanic/MCA Records)
The American band Dream Theater can be considered as the main representatives of progmetal for over thirty years. Their fabulous playing, mighty melodies, flashing solo’s and overwhelming rhythms and on top of that the wonderful elastic vocals guarantee strong albums who are highly acclaimed globally all this time. In all madness you almost would forget how it all started.
“When Dream And Day Unite” the debut from 1989 can be regarded as a peculiar album with today’s knowledge. The singer is Charlie Dominic, he was replaced only one year later by the much better singing James LaBrie. Not that Dominc is weak on this album, he only has to work very hard. The others seem to have less trouble playing their difficult parts.
What makes this album so special is the boundless revolutionary mentality from everyone. The eagerness is huge and because of the resolute tight drums of Mike Portnoy it never becomes a mess. I can still remember very well how this album touched me back then with its well-oiled drive.
All songs have something special. The shorts are good because they are short, the longs are good because they are long. Take for that matter the short first two tracks, A Fortune In Lies and Status Seeker. Their song-driven style introduces the band and its qualities perfect (apart from the rather thin sound) and next is Ytse Jam. This swirling display of power has something Rush-ish with all its impressive solo spots. It paves the way to a series of highlights of which the epic The Killing Hand would be the ultimate for many. It is difficult to describe why. Another highlight is Afterlife of which the melodies are extraordinary beautiful. The album closes with Only A Matter Of Time that sounds like the old Marillion went progmetal. This track gives the listener almost something festive. Very good gentlemen.
John Petrucci, John Myung and Mike Portnoy were at the cradle of this band. A thank you is in order.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022