Author Topic: [Music] Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite  (Read 1929 times)

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Offline Nick

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[Music] Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite
« on: August 06, 2009, 10:01:22 PM »
Reviewed By: Nicholas R. Andreas
Artist: Dream Theater
Album: When Dream and Day Unite
Genre: Progressive Metal
Year of Release: 1989
On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/When-Dream-Day-Unite-Theater/dp/B00005YNOY/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1248387102&sr=8-7

   Very rarely do I go into a review for any other reason than to express my opinions on whatever album I have chosen to write about. However, there is one album that I feel is so underrated and overlooked that it deserves a review simply to defend it and give it some exposure.

   It might seem silly to give exposure to an album by Dream Theater, who outside of the radio mainstays is one of the biggest bands in existence, but I have run into more than one fan that doesn’t even know there was an album before Images and Words or a singer before James LaBrie. And right there are two of the reasons that, now, twenty years later, an album that began the tremendous career of Dream Theater is so often bashed or tossed aside. Fans tend to show distaste towards Charlie Dominici not because they really dislike him, but simply because he isn’t James LaBrie, and they tend to forget the album because it doesn’t have the sparkling production of Images and Words.

   But let’s look at the album by itself, without considering who and what came after it. What you have is a youthful energy from start to finish, and a group of strong to excellent songs with a singer that despite asked to move outside his range from time to time, delivers a fantastic performance. The album has a special difficult to describe spark that seemed to be somewhat lost as later albums were polished to a fine shine. A song like “The Killing Hand” has so much raw power and energy that it is hard not to admire it. On the other hand simple melodies and fantastic lyrics are often overlooked in a song like “Status Seeker”. Many fans seem to have a bit of distaste for the song because of some commercial attributes, but I say if you really listen to the song you will see everything about it is pure Dream Theater, with a commercial edge done far better than would later be seen on Falling Into Infinity. The song “Ytsejam” I see as a very young brother to the song “Stream of Consciousness”, it showed how well Dream Theater could do a more straightforward, metal instrumental.

   When looking at the young musicians on the album that would later become household names amongst prog fans you can already observe the seeds of brilliance. The drumming and general structure of the albums opener “A Fortune in Lies” can compete on a technical level with the rest of Dream Theater’s catalog. Myung’s bass grooves in “Afterlife” are probably some of his most memorable, and it could be argued that Myung has not been fully utilized since this album. Charlie Dominici puts for a passionate performance that really lends itself so very well to the songs, and you really see his strength on a track like “Only a Matter of Time”, a tongue twisting adventure in which you are lucky to understand one syllable of live in the present day with James LaBrie. Despite being so quick flowing Charlie manages to keep a steady melody, and the verses of the song remain some of my favorites from the band. Kevin Moore shines on the track “The Ones Who Helped to Set the Sun”, while guitarist John Petrucci works together with John Myung to give “Light Fuse and Get Away” a solid rockin’ backbone. By the end of the album it is clear you are dealing with a superior group of musicians, even if their style may not be fully refined.

   As mentioned earlier though, if there is one major flaw with the album it is the sound of the album. It is raw and certainly suffers from being a typical debut album with a very small recording budget. On the other hand this does not have a significant effect on the final presentation of the album as the style of the album lends itself better to the poor production far better than any later album would have. Let’s compare “The Killing Hand” from When Dream and Day Unite and “Learning to Live” from Images & Words. Both are epic tracks from the band, and both are considered to be one of the best from their respective albums. If “The Killing Hand” had been on Images & Words the polished production would not really do all that much to improve the powerful, energetic, and bombastic song. However if “Learning to Live” had been on When Dream and Day Unite it would suffer terribly.

   So aside from the sub-par sound, this album has it all. It lays the foundation for what Dream Theater would become, and it does it while remaining a powerful album in its own right. From start to finish you are treated to a Dream Theater album unlike any other, and if you listen closely you will hear why this album sparked so much interest in five young musicians from Long Island.

Composition: 9/10
Sound: 5/10
Musicianship: 10/10
Final Presentation: 9/10
Overall: 8.2/10
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Offline antigoon

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Re: [Music] Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2009, 10:05:01 PM »
Good review. I agree with most of what you said. I'm not fond of The Ones Who Help to Set The Sun or Light Fuse and Get Away, but the rest of the album is really fucking good. I feel like the main riff from A Fortune in Lies is perpetually stuck in my head.

Offline TheOutlawXanadu

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Re: [Music] Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2009, 06:16:08 AM »
Good stuff Nick. I think we agree about pretty much everything.
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Offline LudwigVan

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Re: [Music] Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2009, 09:12:43 AM »
Excellent review.  As you say, appreciation for this album is long overdue, even on a DT forum.

This is my favorite part:

Quote
The album has a special difficult to describe spark that seemed to be somewhat lost as later albums were polished to a fine shine. A song like “The Killing Hand” has so much raw power and energy that it is hard not to admire it. On the other hand simple melodies and fantastic lyrics are often overlooked in a song like “Status Seeker”. Many fans seem to have a bit of distaste for the song because of some commercial attributes, but I say if you really listen to the song you will see everything about it is pure Dream Theater, with a commercial edge done far better than would later be seen on Falling Into Infinity.
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Offline antigoon

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Re: [Music] Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2009, 03:12:33 PM »
And I'm glad you like Status Seeker. Not many people do.

Offline Dr. DTVT

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Re: [Music] Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2009, 05:28:16 PM »
I've found that newer fans who dismiss WDADU because Charlie is on the vocals and it doesn't sound "right" to them, like the same songs when JLB sings them.  My friend and I were listening to Score before the Boston concert, and when Afterlife came on, he had no idea it was from WDADU.  Dream Theater's worst is still better than 99% of everyone else's best though, and I still listen to WDADU.

BTW, Statis Seeker is one of my 3 favorite songs on that album.  Didn't realize it didn't get much love.
     

Offline tri.ad

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Re: [Music] Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2009, 03:49:47 PM »
Great review, Nick, and I totally agree with what you said.

As for the sound, I think I figured out the biggest problem: It's the relation between the keyboards and the guitar (particularly the volume). The keyboards sound actually pretty good, but the guitars are mixed far too low and sound very thin. It particularly sucks when it comes to JP's rhythm work on the album, which is very good, but gets pulled down into the abyss because of the reasons I stated above.
Also, the cymbals sound pretty bad, but the rest of the drums are fine, albeit a little unusual.
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Re: [Music] Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2009, 03:16:53 AM »
It might seem silly to give exposure to an album by Dream Theater, who outside of the radio mainstays is one of the biggest bands in existence
Oh come on. DT is a big band, but not one of the biggest non-mainstream bands.

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Offline icysk8r

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Re: [Music] Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2009, 06:31:46 PM »
great review. well written.  Although it doesn't change my opinion on the album.  I am one of the people you mentioned that can't get passed dominici.  But your review wasn't to persuade anyway.
I give your review a 4.9.  the .1 being because I don't agree with you.
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Offline j

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Re: [Music] Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2009, 12:42:54 AM »
Just got around to reading this; excellent review dude, and very well-written.  I agree with almost all of it; this album is so under-appreciated, and I suspect most of its detractors haven't given it much of a chance.  Blows my mind how often I read things like "...except WDADU doesn't count because I don't really consider that a Dream Theater album."   :facepalm:

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Offline tri.ad

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Re: [Music] Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2009, 02:23:14 AM »
The best option is not to care about people like that.
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Offline RaiseTheKnife

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Re: [Music] Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2009, 12:15:56 AM »
Good job Nick.  I love Myung's overt lead bass playing, a characteristic that changed following this album.

Complex composition within mostly accessibly shorter songs.   Perhaps DT might consider again re-exploring this format for their next album.