When Dream and Day Unite - 35 Years on...

Started by MinistroRaven, March 06, 2021, 09:36:21 AM

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MinistroRaven

On March 6th, 1989, American progressive metal band Dream Theater released their debut studio album "When Dream and Day Unite", through Mechanic/MCA Records. The album is composed mainly of material that originally surfaced during the band's early years as Majesty, and it is the only Dream Theater album to be recorded with their full original lineup, as James LaBrie replaced Charlie Dominici as the lead vocalist on all subsequent albums.
🎉🎸🎶 Happy 32nd anniversary 🎶🎸🎉

I'm listening to this album to celebrate today!

Mojado Ilegal

#1
[REDACTED]

Madman Shepherd

The only criticism I can actually agree with is that the production is poor. It only takes a minute or two for my ears to adjust and to completely forget about it.

I love this album and almost everything about it. Sure, Charlie doesn't have the range or power James does but he has a really cool voice. It's even better when he sings in his natural range.

Only songs I don't like are Status Seeker and I'm lukewarm on Afterlife. I love the rest!

TheCountOfNYC

I guess it's song ranking time!

1: Afterlife
2: Only a Matter of Time
3: Ytse Jam
4: The Killing Hand
5: The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun
6: A Fortune in Lies
7: Status Seeker
8: Light Fuse and Getaway

This is a great album (I mean Dream Theater doesn't really have a bad album) but there are definitely some glaring flaws, which is to be expected from a band's first studio effort. The production is the most glaring flaw, but honestly it doesn't sound bad: just cheap. Terry Date did a great job with the limited budget, and there's breathing room in the sound that certain more modern Dream Theater releases could benefit from (looking at you Systematic Chaos and self titled).

Next issue: the vocals. Now this isn't meant to be a knock on Charlie as he is a great singer, he just wasn't the right fit for the band. He did a great job on this album all things considered, but you can hear him straining on some notes that James hits effortlessly live. Both the band and Charlie agreed that them parting ways was for the best, and I'm glad that the limitations of Charlie's voice didn't hamper this album.

Final issue and maybe the least talked about one: the songwriting. Dream Theater hadn't quite refined their arrangement style yet, and there are some questionable transitions throughout this record. A Fortune in Lies, The Killing Hand, and Light Fuse and Getaway are the biggest offenders of this, but I still enjoy two of those three. There are songs like Afterlife, which benefits from sticking to a simpler structure, and Only a Matter of Time, which hints at what Dream Theater would be capable of in the near future (actually the next album). As a whole though, When Dream and Day Unite is the record of a band still finding their sound and style.

I know I talked about some of the problems the album has, but as I said I still think it's great and in the last paragraph I hinted at what I think it's biggest strength is. When Dream and Day Unite has a youthful energy to it. The band had just signed a record deal. They were excited to have their opportunity and naive to the flaws in the industry. This album reflects that perfectly. The energy in each song screams through the speakers. You can truly hear the sound of a band ready and excited for the future, but the world wasn't ready for them. Dream Theater invented a new subgenre and changed the prog scene forever. Sure most people didn't take notice until the next album, but the entire sound of progressive metal started here. And that's where this album's legacy lies: in bands like Haken, Periphery, Animals as Leaders, Between the Buried and Me, Opeth, and so many more modern progressive metal bands. The entire world of progressive rock as we know it today was shaped by the forgotten first album of one of the genres biggest bands. So let's celebrate When Dream and Day Unite, the launching point for the modern progressive world.

pg1067

Quote from: TheCountOfNYC on March 06, 2021, 06:14:04 PM
I guess it's song ranking time!

1. The Killing Hand
2. Only a Matter of Time
3. Ytse Jam
4. Light Fuse and Get Away
5. Afterlife
6. A Fortune in Lies
7. Status Seeker
8. The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun

Production-wise, this album is probably DT's best when it comes to hearing JM, which is important to me.  The only real negative is Charlie.  I don't dislike any of the songs, but I will occasionally skip TOWHTSTS.

KevShmev

I like this album quite a bit, even with the production being pretty raw and it not having JLB.  The songwriting was already pretty strong, and their musicianship was already ridiculous considering how young they were.  Plus, there was a youthful charm and exuberant energy to the music that they really couldn't capture when playing the songs years later (like on When Dream and Day Reunite, which sounds like a band playing an album because they have to, not because they were inspired to do so).

Song ranking (based on the WDADU versions):

1. Light Fuse and Get Away
2. Only a Matter of Time
3. Ytse Jam
4. A Fortune in Lies
5. Afterlife
6. The Killing Hand
7. The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun
8. Status Seeker

kirksnosehair

I didn't discover Dream Theater until 1992, while I was living in Modesto, CA.  The other guitarist in my band at the time handed me a copy of Images & Words on cassette and said, "I know you hate keyboards in metal, but you really need to hear this group" and I almost blew it off because he was absolutely right, I really despised keyboards in metal.  To me, metal was guitar, bass, drums and vocals, full stop.


But after about 4 or 5 times through I&W they had won me over and I went on a mission to find anything else they had ever released and stumbled upon this album in a used record store so I bought it expecting to hear more of the same.  Imagine my surprise when I first listened to it and heard Charlie on vocals  :lol   I didn't care for it at first but multiple listened payed big dividends and to this day I still spin it from time to time, although I freely admit to having strong preference to the When Dream and Day Re-Unite version with LaBrie on vocals.

Stadler

I agree with some, not all of what's said here.  I too got into DT with the original release of Images and Words and it BLEW ME AWAY.  It was so new (to me) and fresh (to me) at a time when I was really deep into what were, I guess, dinosaurs (other than Pearl Jam, who's first album was very 70's rock, I didn't then and mostly now don't get the "grunge" ethos) and this was new!    Iron Maiden, Rush and Journey all rolled up into a nice little ball!   Who could ask for more?

So WDADU was not that, and still isn't.  It's not, to me, a "great" album, and Charlie is not, to me, a "great" singer.  Pretty good, very good, maybe, but not "great". 

Why does everyone rate "Status Seeker" so low? The lyrics are a little cheesy, but I like the keyboard line and the backing vocals, and that's one of the songs that better fits Charlie's voice.

Cool Chris

Quote from: Stadler on March 07, 2021, 07:49:45 AM
I too got into DT with the original release of Images and Words and it BLEW ME AWAY.  It was so new (to me) and fresh (to me) at a time when I was really deep into what were, I guess, dinosaurs...

Totally me. I was coming out of being in to anything and everything 80s pop, getting deep in to classic rock, and not enamored at all by grunge, which was engulfing my region. I heard PMU and thought 'This music is great...' and then got to "Watch the sparrow falling...." and was all 'THIS IS THE GREATEST THING I HAVE EVER HEARD!' I only heard about WDaDU many years later. Often wondered what my DT journey would have been like if I had heard this in real time.

Have not listened to this in a long, long time. Will make it a point to do so this week.

Setlist Scotty

Hard to believe the album is 32 years old, which means in a few months it will have been 32 years since I picked it up. So yeah, WDaDU was my first DT album ever and therefore holds a special place in my heart. I'll always rank it far higher than the vast majority of people.

I can relate to what you guys are saying about the shock of hearing WDaDU after being super familiar with IaW, except for me, it was the other way around! I still remember the shock of IaW sounding nothing like WDaDU - and I don't mean just because they had a new vocalist. It took me some time to get used to their "new" sound with IaW since I had WDaDU deeply ingrained in me by then after listening to it repeatedly for 3 years. Yeah, the production on WDaDU leaves something to be desired, but it was all I knew and had nothing else to compare it to.


Quote from: Stadler on March 07, 2021, 07:49:45 AM
Why does everyone rate "Status Seeker" so low? The lyrics are a little cheesy, but I like the keyboard line and the backing vocals, and that's one of the songs that better fits Charlie's voice.
The one thing I don't like about it is the introduction which strikes me as cheesy. They at least remedied that when they played the song live during the Music in Progress tour. Other than that, for me there's nothing wrong with the song. In any case, I will always rate it higher than Afterlife which is the song I'm most likely to skip.

pg1067

Quote from: Stadler on March 07, 2021, 07:49:45 AM
Why does everyone rate "Status Seeker" so low? The lyrics are a little cheesy, but I like the keyboard line and the backing vocals, and that's one of the songs that better fits Charlie's voice.

I have it at #7, but the margins between 4-7 are really narrow.  It's just a less great song on an album full of great songs.  For me, it's the top 3, the next 4, and TOWHTSTS firmly at the bottom.

HOF

I think Afterlife, Light Fuse and Get Away, and Only a Matter of Time are pretty cool. Status Seeker isn't bad and is probably the most appropriate song for Charlie's voice (he always sounded a lot like Geddy Lee to me on that song). Ytsejam is also pretty memorable.

I don't think it's controversial to say the production on this absolutely blows. Probably in the running for the worst sounding album I own. I still kind of think of it as more proto-DT than a proper DT album. Not really up to their standard of songwriting or recording, but you can see the talent there. Just needed the final touches of a vocalist on the same talent level of the rest of the band and a proper producer/sound engineer/recording budget.

Peter Mc

Yeah, I'm also in the "started with I&W" camp although I got into DT just after ACOS came out.  Saw a review of ACOS and went to buy it but couldn't find it on cassette so had no option other than to go with Images.  Absolutely loved it and eventually got everything.  Yes the production is not great, yes Charlie is a bit of a cheesy AOR style singer but, like others have said, there is still a lot to like and it still gets a fair amount of spins from me.  I also really enjoy it whenever DT has busted out these songs live over the years.  It's a good album, a little rough around the edges and not a top tier DT release but still very enjoyable to me.

HOF

Quote from: Peter Mc on March 07, 2021, 03:24:18 PM
Yeah, I'm also in the "started with I&W" camp although I got into DT just after ACOS came out.  Saw a review of ACOS and went to buy it but couldn't find it on cassette so had no option other than to go with Images.  Absolutely loved it and eventually got everything.  Yes the production is not great, yes Charlie is a bit of a cheesy AOR style singer but, like others have said, there is still a lot to like and it still gets a fair amount of spins from me.  I also really enjoy it whenever DT has busted out these songs live over the years.  It's a good album, a little rough around the edges and not a top tier DT release but still very enjoyable to me.

Their performance of Afterlife was tremendous on Score.

Cool Chris

Quote from: Setlist Scotty on March 07, 2021, 10:08:43 AM
I can relate to what you guys are saying about the shock of hearing WDaDU after being super familiar with IaW, except for me, it was the other way around! I still remember the shock of IaW sounding nothing like WDaDU - and I don't mean just because they had a new vocalist. It took me some time to get used to their "new" sound with IaW since I had WDaDU deeply ingrained in me by then after listening to it repeatedly for 3 years.

That is along the lines of what I was wondering for myself. Pretty much all my favorite bands I came to somewhere in the middle of their careers. DT is the one that I jumped on closest to the onset. Most of my others started out earlier and I wouldn't have had any way of getting in to from the beginning. Which I suppose naturally shapes how I view each album in their respective calatogs.

ytserush

Special album for me. Probably mentioned the details in most of the other threads about this album. It all started for me with The Spirit Of Rush Fanzine #8  from the Summer of 1989 which reprinted the Kerrang! review earlier in the year.

Dream Team

Quote from: Cool Chris on March 07, 2021, 04:35:12 PM
Quote from: Setlist Scotty on March 07, 2021, 10:08:43 AM
I can relate to what you guys are saying about the shock of hearing WDaDU after being super familiar with IaW, except for me, it was the other way around! I still remember the shock of IaW sounding nothing like WDaDU - and I don't mean just because they had a new vocalist. It took me some time to get used to their "new" sound with IaW since I had WDaDU deeply ingrained in me by then after listening to it repeatedly for 3 years.

That is along the lines of what I was wondering for myself. Pretty much all my favorite bands I came to somewhere in the middle of their careers. DT is the one that I jumped on closest to the onset. Most of my others started out earlier and I wouldn't have had any way of getting in to from the beginning. Which I suppose naturally shapes how I view each album in their respective calatogs.

Same for me. I think of all my favorite bands Metallica is one of the very few where I heard the debut first - because I was THERE. Heart with Dreamboat Annie is the other. Oftentimes debuts are obscure and/or on Indie labels which makes them much less available.

hefdaddy42

The production isn't good, the vocals REALLY aren't good, and a lot of the songwriting/lyrics suffers from being amateurish (to be expected on a first album).  My favorite song is easily Ytse Jam.

I have it ranked last.

HOF

Quote from: hefdaddy42 on March 08, 2021, 08:46:27 AM
The production isn't good, the vocals REALLY aren't good, and a lot of the songwriting/lyrics suffers from being amateurish (to be expected on a first album).


All of this is true and yet and I'd rather listen to it than anything since Octavarium (and maybe over TOT as well).

JiM-Xtreme

This album rocks.  :hefdaddy

It's quite underrated amongst the fanbase in my opinion. For a bunch of kids, which they were at the time, the musicianship is really strong and the songwriting... just wow. This is a band that clearly wasn't interested in playing to trends, and I think that shows they must have had a lot of conviction in what they were doing, given that nobody really knew who they were at this point. And I must echo what a couple of you already said about youthful energy, this album is overflowing with it!

If anyone out there is put off by the production of the studio album and hasn't listened to the Re-Unite version, please stop what you are doing right now and find a copy...!! Although I wouldn't necessarily go so far as to call that performance the "definitive" version of the album, it certainly makes you appreciate how strong the songs were and still are.

Highlights for me are Ytse Jam, The Killing Hand and Only A Matter Of Time.

Robo4900

Great album.

Charlie was never a perfect fit for the band, with songs like The Killing Hand especially showing this, but the songwriting is great. The production isn't great, but the mix isn't bad. John Myung is consistently far more audible than he was on the last three Portnoy era albums. In fact, I think you can pretty consistently hear everything going on, the recording quality just isn't great, so the overall sound just isn't very good. I would be very curious to see what a proper remaster could sound like these days. But, for a million reasons, you're better off listening to/watching When Dream And Day Reunite. It's just a better version of the album. It also has that amazing encore! :metal

I wish DT played more songs off WDADU these days. Killing Hand would fucking kick ass. Either with the original intro, or with the Another Hand jam they used to replace it with on the I&W, pre-FII, and Six Degrees tours.

I'm also a fan of the way DT used to play Mission Impossible as an intro to Afterlife on the I&W tour, and the way they briefly brought back the Majesty song March of the Tyrant as an outro to Only A Matter Of Time on the European leg of the I&W tour. They also used to do a cool jam intro to Status Seeker on that tour.

hefdaddy42

Quote from: HOF on March 08, 2021, 11:17:10 AM
Quote from: hefdaddy42 on March 08, 2021, 08:46:27 AM
The production isn't good, the vocals REALLY aren't good, and a lot of the songwriting/lyrics suffers from being amateurish (to be expected on a first album).


All of this is true and yet and I'd rather listen to it than anything since Octavarium (and maybe over TOT as well).
Well, I can't understand that in any way, but I don't have to.  Tastes are subjective.  Enjoy!

Dublagent66

Uh, Majesty is 35+ years.  WDADU is 32 years.  I don't think it's bad a album but then again I never listen to it on a regular basis either.  I guess it's one of those "I can take it or leave it kinda things."

Herrick

A Fortune In Lies is one of my favorite DT songs  :metal

Overall, I think the first album is Solid but it's towards the bottom for Herrick.

darkshade


pg1067


jammindude

Quote from: Mojado Ilegal on March 06, 2021, 10:23:36 AM
In celebration of the 32nd Anniversary of "When Dream And Day Unite", I have uploaded the entire 15th Anniversary concert recorded back on March 6th, 2004, including the entire 1st set that I presume many haven't heard:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnK-rGX4RQM&list=PL5IntD7TLCAgNu6AIHcxIlM7BAgA6UPnI

Personally its one of my favorite albums by DT, I know it gets a ton of flak and is usually ranked at the bottom for many fans, but there are some killer tracks and moments throughout this entire album. This is a pretty challenging album to learn (at least for me on bass), but I wish I had gotten the chance the see any of these songs live, too bad I was too young to see them back in those days. But hopefully everyone here can take a moment to listen back to this album, even if its not your favorite.

Top Tracks for me:
1). Light Fuse And Get Away
2). The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun
3). Only A Matter Of Time

Nice to see TOWHTSTS get some love. That's my personal #1 from the album.

LudwigVan

Love this album. 

Yes it sounds raw and amateurish, but the energy/enthusiasm comes through in a way that makes it unique when compared to the rest of their albums.

ytserush

Quote from: LudwigVan on March 27, 2021, 12:17:17 AM
Love this album. 

Yes it sounds raw and amateurish, but the energy/enthusiasm comes through in a way that makes it unique when compared to the rest of their albums.

What he said!

Phoenix87x

Loved it from the first time I heard it and I love it now

Super Dude

It's not my favorite album, but it's got some solid tracks on it. Actually, I think the only track I don't at least tolerate is Status Seeker. I like most of the rest well enough.

IgnotusPerIgnotium

I remember this was one of the last albums I purchased just to have a collection back in the day..I mean I had a thing of collecting everything of DT, even singles..

Anyway, some of the songs I heard them for the first time in the Live in Tokyo DVD and then in the Live at the Marquee. I still love tracks like Light Fuse and Get Away and Only a Matter of Time, as well as Status Seeker.

I would be very happy if one day they would bring them back..I mean they brought back Space Dye Vest but not Light Fuse and Get Away..what a crime!

bosk1

Don't love it.  But the band was REALLY smart to have done that anniversary show and put out WDADRU so fans could gain exposure to these songs.  I probably would never have paid attention to most of them otherwise.

gzarruk

I'm going through the whole DT studio catalog again, so I started with WDADU last night. Still not one of my favorites nor one of their best, but I enjoyed it A LOT :metal :metal :metal This album is much better than what people give it credit for.

Ben_Jamin

Quote from: bosk1 on April 19, 2021, 09:28:00 PM
Don't love it.  But the band was REALLY smart to have done that anniversary show and put out WDADRU so fans could gain exposure to these songs.  I probably would never have paid attention to most of them otherwise.

While I do not enjoy Status Seeker on the album, I don't know why. I quite enjoy the WDADRU version of it.

I also, prefer the studio version of Light Fuse and Get Away over the WDADRU version. Charlies voice really fits in this song, Status Seeker, Afterlife, and Only A Matter of Time.

My first taste of a song from this album is Only A Matter of Time from Budakon.

Honestly, Live at Budakon is actually a great live album to introduce Dream Theater.