June 25, 2005

Dream Theater: 2005 When Dream And Day Unite

Every time Dream Theater releases a new album it usually takes between three and five listens before I'm really able to wrap my mind around the music and decide if I like it or not. Of course, I always end up loving it and can't imagine them making any new albums that don't sound like this. Then after a couple years they release another album that sounds very different from the last and the whole process starts over again.

Now that I've finally fallen in love with the newest release, Octavarium, and have been listening to it non-stop for well over a week I thought I'd post my personal ranking of Dream Theater's studio albums. I’ll post my thoughts on one album per day, starting with the lowest ranked and moving upward. Here we go!

9. When Dream and Day Unite

This is the one album that I don’t really listen to on any kind of regular basis, and you’ll notice that it basically isn’t counted as a Dream Theater album since one of the main themes in Octavarium, the most recent album, centers around it being the eighth studio album, when it’s actually the ninth if we count When Dream And Day Unite. The reason is that James LaBrie, Dream Theater’s singer/frontman didn’t join the band until Images and Words, which is when the Dream Theater sound really solidified. The singer on this album, Charlie Dominici, just doesn’t have the power, range, or vocal quality to really carry what the band is setting for him. That coupled with the fact that the band members were in their very early twenties and the sound is a little unpolished. Still, the songs themselves are good and on the most recent live album the current lineup played “Only A Matter Of Time” off this album and it sounded pretty good. Also, "YTSE Jam" is a fan favorite instrumental and gets a fair amount of play at concerts and MP3 players still. A good, but flawed, first effort.

Edit: I just now found out that there's an official bootleg of a show celebrating the 15th anniversary of this album where the current lineup performed the whole album. Supposedly the production sounds a bit better and the songs benefit from James LaBrie being a much better singer. I'll have to check that out...

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