I'm at a loss for words when trying to convey the importance of an album like "Images And Words" in music. I remember seeing the video for "Pull Me Under" back in '92 (I was twelve) and thinking this band might be Satanic. Don't ask me why, but the song IS pretty heavy and dark, and I was basically new to Metal, so cut me some slack G! (sorry, my African roots showing themselves again....word)
I finally got the album two years later, and after hearing "Pull Me Under", they kicked into the hip, radio-friendly popadelia of "Another Day", with James LaBrie's hilarious "oooohhh"ing and "awww"ing in the intro, and I went "WHAT THE FUCK?!?!". Immediately, I realized that the band was slightly misrepresented when "Pull Me Under" got so popular on MTV (remember? it was played quite often actually!).
Well, as far as the musical brilliance found on this album, let me just say that this was THE Prog Rock-bible of the 90s, on par with any of RUSH's most influential albums like "Moving Pictures" and "Permanent Waves". It spawned hundreds of imitators and worshippers, and they became one of the few bands in Progressive Rock to gain a fair deal of commercial success as well. This album truly was ahead of its time in many ways.
While RUSH were technical, and were obviously a big influence on DT, they weren't quite as over-the-top in their songwriting. DT took all the extreme elements of RUSH, YES and KING CRIMSON, ran them through a blender set on "puree", added a liberal amount of heaviness and double-bass-drumming to the mixture, and seasoned it with extended, virtuoso leads and neoclassical melody lines. They adopted the "more is more" mentality and used it to the fullest extent, showing no remorse. On display in the compositions are all of the ingredients that have now become essential to the Prog-idiom: constantly shifting rhythmic meters, insane guitar/keyboard dialogues, trigonometric drum patterns, and bass lines that mirror the lightning fast guitar-melodies (we might as well just call it a "baritone guitar" in this case).
Listening to songs like "Metropolis...", "Under A Glass Moon", and virtually anything else on "I & W", and you're liable to drop to your knees in humble reverence of such skilled musical artistry. If there's one thing that everyone must do, it is to have a good amount of RESPECT for bands that are willing to spend the countless hours of practice necessary to perform such complex music. While they are a "love or hate" kind of band, they are amazing, there's no disputing that, and this is their crowning achievement.
It's a gift to all of us. So if you love all things progressive, why don't you progress your ass out the door and pick up this mofo big boy!!!