When Dream and Day Unite

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When Dream and Day Unite
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 6, 1989 (1989-03-06)
RecordedJuly 18 – August 12, 1988
StudioKajem/Victory Studios in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania
GenreProgressive metal, progressive rock
ProducerTerry Date, Dream Theater, Steve Sinclair
Dream Theater chronology
The Majesty Demos
When Dream and Day Unite
Images and Words
Singles from When Dream and Day Unite
  1. "Status Seeker"
    Released: 1989
  2. "Afterlife"
    Released: March 16, 1989

When Dream and Day Unite is the debut studio album by American progressive metal band Dream Theater, released on March 6, 1989 through Mechanic/MCA Records. The album is composed mainly of material that originally surfaced during the band's early years as Majesty, and is the only Dream Theater album to feature Charlie Dominici on vocals, as James LaBrie replaced Dominici as the lead vocalist on subsequent albums.

Although the album does not have a title track, the phrase "when dream and day unite" appears in the album's closing track "Only a Matter of Time".

When Dream and Day Unite is the shortest Dream Theater studio album to date, and is one of three Dream Theater studio album to not feature any songs longer than 10 minutes.


The band was originally formed in 1985 by founding members John Myung (bass), Mike Portnoy (drums), and John Petrucci (guitar) under the name Majesty, which was inspired by Portnoy's commentary on the ending of "Bastille Day" by Rush. After the band found a keyboardist in schoolmate Kevin Moore, the band hosted auditions and settled on Chris Collins as the lead vocalist.

The band, still titled Majesty, recorded The Majesty Demos between 1985 and 1986, but shortly thereafter, it was forced to change their name after another band decided to take legal action. While touring around New York, Collins left the band, and the band went through many lead singers before settling in with experienced vocalist Charlie Dominici. Still trying to come up with ideas to rename their band, Portnoy's father suggested the name Dream Theater, which was the name of a nearby movie theater. They accepted the name, and eventually signed their first recording contract with Mechanic/MCA. The album was then recorded during the summer of 1988 at Kajem/Victory Studios in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, notable for the recording of Operation: Mindcrime by Queensrÿche.

With the relatively warm reception of their original demos, the band expected their debut album to be received with much fanfare and buzz, but the album went largely unnoticed by the music industry, and eventually led to Mechanic/MCA cutting their contract ties with the band, resulting in a small club tour for the album exclusively in the New York area. They also produced two singles, "Status Seeker" and "Afterlife", whose remixes and single edits for radio were done by Terry Brown of Rush production fame.[1][2] Due to tensions within the band and creative differences, Dominici was fired from the band, and they were without a lead singer until late 1990.[3]

15th anniversary performance[edit]

On the 15th anniversary of the album, the band performed it in its entirety in Los Angeles. Furthermore, during two additional songs in the encore, special guests Dominici and Derek Sherinian (both now former Dream Theater members) performed along with the rest of the band; however, original keyboardist Kevin Moore did not appear. The entire performance was recorded live and later released on CD and DVD under the title When Dream and Day Reunite through Portnoy's independent label YtseJam Records. The album also featured a live version of "Metropolis—Part I", which was originally from the band's 1992 album Images and Words, and a performance of a B-side from Awake called "To Live Forever", both originally written shortly after the release of When Dream and Day Unite, and played live on the tour for the album.[4][5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[6]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal7/10[7]

When Dream and Day Unite did not receive much attention upon release, but due to the commercial success of Images and Words, the album would later receive critical reviews and criticism from many resources. Robert Taylor of AllMusic remarked an obvious Queensrÿche influence in the band's "progressive metal" music and defined Petrucci and Portnoy "competent musicians", whose "individual styles were not yet refined"; he criticized the "subpar singing, too many metal clichés, and poor production", but added that the album has "enough interesting playing to make it a worthwhile listen for fans of this genre."[6] Canadian journalist Martin Popoff reviewed positively the album which contained "startingly progressive yet very heavy and explosive prog metal", but criticized the "clattery, thin production of Terry Date" and the sound of keyboards and drums.[7]

This is the only Dream Theater album that failed to chart on the Billboard 200.[8]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Dream Theater, except where noted.

1."A Fortune in Lies"John Petrucci5:12
2."Status Seeker"Charlie Dominici, Petrucci4:17
3."The Ytse Jam" (music: Petrucci, John Myung, Kevin Moore, Mike Portnoy)(instrumental)5:46
4."The Killing Hand"
  • "I The Observance"
  • "II Ancient Renewal"
  • "III The Stray Seed"
  • "IV Thorns"
  • "V Exodus"
5."Light Fuse and Get Away"Moore7:23
7."The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun"Petrucci8:05
8."Only a Matter of Time"Moore6:35
Total length:51:25


Dream Theater


  1. ^ Status Seeker (CD single sleeve). Dream Theater. New York: Mechanic Records. 1989. CD 45-17783.
  2. ^ Afterlife (CD single sleeve). Dream Theater. New York: Mechanic Records. 1989. CD 45-17784.
  3. ^ "Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite review". Mike Portnoy.com. Retrieved 2017-01-25.
  4. ^ "Dream Theater Tourography: When Dream and Tour Unite 10/14/1989 Bay Shore, Long Island, NY, USA". Mike Portnoy.com. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  5. ^ "Dream Theater Tourography: When Dream and Tour Unite 11/14/1989 New York City, NY, USA". Mike Portnoy.com. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  6. ^ a b Taylor, Robert. "Dream Theater - When Dream and Day Unite review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2017-01-25.
  7. ^ a b Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 102. ISBN 978-1894959315.
  8. ^ "Artist Chart History - Dream Theater > Albums". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 2016-06-23.