Dream Theater is the perfect bridge between heavy metal and progressive rock, and this is their finest album. While it's not as hard as a band like Metallica, it's much more encompassing, utilizing instruments beyond guitar, drums and bass. One doesn't normally associate saxophones and synthesizers with metal, but it really works here. Vocalist James LaBrie is a bit strident at times, but given the foundation (and past examples, including Rush), it's tolerable. At the time of this release (1992), progressive metal was best epitomized by Queensryche (and Metallica, to a unacknowledged extent), but Dream Theater has remained fairly true to the genre, bringing in legions of fans who, while they may not make the leap to progressive rock, at least can appreciate that loud and fast doesn't have to mean simple. A landmark album that belongs in any progressive rock fan's collection.