Remember 1992? The Cure or Dream Theater as the Future of Prog?

For me, the only great thing to come out of the Mike Portnoy/NHS controversy (which doesn’t seem like it should have been a controversy, at least to this American) was that it re-awakened my interest in Portnoy’s time in Dream Theater. I’ve followed him almost religiously in his non-DT efforts (Transatlantic, Neal Morse Band, Flying Colors), and I think the world of him—as a person and as a drummer. Yeah, he’s got a bit of a temper—but he seems to let it run wild only when life calls for it to run wild. I can’t really blame him. Plus, the guy is so outstanding in what he does, I can’t help but admire him. I would give a lot to have his restraint, frankly.

dt images words
The first prog metal album, IMAGES AND WORDS.

But, my point in this post is not about that “controversy.” Instead, that moment in England caused me to pull out all of my Portnoy-era Dream Theater, 1992. I’m not what you’d call an intense fan of Dream Theater, but I have purchased every single album (studio, live, ep) as it’s has come out since IMAGES AND WORDS.

When I first got IMAGES AND WORDS, I was impressed with it. I listened to it with fervor, but, even then, I really loved side two and I really didn’t love side one.

Remember 1992?

1992 was a great year for music, but it was an uncertain year for prog.

cure wish
Half prog (in a Traffic kind of way), half wacky pop. WISH.

At the time, The Cure’s WISH seemed as likely a candidate for inheriting the mantle of prog as did Dream Theater’s IMAGES AND WORDS. In hindsight, it’s easy to give the award to Dream Theater, but not so easy in 1992. Go back and listen to “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea,” but also listen to “Open,” “Cut,” “To Wish Impossible Things,” and “End.” There’s a LOT of prog on that Cure album. Plus, I would consider DISINTEGRATION a prog album. My point: if you listened to Dream Theater (metal prog) and The Cure (pop prog), it was impossible to determine who was more prog.  At least in 1992.

Add the albums from Phish, Pearl Jam, and U2 that year.

A lot could’ve happened.

Well, here we are 23 years later. Thanks, Mike. You paved the way then and you continue to do so.

One thought on “Remember 1992? The Cure or Dream Theater as the Future of Prog?

  1. 92 was a HELL of year musically. I have the same feelings about Wish and Disintegration (the best album ever!/South Park reference haha). I was also heavily into U2 and Pearl Jam at that time. The common links, trends, whatever you want to call it, is that the albums that year broke rules and conventions. Achtung Baby and Zooropa, Vs, they were milestones. Wish has a special place for me. It takes me back to high school and when I met my future wife. Common musical interests included The Cure and U2. Years and years later I dragged the poor thing to Rush and Dream Theater concerts circa 2001 lol. What was I thinking. These days we go see Coldplay and U2 together. Still holding hope for The Cure tickets someday. I miss the Wish lineup. Magical group of soundscapists.

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