Gah! Don't make me try to choose! Images and Words was the first album by them I heard, and I was blown away by it. Awake was also good but I don't think I was as blown away. I've since grown to love them in equal measures, but I'll vote I&W just because it used to be my favorite.
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Both are great albums, although a bit different in their structure. I'll side with Images and Words for Take the Time.
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Awake has always stood out a little more to me. More memorable songs, better variety and flow within the album, and better lyric imo. Just about everything works a little better for me.
Opeth, Symphony X, Dream Theater, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Arch Enemy, Elvuitie, Epica, Nightwish, Arctic Monkeys, Cream
One of the biggest problems comparing the two is that the "Final Fantasy VII effect" holds pretty solidly over Images and Words. It's a fantastic album, but it's also the album that most people started off on, and their memories of being brought into Dream Theater are somewhat colored by that.
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