The Killing Hand

Album: Images and Words (1992)


  • "The Killing Hand" is a story involving time travel and murder. It was written by Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci, who isn't totally sure what it's about. In a 2020 Songfacts interview, he said: "That's very sci-fi. I don't remember the exact details I wrote, but it was something about somebody coming back from the future and killing somebody."

    Petrucci added: "From the very beginning, I was really into writing fiction and coming up with stories. The kind of music that Dream Theater does - prog - is just the perfect backdrop for that because it can have long song forms with all sorts of eclectic arrangements, and it really lends itself to storytelling. So that was another fictional story I wrote."
  • Running 8:41, the song is broken up into five sections, which is something the group did a lot on their later albums. The sections are:

    I The Observance
    II Ancient Renewal
    III The Stray Seed
    IV Thorns
    V Exodus
  • This was included on the first Dream Theater album, When Dream And Day Unite. Released in 1989, it was issued on the MCA imprint Mechanic Records, which also had Trixter and Tad. It wasn't a good fit, and the album cratered.

    With new lead singer James LaBrie replacing Charlie Dominici, they got a new deal with Atco Records, which was a better pairing. Their next album, Images And Words, was a winner, establishing the band as a prog metal powerhouse.


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