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Dream Theater - Octavarium CD (album) cover

OCTAVARIUM

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.66 | 1995 ratings

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ThorLife
2 stars Octavarium was the beginning of the end of my love affair with Dream Theater, but they weren't completely out of gas at this point yet.

"The Root of All Evil", a continuation of the saga that started with "The Glass Prison" and continued in "This Dying Soul", is a solid offering, driving forward with more of a hard rock groove than its predecessors. While it calls back to melodies, vocal lines and lyrics from the aforementioned songs, this song still manages to feel considerably less derivative than some of those that lie ahead.

Dream Theater always seemed upfront about their influences, but on Octavarium, they don't just wear them on their sleeve--they've got stickers all over their clothes. "I Walk Beside You" and "These Walls" are ill-fitting attempts at modern pop/rock songs, and the overt Muse-worship on display on "Never Enough" (and, to a lesser degree, "Panic Attack") is unbecoming of the band. "Sacrificed Sons", although a more typical Dream Theater tune, is among the sleepier of their long-form songs, and so the album basically does anything but go from strength to strength.

The title track is indeed the best thing on here, but coming into it from a solid thirty minutes of mediocrity, it's difficult to muster up enthusiasm for its four-minute intro. As such, I think it's actually better experienced as a standalone track. Good song, though. For me, it features both the best calm sections and the best balls-to-the-wall moments on the album, as well as the rare occasion where I think Portnoy's vocal input is warranted.

ThorLife | 2/5 |

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