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Dream Theater - Octavarium CD (album) cover

OCTAVARIUM

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.66 | 1478 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Shakespeare
2 stars About half (or less) of this album is standard metal. Adrenaline-pumping, fast-paced rockers with intense musicianship, but generally simple songwriting. Maybe simple isn't the right word. Unsophisticated fits better. Artless writing, it seems, sometimes. Personally, this sort of thing doesn't overly appeal to me: I find it too aggressive, and not sensitive enough. Great music isn't simply about crazy musicianship (though, it clearly has its influence), but more about feel and creativity, methinks.

There are moments (not as scarce as it might seem) on this album where Dream Theater's unique personality shows, and where emotion can be seen (or...heard). Moments of the opener "The Root of all Evil", and the second track "The Answer Lies Within" (If you can look past the moaning voice of James Labrie), along with the possibly Chrisitan-based "I Walk Beside You". On these tracks, keyboard, vocals and even some orchestra is prominent. The biggest example of this more sensitive side of Dream Theater, however, is on the epic the title track, Octavarium. From the ambient (slide?) guitar of the introduction to the powerful orchestra towards the end, this track is absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, these moments are not frequent enough to make the album a classic, and they are eclipsed by the unsophisticated metal ramblings (which sometimes work well).

Some of the faster, more aggressive metal songs are well written, however. They are well structured, tight, and unique compared to most metal. Sacraficed Sons, for one, is a very atmospheric metal song that I (increasingly) enjoy. Unfortunately (in the case of "The Answer Lies Within", and more importantly, "I Walk Beside you"), James LaBrie's dramatic, moaning, whining vocals can get very tiresome and even a bit (for lack of a better word...) disgusting. But, especially on the faster tracks, his voice works very well to add another level of adrenaline (see the climax of the title track). Trapped inside this Octavarium!

If straight-forward metal is your thing, then you may thoroughly enjoy this album. If you, like me, cherish more than just fantastic musicianship, and complex structure, then this album may leave you unsatisfied (despite the many softer and more touching sections).

Shakespeare | 2/5 |

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