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Dream Theater - Awake CD (album) cover

AWAKE

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

4.11 | 2000 ratings

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Neo-Romantic
5 stars Dream Theater is a group I respect. I don't consider myself very knowledgeable about them, as I've only heard three of their albums in their entirety (this one, I&W, and SFAM), but what I've heard I've liked. This one is definitely no exception.

It took me a while to get into it, but once I did, I definitely feel good about my purchase. Better than good, as a matter of fact. This album is phenomenal! What I like about it so much is it is as emotional as it is technical. It's very different from I&W, but that's a good thing. I don't want to hear a clone of a perfect album. That suggests stagnation. No, Dream Theater went in a bold new direction, possibly influenced by turbulence following I&W's release that darkened up the sound and themes a touch, but what that did is it provided the album with a much richer sense of depth than any repetitive re-release of past material in a different package could ever provide.

The technical flash is still very much there. It's really inventive, though, and balanced well. The group at this stage was writing with a strong emphasis on individual or groups of songs, which provided a good blend of continuity and variety. For this reason, there's something for everyone with a taste for prog metal to be heard here. From the eclecticism of 6:00 to the flashy, masterfully contrasted and balanced instrumental Erotomania, to the powerful and emotional later tracks on the album, it truly does have it all, and pulls it off well. Granted, some tracks stand out more than others, and some take a few listens to appreciate, but it matures well, offers great rewards for patient listeners, and doesn't sound dated to me.

If pressed, I'd say the true highlights are Erotomania, Voices, The Mirror/Lie, Scarred, and Space-Dye Vest, a true front-runner for best song the band has ever recorded. A bit of a black sheep on this album, but please check this out. Anybody wondering if a metal group with such technical prowess can truly be emotionally expressive should hear this album, and the last track especially. A solid album in my book that I have no reservation calling a masterpiece. 5 stars for me.

Neo-Romantic | 5/5 |

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