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Dream Theater - Awake CD (album) cover

AWAKE

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

4.11 | 2008 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Yet another masterpiece by DT. 'Awake' makes an impressive follow-up to the amazing 'Images & Words', mostly by showing off a different, more metallic approach to their signature prog metal sound. Generally speaking, the 'Awake' repertoire is fiercer and fierier than its predecessor's: the sound is more aggressive, the performances are penetrated by a harder edge, a big deal of the guitar riffs and solos are quite sombre, at times even openly belligerent. The more subdued role of Moore's keys (only two solos in the whole album) helps to decrease the symphonic splendour of 'I&W' in order to emphasize the overall heavy mood here. The first two tracks are clear manifestos of the refurbished thing that's gping on. Other massive examples are the incendiary duet 'The Mirror'/'Lie' and the stormy 'Scarred'. While the instrumentation provided by Petrucci, Myung and Moore is openly dark and heavy, Portnoy manages to create a clever counterbalnce by allowing his drumming to get quite loosened, at times leaning toward the cadence of jazz and funky, without losing a miligram of rock energy. His introductory rolls for '6:00' are simply masterful, and so is the fluid foundation he lays for 'The Mirror' / 'Lie' and 'Scarred' all thorughout its tempo shifts and varying motifs (a special mention for his input in the closing section of 'Scarred'). IMHO, it is the three-part suite 'A Mind Beside Itself' that shines as the most impressive gem in this album - its three successive sections really operate as separate tracks with their own respective artistic structures, yet they also manage to provide an amazing unitary whole. The pyrotechnical instrumental 'Erotomania' is a real disturbing musical journey thorugh an exciting diversity of motifs, which include appropriate anticipations of some lines from the following two sections; 'Voices' is a very inspired ode to the destructive drive of mental-emotional chaos, powerful without getting too speedy most of the time; ultimately, the last section 'The Silent Man' turns out to be a gentle, lyrical acoustic ballad that serves as a final serene relief. There are also softer tracks, such as 'Innocence faded' and 'Lifting Shadows off a Dream', that see DT making a stand between AOR and 90s Rush: these are highly melodic numbers, never getting mellow or "corny". The closure is definitely something to remember (it sounds in my head while I'm writing this) - 'Space-Dye Vest' is an awesome ambient-oriented ballad penned by Moore, in this way anticipating the Chroma Key stuff to some degree. Though it's not built upon a frantic tempo, its lyrics and mood are still emotionally violent: a brilliant ending for a brilliant album.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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