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Dream Theater - Octavarium CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.66 | 1995 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars What a shame.

DREAM THEATER has done, it seems, what every artist is tempted to do: listened to their fans. Big mistake! They continue to search for a voice here, and the message they received from their fans about 'Train of Thought' was 'not that!'

So 'Octavarium' is a diluted offering, seeing DREAM THEATER falling between the metaphorical stools. Nothing here has the emotive and heavy riffage that stirred feelings on the previous album. It's a pity: DREAM THEATER are not lyrically or compositionally spohisticated enough to carry off this style of music.

Listening to 'Octavarium' has convinced me that their most authoritative and suitable voice is that of 'Six Degrees', 'A Change of Seasons' and 'Train of Thought.' That is, fast and furious.

So, to this album. A couple of tracks stand out: 'Panic Attack' and 'These Walls' are strong throughout, with memorable musical phrases. Other tracks are run-of-the-mill, stirring neither interest nor hatred. However, I must pass comment on the last two tracks. 'Sacrificed Sons' is excellent musically, but for me (avowedly left of centre politically) the politics are far too one-sided. I thought, from the title, that DREAM THEATER might take an even-handed look at the sons sacrificed on both sides - al la 'The Great Debate' on 'Six Degrees'. Both the samples and the lyrics are a shallow and trite exploration of the subject. A student presenting me with such an assessment would fail.

Now, for the final 'epic' track. I find this track extremely disappointing. It's a slow builder, but very little apart from LaBrie's excellent vocals captures my interest. But what kills it for me is the final section, so transparently constructed as an emotional coda. Is that a flugelhorn I hear at the end? My goodness, this could have been written by a Disney hack. I feel DREAM THEATER can aspire so much higher than this.

Ignore the comparisons between U2, Pink Floyd and Muse. People look for hooks to hang new experiences on; it's a human trait to make comparisons. This is another attempt by DREAM THEATER to find their own voice. They're still looking.

russellk | 3/5 |


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