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Dream Theater - Awake CD (album) cover

AWAKE

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

4.11 | 1556 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

MikeEnRegalia
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is my favorite DT album. Images & Words and Scenes are equally perfect from an objective standpoint (if I had to recommend one I wouldn't know which to choose) but this one is best balanced IMO. Scenes has that Rudess influence which moved DT a tiny bit closer to ELP, Images & Words is a tiny bit less "metal" than Awake. On Awake you have it all ... and I really like Kevin Moore's contribution, which adds an - if even only on the subconscious level - experimental and slightly avant-garde feeling, not only on Space-Dye Vest.

In a nutshell this album has all which makes Prog Metal the wonderful genre which it is - if you're into this sort of thing. Of course there are many reasons to dislike it ... outstanding musicianship, crystal clear production, amazing bandwidth of musical styles from soft/acoustic to heavy/thrash, you name it.

The only problems I have with the album are a few passages where LaBrie sings in registers which are on the fringes of what he's capable of - it's a bit better than on I&W though - and the track Lifting Shadows Off a Dream, which is perhaps the earliest example of DT honoring U2 and is simply not a particularly noteworthy song IMO.

But that still leaves us with over an hour of pure masterpiece.

6:00: What an amazing way to start an album. A perfect track.

Caught In A Web: A very well rounded track ... and it starts with a wonderful rhythmic pattern (3/4 in 16th feel).

Innocence Faded: A really nice track, but the last minute is nothing short of amazing!

Erotomania: This would later be one of the key points of the "Instrumedley". Is it overplayed? Yeah, maybe. But that's the point! It's way over the top, but at the same time they play it so effortlessly ... especially live it always has that "jar-dropping" effect on people who witness it for the first time. And I dare to say that even with all this virtuosity they play it with feeling.

Voices: A very beautiful track, and a perfect counterpart to the very dense Erotomania. It's simply awesome to listen through Erotomania and then there's this spacey, atmospheric with the effects-ladden keyboards and guitars ... eerie, surreal are attributes which begin to describe it.

And then comes ... the second half. "This isn't reality" ... quite true, this is indeed a Dream Theater.

The Silent Man: A very nice acoustic piece, together with the previous two tracks it forms an epic of sorts called "A Mind Beside Itself".

The Mirror: The heaviest track on the album - and the intro is just ... cool, with the drums changing the rhythm while the underlying guitar riff remains unchanged. The only thing that tops this is how the song segues into then next track.

Lie: Simply gorgeous how the track slowly chugs on in a "verbose" 16th rhythm while Moore's distorted keyboards play slow bends in the background. The song is very heavy, but also very cool and laid back ... especially in the middle part (I guess you could call it a bridge) where the drums suddenly change the grouping (from 4-4-4-4 they change to 6-6, from binary to ternary). Then a short quirky interlude, solo and back to the original track.

Lifting Shadows Off a Dream: I don't like U2 too much ... and this song owes a lot to them (Where the Streets Have No Name/I Still Haven't Found ..., anyone?). Add to that LaBrie's struggle with the high register notes ... my least favorite track.

Scarred: Petrucci plays the Blues ... I like it very much. The licks he plays in the intro are *very* tasty, very melodic. Then of course the main verse kicks in and the Blues is gone. Still, an unusual DT track, the riffing reminds me a bit of what they later did on Falling Into Infinity. The only problem is that it's a tiny bit too long, which is due to the repetitive outro.

Space-Dye Vest: Pure Brilliance. Dream Theater goes Depeche Mode / Experimental Dark Wave. Many people would have liked to hear more Kevin Moore influenced work with DT, but it wasn't meant to be. Of course quite some years later Portnoy and Moore would get together again for a very nice project (OSI) which really reminds me of Space-Dye Vest a lot - not so much the actual music but the slightly subversive and dark mood of the piece.

MikeEnRegalia | 5/5 |

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