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Dream Theater - Awake CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.16 | 2319 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Dream Theater - Awake 5.0 stars.

Dream Theater embarked on a venture into even more exploration after their wonderful album 'Images and Words'. The line-up hasn't changed since the previous album, which ensures that it emanated a good feeling. Unfortunately this is last album to feature the brilliant Kevin Moore on keyboard as well as the driven lyrics he contributed. This is Dream Theater's most diverse album aside from possibly 'Octavarium'. This album contains the best guitar work yet from Petrucci, Portnoy's most powerful drumming and LaBrie's vocal performance was probably his best on this record. All of the tracks on this album were very progressive.all over the place, but you can sense there was structure in the songs, a reason behind the madness.

'6:00' starts off with crazy drum-work from Portnoy.probably my favorite of all his stuff. The track is very dark in atmosphere with the keyboard sound is haunting and the guitar work is heavy. The vocals of the song are low for LaBrie, but are well suited when pared with the excellent keyboard and guitar solos are included in the equation. One of my favorite DT tracks.

'Caught in a Web' is my least favorite on the album. The music is still very good; it just leaves you a little unsatisfied after the wonderful '6:00'. Again the vocal work is quite exceptional and it has a powerful intro.

'Innocence Faded' is a very pleasant song. There are a lot of great melodies in this track and it there are tons of mood changes in the piece. The track culminates with an awesome guitar solo.

'A Mind Beside Itself' (Erotomania, Voices, The Silent Man) is one track divided into three parts and is done wonderfully. 'Erotomania' is an awesome instrumental to check out. 'Voices' is a powerful track that starts out very haunting; the song is very melancholic from a lyrical perspective with the instruments only enhancing this effect. The piece ends with 'The Silent Man' which features wonderful acoustic work as well as passages from the prior to songs brought back in which really puts the grand track to a close.excellent work.

'The Mirror' and 'Lie' also mesh right into one another. 'The Mirror' starts with an intense guitar riff, quite possible the heaviest Petrucci riff of the first three albums. The keyboard work is very imposing and yet again haunting, fitting perfectly with the heavy guitar tone and LaBrie's harsh vocals. At about the 3:30 mark the track drastically changes to a very uplifting tone.but the lyrics stay dark and the vocals remain still harsh and you are brought right back into the chaos. At 5:15 contains my favorite Dream Theater melody.its great yet tragic as it is entirely too short. Then slowly the song builds up, becoming gradually louder and louder with a crunchy guitar riff repeated but the dynamics and harmonics are added to it to spice it up, only leading right into 'Lie', which is freaking awesome. The song has catchy vocal work and an awesome guitar riff that repeats throughout. These two make up my favorite on the album.

'Lifting Shadows off a Dream' is a powerful ballad. This is a stand out song in their discography and rightfully so as within it is great guitar, drum and vocal work. The song is very peaceful and the instruments convey it nicely.

'Scarred' is the most underrated song in Dream Theater's repertoire, as you never hear anything about this track compared to pieces of the same nature like 'Metropolis', 'Learning to Live', 'Beyond this Life', 'Home', etc. This track to me shows their songwriting potential fulfilled. The song just keeps progressing further and further; to hell with structure and in came adventurous, true prog. The keyboard and guitar solos were just kick ass and then cut right back to the chorus. The outro to the song was long and wonderful and probably one of their best.

'Space-Dye Vest' is Kevin Moore's swansong. I find it hilarious that Portnoy said that he and the band hated the song and regret ever releasing it, in his forums. The song is the most unique piece in the Dream Theater collection. This extremely dark song is made up of acoustic piano and voice. Once in a while Petrucci fades in and Portnoy might come in on a beat but that's about it till the end of the song. This is the only song where there is a prominent use of samples besides 'The Great Debate' and 'Sacrificed Sons' although they're to a lesser extent and in the end the whole band comes together for the finale with Petrucci plays the piano melody and Portnoy does simple drum-work while the chorus is repeated. This was a very tight song and wonderful way to end the album.

'Awake' is an extremely well thought-out album for Dream Theater. This goes right under 'Images and Words' in my book. I'd have to say this was their most diverse effort while maintaining integrity by not trying to make each track sound different like on some other albums. This album would be a high recommendation if you want to hear Dream Theater present a good job on their heavy side.

ProgBagel | 5/5 |


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