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Dream Theater - Octavarium CD (album) cover

OCTAVARIUM

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

3.65 | 1574 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

rpe9p
2 stars I have been surprised to see the love for this album from many people on this site. I will begin by comparing the album to its predecessor, Train of Thought. ToT was definitely the bands heaviest output so far, attracting a lot of attention from the metal community. With their next album, Octavarium, they tried to continue to appeal to this audience while at the same time trying to appeal to mainstream audiences and also their prog-rock fans. Inevitably it seemed, the blending of styles did not come out well and what we have is an inconsistent and (from a prog rock fan's perspective) poor output from dream theater.

The album begins with another heavy addition to the mike portnoy AA suite, The Root of All Evil. This song is inferior to the previous two AA songs and a little too heavy for my tastes. They then try to change the pace with a softer ballad, The Answer Lies Within. Somehow, Dream Theater has forgotten how to write these kinds of songs because I relaly enjoyed when they did songs like Another Day and Surrounded on Images and Words. I find this song to be hollow and somewhat depressing despite the optimistic lyrics. These Walls is a heavy song looking to appeal to the mainstream and it wouldnt sound out of place on the radio if the station plays metal. I actually enjoy this song quite a bit when im in the right mood, but objectively theres nothing great about it. I dont blame them for trying to appeal to popular audiences, and the song isnt awful, but theres not too much in it for a prog fan. The next song, I Walk Beside You, ventures even further into the radio friendly world, losing the heaviness of the previous track and even shortening to a radio friendly length. This song always made me think of U2 and apparently so have a lot of other people who reviewed this album.

Panic Attack is probably the heaviest song on the album and as a person who is not a big fan of metal, I cant say that I really like it. It seems to me to be a good song, but my personal taste gets in the way and I just do not care for it. This is the band trying to appeal to the fans they had made with their previous album, and I would bet it does a good job of that. Never Enough is another heavy song that really does nothing for me and I suspect even metal fans would say the same, there is nothing remarkable about this song. The lyrics seem to be about portnoy's frustration with his treatment by fans, saying that everything is never enough for them. Sacrificed Sons is a sad song about September 11th. It is a sad and heavy song, but with this one I think the band pulls it out and makes a half-decent metal song. It captures the emotions of that sad day for many Americans and features some good instrumentals. Now, we come to the title track, which is definitely the highlight of the album. The song features many different moods and transitions as everything in the album comes full circle. It starts off slow, eventually building to an energetic climax. I wont go into the details of the song, except to say that it features the wide range of sound from the band (and this time I mean it in a good way) from softer ballad passages to awesome instrumentals and heavier parts. I just recently went back and listened to this song and noticed the full-circle part makes many references to classic prog songs by bands like genesis, yes, pink floyd, and the beatles. This song is clearly the highlight of the album, but it is not nearly as amazing as some here might say and it definitely doesnt compare to other epics like A Change of Seasons and Learning to Live in my opinion.

This album is for fans only because there is no reason you should get this album unless you alread have most of Dream Theater's other material. If you are looking for something really heavy, get Train of Thought. I dont care for it, but I can see that it is a much better album for the metal fan. If you want something on the lighter and proggier side, go for Images and Words, their best album. If you already have I&W and wouldnt mind something a little heavier, get Scenes From a Memory. Do not get Octavarium unless you are a DT fan who already has most of their albums or you are trying to get your mainstream friends to like some (not so progressive) prog metal.

rpe9p | 2/5 |

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