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Dream Theater - Octavarium CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.66 | 1996 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Octavarium' - Dream Theater (6/10)

I really don't see why some Dream Theater fans despise this album so much. What's wrong with it? Is it the fact that it has some relatively non-metal, mainstream leaning material? Is it the heavy drawing of influence from other prog rock sources? Nontheless, 'Octavarium' while not comparing to the truly amazing Dream Theater albums, is really good and if anything, worth buying it for the 25 minute epic.

The album really starts with a bang. 'The Root Of All Evil' is without a doubt the best part of the ongoing Alcoholic's Anonymous Suite. There is a fine mix of heaviness and progressiveness. It's essentially an example of what a good, modern Dream Theater song should sound like. Next is a song with heavy AOR influence, 'The Answer Lies Within.' It's pretty, but nothing special. It's probably the low point of the album, but it's indeed listenable.

'These Walls' is fine, although there's definately a few mainstream hooks in there. But the true mainstream feeling of the album comes in with 'I Walk Beside You,' which despite it being mainstream, I still enjoy it, and it has a very cool intro nontheless.

'Panic Attack' feels a bit too corny for me. There's great musicianship, but it's backed by rather lacking lyrics, and that spoils alot of the enjoyment for me. If you can stand the cheese though, 'Panic Attack' is a great song that showcases Dream Theater's heavier side.

Next comes 'Never Enough,' which has a great electronic/baroque feel. It's essentially a precursor to 'Systematic Chaos' 'Prophets Of War,' if you're more familiar with the newer Dream Theater. While being a great song, it still doesn't compare to the two remaining songs. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where the album starts to go full pace.

'Sacrificed Sons' is a ballad about the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers. It's beautifully sung by LaBrie, and has some great songwriting, before going into an all-out prog metal jam session, which also feels like a 'Systematic Chaos' song, 'Ministry Of Lost Souls.' It's an amazing song, and as an oddity in Dream Theater's modern works, there are actually some great lyrics to go along with it.

Bringing the album to a close is the epic 'Octavarium.' While it's not up to par with 'A Change Of Seasons,' it's a masterpiece in it's own right. I can still remember the first time listening to this song, the day I bought the CD. I literally put down everything I was doing and for twenty minutes, I did nothing more than lie on my bed, and listen to the majesty of it all. Starting out with an enveloping trance-like Continuum solo from Jordan Rudess, the band suddenly cuts in and I'm blown away. I expect alot from DT epics, and this one certainly did not dissapoint at all.

Octavarium is a great album, and will definately be enjoyed, if there isn't any expectation for another highly progressive all-out masterpiece. It's very good, and despite some of it's mainstream leanings, is a great Dream Theater album that does not dissapoint.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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