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Dream Theater - Octavarium CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.66 | 1995 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars If you take a real hard notice, Dream Theater really went out of their way to throw in a bunch of clues that tell us that OCTAVARIUM revolves around the numbers 5 and 8. This is their eighth album, it contains eight songs with the eighth being the epic title track of five parts, the fifth song mostly uses the 5/8 time signature, there are five hidden tracks in between the eight tracks, and the booklet contains many pictures that support this theory.

Okay, so does this have anything to do with their music? Not really. These nifty little nuggets are nice to prevent total boredom, but when the nuggets are the most memorable part of the album, then that's quite sad. OCTAVARIUM happens to have the distinct honour of being the first Dream Theater album I ever heard, and it might also hold the honour of being played the least amount of times. Why is that?

Basically, most of this really isn't that entertaining. It's just DT trying to get more mainstream exposure by throwing on their albums cheap, easy pop songs (''I Walk Beside You''), uber-boring ballads (''The Answer Lies Within''), and metal that seems to cater to the mainstream but sounds awkward at the same time (''These Walls''). Of the first seven songs, only ''The Root of All Evil'' sparks any lasting interest with me as I feel little from the others. (Although ''Sacrificed Sons'' is quite poignant)

The title track could have been the best thing that came out of the Dream Theater repertoire, and from when the vocals first come in to when the vocals end in the third part (about 13.5 minutes in) I would say support that claim. However, the first part sounds like Dream Theater covering Pink Floyd (call it SOYCD Part X) that doesn't quite reach the heights of the Floyd, and after the vocals are done in the third part, I hear about 4 minutes of mindless diarrhea of the soloing. The kicker though is the screaming towards the end of the piece in what essentially ruins a three star rating.

This just sounds not as inspired as any of the other DT albums I've heard. We're a LONG way from IMAGES AND WORDS here (of which I think is their greatest achievement), and the seemingly lack of inspiration can lead to a few themes sounding too familiar (prog or otherwise). Since this was a step backwards trying to get into DT, it gets only two stars. It would most please the fans, but outsiders should investigate elsewhere.

Sinusoid | 2/5 |


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