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Dream Theater - Octavarium CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.67 | 2074 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Wow. What a change. What a ****ing change.

It's impossible to describe how much better this album is than its predecessor, Train of Thought. So much different so much better than ANYTHING they've written. More focused, no meandering solos for three minutes, no cheesy songs that get REALLY annoying after a cople listens (although I Walk Beside You almost did it if it weren't for the awesome begginning), no Labrie wailing everywhere.

No, this is probably Dream Theater at their best, no doubt. A more modern, focused, original and almost electronic sound at some points, while highly progressive and symphonic in others like the beastly title track. This album has...everything. It's such a huge difference, it's impossible to describe. At first I didn't like it. I was confused by how different it was than ToT, SDOIT, hell EVERYTHING they've done. It grew on me, slowly but surely, and now...I'm sure it's their best album. Only Images and Words, SDOIT disc 2 and SFAM give it a run for its money, but in the end, I flat out like Octavarium more.

The Root Of All Evil: This is an AWESOME song, no doubt. Consider it part 3 of The Glass Prison/This Dying Soul series, and it definitely is betetr than its predecessors just because it is so much more focused. It begins with a cool electronic feel, and then you hear the riff from This Dying Soul come in quietly, and some cool footsteps that make think of SFAM. Then the main part blasts in, and your face will be shocked. Simple guitar and drumming parts with Portnoy keeping time instead of going crazy, yet it sounds even better than SOME of those crazy moments. Labrie comes in, sounds very mature for a change, which is awesome. Soem powerful moments scattered throughout, the whole track is awesome. 9.5/10

The Answer Lies Within: Typical ballad. Not as good as Wait For Sleep, but pretty damn good. The segue between TROAE and this song is really relaxing, and the whoel song is a nice relaxing song. It's a nice listen, even if it isn't your most played song. Pretty, that's all. 7/10

These Walls: Well, when I first heard, I thought it was DT meets nu-metal. How wrong I was. The beginning part is always interesting, and how it leads into the opening riffs is awesome. Then the band explodes into this awesome 6/8 song with a strong melody and is very catchy overall. Petrucci doesn't really do much besides put in a memorable melody at the end. Portnoy is REALLY making it happen though, no doubt. His fills are interesting and catchy. The continuum makes the sound interesting as well. It's not perfect -- it still sounds a bit nu-metalish to me. But it's the best damn nu-metal I've everheard. 8/10

I Walk Beside You: The clocks and violin hits at the beginning is interesting, but the chorus sucks. That's this song in a nutshell. I like half of it, the other half can die. Too U2-ish for me. You'll listen to it once and then maybe twice, but for your ballad listen The Answer Lies Within, or better yet, go back to Images and Words. 5/10

Panic Attack: The heaviest, most thrashy DT song ever. And one of the best. Portnoy is once again AWESOME here, and Petrucci sounds great. Ruddess isn't really that prominent except in a couple parts. Labrie really does well here, no doubt. All in all, if you want to ease a metalhead into prog, this is a perfect transition piece. Awesome awesome stuff. 9.5/10

Never Enough: Maybe my favorite track on the album. It's pretty electronic, and features some of the BEST and most badass drumming I've ever heard. The opening guitar part reminds me of The Root Of All Evil in it's awesomeness. The chorus is semi powerful with lyrics that make you this it? DT's last album? Well, maybe not that sorta train of thought, but the song is definitely about the diservice we as fans have done to them. The chorus kinda drags though, keeping this from being another flawless song. It's just the drumming that keeps me coming back, the frikkin' drumming! The whole song is awesome though, so the lyrics are nullified cause the song is that good. After the first chorus, Portnoy really gets going, and it's AWESOME. 9.5/10

Sacrificed Sons: OK. Porcupine Tree fans. Take Russia On Ice. Make it heavier and a little more intense in the beginning. You get this song. It took a bit to sink in, much like Russia On Ice, but it is DEFINITELY an awesome song in every way. The beginning is t the song really gets going after about four minutes...good old DT. No complaints on this song, honestly. 10/10

Octavarium: OK. Here it is, the 24 minute epic. And boy, is it epic in ever yway. Starting off with Ruddess having a liiiiittle too much fun with continuum, the real song kicks off after about 3 or 4 minutes, don't remember which. Then a nice acoustic part comes in...and FLUTE! WOW! King Crimson influence right there baby, and I love it. Then for awhile, not much happens, although it's pretty. About halfway through the song, Ruddess goes crazy. It drags a bit, but it's still cool. Oh, at aroudn the 10 minute mark, I CAN HEAR MYUNG. AND IT REMINDS ME OF YES! Alright! Good stuff. The song builds more until it climaxes in an awesome way with Labrie shotuing at the top of his lungs. Labrie isn't really good at that,'s still REALLY effective. Then the song exludes with some French Horn and flute work, REALLY NICE! The whole song builds so great, it's really a great listening experience. I prefer some of the other songs on the album, though, just because the first 12 minutes get a little stale. I give this a 10/10 simply because of the sheer epicness of the whole piece, however, cause it's well executed. Not the best, but close. 10/10

(Edit on 6/15/05) For confirmation. It's been three weeks now since I started listening to it. I bought the album, listened more. My opinion has not changed. This is a beautiful piece of work, and anyone who wants to challenge me on that may gladly do so. Just please know that I did not listen to it once on the day it came out then review it right away. It too kme awhile to adjust. I didn't force myself to like it, I didn't force myself to adjust. This is just that good in my opinion.

(Edit on 9/17/05) It's been over three months since I started listening to this. Maybe even four. No, it doesn't have the lasting appeal I hoped it would. I hardly listen to it. However, much like SFAM, if I sit down and listen to it, it's great. However, it doesn't have the lasting effect, and some songs just blow now. And I gotta implement my new rating system to make this fair.

Soft parts: 6/10 Heavy parts: 9/10 Musicianship: 10/10 Originality/Creativity: 6/10 (too many ripoffs) Variety: 8/10 Lasting appeal: 7/10 The Root of All Evil: 9/10 The Answer Lies Within: 7/10 These Walls: 8/10 I Walk Beside You: 5/10 Panic Attack: 9.5/10 Never Enough: 9/10 Sacrificed Sons: 10/10 Octavarium: 10/10

Sum of scores: 113.5 113.5 / 14 = 8.1 8.1 = 4/5.

FishyMonkey | 4/5 |


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