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Dream Theater - Awake CD (album) cover

AWAKE

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

4.11 | 2008 ratings

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natewait
4 stars Dream Theater are one of my favorite bands, and so this album is really close to my heart. It takes me back to when I was first discovering this band. This was probably the fourth album I heard from the band (the first three in order were: Scenes, Six Degrees and Images and Words). I really love the sound on this album and feel it compliments Images and Words really well. This album showcases a band really finding its footing on who they are and what they sound like. I don't think it quite reaches the heights of some of the bands masterpiece albums, but it is still an essential piece of the Dream Theater discography.

The album starts fantastically with a drum fill. "6:00" is just a lot of fun, and a high energy rocker that is the perfect way to get the album started. "Caught In A Web" is another great track that really has a great chorus and hard rocking choruses full of meaty guitar. I think James LaBrie does an incredible job singing in this song. The same is true for "Innocence Faded." There is just something bright and happy about this song that is completely infectious. It slows things down just a bit and features some great melodies. The last minute and a half of this song is one of my favorite sections of the album. The highlight here is John Petrucci's guitar playing. It is truly stellar.

Speaking of stellar playing, the next song on the album is "Erotomania" which is an instrumental tour de force. This is Dream Theater at their best. One of my favorite elements of the band is their instrumental sections where they display their technical prowess on their instruments. This is a great song to highlight that side of Dream Theater. The organ and the guitar trade off throughout the piece, and the bass and drums provide an excellent backdrop for the trade off to take place. It is just such a joy to listen to. This song leads into "Voices" which is fantastic. This track displays everything great about Dream Theater. There are heavy moments and moments where things slow down and LaBrie is singing a beautiful melody over piano. There is some great emotion displayed here, and it makes for a fantastic track. "The Silent Man" rounds out the "A Mind Beside Itself" trilogy and is a really nice track featuring acoustic guitar. Not particularly one of my favorites, but it is pleasant to listen to and works well as a breathing point on a fairly heavy album.

Dream Theater gets back into the heaviness with a great track called "The Mirror." There are some great heavy guitar riffs as well as some inventive keyboard playing from Kevin Moore. This is a really great track! This leads right into "Lie" is one of the heavier tracks on the album. It features some really cool and heavy guitar riffs. I can't help but really like this song, even though I can't pinpoint exactly why. "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream" slows things down a bit again. This song creates a really cool mood. It is really a brilliant track that evokes a lot of emotion. In a perfect world, this song would have been a big radio hit.

"Scarred" is a song I initially didn't really think much of. But, over time, the genius of it has slowly been revealed to me and now I consider it one of the best showcases for what Dream Theater is all about. There is a buildup of excitement through the song that is really awesome. "Space Dye Vest" is a wonderful way to close this wonderful. There is just something so unique about this track. It is haunting in a good way, specifically the keyboard work. It doesn't sound like any other Dream Theater song. I really have a soft spot for it and really think it is among their best.

"Awake" is close to being a masterpiece, but not quite there. I really do love it and cherish it in my music collection. I think it is a great showcase for Dream Theater and a great follow up after the monumental "Images and Words." It must have been quite a task to follow up such an album, but they did so very well and continued making high quality music. I think this album has a great blend of heavy and soft tracks, strong melody and intense virtuosity. I love Dream Theater and would recommend this album to all Progressive Metal fans.

natewait | 4/5 |

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