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Dream Theater - Octavarium CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.66 | 1995 ratings

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4 stars Well it's been over 5 years since the release of Octavarium so that is plenty of time to give an album a fair shake. When it comes to this Dream Theater release, I have always felt the peaks and valleys are the widest on this album. So there are some amazing musical moments, some of the finest of their career. Then there are some moments that do nothing for me. I have been a fan of Dream Theater since the Pull Me Under days when I first heard them over the airwaves so I am quite familiar with their career as a whole. As I try to take my fanboy hat off for a few minutes, I will try to hit the high points along with the low points rather than doing a full song by song review.

Lets hit the low spots first. There are 4 songs that I'm really not too crazy about: The Answer Lies Within In, These Walls, I Walk Beside You and Never Enough. It's not that they are bad songs by any means, they just don't grab me like the other 4 songs do. I have a hard time pointing to any aspects of these songs that are really interesting and keep me coming back for more. And 4 indifferent songs seem to be a lot on any one of their entire albums for me. I can usually only find one or two that I have a hard time connecting with on each release. It's like they toned down a lot on certain sections of this album. But then again we had just came off Train of Thought so most everything would seem toned down when you put it that perspective.

Onto the high spots! The opener Root of all Evil is a very straight forward metal song but I really like it. Petrucci seems to be bring the energy throughout this one. It's a solid song for the 3rd part of the AA suite. Panic Attack took quite awhile for it to grow on me. At first I thought it was disjointed and didn't particularly care for LaBrie's vocals on this one. But over time it has won me over and it's one of their heavier songs that I enjoy. Sacrificed Sons is a very sneaky song. At first it kind of lulls you into this place of wanting it to go somewhere. But once it does you are not disappointed. The middle instrumental section is one of my favorite parts of this album. And finally there's the title track. This song is a monster and one of my favorites! This is the ultimate build up from the beginning. Jordan Rudess shines on this number once he comes in with his Floydian keyboard opening. This song is ever changing and continually building. I will also say that LaBrie's voice sounds fantastic from beginning to end. There are many minutes of instrumental bliss and back and forth interplay between Petrucci and Rudess. Then the song's climax with LaBrie screaming about being trapped inside this so called Octavarium, is one of their most intense moments, if not their most intense. But even after all that they save the best for last. Petrucci's guitar solo during the ending Razor's Edge section is, in my opinion, one of his finest moments. What an emotional roller coaster this song is and it really hits home with me each time I hear it.

So in the end how do I rate this one? We have moments of dullness along with prog musical bliss all wrapped up together in one album. This is why I have such a hard to rating this one as a whole. My first inclination was to rate this a 3 star album but there are moments that are essential such as the title track. So on the strength of the shining moments found within, I think a happy medium would be to rate it a 4 star album and call it good. Great job overall but I would be looking for more consistency on their next release.

cutsofmeat | 4/5 |


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