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Dream Theater - Octavarium CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.67 | 1994 ratings

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Mr. Mustard
4 stars In Octavarium the boys decided to turn the heaviness down a tad and incorporate a bit more prog into their compositions. Octavarium is also one of Dream Theater's more pop-oriented albums with songs like The Answer Lies Within, These Walls, and I Walk Beside You. There is also an overwhelming Muse sound in some of the songs, which is interesting. The album is also Dream Theaters most orchestral, which is something they first explored deeply in Six Degrees.

'The Root of All Evil' kicks off the album by beginning with the ending chord of 'In the Name of God' from Train of Thought; a technique they would use in several of their albums. The actual music in the song is heavy and riff based like their previous album, and contains a reprise of 'This Dying Soul' in the middle.

'The Answer Lies Within' is a rather uninteresting slower song, but Jordan's piano and the strings make it worthwhile.

'These Walls' combines a metal sound with a pop frame. Jordan's synth sounds are great throughout, and Portnoy's use of the hi-hat is fantastic as well.

'I Walk Beside You' is easily the weakest song of the album. It's really just a pop song that sounds too much like Muse. There is nothing really interesting here.

'Panic Attack' opens up with a nice Myung bass line before the rest of the crew joins in. The riffing is heavy of course, and again the vocals sound very Muse-like. The song overall is very similar to The Root of All Evil.

'Never Enough' is yet another Muse-like song that features song great keyboard playing and a very nice opening riff. The instrumental part that begins at 3:30 is also one of my favorites.

'Sacrificed Sons' has a dramatic and melancholic feeling to it, which of course meshes perfectly with the lyrical content about 9/11. The strings help with the tension of the song, and the instrumental break at four minutes is pure Dream Theater.

The real meat of the album, however, is the title track. 'Octavarium' is without a doubt the best song the band has made (besides Six Degrees). . In my opinion this is the ultimate prog song. It has its metal moments sure, but it's much more than that.

The beginning is an obvious homage to Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond played by Jordan on his continuum. We're hit with some nice acoustic guitar and flute (yes, flute), making this section absolutely beautiful.

The next section is lead by Myung's gritty bass line with a very flowing melody played by Jordan and is probably my favorite section. Also, Portnoy doesn't overdo it with his playing, which is nice.

Chaos ensues by a crazy synth solo that sounds like something that Tony Banks of Genesis would do before settling into the next section, Full Circle. I love this part not only because the music is great, but because it shows Mike Portnoy's (and the band's) love of progressive rock, and the influence these greats have on Dream Theater's music. This is followed by another crazy instrumental where every instrument shines.

The following section references the other songs on Octavarium and also contains LaBrie's highest sung note on any album. The final section is entitled Razor's Edge and is nice conclusion to this epic song. It has a very tasteful guitar solo by Petrucci before ending with the same notes 'The Root of All Evil' began with.

Overall, this is a great collection of songs which shows off all sides of Dream Theater. There are a few weaker moments on the album, but they are more than made up for by the amazing title track.


Mr. Mustard | 4/5 |


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