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Dream Theater - Octavarium CD (album) cover


Dream Theater

Progressive Metal

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5 stars --WARNING - Spoilers ahead!--

Sometimes silver disks can hold a great deal of joy. And that is the case with Dream Theater's latest opus, "Octavarium." This album is all together DT's strongest effort in many years. The album opens up with "The Root of All Evil," the latest section of Mike Portnoy's ongoing suite based on the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. It features several reoccurring themes and riffs from The Glass Prison and This Dying Soul, offering something vaguely familiar and concrete for the first track. After the music is done, there's a little something new for DT - most of the tracks are segued by a little pleasant soundscape - a nice touch on DT's part.

"The Answer Lies Within" is the first ballad on the album. It's very mellow, featuring some great singing by vocalist LaBrie. A nice track after the fury of "The Root of All Evil." Next up we have "These Walls." This is the track DT has slated for widespread radio release, with the promo being sent out to radio stations several days ago. The track is very solid, with a nice buildup and a good solo by Petrucci. It closes with the slow and steady beating of a heart, which segues into the dissonant intro of "I Walk Beside You," a very Muse influenced track with a very powerful chorus.

If you were listening through by now, you'd notice something odd about this album. The odd thing is that Dream Theater's tightened up their songwriting. The sections of instrumental "wanking" are few and far between, and good songwriting takes the throne here again. And they continue that trend into "Panic Attack," which is probably the heaviest track on the album. Even with the heaviness, it's miles ahead of anything on Train of Thought. It opens with a very interesting heavily distorted guitar intro packed with twists and turns, as well as an AMAZING vocal performance by James LaBrie. Even though this song has an extended instrumental section (with a very nice solo from Mr. John Petrucci), it doesn't seem out of place or just thrown in for kicks, which is one of my main gripes with the past 3 DT albums.

"Never Enough" features a killer opening riff, and one of DT's best and most memorable choruses ever. LaBrie uses some heavy distortion on the verses of this track, but it sounds much better than say "This Dying Soul," it's a much more subtle effect. A very solid track overall. But then we lead into the monsters of the album, the two 10+ minute tracks. And surprisingly enough, these tracks aren't padded by 5 minute long unison runs. The first, and shorter of the two is "Sacrificed Sons," a song written about the 9-11 tragedy (what a trendy subject that is.) It opens up with some interesting sample work, and the song itself features a very strong chorus. New for Dream Theater is the orchestra in this song, which is present but never takes center stage.

But that changes in the next track in the album. Tracking in at 24 minutes, this track is a MONSTER! It starts off with a very mellow intro with some nice flute work by the orchestra, and then the rest of the band kicks in. The rest of the track is an amazing buildup to what is quite possibly one of the most amazing climaxes in music ever, with James LaBrie screaming "TRAPPED INSIDE THIS OCTAVARIUM" at the top of his lungs over the rest of the band. Then the track ends in a very nice instrumental section, and it ends with a little song played by the flute.

All in all, Octavarium may be Dream Theater's strongest output yet, and a forerunner for album of the year 2005. Current fans of Dream Theater, have no reservations when you step out and buy it. Ex-fans who have been rather disenchanted with the band's recent choices, buy it now. You may be pleasantly surprised. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#34744)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my first review in Prog Archives, i decided to do ti because of how impressed i am with my favorite band's new album.


Ill say that this is one of their best efforts yet. Octavarium Dream Theater's 8th studio albums changes much of what they have been doing since Scenes from a Memory. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and Train of Tought are good albums, but not great, certainly not a masterpiece as say Images & Words or Scenes from a Memory. The problem with those albums where: Song Lenght, inconsistent instrumental sections, over ambitious songs and no inovation whatsoever.

It all changes here. As a matter of fact, Octavarium is a "Change" album, and it succeds basically because music seems to have come out of the heart. I know it sounds corny but i really mean it. On to the songs.

The Root of all Evil, Panic Attack and Never Enough are in a similar genre, a new one for DT. They are heavy progressive songs, with some instrumental sections, but well structured and with very nice new keyboard sounds (wont go into detail considering our good friend Shane Davis already did and i agree with most of his inside info)

These walls and The Answer lies within are ballads, with the latter being similar to Anna Lee, and the first one more like misunderstood. They are both powerfull songs, and quickly became repeated in my cd player.

Sacrified Sons and Octavarium are the epics. And boy are they epics! Sacrified Sons is very emotional, and very very powerfull. On the other hand, Octavarium totally blew me away. Its one of the best DT songs ever. Jordan Rudess uses his new toy "The Continuum" and it sounds very Cutting Edge, very Fresh...

Quick Notes:

- Its mostly a Rudess album, he really shines in most of the songs. - Only a handfull of Petrucci solos, not dissapointed with it, he needed a rest, he was getting repetitive. - John Myung can be identified!!! Finally they give his due to this masterfull player. - James LaBrie sings his heart out in this album, he screams, he puts a lot of feeling, he rocks, he does everything a singer can be asked of. - Portnoy does his usual stuff, nothing you might not expect from him, nothing new. He does a better job in Neal Morse's One. But dont get me wrong, he does a great job here too.

Overall i would still have to listen to it more to put it in perspective with DT other albums, but as one album by a prog band, it really really stands out !!!

Report this review (#34745)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am so excited about this album that I decided to submit a review to this site for the first time. Octavarium is possibly the most progressive album DT has ever made. Not in the traditional sense though. It is progressive in the sense that it is the most poppy and accessible album of theirs since Falling Into Infinity and it's the album no one expected to follow SDOIT and ToT. It's progressive in the sense that DT has proven they can still write good songs and keep the wanking to a minimum when they want to.

I must have listened to this album 20 times already and not once have I gotten tired of it. I feel like I should be getting tired of it. I almost WANT to get tired of it. But I can't. "The Root of All Evil" has more replay value on it than almost any Dream Theater song. So much is going on in this song. From the killer beginning riff to the emotional chorus and reprise of This Dying Soul's vocal lines, it keeps you listening.

"The Answer Lies Within" is in the perfect spot on the album. I draw comparisons to "Images in Words" in the setup of the album. This song is the "Another Day" of Octavarium. Its also very similar to Hollow Years in its maturity.

Now comes a song I've been listening to on repeat quite frequently. "These Walls" is such a solid piece of music. I am so impressed with what Rudess adds to this song. From the strings in the pre-chorus and outro to the synth arpeggios in the chorus, its Jordan at his melodic best.

The album is not without its flaws and this is where the album starts to slide slightly. Its not that I don't like "I Walk Beside You" its just impossible to enjoy the song on its own rights when it sounds so much like U2. The chorus is so blantantly ripped off from U2 that I can't help but be annoyed. I have nothing against a band showing their influences. But this sounds like a song either U2 wrote for DT or vice versa.

The second worst song on the album "Panic Attack" simply lacks a substantial hook. I love the instrumental part, especially the Iron Maiden homage at 5:43. This song blows the majority of Train of Thought out of the water though showcasing how heavy metal instrumental parts can be brutal and fast but still melodic.

I have the same problem with "Never Enough" as I have with "I Walk Beside You". DT is wearing their new Muse influence on their sleeves. It's just excessive.

The next song, the semi-epic "Sacrificed Sons" is the low point of the album. It's about the 9/11 tragedy and of course I won't hold anything against the band for wanting to write a song about it. But the lyrics leave something to be desired. It's everything we've heard a hundred times before about the tragedy and sounds more like poem written by a high schooler. Musicall, the high point of the song hits so early, around the 2 minute mark with the slow melodic vocal line. For the next 4 minutes, I always find myself slightly bored until the A Change of Seasons-esque movement at 6:24. But after that its more repetition of the same riffs and the not so great chorus.

This brings us to the title track. Simply put, this is surely the best song Dream Theater has written in over a decade. To tell you the honest truth, it's my new favorite Dream Theater song. The first time I listened intently to this song in its entirety, I was overwhelmed. I don't think I've ever had a piece of music move me to tears on the first listen, but this song did it. Epic doesn't even begin to describe this song. If "A Change of Seasons" is epic, "Octavarium" is a legendary. While the album has a few minor flaws, this song makes up for them 10 fold and warrants 5 stars.

Report this review (#35499)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the masterpiece Dream Theater NEEDED to make after the trainwreck that was "Train Of Thought" (which had little thought put into it). Everything that was wrong with that album has been righted with THIS album. Each song sounds like a SONG, even the amazing 24 minute title track. Unlike some folks, I love "I Walk Beside You" much like I love "Speak To Me" (the FII outtake). I was worried that DT had forgotten what melody and songwriting was. Thankfully they haven't. This is DEFINITELY a 5 star outing worthy of being included in the same breath as "Images & Words". Awesome album!
Report this review (#35530)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have been waiting on the edge of my seat for this album for weeks. I skipped off of my last day of highschool to get this album. Let me tell you, it was certainly worth it. This album is absolutely amazing. It's progressive in more than one way. They have really grown and their songwriting has certainly improved from Train of Thought. (Don't get me wrong, I loved that album too. I don't understand why people don't.) I listened to this album with some friends when I first picked it up, and we had the same reaction to many things on the album

I've never posted a review on this site, but after sitting down and listening through the album a couple of times, I felt compelled to do so. The Root Of All Evil was the perfect song to open this album with. It has riffs from The Glass Prison and This Dying Soul that my friends and I jumped up and recognized right away. Just listening to that song, I knew it was the next song in the line of songs about Alcoholism.

The first ballad of the album was very good as well. Reminiscent of Anna Lee, it was a very enjoyable listen.

These Walls was definetly a good pick for the single from the album. Probably the most solid track on the album. Heavy, no wanking. Just good music.

I Walk Beside You is a bit too radio friendly for my liking. It's the one track I didn't really get into. I can certainly see why people are comparing it to U2.

I /love/ Panic Attack. It's good ol' Dream Theater, only less extended wanking periods. From the moment the song started, I was amazed. Definetly my favorite track on the album.

Never Enough was a great song as well. Rudess was really noticeable on this track.

Sacrificed Sons reminded me of The Great Debate crossed with Disappear. Great song.

Octavarium... Wow. Epic. Absolutely astounding. This song alone was worth my 20$. I expect to see a lot of comparisons between this and A Change of Seasons.

This album is a must for anyone who likes Progressive Rock/Metal. Great album, one of their best releases to date. One thing I've been saying to anyone who asks is that I think LaBrie's vocals are the best I've ever heard on this album. I usually didn't like him much, but he really impressed me this time around. Definetly deserving of the 5 stars.

Report this review (#35536)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ill refer to Octavarium, analyzing only their self title track because its the "landmark" , the "Vito Corleone" probably of all dream theater instrumentals in a long, LONG time. Note that Overture from Six degrees, and dance of eternity and overture from scenes from a memory are exuberating pieces of music as well. Another reason, is that there are many reviews for the other songs of this album, and although many of them rich and powerful (panic attack is one great track i dont know why many of you dindt like it), they pale in comparison and only rise the curtain for the last track. Simply state this, the self named track on this album is more than enough to consider this new album epic and legendary along side with Scenes from a Memory and Images and Words. The Pink-Floydian influence , specially on this track is notorius. The elaborate musical composition and use of diverse versatile instruments and melodies stretches its complexity yet delicacy all trough the 24 minutes this track elongates. The vocals, yes, the vocals are astonishing, they actually scream out feelings and emotions transmitting them to the listener in a real and powerful way. The screams at the end of the song, are as said before, a climatic moment rarely achieved in this perfection in music overall. Add to that the musical genious at their best of the rest of the band memebers we all know and love, and finally a very well organizaed and pertinent orchestra (the reed flute stands out), and you have nothing less than a MASTERPIECE product of all the exploration and diversifying previous albums of DT, all unifying into one 20+ minute track. Take a close look and time to appreciate from the 15th to the 17th minute of the song and youll see what bringing emotions out of you musically really means. There are namely 3 or 4 bands in the histroy of music than can achieve this level of composition, performance, feeling and coheresion. Dream Theater, youre definetely one of them. Long live giants, long live
Report this review (#35550)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater has once again shifted gears. Replacing the shallow heavy metal style of ToT is the pop-rock/progressive metal/symphonic prog stylings of Octavarium -- an album that is actually rather disappointing when compared to DT's earlier material. This album is right up there with DT's other weak albums, ToT and WDADU.

1. The Root of all Evil: Decent chorus, but overall, this song is incredibly disjointed. I just don't like it. A lot of people do, but I know a few who agree with me on this. It's not crap, but I expect more of band that put out albums like SFAM, I&W, Awake and SDOIT.

2. The Answer Lies Within: Boring.

3. These Walls: Very straightforward pop-rock/metal. Not bad, but nothing exciting.

4. I Walk Beside You: This song is pretty much universally despised by DT fans along with their other train-wreck "You Not Me". I, however, don't mind it. It's better than the first two songs on this album, at least.

5. Panic Attack: Good singing and some decent riffage. One of the stronger tracks and definitely better than TROAE as a heavy track in my opinion.

6. Never Enough: One of the better songs. Sounds like "Stockholm Syndrome" by Muse.

7. Sacrificed Sons: James LaBrie's second 9/11 song this year, Sacrificed Sons is the shorter in length of the two epics on this album, and is infinitely worse than the track that it precedes. The opening takes way too long, the whole song is pretty predictable, the lyrics aren't very good, the instrumental feels like it was added because they knew that the rest of the song sucked, and overall, it's just boring.

8. Octavarium: This song is freaking amazing! If you crossed Dream Theater, an Orchestra, Rush, Pink Floyd, Ayreon, Yes, Kansas, Queen and Deep Purple, this is what you'd get. If you don't feel enlightened just listening to this song, then you're hopeless. This is a Progressive rock masterpiece and easily the best song of the year. It's just too bad it was on such a crappy album overall.

I hope DT continues to evolve, but only if they keep putting out more songs like Octavarium.


Report this review (#35552)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've listened to this album several dozen times already and I still want to listen more! Since Jordan Rudess appeared in the band, DT have never repeated themselves and Octavarium is no exception. After a concept, an excessive and a metal album here we are: the new effort is all about songwriting. Forget about shredding madness and ten- minutes instrumental sections. Everything is in right proportions here. Actually, the album is heavier than I thought it would be, but this isn't the bad side. Songs like The Root Of All Evil, Panic Attack and These Walls are some of the best headbangin' tracks the band has ever written, while I Walk Beside You and The Answer Lies Within are great slowdowns and Never Enough gives some really fresh feel (this song is about the fans that are never satisfied with the band, no matter what they do). Anyway, the highlight of Octavarium is definitely the last two epics. Sacrificed Sons tells about the 9/11 tragedy and features the best James LaBrie's lyrics ever, hands down. Great soloing and creepy vocals. And the title track is completely and totally mindblowing. It lasts 24 minutes which is more than their legendary A Change Of Seasons (although it's obvious that they added that extended SOYCD-style intro just to make the track longer than ACOS). I'm not sure if it's better (quite a thing to surpass!), mainly because it is very very different. The song flows in a more mellow style, with some really fast and heavy moments near the end, and seems like some pleasant dream. The only minor drawback I've noticed about this album is the mix. As far as I know, Kevin Shirley wasn't mixing this time and here's the result: vacal volume is too low in places; guitars and keyboards fade from time to time (great news for shred-haters!). But this surely can't spoil this record! Bottomline: probably not 'Scenes from a Memory', but definitely one of the best albums by Dream Theater and another masterpiece in my collection.
Report this review (#35559)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my first review for ProgArchives. I doubt I'll be doing many more after this; I just wanted to express how much I love Dream Theater's masterpiece that is Octavarium. When this album was announced I tried to steer clear of giving myself any pre-expectations. Whatever I thought or wanted Octavarium to sound like, I knew it would sound completely different. I went into this album with an open mind and was utterly blown away. This album is one of Dream Theater's crowning achievements.

1 - The Root of All Evil - The continuation of Mike Portnoy's Alcoholics Anonymous saga started back on Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence with The Glass Prison and followed on Train of Thought by This Dying Soul. Of the three, I'd have to say this one is slightly more enjoyable than The Glass Prison and well past This Dying Soul. Like its predecessors, The Root of All Evil is very heavy and shares some of the same lyrics and melodies, most notably This Dying Soul.

2 - The Answer Lies Within - The ballad of the album. This is a very simple track and not one that will likely be skipped upon listening to this album for the hundredth time, but it is still beautiful nonetheless. Not a bad song by any means.

3 - These Walls - John (Petrucci) and Jordan create a very atmospheric sound during the verses. I feel like im in a cave listening to water dripping down from stalactites. The guitar solo is very reminiscent of a segement from LTE's When the Water Breaks.

4 - I Walk Beside You - From what I've seen, this track has been getting a lot of flak. It has a mainstream vibe to it; it could definitely stand on its own with radioplay. Mainstream popularity does NOT mean a song is inferior, and this is a clear example. One of my top three favorite songs on the album.

5 - Panic Attack - My GOD can John (Myung) play bass guitar. The main riff is incredibly fast and furious. This track is very dark and bass heavy. James shows some amazing vocal work here (as well as throughout the album), most notably the line "I try to hide / Overwhelmed by this complex delirium."

6 - Never Enough - This track stands out as one of my favorite songs DT have created (and second favorite on this album). Lyrically and musically this song touches me on many levels. The song flows incredibly well and has a great keyboard work. This is, in my opinion, one of James' best vocal performances in recent years.

7 - Sacrificed Sons - This track is about the 9/11 terrorist attack. Upon first listen I was rather puzzled as to why Dream Theater would lyrically visit territory that has been run into the ground by so many other artists. After a few more listens I realized that this is a companion track with In The Name of God. Awesome instrumentation.

8 - Octavarium - Truly an epic masterpiece. This is the best song on the album and likely DTs best work yet. Previously my favorite song was held by Six Degrees, but after multiple listens I can't help but dethrone it and place Octavarium on the pedestal. Words cant really do this song justice. It has to be listened to in order to fully appreciate it. You will never find another song like it as long as you live.

Individual song ratings (1-10 scale, 10 being the best):

The Root of All Evil - 9 The Answer Lies Within - 7 These Walls - 9 I Walk Beside You - 10 Panic Attack - 9 Never Enough - 10 Sacrificed Sons - 8 Octavarium - 11

I dont even know what to say. Im literally speechless after hearing the end of the album. Dream Theater, you are and forever will be my number one band. Thank you for existing and allowing me the privilege of listening to your music.

Report this review (#35564)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't want to babble on how good Octavarium is and sound like a Dream Theater fan boy but I do want to stress out how incredibly solid the band is on this album. James LaBrie sounds better than on any other album he has ever been on, wether it be on DT, MullMuzzler, Solo, etc. What used to be considered the weakest link of DT is definately not anymore. John Petrucci takes a backseat on this album which is kind of nice but don't be fooled, his performance is great as usual. Jordan Rudess definately left his mark on this CD as his influences can be traced all over the place. Next is John Myung, being a bassist myself I was always dissapointed on how low he was in the mix being the awesome bassist that he is but, I can finally hear him and his influence is also strongly felt in this album. Then there is Mike Portnoy, what else can I say that hasn't been said about this workaholic? Like always Portnoy delivers and then some. Octavarium is good enough to satisfy the more demanding DT fans as well as to the most skeptical. Of course there will be many people that disagree with me on my opinions about the band and Octavarium and I accept that but, there will also be many people who'll tell you that this CD is garbage based on how "prog" it is to bash Dream Theater.

My bad for being a hypocrite by babbling on about how good Octavarium is and sounding like a DT fanboy but it is very hard not to when you enjoy the album as much as I have been.

Report this review (#35574)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#35575)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is INCREDIBLE the title track is beyond words it deserves 5 stars on its own everything is perfect in this song. Parts of it remind of Ayreon.Im not sure if its better than or if it can even be compared to a change of seasons just cause they're 2 very different vibes but it is a truly mind blowing song especialy with the continuum in the mix. Panic attack is 1 of my favorite dt songs ever, labrie is extremely impressive it could be my favorite vocal performance by him ever (other than what he did on the human equation). I like never enough the instrumental section kind of reminds me of "tunnel vision" on john petrucci's suspended animation. I really cant stand i walk beside you, i just cant get into it i dont get why they put it on this album it feels out of place to me. These walls is a very good song.I love the prechorus, petrucci's solo fits perfectly and rudess and labrie do a great job. Im not sure about sacrificed sons the begining sounds like disapear and labrie's vocal kind of gets annoying but the instrumental section is pretty good. the answer lies within also has a great vocal performance by mr. labrie very good track. the root of all evil is a perfect track to start off the album. the familiar themes just pull you in(very smart on dt's part).I love the soundscapes at the end of each track its a very nice touch. labrie and rudess are very impressive. petrucci is still the riff master. and myung and portnoy do what they've always done, nothing more and nothing less they're just right. all in all one of dt's best efforts.
Report this review (#35577)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater takes a new direction with thier music. James finally starts writing some of the lyrics himself. I can't tell if James has done something different with his voice or if I have fully adapted to his perfect pitch singing. Either way, its extremely catchy and talented. The band seems to stray away from thier usual 8 minute shred solos (which are amazing none the less) and focus on more mainstream sound. With refrains and more frequent choruses etc, could this be due to thier tour with Megadeath and trying to attract more fans outside the low profile progressive ring?

Either way, it works. These songs (especailly "These walls") are very mainstream radio worthy to play. However dont take that as a negative, this simply means that they are catchier for uneducated muscians and for guitarists (all you JP fans) this means that John has "simplified" his playing (although his playing is never simple, it is less complex in terms of shredding and focuses more on the musical melody.)

Point being, buy this CD. I ran out today and beat all my friends to buying this CD. Popped it in and I praised myself for impulse buying. Praise be to DT! Go catch them in a town near you!

Report this review (#35585)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A return to the glory days? Or something entirely new?

While listening to the album for the third time since I picked it up, I feel moved to comment!

DT shocked the world (well, the prog metal world) with TRAIN OF THOUGHT. The album brought a more streamlined and hard-hitting DT. The new sound (which was pioneered on the SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE album) was refined, and when it was released it polarized many fans. I've posted my opinions on the album and it's impact here on this site (4/5 for those who haven't seen).

OCATAVARIUM sees the band continue to streamline their work in order to truly define their song structures. PETRUCCI has been quoted as saying that they were guilty of simply creating long instrumental passages in the past and simply tossing ill-conceived lyrics on top... this is not the case with their newest release.

As my tastes mature, I find I am able to appreciate the maturation of one of many all- time favourite bands!

Obviously, to a prog fan the highlights of an album are those qualities we all adore: Epic song structure, developing themes (musical and lyrical) and virtuosity in performance. These qualities are all in abundance on this disc!

The opening piece; THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL is the continuation in PORTNOY's saga of his struggle with substance abuse (which began with THE GLASS PRISON on SIX DEGREES, and continued with THIS DYING SOUL on TOT). I was anxious when I placed the disc in my friend's CD player... when I heard the nod to THIS DYING SOUL (the intro drum fill is present along w/PETRUCCI's Cb5 chord stabs) I knew I was in the right place!

I will not review the other pieces (as I tend to write far too much for my own good) but I will make the following two comments.

The first being DT's choice of emulating U2 on I WALK BESIDE YOU. I enjoy the fact that they are branching out (much more than on the FALLING INTO INFINITY album), but wearing the influence so daringly on their sleeve may not have been a great idea. This is a great 'radio' track (as in it could appear on the radio and not deter no-prog fans), yet I hardly feel it is representative of the band's writing ability and overall potential. The chorus even contains the descending lick from WHERE THE STREETS HAVE NO NAME... the redeeming qualities of the song occur @ 2:54, where LABRIE's vocals are backed by a chorus of the other members "Aaaah-ing" in harmony. That was truly a beautiful moment.

Next, the album's namesake and epic: OCATAVARIUM. Not since A CHANGE OF SEASONS have I been satisfied by a DT epic (under 70 minutes long... i.e. METROPOLIS PT II). The intro consists of JORDAN RUDESS on lap steel guitar... no, seriously! I was pleasantly surprised by PETRUCCI's free acoustic playing on the tune... actually, I broke into a s**t eating grin when I heard it!

All in all, the disc was a pleasant experience. The boys have furthered their approach to song writing and have delivered an excellent body of work... again, what was I WALK BSIDE YOU? Oh well, maybe I'll end up liking it later!

And before I forget. the album marks a more triumphant RUDESS on keys! For those (like myself) who felt he was buried in the TOT mix, he's back in the forefront! Yay!

Report this review (#35589)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Octavarium is one of the best Dream Theater ever released.

The whole thing is quite continuous(like SFAM), the music hardly stops, and the transitions are fine. Though, I was wondering if the whole thing was a concept or if the only concept is in the title track(24' epic). Anyway a few things :

* John Myung is back after his musical absence from Train of Thought. Very nice work. * Outrageous Rudess. That's always a good thing. * Better LaBrie. Never been a fan of his voice, even if I recognize he has a lot of technique. This time... I liked his voice. Really. That's the only album where his voice doesn't disturb me at times, but maybe it's just because I listen to them for ages now hehe. I got used * Efficient and more simple Petrucci. I rediscover an emotional and efficient Petrucci. You know, the one like in Images and Words. Talented? Yeah don't worry, he stil has talent, he's just less shredding, and I like it. * Portnoy is on fire. Really. I mean, he's not a lot Ulrich-esque like in Train of Thought, I found his patterns very balanced and clever.

Now descend all the way and follow the circle.

You're starting out with "The Root of All Evil". Part of the AA series. Not much to say. Still has a bunch of heaviness and free reminders to The Glass Prison/This Dying Soul. I would have rather seen a return to The Mirror/Lie(genesis to AA series). Their choice, I'm respecting it. It's a cool song but nothing moving in my opinion. It's classic Dream Theater : darkness, continuity, known riffs(part of a series), cool chorus, less outrageous than This Dying Soul(especially for guitars). Excellent ending.

The answer to this metal anthem lies Within. "The Answer Lies Within" is a very moody and emotional ballad, in the same style as Through Her Eyes, Vacant and such. I absolutely love this one. Strings and other instruments are very nicely put together. Pure Dream Theater moment, as I call them songs like that.

"These Walls". First lyrics that got my attention. Pure Neo-metal influenced-intro(on guitar). Dream Theater has grown a passion for new-metal. I hate this style, still it works very good. But better here. As I said, catchy lyrics there, but not just that. I absolutely like the whole song, even if that was not an absolute. Pure efficiency all around, nice simple emotional solo on guitar and nice oriental ending. Definitely nice.

"I Walk Beside You" is one of the reason why Octavarium is not my favorite DT release. I really don't understand why there is a POP song here. I hated this one, except the intro. Not much to say about this one

And there I gotta say : O.M.G. "Panic Attack". When the samples of the albums were released on some German site. I already fell in love with this one. Like I said on LiveJournal community, this song has immediate sexiness. Heavy, nice keys, epical lines, full bass intro(John Myung is badass), excellent singing/lyrics. Everyone is there, there are nice solos, nice breaks, nice effects, nice riffing, cool ending. It's just a huge song. One of the best DT songs till now, in my opinion.

Never Enough? Well no. And you know, that's Dream Theater, it IS never enough. But the song "Never Enough" itself is cool. Though, I haven't immediately caught on this one. The riffing and the first notes look a bit Muse-esque. Not that I dislike Muse really, but I don't know it was a bit weird to me, even if I knew Mike Portnoy is highly influenced by Muse. But by the time James LaBrie says "Everything is never enough" the first time, the song starts being very enjoyable. The riffing is real nice, the keys are edgy and the guitars follow them perfectly. Classic ending, for a quite atypical DT song.

And here comes the first killer. A mellow 10:42 epic "Sacrificed Sons". Emotional and epical song. Really one of the things I was expecting after Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. Very nicely balanced and beautiful song. The keyboard/string line is absolutely addictive. Nice lyrics, and it progresses until that weird distorted bass solo at 4:13 where it begins to get totally crazy. Portnoy? On fire like I said. More and more efficiency from everyone. The guitar solo are really fine. Pure Petrucci style here. No doubt, that's him. After this beautiful instrumental interlude, JLB comes back and gives us more. And that drum solo in the end is totally the reminder to say "hey I'm Mike Portnoy! Remember Finally Free?". Awesome.

The second killer was expected, though. Octavarium, the title track. Octavarium, the 24 minute epic. "Octavarium". What can I say? The lyrics are fine. The instruments are blasting all around. Petrucci is giving more and more emotion, as does Rudess. The rythm are solid, but the song never grows so heavy, Myung is giving us a Myung-trademarked bass riff, groovy/effect-friendly. So, here we have pure genius. The screaming LaBrie in the end reminded me some fight I had with a Dream Theater fan when I was opposing former Judas Priest/new Iced Earth vocalist Tim Owens to LaBrie. I still think Owens better... still LaBrie truly amazed me this time. Precise, powerful, and not annoying. The melody of those flute and of the epical ending with this symphonic orchestra keep echoing in my head... Anyway, Rudess and the guys seem like they've been influenced by Hans Zimmer also. There are a lot of references to the Beatles and such in this song. Octavarium is the perfect conclusion to this totally changing album. After hearing Train of Thought, I was expecting more Metallica-worship, more heaviness, more speed. This is the big surprise. It's new Dream Theater? Yes. But still prog and delicious.

So what can I say after all that? I gave this album 5 stars, because apart from "I Walk Beside You"(which is not a bad song, just a non-catchy pop anthem to me, but here's another influence), there are only good songs. In my opinion, it's up there with SFAM, I&W, and Awake. Period.

Thanks for reading.

Report this review (#35648)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I want to say - Octavarium is a great album! Maybe the best album ever from Dream Theater. Why? Because in its songs we can hear the best that was in the previous albums. Certainly, in this album there's a great influence of Pink Floyd songs: for example, I think, we can hear the intro in "The Root Of All Evil" song that sounds like the intro from "Welcome To The Machine" by Pink Floyd; Octavarium's intro is sounds like the intro from "Shine On You Crazy Diamond Pt1", and so on... And you're wrong if you think that Octavarium album isn't original. I don't want to spoil your impression of this album, so I just want to say that Octavarium is a great work, and you will never regret if you buy this CD.

Sorry for my bad English! :)

Report this review (#35660)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars OK I agree mostly with what has been said in other reviews posted here. I wouldn't say Octavarium is a masterpiece (but I may change my mind with further reflection) mainly because its just too varied and I feel that this damages the flow of the album somewhat. The individual tracks are all damn good, though (with one exception that I'll come to in a moment) I'm not sure its healthy to show your influences so clearly. Both Panic Attack and Never Enough are great songs (Panic Attack being my fave on the CD at the moment) but Labrie's voice on both, especially the latter, is very much in the vein of Muse, who I like immensely, but they do a good enough job themselves. The tracks are not spoiled as musically they are quite different to Muse, but the vox can be a little uncanny at times. Labrie sounds great anyway (especially when he's not going for it to much), if he wants a new direction I would go with developing the ideas he had for Misunderstood on SDOIT. Having said all these nice things about DT's new opus I must now declare that this CD contains the track that the skip button was made for I HATE 'I Walk Beside You'; I listened to it once and shall never do so again (unless they are unwise enough to play it live). Its horrible, it sounds like U2, I mean JUST LIKE U2. It doesn't help that I really cant stand U2 I suppose, but come on why would John Petrucci want to play like 'the edge', who is a terribly boring guitarist, he's been playing the same jangly (see delay) riff for 20 years with different words over the top, and what exactly is this guy the edge of ? Bono can't sing either. I feel that they are lowering themselves severely with this track. Otherwise though a fantastic CD.
Report this review (#35703)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars First time poster here...

I'm kind of disappointed. Partly because too many people seem to be putting down 'I walk beside you' - my favorite song on the CD. And partly because it isn't metal like Train of thought. I know...quite the dichotomy. I either prefer the true melodic (even pop) or all out metal (like Train of Thought). Octavarium as a whole, seems to be a mediocre compromise between these schools of music. While certain parts of various songs (Octavarium, The answer lies within, and panic attack) have great instrumental parts to them, the lyrics and overall song writing seem weak to me.

And while I can appreciate Portnoy's AA themes in some of the songs, sometimes ENOUGH is ENOUGH! Okay, how many references to 'walls' and 'breaking them down' are we going to put up with...really?

In general, metal fans are going to stick with TOT as their choice of CD, while melodic fans will always have I&W. Octavarium lies within...somewhere. But definitely give the CD a listen to. The beauty behind Dream Theater is that there is usually something for any fan of theirs to like on any album.

And, yes, I do like U2.

Report this review (#35710)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely fantastic! The only way to identify this truly masterpiece of progressive music (This time, a Progressive with "Capital Letter", soon...) That´s the one, my friend! Anyway we can say that any DT´s album is poor or bad...Anytime. But, this time, the guys traveled so far in the progressive lines. I really love the efforts on SDOIT and TOT. Glass Prison, Misunderstood and Honor Thy Father are some of my favorite DT songs ever. But... Since, SFAM a could wait for an album that reminds me the Images & Words era. Is not been a "pieceful clone", a broken mirror, but just a fresh release, a kinda sound that lead us to that age, that reborn the taste of the progressive rock. The heaviest and "inselfish" music in the last 2 albuns sounds pretty good and show anothe face of the power and straight of DT´s musicians. However, I can repeat: Octavarium is the most solid and straight DT´s effort in many time. How an assembly of progressive songs, Octavarium is simply brilliant and wonderful, with each member going to the edge of the line between the complexity/technique of names like yes, king crimson and genesis, the simplicity and beauty of the Beatles, Elton John and U2 and the heaviest and doom of Meshuggah, Pantera and 80´s Metallica. Dissecting the newest album, piece by by, we can do a more specific analysis, trying to understando what´s too special in Octavarium. "The Root of All Evil": The part 3 of the "AA" songs. A little less heaviest than "The Glass Prison" and "This Dying Soul", is a typical DT´s last 2 albuns opener song. Up and intense, TRoAE bring us back many melodic and rhythmic pieces of the 2 mentioned other songs. Heavy and powerful, it´s a good match and great prelude to the rest that´s coming. Its necessary to say yet, this is not a conceptual album. However, in some moments of the tracks (like TRoAE and TALW), some melodic phrases are repeated, showing us a kind of prelude to the "grand finale" epic, self titled. Its like the effect used in "Awake", tracing a web between the tracks. I like it so much, yet. "The Answer Lies Within": A typical DT ballad reminding Elton John´s work. Like the "Anna Lee" melodic line, based on the piano. Otherwise, this is, surely, a Rudess album. Mr. Rudess is, much more than in your other works, is experimenting many different keyboard effects, trespassing to DT´s music new interesting entries, sounding, sometimes, like a classic 70´s progressive rock band. Truly, this the Rudess best effort ever; "These Walls": A very exciting track, balancing weight and melody. It´s another ballad, this time, in the "Misunderstood" style. The main riff reminds yet to the Nu-Metal sound, but still in homeopathic doses, never running away from the Dt´s quality standard! "I Walk Beside You": Still this track sounds like the more pop addictions in the Sherinian´s era, its stay too beautiful, soon. Its true that´s reminding the U2 sound so much. But, still a great peaceful. Another point of entry is the passage between track to track. It's a continuous album. The heatbeat between These Walls and IWBY is preety good example and maintain the audition and expectative. I´m not an U2 fan, but this song became too special for me. "Panic Attack": Oh! Heavy metal pulling up from speakers! This is, surely the most heaviest DT song ever, more than SDoIT and TOT effort, sometimes. Otherwise, is too melodic and, the most important: Myung is back! The bass intro its sublime! Also, I have to pay redemption to the LaBrie´s work. He is better, and better, year after year. Simply brilliant. Wel, one of the best heaviest DT songs ´till now. "Never Enough": Another good track with a excellent vocal interpretation from LaBrie. Very very good. But, between any other masterpieces, NE still so obscured. Listen, this is not "worst track". Far from this. But, I consider it the less expressive song. Well. "Sacrificed Sons": A long speaking intro and a depressive piano sound, open the area to another DT epic, this time, based on 09-11 facts. A very beautiful chorus and a little remembrance from SDoIT . Well.. Who likes the DT epics, with rhythmic breaks and evermore and makes DT the best progressive band since the classics 70´s, will like this piece so much, surely. "Octavarium": Ah! I can´t explain in words what you will listen here. Magnify is too poor to do. I think I didn't listen to something specialy truly progressive since the release of Yes´s "Gates of Delirium". God! It´s absolutely perfect! The new Rudess´s toy, the "continuum", on intro, remind us to the classic Yes and Pink Floyd albums, like the mid-time keyboard, at the same time that acoustic guitar and the flute sound like the King Crimson efforts. Since a Change of Seasons i´m waiting for realy DT´s masterpiece. A 24 minutes epic! I can´t say more, soon. Again and again, the bass of Myung is here! The Labrie´s melody! The Petrucci´s and Portnoy brilliants! Rudess sounding so better! Definitely, the best and most beautiful song I heard in years ever. No more comments. Unique! Singular! Fantastic! Well, tonight I can sleep happy. The True Progressive Metal (This time, a progressive rock too) is back. And now to stay!
Report this review (#35723)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I could go into how I think this is certainly one of DT's best album (which it is) or analyze each song and talk about the overall sound or the mix, but it's been done prior to my review and probably will be discussed afterwards many times over. I'd rather just touch on some things about the recording and lyrics that I think are pretty cool. First of all, if you listen at the beginning of track 1 (The ROOT OF aLL evil), just as the drums come in, you can hear footsteps on gravel or payment that sound just like those from "Scenes". Also, with this first song, there are obvious references to "This Dying Soul," from TOT, both musically at the beginning and also with the lyrics "I can feel my body breaking" which I think is interesting. The song is divided into two parts, labeled VI. Ready and VII. Remove (and obvious continuation of songs written by MP about the 12 steps of recovery of AA. *personal note: I love "I Walk Beside You." If you don't feel a little better by listening to it, I don't know what's wrong with you. It has a great, positive energy to it. If you really like the heaviness of Train of Thought, you're going to enjoy "panic aTTacK." It easily could've been on the last album.

"never enough" is a very interesting song lyrically, addressing those 'so-called' fans who are so quick to criticize this or that about what the band does: Sacrifice my life/ Neglect my kids and wife / All for you to be happy / All those sleepless nights / And countless fights to give you more / And then you say how dare that I didn't write you back/ I must be too good for you / I only care about myself (the chorus) What would you say if I walked away /Would you appreciate/ But then it'd be too late/ Because I can only take so much of your ungrateful ways/ Everything is never enough -WOW!

I think the question posed in TOT's "In The Name of God" (Does following faith lead us to violence?) is answered, in part, by track 7- "sacrificed sons". An obvious overview of the 9/11 attacks, it begins with what sounds like a middle-eastern language being spoken, then a series of re-enacted news blips that one might've heard on that terrible day. It's a very thoughtful and intelligent song about a day that changed many of our lives forever.

Finally, on the last part (Razor's Edge) of Octavarium, the very last lign says 'This story ends where it began.' Sure enough, as the song reaches its conclusion & gets quiet, you hear a low note on the keyboard, then an effect that pans from side to side in the speakers, then fades. If you start the CD again, you realize the 1st song starts with that very same part. I thought it was kind of cool. *the artworkof the album is very interesting and symbolic as well.

So, a masterpiece..not quite. But a very, very good album for sure. I'm not disappointed in the least. There's no other group quite like Dream Theater!

Report this review (#35739)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars DREAM THEATER is a band that will always lead to controversy. Their latest album "Train of Thoughts" was often subject of discussions, not at the least because the music was very heavy and was tending towards pure metal. Therefore a lot of prog fans have turned their back, maybe already after tracks like "The Glass Prison" on "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence". But let there be no single misunderstanding, "Octavarium" will be acclaimed by many music lovers, 'metal' has been replaced by a mix of alternative rock, sympho-progressive rock, space rock and some progressive metal. Certain tracks are very 'catchy' and could score very well in hit parades, considering they would receive a bit of airplay. It's not getting that commercial you know, but the guys have to earn their money like everybody else, who can blame them? It seems that they want to please all their fans this time (not obvious), the '8' tracks are very diverse, and yet there is a clear DT-sound, despite the references and influences of other, recent and not so recent bands.

Except for the variation there are a lot of other new elements compared to the previous albums. First, the keyboards are very present and Jordan Rudess is having a major role on this release (Petrucci is a bit modest here), this explains partially the progressive character of this album. Mike Portnoy shows his virtuosity less on the double bass drums, but is now a magician on the hi hats and the cymbals. James Labrie delivers one of his best vocal performances ever, he proves to be one of the best singers in the circuit, although he was often criticised in the past.

The album starts with a few sound scapes, a technique used throughout the album at the beginning and the end of many songs. "The Root Of All Evil" sounds pretty 'heavy', but is not determinate for the sound of the album. This track is the continuation of the story about the 'alcoholic addiction period' of Mike Portnoy (after The Glass Prison and This Dying Soul), and different themes and riffs of before have been renewed, both Rudess and Petrucci are playing stars from heaven. The end of the track on grand piano and the chimes (intro of Glass Prison) sets the beginning of the first (and not the last) ballad. "The Answer Lies Within" is very quiet and sensitive with an excellent Labrie, for sure a serious anti pole of the first track. Especially the symphonic fragments (piano and strings) remind me of the ballads of ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA.

Petrucci is simulating the sound of Formula 1 cars on the intro of "These Walls", this track has been sent to radio stations for promotion and is a typical 'DREAM THEATER song', melodic and technically perfect, a catchy refrain ( "Tear Down These Walls For Me"), accessible progressive metal with a wonderful guitar solo of Petrucci. They have chosen for 'songwriting', rather than for instrumental highlights. Nevertheless, at the end of the track there is an impressive interplay between all instruments with again a symphonic support, where after it ends with an intriguing 'heart beat' and a clock ticking in "I Walk Beside You". This up tempo song is more appropriate for hit parades, both on length as for the song structure, the refrain has touches of U2, only it is music- technically spoken way better than the Irish, with all respect.

Back to the heavier work then, because "Panic Attack" pulls out all the stops, although it's never getting as hard as on "Train of Thoughts". This is purely progressive metal, full of surprising twists, breaks and contra rhythms (like DREAM THEATER has invented them). Rudess and Petrucci are delivering whirling solos. At the end you can hear again some surprising 'electronic' sound scapes, this seems to be a new element in their impressive work.

Mike Portnoy had shown his admiration for MUSE and in "Never Enough" it seems clear that they've listened well to Bellamy and his friends. In "Never Enough", you can hear the same bass and guitar riffs, the drum pattern and even the voice on 'Stockholm Syndrome'. Surprising and perhaps also 'the' way to attract younger people, so they will at last listen to an album like "Octavarium". If course, some die hard fans will say they've sold their souls by being 'too' commercial, but this is really a very good song, alternative rock on a DT basis. Even the guitar solo at the end could appear on a MUSE album, this is really no coincidence.

And at this point there is still more than 30 minutes of music to come, most of the other bands would have lack of inspiration, but here the best is yet to come. "Sacrificed Sons" starts with spoken fragments and interviews about terrorists (like 'The Great Debate'), an emotional ballad takes off, but later on this will continue with many tempo changes. After 4 minutes the guitars are taking the lead, but Rudess takes his chance again and brings the progressive touch to this 'melodic' progressive metal, what a 'power'. It is a lot more difficult nowadays to hear the difference between guitar and keyboards, surely when Jordan uses his new toy 'The Continuum Fingerboard'.

And the album ends with an epic of 24 minutes! In fact, you can subdivide this track into 6 parts of some 4 minutes each, no idea if this was on purpose or not. The first part is PINK FLOYD of the "Crazy Diamonds"-period, after that a ballad, again in FLOYD style but it can be compared with the ballads of ALAN PARSONS PROJECT (again beautifully sung full of emotion by Labrie), the third part starts with a strong piece of bass playing by Myung (he is great as ever) supported by Portnoy, giving the ballad some extra pigment, the fourth part is progressive rock at his best with influences of the seventies (even Lucy in the Sky is mentioned ), try to find the references to ELP, YES and TRANSATLANTIC. And if you think 'The Flight Of The Bumble Bee' is going fast, then just listen to the instrumental section at about 17', impressive again. At the end it becomes a bit heavier and darker with a 'screaming' Labrie, but immediately after that you can hear the most symphonic piece of the album, it culminates "Octavarium" to an absolute climax.

The conclusion is simple, this album is an absolute must for every music lover. And the variation on it could make it the best selling album of DREAM THEATER. Critics will always have their comments, but for me this is one of the best albums of the band, and I don't give a . if others will once again refer to "Images & Words". The band has given another direction to their musical career and you have to give them full credit.

My rating: 10/10

Review by Claude 'Clayreon' Bosschem

Report this review (#35805)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great progressive album. Each song has something that makes you want to listen to it over and over again. Of course, the true highlight is Octavarium. Everytime i listen to JLB scream "TRAPPED IN THIS OCTAVARIUM" I get chills. Every song has great songwriting. I think the album could have done with one or two more JP solos, but it is not a huge set back. I'm glad to say that Myung is very distinguisable in this album as well. Truly a great album.


Report this review (#35821)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
4 stars For some reason, I am both very pleased and somewhat at odds with Dream Theater’s new album. On one hand, they have ditched the excessive mallcore and aimless wankery for a more progressive album. On the other hand, a lot of this album seems contrived, as if the band went into the studio with the purpose “creating a diverse album.” Usually, this is a recipe for disaster, but in this case DT manage to pull it off unlike their last contrived effort to make “a classic metal album,” Train of Thought.

The album starts very solid with "The Root Of All Evil", which provides themes from the better sections of Train of Thought’s This Dying Soul as it is a continuation of the AA saga. The riffs in this song are genuine, and there is an amazing keyboard break as well as a highly solid Petrucci solo. To its credit, the solos don’t take over the song, and there is some great piano at the end.

The energy of this song transitions nicely into "The Answer Lies Within", which is one of contrived ballad songs that seems to have been written for the purpose of variety. It’s catchy and unusually simplistic for Dream Theater. Overall this track doesn’t offer much. Interestingly, this song also has no instrument solos, a rarity.

"These Walls" is a varied tempo catchy song with heavy and softer sections, keyboard melodies, a lot of hi-hat and stax by Portnoy, and a very interesting guitar solo that actually stays within the confines of the song (4:40 to 5:10). The keyboard melodies have a New Millenium vibe, but overall the song has a vibe like the Awake album.

"I Walk Beside You", begins with an eerie passage that turns into a fairly mainstream U2-like rock song. There is a cool key change near the end, and again …no solos.

"Panic Attack" is a heavy track full of keyboard scales, 5/4, catchy melodies, crazy solos, and time changes. This song is definitely one of the highlights on the album.

"Never Enough", is the most interesting for DT. It is very highly influenced by the British rock band Muse, but DT puts their own virtuostic spin on it. Musically, this track is very busy and has some excellent soloing.

The following track, Sacrificed Sons, is based on 9/11. It starts out much like a ballad, but around 4:15 it breaks into a classic DT instrumental section full of scales, key changes, and soloing. This section is includes orchestral accompaniment, and while it’s long, it doesn’t turn into a wankfest. The vocals come back in after this break with a much heavier background than the first 4:00 of the song. The song was written by James LaBrie and it has to be his best lyrical contribution to date.

The final title track is the big wow. Obviously an attempt to create another A Change of Seasons with the 24:00 running time, it doesn’t have the honesty that ACOS possesses, but it’s a great song in itself. There are all sorts of prog influences here from Yes to Pink Floyd to ELP with more orchestra. The song begins very slowly with the vocals in a story format and doesn’t really take off until after 12:00 at the simply amazing musical interlude. After 18:00, the vocals come back in spoken and slowly build up to a scream unlike anything Labrie has ever done before.

Overall, unless you’re already a Dream Theater or progressive fan, there is little chance that this album will draw your attention. With two softer songs and other's with softer sections, only 3 of the 8 tracks can consistently be considered metal, but this album is much more in tune to what Dream Theater is all about. I recommend it to everyone, but don’t expect anything "truely mindblowing".

album rating: 8.5/10 points = 87 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#35823)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I got this album today and, after listening through it a couple of times, I can honestly say that it's absolutely fantastic. The focus is on songwriting this time around; this is apparent in the lack of over-indulgent solos by John Petrucci. Normally, I'd think that would be a bad thing, but after hearing Octavarium, I'm glad JP decided to take a step back. It gives the band a chance to showcase their songwriting skills, and also lets Jordan Rudess really shine. I'll go through song-by-song:

The Root of All Evil - this is the next part in the Alcoholics Anonymous saga (the first two were the Glass Prison and This Dying Soul). It's heavy but melodic; much better than the stuff heard on Train of Thought, although it actually uses a refrain from This Dying Soul, which is cool.

The Answer Lies Within - the album's ballad. It sounds almost Beatles-ish, and is very well done. It's heartfelt and emotional, and sounds great.

These Walls - another solid song, although I don't like it as much as the rest of the album. The verse is really soft, while the chorus is heavy and uses a new keyboard sound for Dream Theater.

I Walk Beside You - this song took me by surprise. It sounds like it could be a U2 song, but it's surprisingly good. It's extremely poppy and radio-friendly, but it's a good song nevertheless.

Panic Attack - think Train of Thought, but much better. It's the heaviest song on this album, but they don't disregard melody and songwriting in favour of heaviness like they did on the previous album. Great song.

Never Enough - another song that's good, but not necessarily fantastic. It's got a really strong Muse influence (if you don't know that band, disregard that comment, I guess).

Sacrificed Sons - I was worried about this 10-minute track about September 11th, but it's actually really good. It's the first song on the album where the band goes into the extended soloing they're known for, but even then it's kept to a minimum. They use an orchestra on this song, which makes it even better.

Octavarium - this song alone makes the album worth buying. A 24-minute epic featuring a full orchestra, it's arguably the best thing Dream Theater has ever written. Jordan Rudess even gets to use the Continuum. Just incredible in every way, all the way through.

Overall, Octavarium is an amazing album. Anyone who likes Dream Theater should definitely pick it up (obviously), but it's new and diverse enough to capture even non-fans. Just get it, now.

Report this review (#35824)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am in a state of shock after my second listen to DREAM THEATER's Octavarium, and I sincerely apologize for the length of this...but I want to do this amazing album justice and put it into context. Given the controversy and the flaming DT tends to generate even before an album's release, I worried at first that my high assessment of Octavarium might be due to unfairly lowering my expectations. But after my second listen--this time knowing what I'd hear--I'm sure this really is a masterpiece of prog. DREAM THEATER has finally generated a work that really competes with its other magnum opus, Awake.

After losing atmospheric master and keyboardist KEVIN MOORE, DT had a difficult time returning to the kind of tight cohesion they had before. (I have not heard any albums with DEREK SHERINIAN; I write about the RUDESS era only.) While technically very talented, up until now their third keyboardist JORDAN RUDESS had yet to "click" with the rest of the band, sticking out of joint with meandering solos and grating keyboard patches. His first album with DT, Scenes from a Memory, while conceptually interesting and well-sung by JAMES LaBRIE, suffered seriously in my opinion from a lack of musical direction. The next album I've heard, Train of Thought got closer to integrating RUDESS, and while I know some didn't care for it because of its hard edge and yes...still some over-noodling, it was a decent album. I've always believed, though, that the keyboardist makes or breaks the atmosphere of a prog record, and I worried that if RUDESS did not fully assimilate this time, it was going to be the end for DT.

Thankfully, this album is a best-case scenario beyond my wildest imagination! All the way from the creepy, "Welcome to the Machine"-like introduction of "The Root of All Evil" to the reprise at the end of "Octavarium", there is very little I can find about this that isn't tightly-composed, well-performed, and genuinely moving. The transitions between songs are carefully managed, flowing, and even tiny details have been attended to by the band--right down to taking care to making the track titles display on your CD player and marking the interstitial areas between songs with a "countdown".

"The Root of All Evil" makes a nice sequel to "This Dying Soul", and is part of MIKE PORTNOY's AA series. This one really seems to represent the moment of committing oneself to change...and I've got to give PORTNOY cool points for having the guts to "go public" this way. LaBRIE's voice has been processed in a way that's very strange at first...but to my mind, very effective. And immediately, I notice in the subtler keys of the outro, that RUDESS has learned control. But I hadn't heard anything yet...

The album's softest, sweetest moment, "The Answer Lies Within", reminded me in a strange way of something from Natalie Merchant; but I mean that favorably. I truly felt something stir inside of me not only at the excellent use of the orchestra and piano, but also at LaBRIE's delivery of the lyrics, which was genuinely touching and makes me want to sing along. And at one point, he does a gorgeous multi-tracking of his own voice that is among his best "harmony" moments I've ever heard. It also helps that this song speaks very nicely to where I am in my life--and the fact that I connect on this level is a testament to what DT has done on Octavarium.

"These Walls" and "I Walk Beside You" I'll address together. Both are mellower tracks (once past the intro to "These Walls"), and both have traits that some people are calling "commercial". However--why people are knocking them for that is beyond me. What I hear is good music with a real flow to it...and, even uplifting. Wouldn't you guys rather that all music on the radio was this good?

"Panic Attack"...I admit I don't feel as much just from the music (a very heavy track in contrast to what went before it)--but let me tell you something: this is about as authentic to the real experience of a panic attack that you can get. PETRUCCI has hit the nail on the head with the lyrics, LaBRIE has successfully worked the nameless fear into his singing especially with the intentionally-exaggerated vibrato in places, and even the outro, with the obsessively-repeating note, very much evokes the obsessive looping of a mind locked into a true panic attack. On "Never Enough", JORDAN RUDESS decisively proves what he's made of. While he's low in the mix at times, he really makes his synth blend with the music, and his solos are well-planned, not ever feeling like they were "noodled-through" on the fly. MIKE PORTNOY's cymbal fills caught my attention. As for the lyrical content...this seems to be a sequel to "Honor Thy Father".

For "Sacrificed Sons", I warn anyone who suffers severely from remembering 9/11 to skip to "Octavarium", because this is very evocative, using real TV clips from that day, not to mention a very powerful, emotional musical atmosphere--mournfully soft at times, ragingly heavy and angry at others. During PETRUCCI's solo, he lets out some bone-chilling sounds: he imitates emergency sirens...and not long after that what sounds like a muezzin's call to prayer. I give credit to JAMES LaBRIE not only for singing--but for setting on paper feelings that I think any American can identify with. Thank goodness...this isn't a war protest--rather, it's the cry of shock and indignation that I think every one of us, regardless of political affiliation, felt after the attack on America. The terrorists deserve the lyrical roasting LaBRIE hurls at them--but I commend him for not sinking to the nastiness of a ROGER WATERS even with the mournful sarcasm this justifiably brings out of him.

"Octavarium"...this was the final test DREAM THEATER had to pass: to prove that they had (re)learned to write a cohesive epic. The first four minutes literally bring me to a halt in whatever I'm doing--this moody, spacy section evokes both PINK FLOYD and AYREON. I'm not exactly sure what this song is about, but here's my best guess at it: it seems to show someone who is alienated from this modern era and under severe psychological strain because of it. The section subtitled "Awakening" is a real lyrical clue--go to IMDB for a summary of the movie Awakenings to understand. The next section's disjointed references to the great works of the 60s and 70s (including lyrical nods to GENESIS and PINK FLOYD) help confirm my impression. The musical build- up from section to section is very well-composed and powerful to hear...and not only that, towards the end LaBRIE goes from a dark, spoken vocal up to the kind of screaming, snarling sounds I haven't heard out of him since Awake--and for me, it's great to have that back. I should also add that RUDESS is in fine form...and without him there's no way the band could successfully pull off an epic of this caliber. By the time the end arrives, you find yourself reflecting sadly that "Octavarium" would go on forever. It is an incredible ride.

The only thing I noticed that might keep this one from knocking Awake to second place is a murky mix that sometimes threatens to swallow LaBRIE's vocals. If you've heard Blind Guardian's A Night at the Opera, that should give you a clue what to expect. But like that example, the composition and performance itself is solid...and it won't blow your head off if you listen on earphones! I also had one little complaint with a passage from RUDESS in "The Root of All Evil" that sounded a bit too video game-ish and reminiscent of the things that got on my nerves in previous albums-- but he stopped within seconds and after that he truly shined. Neither of these things are nearly enough to knock Octavarium to four stars.

This is the real McCoy...DREAM THEATER is back!

(And the "meandering" torch is hereby passed to me!)

Report this review (#35829)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars On June 7th, Dream Theater's Octavarium, their 8th studio album, was released to the general public for consumption. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I found the leak of the album that appeared a little over a week before the release date. So, I've had the opportunity to digest this album in its entirety before most of the standard fanbase. In addition, I have purchased the official release, as the leak was not the final mix, and I have given that a full listen as well.

Regardless of your point of view towards Dream Theater's newer material, I think that most would agree with me in stating that Octavarium is an important release. The previous release, Train of Thought, put a lot of fans and critics on edge, as it seemed that the heavy, excessively long songs filled with long, arguably pretentious (and borderline pointless) solos were going to become the norm. I don't agree with all the sentiments that the public expressed, but I do consider Train of Thought to be their weakest studio album. The album was a one-time experiment that succeeded about 75% of the time. The solos/instrumental breaks were frequent and sometimes didn't contribute to a song's integrity (see the unison instrumental section with John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess in "In the Name of God" for a good example, or the extended solo section of Honor Thy Father), and some songs felt like extended sections were tagged on for length's sake (see the last two or so minutes of "This Dying Soul"). All in all, Dream Theater established a new set of fans (particularly those with tastes in the heavier side of music), but alienated a good deal of their older fans. This puts Octavarium in a position of "Do or die." Dream Theater is aware of the criticisms that Train of Thought met. They weren't deaf (in fact, as the song "Never Enough" states, they were sometimes downright offended by the ignorant flak some fans spewed in their direction), and from listening to Octavarium it seems like they were eager to address the concerns the fanbase brought up.

In order to prepare myself for reviewing this album, I went back to listened to each and every studio album released by Dream Theater, one a day, up until the official release date. What I found interesting was how much their sound changes just from album to album, and how much Images and Words does not sound like When Dream And Day Unite, and that Awake sounds nothing like Images and Words, and so on and so forth. Furthermore, I noticed that the "wankery" that Dream Theater is accused of didn't truly surface until Scenes From A Memory, and didn't become relentless until Train Of Thought. Out of all the albums, I experienced some bad cases of boredom on Train Of Thought (especially during the later half of "Honor Thy Father") and even on Scenes From A Memory. As I expected, I enjoyed Awake, Falling Into Infinity, and Images and Words the most, with When Dream And Day Unite surprising me (I had never "listened" to that album properly, now I see some of its own magic) and Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence getting an honorable mention. When Dream And Day Unite and Scenes From A Memory are easily Dream Theater's most bombastic albums, while Awake and Falling Into Infinity I find to be their most personal. Images and Words is magical and epic, like its not of this world.

I did a lot of research on Octavarium before it was even released. I listened to the early radio edits. I read nearly everything the band had to say about this album. I knew what I was going to listen to. I understood the direction they were going to take. When I listened to the full album for the first time, I was expecting a mix of Falling Into Infinity, Awake, and to a lesser degree, Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, plus whatever new spins Dream Theater would pull on this album. Guess what, I heard exactly what I planned on hearing. It helps to be informed, understand the direction the band is going in, and to prepare yourself for what you will hear. It helps the appreciation process a lot.

Let me be blunt. If you dislike all of Dream Theater's material after Images and Words (and probably even Awake), you won't like Octavarium. Dream Theater is not going to return to that sound, and to expect them to do so is absurd. This record still sounds like the version of Dream Theater that was established on 1999's Scenes From A Memory after Jordan Rudess joined the band as their permanent keyboardist. On the flip side, for the individuals that thought Train of Thought was one of Dream Theater's best albums, and that their earlier work is not as interesting, then I will say that they will probably be under-welmed by this effort. A lot of the elements from their past three albums are absent, and replaced with some sensibilities that haven't been seen since Falling Into Infinity. What is the point I am trying to make? Approach this album with an open mind. It is not supposed to be part two of any of their previous albums. It is the next iteration of Dream Theater, and it takes some elements from their past, ditches others, and then introduces variety and influences that have not surfaced in Dream Theater's music up until now.

Now that the stage has been set, how is the album itself? I think that "variety" is probably the best word to describe this record. I haven't seen this range of variety since Falling Into Infinity. There are the metal songs, there is a ballad, there are a couple of hard rock inspired songs, and then there are a couple prog epics that the band is famous for. It essentially covers every base, meaning there is something for everyone on this album. They wrote these songs in the studio over the course of a month and a half I believe, and given that they took their time and put constraints on themselves, the end result is diverse and focused.

Dream Theater, for example, forced themselves to write some songs that weren't extended in length (much like Rush did at one point in their career). Those songs include "The Answer Lies Within" and "I Walk Beside You." Other songs break the five minute mark, but are much more concise in what they state musically. "The Root of All Evil," for example, is a continuation of the AA saga by Mike Portnoy that started with "The Glass Prison" back on Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. This is the first song in the series that does not break 10 minutes. Unlike "This Dying Soul," it does not feel like the song meanders pointlessly. Instead, it is a focused effort that continues the AA saga and references the past songs to produce a enjoyable atmosphere.

Finally, the first seven songs are all written in different keys. "The Root of All Evil" is in A, "The Answer Lies Within" is in B, "These Walls" is in C, and so on and so forth. In Octavarium, it once again starts with the key of A, and ends on A. This artistic idea is creative, and further serves to give all the songs their own identity.

Now for the contributions of the band members.

John Petrucci - I applaud Petrucci as he showed restraint. This is the first album since Falling Into Infinity where he crafted solos that did not blaze at a mile a minute. It shows a sense of discipline, and the quality of the songs grew due to this. Petrucci also utilized some low tunings on this record to produce a soundscape that hadn't been explored previously. With all this said, shred-fanatics need not fret, as Petrucci really lets things rip on "Panic Attack" and "Octavarium." Petrucci created some catchy riffs this time around in songs such "The Root of All Evil," "These Walls" and "I Walk Beside You." Other times, he utilized an acoustic sound in "Octavarium" to create a different type of atmosphere. All around, a solid effort by Petrucci.

Lyrics Penned: The Answer Lies Within, These Walls, I Walk Beside You, Panic Attack, Octavarium (Sections I and V)

Mike Portnoy - Of all the members, he showed the least "change." In other words, the drum work on this record is the typical Mike Portnoy affair. Like Petrucci and Rudess, he shows restraint where it is proper, such as on "The Answer Lies Within." Portnoy likes to borrow heavily from his influences, so for example there is some Muse-like drumming in "Never Enough." The effect of Portnoy on this record is not so much in a change of drumming as it is in the creativity of the songs. He and Petrucci are the main songwriting team, and it shows. The overall song-feel is the more modern, post-Kevin Moore sound that was "perfected" (depending on how you view it) on Scenes From A Memory. He does some very nice bass kick work in the chorus of "These Walls." I don't recall any crazy solos however, like at the end of "Finally Free" in Scenes From A Memory. No big loss though, the drums are not supposed to overpower but to support the overall rhythms of each specific piece.

Lyrics Penned: The Root Of All Evil, Never Enough, Octavarium (Sections III and IV)

John Myung - It's nice to hear Myung once again. Poor Myung has always been lost in the mixing process, and could only be appreciated in the live CDs. But, now he has been given the space to breathe, and his work is phenomenal. He does a nice, complicated riff at the beginning of "Panic Attack" that sounds effortless and holds a riff for an entire sub-section of "Octavarium." This man is a monster on the six-string bass. Impressive work. It's a shame that he doesn't contribute lyrically anymore, but the band refuses to work around his writing style nowadays, and the man shouldn't have to compromise.

Lyrics Penned: None

Jordan Rudess - Probably the most controversial member of the current version of Dream Theater. His keyboard sound effects, continuing with this record, sound nothing like Kevin Moore's or Derek Sherinian's. But, to be fair, he toned down the bombastic nature of his sound effects this time around. He sticks to more organic sounds (and even a sound effect that sounds like a tribute to Ayreon!), and introduces the wonderful sounding instrument called the continuum in "Octavarium." As far as his solos, they are still shred-inspired, but they are limited to where they are called for, such as in the solo section of "Panic Attack" and "Octavarium." I must say though that his ballad-piano work in "The Answer Lies Within" surprised me, as I didn't think that he was capable of writing such a melody line. Well done Rudess. His other piano work (as in piano sound effect) is the standard neo-classical affair that we've come to expect. But, much like Petrucci, its more restrained and focused on increasing the strength of the song as opposed to using it to show off. In this record, Rudess got the opportunity to show his artistic chops in a variety of ways, and it came off as classy. An effective use of talent by Mr. Rudess.

Lyrics Penned: None

James LaBrie - The other controversial member, as most people either love or hate him. Let me just say "wow!" I knew that he had been reworking his singing style ever since the Train of Thought era (essentially, he got a new vocal coach that said his old coach's techniques were bull[&*!#], so he needed to "start" all over again), and the result of this is magnificent. His range is starting to once again reach the heights he achieved in Images and Words, and there is a greater warmth is his tone and expression. I really can't see how his voice can be perceived as annoying on this recording. He doesn't sound like he is straining himself anymore. Instead, it is a true joy to listen to his range and expression. Given the overall soundscapes explored, the music compliments his timbre well. He uses doubling and tripling of his vocals to achieve harmonies that simply haven't been heard on a Dream Theater record before (they have appeared on his side projects, however). James LaBrie's showing is one of the greatest strengths of this album, and this seems to promise an incredible set of performances on this upcoming tour to promote Octavarium.

Lyrics Penned: Sacrificed Sons, Octavarium (Section II)

Finally, the song breakdown:

The Root of All Evil (9/10) - The opener of the album, and the continuation of the Alcoholics Anonymous saga that began with "The Glass Prison" and continued with "This Dying Soul." I love the intro into the song. It starts off with the final piano note from "In The Name Of God," Rudess creates an atmosphere with his sound effects (reminds me of being stuck in a thick liquid) that reminds me of the very end of The Human Equation by Ayreon, and the rhythm of the final riff in "This Dying Soul" is pounded out by Portnoy repeatedly until the first main guitar line starts. As it stands, this song is the least metal of the three entries in the AA saga so far. It's more hard rock inspired, and that's quite fine. The main riff is catchy (and reminds me of the color blue for some reason), and yet sounds at home with the previous sonic themes from the other entries in the saga. Speaking of which, "This Dying Soul" is openly referenced in this song, and makes for a very cool, haunting effect. No, Dream Theater is not running out of ideas and needs to reuse their old songs, this piece is a continuation of a much larger suite, and it is only appropriate that certain lyrical and musical themes are reprised now and again. It was done in "A Change Of Seasons" and "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence," why not here? Overall, a great rocker and an excellent way to start the album.

The Answer Lies Within (8/10) - The main ballad of the album, and it is the simplest one that has been released. This is much along the lines of "Anna Lee" in that it is heavily piano driven and quite intimate in its emotions. Some beautiful and melodic lines are played by Rudess, and Petrucci eventually joins him acoustically. The song is moving, and the lyrical theme presented is uplifting, as opposed to the dark subject matter of "Anna Lee." LaBrie has song warm moments on this track, especially at the "you're gonna shine" lyric, which gives me chills. There are no solos, which is appropriate. This piece is sincere and warm, and a solo would just spoil the mood. Unfortunately, because this song is slow-moving, one may be inclined to skip it from time to time. Unlike some of the other material on this record, this is not a piece that fits into the "listenable in any mood" mold.

These Walls (10/10) - The first of three Dream Theater classics on this album. I've been listening to this song ever since the radio edit was released, and it never gets old. The song is an excellent mix of heavy and soaring sounds, and the result is an uplifting song that has "balls." The chorus is memorable, possibly one of the most memorable they've ever written (considering the fact that a number of their songs don't have a discernable chorus). As mentioned before, I also like the bass kick Portnoy uses during the chorus. Petrucci's solo is one of the most minimal that has come from him, and it works quite well in the context of this piece. It helps to drive the piece into its final moments, and doesn't distract the listener. The vocal effect that LaBrie uses at the end with the lyric, "Tear down these walls for me / It's not too late for me" is neat, and makes me feel happy inside. Despite the depiction of struggle that manifests itself over this song, it is clear that in the end things will work out, and LaBrie's vocals really help to portray it. This is one song I can't wait to see live.

I Walk Beside You (8/10) - The first of two songs that are clearly inspired by a rock band. This song is quite U2-ish in its construction and in LaBrie's vocals. This is probably the poppiest thing Dream Theater has released on a studio album (aside from "You Not Me," but that song was a general failure), but you know what? I like it. For once I'm not feeling like I need to pay attention to the technicalities of the song. The song is written in what appears to be D Major, and that gives the song an uplifting feeling. I remember smiling broadly when I heard the familiar tick tock from Scenes From A Memory at the beginning, followed by Rudess's staccato keyboard hits and going into the melodic opening guitar licks from Petrucci. This song reminds me of "Innocence Faded" in some ways. It's uplifting, not overly complicated, and LaBrie gives an impassioned performance. This is a feel-good song that I know can make my day feel better. I take this song for what it is, and why it was written as it was, and that's that.

Panic Attack (10/10) - This is one of the greatest metal songs by Dream Theater. It completely blows everything from Train Of Thought out of the water. It has heavy guitar tones, but the keyboards are not obscured, since Rudess does not try to sound like a second guitar this time around. The piano bits with the chorus sound effect remind me of the more memorable parts of Scenes From A Memory. LaBrie gives an aggressive performance, and even mimics the singer of Muse near the end. The solo section is awesome, and actually feels like it belongs versus being inserted for the hell of it. The heavy riffs are given time to develop, and are utilized as a repeating theme throughout the song. This is THE song I want to see live. This is a serious contender for my favorite heavy song from Dream Theater.

Never Enough (7/10) - Before I had the lyric booklet and understood what this song was actually about, I remembered being a little disappointed with this one. This song sounds a lot like Muse's "Stockholm Syndrome" in the opening guitar riff. LaBrie even uses the same type of vocal distortion that is found in British pop rock acts such as Muse and Radiohead. So, out of everything on this album, this sometimes feel a little bit like a rip-off. However, the second half of the song saves itself, and I love that echoed-type sound effect Petrucci uses in his solo. Now, since I know that this song is about Portnoy's encounters with ungrateful fans (and I mean fans who verbally abuse his work without explanation, who constantly ask him to release things and then bitch when it's not to their expectations, and who chew the band out for not playing a certain song at a three-hour concert or say stuff like, "Train Of Thought was a [%*!#]ing stupid idea"), the whole use of the British art rock style makes a lot more sense. Radiohead in particular has always been subtle musically when it comes to their anger towards society, and typically they juxtapose very angry lyrics over beautiful musical passages. Dream Theater does something similar. The music itself is not all that angry, particularly the verse parts. It's more haunting, and I feel that the band was taking a stab at masking angry lyrics with, more or less, standard non-angry art rock music. Does it succeed? More or less. Now that I know what its about, at least I understand why it sounds like it does, as opposed to just being a rip-off. It's still my least favorite song on the album though.

Sacrificed Sons (9/10) - Classic Dream Theater mini-epic right here. Opening with a middle-eastern twang, the song then builds into a quiet melody line. The vocal lines are haunting, and the solo section is of the traditional Dream Theater style. The build and pace of this song reminds me of "Peruvian Skies" in many ways, including the fact that both songs make me feel the same emotions and "colors." Dealing with sad subject matter, it ponders it for a while, breaks into a solo, and then turns metal and brings the song to an energetic close. As far as the lyrics go, they deal with 9/11. Yes, I know this is going to make some people uncomfortable, and some others angry that they even tackle this subject at all (either because they should "forget about it" or because they see it as overtly "pro-American," which I don't see at all). I feel that James LaBrie, the writer of the lyrics, handled it in the best way he could. It is obviously his first person account of how he felt about the whole situation, and he is NOT condemning the middle east. He is condemning the perpetrators for perverting their scripture and for sacrificing their own sons to achieve their own twisted end. It's "Sacrificed Sons," not "Evil Terrorists." "In The Name Of God" dealt with fringe cults in America in a more general sense, this deals with James LaBrie's personal feelings about the tragedy. He just didn't have the opportunity to do so until now.

Octavarium (10/10) - The closer of the album, and what a way to end things. A word of advice: just because this song is the same length as "A Change Of Seasons" doesn't mean you should expect ACOS part two. I did that, and I was sorely disappointed the first time around. This song sounds nothing like ACOS. So, on my second listen, I choose to listen to "Octavarium" instead of ACOS part two, and it that made the song click for me. The orchestra has some beautiful accents to Dream Theater's composition. Overall, this is probably the most majestic thing Dream Theater has created (I mean this from a beauty aesthetic). The song is just beautiful to listen to. Jordan's new device, the continuum, sounds great, and adds an atmosphere to the song that has never been heard on a Dream Theater album before. This epic is a nod to progressive rock from the 70s, and develops as such. In other words, this song is one HUGE crescendo. It just builds and builds as we move from one movement to the next. The solo section, when it finally kicks in, begins to build a sense of chaos that, up until this point, had been relatively absent from the song. The end of the build occurs with James LaBrie SCREAMING "Trapped inside this Octavarium!" over and over, which gives me the chills, something that I hadn't experienced since 'The Crimson Sunset' movement in "A Change Of Seasons." As for the scream, some have expressed distaste towards it for whatever reason. My response is to get open minded. The song has been building for twenty minutes, reprising themes from the entire album, and then you say a scream at the climax is "unwarranted?" It's a perfect release of tension, and from the music's aesthetic, not much else would have fit. Seriously, it's not a death metal growl (which I happen to like anyway), and its no different than the screams that were overlaid in "In The Name Of God."

Anyway, back on the song. Lyrically, it deals with a man who, as a child, wanted to live his life to the fullest, but didn't end up achieving that. He then falls into a catatonic sleep, and awakes to find out that he lost thirty years of his life. After that point, it looks like the song breaks from this story a little bit, and gives a laundry list of words that have a slew of messages in it pertaining to Dream Theater, progressive rock, and persons and events from the past thirty years or so. So actually, one could interpret that this is all the stuff that this man has missed, and it is flooding back to him. Unfortunately, it seems like he fell back into his catatonic state, and (this part is pure conjecture) Octavarium is the next thing he hears. Each of the previous seven songs are recapped, and it is revealed that he is trapped inside an octavarium, a series of eight songs, eight notes available in an octave, and that these notes flow in a perfect circle. The song closes with the ideas of coming full circle, and ending exactly where we began, which is exactly how Octavarium closes, with the opening sound effects from "The Root Of All Evil." Wonderful song, and an awesome way to close the album.

Album Themes - One thing this album has is a lot of hidden messages and "easter eggs" within the packaging and the music itself. Musically, this is something that hasn't been done since Awake (I don't count Scenes From A Memory, since that is a concept album and the style demands it), and it was something I was delighted to see return. It encourages replaying (especially with headphones, as some things will not be caught otherwise) and it really drives home the fact that artistically this is an album, not just a collection of singles. Although the songs stand alone, they are still connected in some way. I will not delve into some of the more obscure bits and pieces, as some of it is just mere speculation, but I wish to drive home the artistic merit Dream Theater has created with this album.

The first thing that I immediately noticed is that bits and pieces of melodies from songs are played in other songs. You can hear the "medicate me" melody riff in the background in "The Answer Lies Within." I know that other riffs from "Octavarium" appear in the other songs. In addition, this album seems to reference Dream Theater's past albums in some ways. There are footsteps at the beginning of "The Root Of All Evil," a tick-tock sound in "I Walk Beside You," and a guitar squeal in "Sacrificed Sons" ala Scenes From A Memory. A couple piano lines in "Octavarium" and "The Answer Lies Within" give me a serious "Anna Lee" vibe, and I don't think that's an accident. In movement four of "Octavarium," you can hear Portnoy say faintly in the background "root," "second," "third," etc. as each two line sentence is recited by LaBrie, followed by a brief clip of the song that lyric refers to.

The 5:8 connection is found a lot in the artwork. The eight refers to the eight notes to go a full octave, there are five black piano keys and eight white keys in an octave, this is the band's eighth album with five members (and eight total members have gone through the band since they've been in the studio), there are five birds and eight balls on the cover, with the birds in-between the ball where the black keys on a piano would be. There is a five point star in an eight-sided building. Finally, there is the circle of fifths, which is how the eight main letter scales of the western world are formed. Basically, this kind of stuff is all over the booklet, and is probably encoded in the music somewhere (I wouldn't be surprised if a melody line follows the circle of fifths somewhere).

The album deals with coming full circle, and ending where you begin. The album goes from lyrically upbeat songs to lyrically upset songs, to a song that encompasses it all, only to have it all recycle again with the next listen. Much like life, we go through these feelings in stages. We never escape them, and we continue to realize that a lot of life goes through cycles.

In conclusion, as can be gathered, I was extremely happy with how this album turned out. It's the most artistically engaging thing they've released since Awake, and it feels much more personal than the last three albums. I know this album will be meeting a lot of flak, for a lot of people were probably expecting something completely different. I got exactly what I wanted. This is the album they said they were making, and what we have is a diverse, focused, mature effort that drops some pretenses in order to advance the art of songwriting. Screw the fact that most of this album is not prog. What does a genre matter anyway? Good songs with artistic integrity can be found in rock, metal, prog, electronica, etc., and this album is full of them. This is a new direction for the band, and for me I feel like they finally hit the mark in the Rudess-era. What will their next album hold? I have absolutely no clue. The previous albums held small clues as to what the next album would sound like ("The Glass Prison" on SDoIT and a few moments in "In The Name Of God" and "Vacant" on TOT), but I can't pick out any of those clues this time around, perhaps because of the great diversity this album holds. Whatever it is, you can sure as hell bet that it will sound like nothing that came before it.

Great effort Dream Theater, I look forward to hearing this stuff live.

Report this review (#35831)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars With "Octavarium" Dream Theater has taken as usual a different musical direction. Some people may say that's a good choice some other may [&*!#] on them.

I think this album is a great effort even if the band sometimes sounds like Muse (Never enough) or Pink Floyd (Ocatavrium's intro).

If you're expecting an album with the "Awake's inspiration" or the "Images and words virtuosity" you'll be surely disappointed.

Close you're eyes and listen to the music without thinking of DT's previous releases and you'll realise that this album is great. Very good structured songs, OK lyrics, heavy sound and totally amazing musicianship !

DT rules forever

Report this review (#35853)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This will be short since so many others have already given the album lengthy reviews.

Upon many listens, it took me awhile to realize how much of a concept-album this really is. From the bookend effect that they used, to the recurrances of 5's and 8's throughout the music and the artwork, and all the little things that mean so much on this album.

The first seven songs are, no doubt, great pieces of music on their own, but together, with Octavarium, it creates an album that begs to be listened to straight through. The opening of the album starts where Train Of Thought left off (with Rudess' quiet piano note at the end of In The Name Of God from ToT). The first few songs have little tid-bits of Octavarium thrown throughout the pieces, all little themes we'll hear again later on.

The next three tracks are three of the heaviest, and they are done really well. They remind me of a bit of the previous two albums in their feel and construction in music. And on to the title track, one that has quickly become one of my favorite pieces by Dream Theater. This is a piece of musical genious, one that rivals a lot of the band's other works (SFAM and I&W). The use of multiple musical ideas and merging them together, even within the album itself, is fantastic.

The opening section "Someone Like Him" starts off with Rudess on his Continuum and then Lap Steel Guitar before the whole band starts in. After a big crescendo, it quiets down to the verse/chorus part of this section (with even a little nod to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody on the piano!). This is a nice set-up for the rest of the song as it is not too hard and heavy, but it sets up the musical themes that are to come.

The next section, "Medicate (Awakening)", picks up the pace a bit with a great solo intro by Myung (who can be HEARD on this album! Yes!), along with Portnoy backing up the beat. This section reminds me A LOT of "Six Degrees". Maybe it's the harmonies that Rudess and Petrucci provide behind LaBrie's vocals, or the tempo and rhythm that Myung and Portnoy give, but it's very Six-Degrees-ish. Later on, after the vocals are done, the band goes off into a wonderfully executed 70's Prog moment with Rudess taking the lead on a synth! This then winds down into the next section.

"Full Circle" is aptly name, from the "So this is where we came in." reference to The Wall, to the use of words/phrases that connect to each other (like King Crimson's "The World's My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum"). The verses have very well thought-out and cleverly-written lyrics by Portnoy, with references to everything under the sun, from mostly musical references, to things like an old Gong Show Dancer (Gene Gene The Dance Machine) or Magna Carta recording artist David Lee Roth (Diamond Dave). A lot of fun here, and the chorus is nicely put together with LaBrie come after Portnoy providing the first half alternately. This is my favorite section of the whole song! This part also then goes into more instrumental fun with the band, with more musical references in the music itself, even a nod to Jingle Bells (thank you Rudess!).

This goes back into the same beat and rhythm that Portnoy opened the previous section. "Intervals" recalls all the songs on the album by each verse, with Portnoy saying "Root, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Octave" as music theory students should know, are the terms for musical degrees in a scale. VERY faintly in the background of even verse are audio samples of each of the 8 songs on the album, very nice to hint back at them to go with the lyrics. This is more easily heard on the "Sixth" and "Octave" sections, though.

After ending with the screamingly loud "TRAPPED INSIDE THIS OCTAVARIUM!"x4, we wind down with themes from the opening section of the song with the Orchestra (more SDOIT-ish parts!). "Razor's Edge" finishes up the song with lyrics by Petrucci (who started the song!) and says the "story ends where it began" (which is evident by the end of the song being the opening of The Root Of All Evil). A GREAT guitar solo by Petrucci ends this section and the song as well. Another great 70's Prog moment, especially the orchestra ending (and french horn as well!).

It really feels like an ending, except the use of the opening of the first song. I had the leaked album, which originally ended the song with Flute, and that felt much more majestic sounding and another reference to 70's Prog. It felt more like an ending than just reusing the opening. Sure it bookends the album and goes with the themes of the album (especially the inside cover), but it felt like a cop-out to me. Where will the next album start? I was looking forward to a flute opening, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens with the 9th album!

Another good album, and I highly recommend it to prog fans of any era, 70's, 80's, 90's, metal or rock, and even to non-prog fans who will enjoy the shorter songs and even the ballads. I must admit, I do like I Walk Beside You, as pop-ish as it sounds, but I love it! It's a good song, and LaBrie's voice is perfect for it! Like I said, a lot of people will love this album, and it's done WELL on the prog-side of things. Very well done, Dream Theater, very well done! 5 Stars for five musical geniuses!


Report this review (#35864)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This turned out to be a disappointment for me. It seems to me that Dream Theater are turning from Prog-Metal to Pop-Metal. Okay, not quite, but there is a pop-tendency in some of the songs, and Dream Theater doing pop music doesn't excite me that much. Certainly the band has changes it's sound from Train of Thought, but in my opinion for the worse.

I really don't care for the first six songs. There are slower songs, like "The Answer Lies Within" and "I Walk Beside You", but they don't work and end up sounding too cheesy. Some reviewers have mentioned U2, and when a prog band starts to sound like U2, it can't be good. Dream Theater have had the same problem with their ballads earlier as well, just look at Hollow Years for example, and you get my point. Then there are some heavier songs, like Panic Attack, and I don't like them either. They sound very uninspired and kind of forced, and definitely are not very proggy, more like modern heavy metal than anything.

"Sacrificed Sons" and the title track, "Octavarium", however, make up for some of the disappointment. "Sacrificed Sons" is a brief return to the past, a breath of pre-Train of Thought air. A nice prog metal track, apparently based on 9/11. "Octavarium" is still the highlight, a multi-part epic which serves as an honour to some of the bands that have influenced Dream Theater, such as Pink Floyd and The Beatles.

To sum it up; not very good overall, but the epics save some of it. 2+ is quite accurate.

Report this review (#35871)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Oh, well. I've listened to this album many times, but to be honest it was really annoying and terrible at first. Many others say that LaBrie's voice is not the perfect to fit into DT's music, but it was really fine for me on the other discs. James is a really good and talented singer but this album is the first where his voice made my ears "pain".

I think it is not a bad album, but lacks of the old DT humour of music and diversity. It is a very good ordinary-metal music, but for getting the attribute 'progressive' this performance is not enough. Maybe I am the one who REALLY love the long and nimble solos of JR and JP, and I missed them on this album.

So, it is a good album, and if it wasn't a DT output, anyone could get amazed by it, but it is incomparable to the masterpiece Scenes...

I can give it onle three stars because of progressivity, it could get five on a heavy-metal page. :)

Report this review (#35879)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Actually, i enjoy this album so much. After Train of Thought, i am disappointed by Dream Theater, for what they were doing with Prog rock, mixed with Rap and Thrash....

Octavarium appeared with many amazing things, its name (Octavarium) , its tracks' number (8 tracks). Its released date was 7th June, and it is Dream Theater's 8th major album....incredible.

Octavarium's album cover is very beautiful. It made me think about Physic's experiment. Normally, DT's album cover is dark color but this album's is bright color...

James' vocal is getting better....but DT is at the highest strength when they're playing instrumental...Octavarium song is the Pink Floyd influenced. With 8th song of the album, DT return to 70's prog rock ..i like that.

Totally, Octavarium is so much better than Train of Thought, as good as Changes Of Seasons, and a bit weaker than Scenes From A Memory and Images and Words.

Report this review (#35891)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars As always, the new DT album gets ratings from 1 to 5 stars. After reading previous reviews, it's easy to see that people that already liked DT in the past find this one an excellent addition to their work. The critics mostly seem to be people that didn't like DT before and won't like them in the future. And that's not strange at all, since this album gives listeners everything that DT stood (and stands) for: melodic harmonies, heavy riffing, progressive solos (mainly by Jordan) and lots of variation (something that I missed on Train of Thought). They've returned to a mix of songs ranging from poppy (the excellent 'I walk beside you') over heavy ('The root of all evil') to damn-fine prog ('Octavarium'). I must add that I personally like the soundscapes between the songs and I was pleasantly surprised by the 'Pink Floyd'-influences in the title song. This song is a true masterpiece, I'm looking forward to hearing it live. Conclusion: this is probably one of their best albums so far, but DT will will not convince the non-believers with this album (and no future release will do that either).

Belgian Dream Theater Fan

Report this review (#35903)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars We all know that Images and words and Scenes are 5 star albums, so is this one equally as good? I think not. Its a great album, but not PERFECT. The 1st track is a BORE- its rather simplistic, 4/4 all over, and I dont like the "This Dying Soul" interjection- That was a bad song to begin with- Why dont they enter a part from Awake, or Images? The Second Track is RATHER BORING- and the LYRICS? cmon- VERY CLICHE- I dont care if Petrucci is writing to his young children- it boring!!! I love ballads- but this song plain sucks- As for the rest of the album- it rocks- Different sounds all over- I would have liked to hear more Petrucci, but the world is not perfect!! I reccomend for everyone to pick this up - ITS FAR BETTER THAN TRAIN WRECK, errrrrrI mean Train of Thought- This time- the Train is back on track. 4 stars
Report this review (#35908)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'll keep this short and simple, since we have plenty of long song-by-song reviews here.

I've been a Dream Theater fan for years and I've loved every album of theirs. However, the only albums I consider masterpieces are Awake and Scenes From A Memory. This new album outranks the 2 prior masterpieces. Very much so, in fact.

This CD builds up emotion with every track that plays and the climax (Octavarium) is so good it has been said to make people cry from its beauty.

Let me just say that Octavarium (The song) has some of DT's most creative lyrics (Especially Full Circle) and this song deserves the honor of being a title track.

This song also has tighter songs, fewer solos, and better vocal melodies than every previous DT album. To me, fewer solos is a good thing because it makes the solos that do happen that much more significant.

Octavarium is a new direction for DT and I can't wait for them to change it again with their next album.

Report this review (#35913)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ok, ok... It's a great album. This album will, probably, become a classic.. in 5 or 10 years. Not now. I will not talk about the album song by song, I think that this is the best DT since Scenes From a Memory. Finally, the puzzle that begans with Six Degrees is finished... If you've doubt that this is a progressive band, then this is the proof you want. This time the guys had moved forwards the virtuoso-metal stuff and made a beautiful album... I enjoyed it very much, I admit that. Anyway, the big prize and ovation goes for the suite Octavarium, a little masterpiece.

But it's not a 5 star album. That goes for Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick or, perhaps, Metropolis Part 2 if we talk ablut DT.

Report this review (#35916)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was an awesome CD. Probably one of there best. Octavarium is well worth the money.Once again Mike Portnoy blows my mind with his extremely well written fills and riffs. And Petrucci's guitar parts are awesome. The lyrics go extremely well with the music in every song.It is different in some songs but they still do a great job.

The 1st track THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL starts out strong. And through the song the guitar and drum part go hand in hand. Very good song very well balanced. Probably one of my favorite songs. Petrucci does some of the things that Zakk Wylde does.AWESOME SONG. 10/10

The 2nd song THE ANSWER LIES WITHIN is a well writen song a lot more toned down though. More of a relaxing song, but very balanced. starts out with piano and singing the starts to grow.Neat violin part. 8.75/10

The 3rd song THESE WALLS is another one of my favorite songs. Good chorus and a neat begining. The song has super awesome sythesizer parts. Good song more less balanced but well written. The song grows then fades and then grows and so on. Good lyrics.AWESOME SONG. 10/10

The 4th song I WALK BESIDE YOU is my least favorite song but it has good lyrics but weird guitar but its very well balanced, intresting drum part. 7/10

The 5th song PANIC ATTACK is probably one of Dream Theaters heavyer songs. The song has an awesome guitar part. Very well written and balanced. Probably my favorite song. Lyrics go very well with music. Once again Portnoy does it again, the drum part brings the life of this song. AWESOME SONG. 11/10

The 6th song NEVER ENOUGH this is a pretty cool song. Different but neat.Has cool fills as far as drums go. 9/10

The 7th song SACRIFICED SONS is back to good OLD Dream Theater. Neat solo by Petrucci. This song is really good. 10/10

The 8th and final song OCTAVARIUM is long and Petrucci does like a 3 min and 50 sec. intro and then goes into it. This a long but very well written song and a good flute part. There is 5 parts to this song. All of which are written well. Neat Song. 10/10

This CD is well worth the money a must have for your CD collection.

Report this review (#35974)
Posted Friday, June 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Now, I know this review may seem bias to those who seem to hate DT, but rest assured, I am an life-long DT fan.

So, why the low rating. The reason is that I would only give five stars to one DT album (Scenes From A Memory Metropolis Part II ). Therefore, this albulm must take a lower standing. Many other reviewers have stated that this is not a good album to recomend to a first time DT listener. I must agree. It is no more worthy of being a great albulm then Tales From Topographic Oceans(btw I love that album). Simply put, it is to 'out-there' for a casual prog listener to pick up and immediatly enjoy. Furthermore, the music doesn't seem to flow as it did in other albums. Each song on this album can stand alone as a masterpiece (especially Octavarium, a true prog masterpiece that will stand the test of time), but each seems disjoint from the other tracks. There are attempts to tie the album together, but these symbols are there for the sake of being symbolic. There is no reason behind it. Some songs(more appropriately, sections of songs) are even a little too metal for my tastes, and they throw off the balance of the entire album. If one were to argue that parts of Octavarium sounded like Master of Puppets, I would have a hard time debating that point, flawed as it is. The truth is, I would love to give this album 3 stars, which I feel it more richly deserves. However, when I look at the discriptions for these rating, I must lower my selection to 2 stars. Yes, this is a good album. Yes, it is also non-essential. But when I think of who would enjoy this album most, it is not the average prog fan. This is an album that is meant to be appreciated by DT fans, not an attempt by DT to widen its listener range. Therefore Collectors/fans only is an appropriate choice. Just for all those looking to my review as a reason why not to listen to Octavarium, understand this is a good piece of music and on a purely numerical ranking of 1-10, 10 being the best, this album rates a solid 7.

Report this review (#35989)
Posted Friday, June 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater is my favorate band, and I really rock out to their music, but I was a little disappointed when I listened to the new octavarium cd about an hour ago. As soon as track 8 was over I had to stick in the scenes from a memory cd and rock out to strange deja vu and beyond this life. Octavarium really made me sad and im probably not going to go see a local jazz/blues/funk band thats playing tonight. One thing I dont understand is on the dream theater website under biography, they talk about octavarium (I think portnoy) and he said their last album (train of thought) was the heaviest, which I agree with, but then he said, "we wanted to go back to a more traditional Dream Theater style." Either they failed on that idea, or I guess im the only one that thinks theres no "traditional Dream Theater style" about this new album. I think they rushed into the making of this cd, trying to change too many things, like making their songs shorter, and trying to find their traditional style, which no band should have to try to find, because your style is your style and it shouldn't change. Look what happened to metallica.. I loved their old stuff but now their a bunch of pussies. Anyway, it IS a good cd, just not extremely badass like their others, and I cant rock out to it as much. Dream theater is my favorate band and probably always will be. Hopefully they will go back to badassness, even if it takes another 5 years for them to come out with their next album, I would rather have it be that then have a new one of these albums come out in the next year or two.
Report this review (#36011)
Posted Friday, June 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'd like to start by saying one thing about this album: It, like most other Dream Theater albums, needs multiple listens to really be appreciated. I don't really think it's fair for anyone to write a review of the album after just one lsten, hence why I have listed to this album many times before bothering to write a review.

For me at least, this is the band's best album since Scenes From a Memory and above all else shows a development in the band's ability as songwriters, something that was lost a little in their last effort, Train of Thought. Some fans will, at first at least, dislike some of the songs on the album such as The Answer Lies With and the U2-esque I Walk Beside You because of just how catchy and simple they are. I was a little put-off at first, but I soon came round because I remembered that just because music isn't progressive doesn't mean it's bad (something a lot of people seem to forget). It also seems as though John Petrucci has taken a backseat for this album. Instead of having two or three lengthy guitar solos and a unison/duel with keyboardist Jordan Rudess, you have a few carefully placed, well written solos. You will still find typical Petrucci style solos in songs such as Sacrificed Sons which I'm glad about. It seems as though the star of this album is Jordan Rudess, who seems to dominate many songs, particuarly Never Enough and Octavarium. The thought of a very Jordan-heavy Dream Theater album would normally make me worry for I thought that Moore's songwriting and Sherinian's 'sound' were better than what Rudess could offer despite his technical ability. That said, Jordan shines in this album, much more so than on the past three albums. James LaBrie also performs very well on this album, better than he usually does. As far as the title track is concerned, I am certainly impressed. I wasn't expecting anything this good, it's even better than the somewhat overrated A Change of Seasons which may now see a tempory retirement from the band's live setlists in order to make way for this masterpiece.

In short, if you approach this album with an open mind and are prepared to listen to it a few times, you'll find yourself enjoying this new direction of the band. It's not like the 'classic' early 90s albums they made which some people seem disappointed by, but why go back and do something you've already done?

Report this review (#36032)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Octavarium is a decent album, but along the lines of When Dream and Day Unite and Falling Into Infinity (i.e. it's one of their weakest). The song structures aren't interesting, the lyrics and vocals are whiny, and the technical masterbatioin we've come to expect from DT is void. If DT was going to stray from the "Train of Thought" style, they also failed, with four songs sounding like they might have well been on that album. Anywho, here's what I think of each song:

"Root of all Evil"- my favorite song on the album. However, this song doesn't stray from the heavy Train of Thought style

"The Answer lies within"- a very pretty song, if somewhat sappy.

"These Walls"- a pretty good song, catchy, all that jazz, BUT for a 7 minute song to not have a guitar solo even? Blasphemy.

"I Walk Beside You"- sounds like U2. Lame (and also no solo)

"Panic attack"- Another really good song, but once again may as well have been on Train of Thought (stylistically).

"Never Enough"- vomit inducing. That's all I can say. It sounds like Muse, and lyrics about suicide? Gag me with a [%*!#]ing spoon.

"Sacrificed Sons"- A pretty good song. BUT AGAIN, similar to the material from Train of Thought.

"Octavarium"- I expected to like this. "Yes, a 24 minute prog metal epic!" But no. When I first heard it, a friend remarked that the beggining sounded like "First Light" by Shadow gallery. I joked that it would then come in with the strumming acoustic guitar from "First Light." THEN IT DID. Then it dragged. And dragged some more before we got to a good ending.

The only genuinely good songs on this album are the ones that sounded like songs from Train of Thought. The others are mediocre fillers and radio friendly singles.

Report this review (#36283)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Previous to continuing with the review, let me start by avowing that my word is not the truth, or by any means fact, but merely a one-sided outlook in the world of music. What I might state in any review is based purely on personal and mostly biased views, except for when declared otherwise.

Track 01 - THE ROOT OF IT ALL.

"Proud enough for you to call me arrogant" is without doubt one of the worst introductory lines I have ever heard in a song; however, James LaBrie's almost brooding approach makes the entire verse intriguing. Of course, John Petrucci's continual riffs were irrefutably accommodating in that they smoothed the progress of amplifying the fragile yet "arrogant" disposition LaBrie was trying to articulate.

This song is nowhere near their best, but I found the chorus to be above all enchanting: poignant and alluring.


This track's introduction might remind you of Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart, or at least it did for me. Before I get too into this one, I'd like to issue a disagreement to those who have said this is LaBrie's singing yet, because it's not. It's great, mind you, but it isn't his best - for me, his best would either be Take the Time (I have my reasons) or A Change of Seasons, so you can imagine how much I like (or dislike) the rolling with his best vocal performance.

The string quartet on this song was thoroughly stunning, they really were. I can't get enough of Richard Locker's cello. . . every time I hear it, I melt away into a state of sheer mystification and delight. He's by far my favorite provider on this song, although without LaBrie, the song would never have gotten the emotional praise.

Track 03 - THESE WALLS.

The avid Tool fan might be familiar with this opening as a kind of "Prison Sex" resemblance, and rightfully so, because the two songs do sound familiar. But it's when Rudess' keyboarding ability take over that the song distinguishes itself from Tool's - speaking of which, I think this is one Jordan Rudess' best moments as a member of Dream Theater. Again, "This is so hard for me," is another awful preparatory line and I'm angry with Petrucci for writing it, but he redeems himself with the chorus because it's another uplifting one.

I really have nothing more to say on this song, so I'll advance to the fourth continuance.


I have to say, I enjoyed the right-left clicking, much like the one you can hear from Scenes From a Memory, through the duration of this pick-up jingle.

It's funny, 'cause -

"Through all that may come and all that may go,"

really reminded me of the good ol' Images and Words days, and I kind of miss that.

Aside from that little shred of nostalgia, I relatively enjoyed this song, especially when LaBrie sand, "When hopelessness surrounds you," because that's another Images and Words-like reference I love hearing whenever available.

Track 05 - PANIC ATTACK.

I really have nothing to say on this song, except for the last two minutes when James starts with -

"Run, try to hide, overwhelmed by this complex delirium,"

only because I absolutely love when - or how, rather - he sings it. Otherwise, the song isn't too great. It's good, don't get me wrong, but it's not great.

Track 06 - NEVER ENOUGH.

Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci make a great team together, and they - and them alone - are what make this song so good. I can listen to these guys jam for hours, and when you throw Jordan Rudess into the group, you have Liquid Tension Experiment. If you like Dream Theater, you'll love this band's instrumental basis. They're great. This song actually reminded me of a Liquid Tension Experiment reminiscent, at least until LaBrie came in on vocals, and the idea only made me eager for another release by the influential group.


Aside from being about the World Trade Center attack, I thought this song was somewhat influential as well as heartfelt, although the chorus could have been less predictable. I always love hearing something written by LaBrie, but this song wasn't as great as, say, Anna Lee or Vacant (lyrically, not musically), but it was still decent. I have to say, though, the orchestra on this song was phenomenal - my hats topped off to them for such a remarkable performance. Without 'em, the song wouldn't have been as good.


Well. . . all I can say for this track is "wow." Well, actually, it'd be more like, "F---in' wow," but you get my drift. I can imagine a lot of you naysayer listeners are ragging on this song's four-minute preface, but I, for one, love how the band decided to approach it. The calmness not only leaves me wanting more, but it also beckons me to follow down its twenty-minute (longer) path and see what's revealed. And finally, after that four minutes, manners alter into an almost The Lord of the Rings- like melody that liquefied my mind into absolute relaxation (mind the poetic truisms, please) until John Petrucci, again, dazzles the track with his fine acoustic skill, which is accompanied by James LaBrie, whose vocal technique was very helpful for this particular song (as if it isn't any other time, right?).

To put a highlight on this song, or to emphasize what I loved most about it -

"sailing on the seven seize the day tripper diem's ready jack the ripper owens wilson phillips and my supper's ready lucy in the sky with diamond dave's not here I come to save the day for nightmare cinema show me the way to get back home again,"

was unbelievable. Moreover, I enjoyed the reference to Nightmare Cinema, which, if you're a fan, I don't have to explain to you the significance - but if you don't know, read the Dream Theater biography on their homepage and you'll find out.

I also loved the mentioning of A Change of Seasons, Genesis's Supper's Ready, Jack the Ripper, and The Beatles' Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and it almost makes you want to know why the band fit these particular pieces of history in with the song.

Overall, this epic wasn't as great as A Change of Seasons, but it unquestionably warrants a slot for second best.

Well, there you go. I wish I could say more about this album, but the truth is, I can't. It's by far one of the greatest Dream Theater albums I've heard in a while, and I can't respect the group more for the approach they took to make it this way.

Report this review (#36284)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm not a professional in music, so I can't make a review technically like you all have done. I'm a big DT's fan, I heard their work for the first time in Images and Works, and I can see how their personal taste of music changes through the years.. I like Images and Works, as much as I like Scenes From A Memory, which probably the DT's work which I always listen to. But I think Octavarium is different from they all. It combines many taste of music which I do love so much... I like their ballad in The Answers Lies Within, as much as I love their metal-section in Panic Attack. Of course their epic, Octavarium, probably the best DT's epic I have ever heard. I can see Rudess shines in this track, and probably this is the DT's album which the keyboardist dominates all the album. I like Kevin, I like Derek, but Rudess is my favourite. His classical style gives DT different feel from their previous album. I give 2 thumbs up for Rudess. I have bought this album yesterday, and now I can't stop listening to their best work I have ever heard.. I recommend you all to buy, at least to listen to this masterpiece. I'm sure that you'll be addicted :)
Report this review (#36285)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ok, humm, great but... Well, is more progressive, less metal. A lot of elements from "sacred prog-bands", sometime FLOYD, sometimes, YES and even GENESIS, all in one song (i.e. OCTAVARIUM). Nice moments like PANIC ATTACK and fair pressence of SACRIFICED SONS and of course is a lot more melodic, lyrical, easy... but that stubbourness of playing a lame ballad (THE ANSWER LIES WITHIN) and the strange attitude of accepting "pop" elements and straight 4/4 tempos in the first 4 songs!!!!!........ I know, i'll be crucified for this review but really i don't care, where are those great intelligent and complex ballads like SURROUNDED and ANOTHER DAY? or THE SILENT MAN AND SPACE DYE-VEST, am i crazy or mr. Moore had a lot more musicallity than later keyboardists? where are those incredibly complex moments like METROPOLIS, 6:00 and VOICES, or honest exposures like TO LIVE FOREVER. To me Dream Theater has reached the point of NO return, where is over worked, over studied and over expected, because is no good to recycle tunes or have better side-projects albums (i.e. ELEMENTS OF PERSUASION, JELLY JAM and OSI) than the main act. In here they're trying to please everyone, but honestly, they don't have a clue where they want to go next... let's expect they don't turn into the next 80's GENESIS without a trace of the glorious past.
Report this review (#36292)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars The first DT album, I have buy, was the great Awake, it have change my perception of progressive Music and greatly modify my way of composition... How many fan of progressive music aren't musician...???

I always ask myself since 6DOIT then Tot if DT aimed the greatest commercial quality, or if it is the sucks Quest...

1 - The Root of All Evil - The continuation of Mike Portnoy's Alcoholics Anonymous saga started back on Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence with The Glass Prison and followed on Train of Thought by This Dying Soul. I never wanted to become alcoholic, but thanks to this saga, as Rhapsody has done with the emerald sword on me, my axe always on my shoulder... Sorry... Nothing really original in this song...

2 - The Answer Lies Within - Emptiest Ballad of DT, but a great performance for James Labrie whose voice fits perfectly to slow rythm and clean voices, who said very big pop singers???

3 - These Walls - Linkin Park could have played this one...

4 - I Walk Beside You - U2 could have played this one...

5 - Panic Attack - First real DT song of the album, some good harmony, but we are far from Awake or I&Words...

6 - Never Enough - Muse could have played this one... A good classical guitar solo, in the middle, same effects that Matthew Bellamy on James Labrie Voice...

7 - Sacrificed Sons - ...

8 - Octavarium - Empty until 12'19, a progressive rock song which take a lot of time to say something, but after it's very Rock'n'roll, very good ending for an album...

I've bought this Cd for some listening and i've like 4 minutes in it... Like Metallica, if you are a old no-brain fan, buy this Cd... As a deep [&*!#] it could be a fan always buy a Cd , like I've done with these fabulous Octavarium... But real no brain fan would say with the Octavarium Tour T-shirt, "It's an excellent album of DT..." Or a poisonous present to someone you dislike... My last DT's album aimed, DT has died with Kevin Moore, and them memorie with SFAM...

Go buy some procupine tree, or planetX, or Spock's Beard, or SymphonyX, or Chroma Key... Them really plays progressive music, not soap...

Report this review (#36374)
Posted Monday, June 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars It' s a very very good album of the band, but it' s not the best. After TOT, DT is back with a truth progressiv album!

It begin with "The root of all evil", the continuation of 'This dying Soul'...we find a lot of TOT' s Riffs, very heavy track, and very good (Rudess rulez!).

"The answer Lies Within", a very good ballad, comparable to "Anna Lee". Rudess is very present too, James is brilliant, like on all tracks.

These Wall, hum it smell like Muse, but good solo.

I Walk Beside you, a little too pop with my taste...but i like it very much! James tears!!

Panic Attack, the best track^^...the group must be glad to finish it ! A beautiful intro by John Myung, (like tdoe' s solo ;)), and nothing with saying, that happiness !

Octavarium, the song of insane, very very very beautiful, The orchestra rulez! it' s fu**ing prog! DT rulez ^^

Comparable to Falling Into Infinity, very good album, buy it!!

9/10 because i was waiting for a more prog album, but after a lot of listening i' m very happy of it.

Sorry for my english^^

Report this review (#36404)
Posted Monday, June 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Songs 1-7.... thanks for the "fillers" guys. Of course they're great (after all they're from DT) but others have weighed in nicely on their merits & drawbacks. (And yes, "I Walk Beside You" blows)

Bringing us nicely to song 8... Octavarium... As Dick Enberg would say - OH MY!!! I've listened to it numerous times & it is HANDS DOWN the best piece of work ever from this band. The mind-bending thought and talent put into this composition is immensely compelling.

By the way, get over the early DT stuff people! Comparing the maturity & complexity of something like Octavarium - to anything in the pre-Jordan era is like comparing a pro level football team to a high school team.

All my other prog & semi-prog favorites faded & worsened over time (ahhhh see Yes, Genesis, Rush in regards to this subject) but this band continues to climb forward, challenge themselves & improve.


Report this review (#36431)
Posted Monday, June 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I used to enjoy DT music since "when day and dream unite", they were amazing for me excellent musicians, great songs, the best of progressive metal... but then, they released 6 degrees, the album was not too bad but was'nt my favorite, so i decided to wait a little more and hear my heroes' next release. so Train of thought came out, i bought my copy, and ran to my car to hear it, and guess what, can't believe my ears, so ejected the disc and verified it, and i was right the new album is MORE OF THE SAME, the same riffs, the same cuts, the same formula, so i throwed it out of my car. and now what, the money maker 'progressive' metal band comes again with a 'new' release and make me waste my money again, this album is once again 'MORE OF THE SAME', same formulas, same riffs, they are playing it safe, don't trying anything else, they're just trying to sell the same cookies with new pack, this is a real shame for this great musicians, they 're just surviving, making money for next vacations, they are dead as artists. they have nothing new to offer and their last 3 releases suck, this band for me is dead after Scenes from a memory (the best they're done). Rest in peace.

ps. the same story as Iron Maiden, they died since Seventh Son.

what a shame.

Report this review (#36438)
Posted Monday, June 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars DT is my favourite band since I&W.. and I bought this album few minutes after its release, with a lot of expectations. I think it's a great album, different for the others, but great. DT's return to 70s sound (Floyd etc...) is not a shame, it continues their voyage through a huge number of genres. (remember their first influences are Rush, Pink Floyd, Y E S). I find "Octacarium" more melodic, more passionate.For many musicians (like me) it could suond a betrayal.. but if you listen "Octavarium" many many times, you'll find satisfactions for everybody. Of course, if you don't know DT, this is not the first album you have to buy.try: 1) Images and Words (this is the album of the century, considering it's dated 1992!!!) 2) A Change of Season 3) and of course Scenes from a Memory (Metropolis Part II)

Finally, I think that DT are unique just because they don't have a precise style, they've created one, DT STYLE!!it's not metal, not prog, not psychedelic.. just DT Style!! if you listen to all their works, it will be difficult you'll find two album so near (musically speaking) and that is their strengh!!

I consider "Octavarium" a step of their great history, a good listening, a very mature work, that will be appreciated as years go by.

Music changes, Men change, improve, DT change and they have not been so alive like now!

Report this review (#36461)
Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Not great, not bad. I won't go rating every songs one by one here since I'm quite low on time, but I'll say this : Dream Theater have been a stone rolling down hill since ToT, and this album doesn't really help the situation. The first thing I thought when I heard the first 4 songs was "commercial". No interesting, progressive riffs at all, just plain and straight riffs. Even the greatest guitar player ever didn't have much to say on this album : In fact, there are only three solos, and one of them is made exclusively from guitar noises a-la-Kerry King. As a whole, the music composition on this cd isn't really interesting.

And don't get me started on the lyrics either.

Listen to the last song, but don't expect anything real great.

Report this review (#36475)
Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A key fact that must be taken into consideration is the fact that Portnoy challenged everybody to do something different this time around. He suggested the band retain its vituoso element that many people have gotten use to. This time, they decided to focus more on songwriting. Portnoy actually said that a bigger challange for them was writing a song that clocked in at under 5 minutes. Dream Theater, usually proving themselves some of the most fantastic musicians of all time, are now showing what they can do as a cohesive unit (this isn't to say this is the only good DT album, though). This said, the vocal abilities of LaBrie are taken to new hights, perhps because of his new solo work's influence on the rocrding, or the fact that the music is slackened to give it room.

The Root of all Evil:

This is my idea of the classic amazing opener for a DT album (along with 6:00, Pull Me Under, The Glass Prison, As I Am, and New Millenium). This is the third chornicle of the ongoing compilation of songs dealing with Alcoholics Anonymous (parts 6 and 7 out of a projected 12). It begins with a riff closely akin to part 5 in This Dying Soul. And if the Glass Prison and This Dying Soul have the epic-ness and shred capacity, this one certainly has the energy. I personally have not found a better vocal melody (not necessarily lyrics) since New Millenium. Becuase the song is shorter that the previous two of its type (about 7.5 minutes), the transiotion between parts 6 and 7 ins't as distinct. The chorus of This Dying Soul surfaces for a moment, and then, in a fantastic array of musical skill (which is not as frequent on this album), Petrucci and Rudess deliver the goods. The song ends with some lonely keyboards.

The Answer Lies Within:

This is a typical nondescript DT ballad (almost like Misunderstood in the fact that it's a song, not a slate for musical talent). That's not a bad thing though--it's the perfect song to rest on after the Root of all Evil spikes you blood pressure. DT hired a string quartet for this one, and it really makes a difference (in a good way). The vocals are nothing special, and the acoustic guitar sticks to strumming chords. The drums are relaxed and, although Rudess is the key player on this track, he still doesn't do much. All this, and the song relies on the overkilled Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Chorus formula. This song is a perfect example of Octavarium's shorter songs and DT's effort to to focus no songwriting. It's a decent song, and if i had to compare it to another of their works, I'd say either Disappear (without the distorted bridge section) and/or Missunderstood (without the solos or feedback bit). Overall, a fairly good song that leaves no impression.

These Walls:

Now here's a cool song. Everybody says that Rudess is very prominant in this one--I fail to see why. The keyboard just plays the same thing in the intro and chorus. While it's a cool riff, Rudess is capable of better. This is another track where the vocals really take hold, especially the chorus. This is a more mainstream song (sorry if that statement irked you--i only meant it in the sense that it is another not epic song where the collective band is featured rather than solos). Another typical track for the Octavarium mindset...but good. I have no idea what to compare it to...Mayyyybe Strange Deja Vu (I said maybe) but without the funky bridge and with simpler guitar playing. These Walls, for a progger like all of us, epitmizes the type of song hat you want to listen to in moderation. That said, I've listened to it a lot over the last three days...

I Walk Beside You:

As I think most people with agree, this is the worst track on the album. I even heard that it was a U2 ripoff, which I don't beleive. It has more of a major feel than most of the other songs on the album. I guess this isn't really a terrible earsplitting song, but the fact there is nothing special about it causes me to skip over the track, taking me to...

Panic Attack:

One of the better tracks on this CD. If I told you the vocals on These Walls or the Root of all Evil were amazing, just wait till you hear this. LaBrie's haunting melody double under an octave (or two) by Portnoy's voice is always a recipie for sucess (think chorus for New Millenium). The first verse spits some erratic, shaky symptoms of a panic attack (what else could this song be about), while the second verse is built around complete sentences. The chorus is pretty creepy. The other two vocal blocks (helpless hysteria...and run, try to hide...) are also magnificent. And, for the starving soloist, Petrucci and Rudess shine in a solo section. This song more than makes up for the humdrum of I Walk Beside You. Again, this song is difficult to compare to a previous DT work, but I can say that it is nothing like what DT has been since the introduction of Rudess (and their metal edge).

Never Enough:

Anybody who listens to this song will immediately know that Portnoy wrote the lyrics. For the most part, the song is very eerie and dark, though not as heavy as some past works. One thing that really catches the listener's ear is a brief switch to a major key in the chorus, which is unsettling or a progessive touch, depending on how you look at it. Again (and this is the last time i will say this), the song is very unusual when put alongside other worls by the band.

Sacrificed Sons:

In a maneuver similar to the Great Debate, DT has written a politically flavored work. Although it's taken four years to write a song about 9/11, the song is great (somebody said the chorus was too predictable...i disagree). The song is very slow at the beginning, but soon picks up by the second verse. After that, there is a large instrumental break where the guitar and keyboard shine once again. The song then wraps up with anpother chorus. Aside from the second part of Octavarium (the song), this is the only song whose lyrics were written by LaBrie. There's some thing very professional about them, and when coupled with the music and melody, the end result is an amazing song. Also similar to the Great Debate, there are some samplings of news reportes at the beginning, panned left and right, only dealing with the horror of the scene at ground zero. Overall, amazing song.


The title track, Octavarium, stands at 24 minutes long on the dot. Like Six Degrees, it is broken into different segments (though not seperate tracks).

Someone Like Him (lyrics by Petrucci) Medicate (LaBrie) Full Circle (Portnoy) Intervals (Portnoy) Razor's Edge (Petrucci)

SWEET TRACK! That's all I have to say. Not really, actually. This song is the exeption to DT's songwriting crusade, this could not be any more progressive. The beginning starts with a guitar drencehed in reverb, and eventually a keyboard meloduy that springs up at the end of the song. At about 5 minutes and 10 seconds, the singing starts. The vocals of Someone Like Him start slow, build up, and end slow. After that section is over, the keyboards take an extended aria, replying a certain melody and embellishing it more after each repitition. Medicate takes a somewhat mysterious topic and fuses it with a melody that is not far from Goodnight Kiss. By the way, this section of Octavarium is also the easiest to understand--it's about a guy who's been in a coma for 30 years. After the singing, the instruments slowy modulate to a harder and more minor musical background. Although not as heavy as previous DT works, this section is still pretty driving. The verses are full of nonsense, with references to a bunch of things like Lucy in the Sky and Nightmare Cinema. However, the chorus, sung as a duet by Portnoy (and maybe Petrucci) and LaBrie, is quite phnominal. The singing ends and there is a ridiculous guitar/key unison that is remiscent of The Test that Stumped them All, but without spastic time signatures. Then they lead into Intervals, which is agruably one of the greatest moments on the CD. It begins with rhythmic talking, and slowly the vocals get more inense until LaBrie begins shouting (and shouting amazingly) "Trapped inside this Octavarium!" with whispered overdubs. It is the climax of the song. Razor's Edge soon follows, a breif six-line conclusion that sounds great. This short and sweet ending is then followind by the great outro, carried by the orchestra that DT hired. You will love this track, provided you have 24 minutes of uninterrupted time.

Additional notes:

Since Metropolis II, all of DT's albums have flowed into another. The static that ends Metropolis II reappears as the static that starts Six Degrees. The last chord of Six Degrees is featured at the beginning of Train of Though, and the Final Piano note of Train of Though kicks off Octavarium. Just something that I noticed.

This is not a great album to buy if you haven't been initiated into DT--you'll get the wrong sense of them from the album.

This album is unprecedented when it comes to song intros. I don't mean like the Glass Prison had a three minute instrumental intro. When one track ends, the CD player says Track 03: -00.48 or something like that. If you skip directly to a track, the long intro (which is comprised of sounds effects) will be skipped, so it's not like you're missing anything. That said, the majority of the tracks have very long intros. This isn't a good or bad thing, but you'll have to decide for youself whether or not you like them.

I give this CD a 5/5 because it's awesome. And that should be a good reason why.

Report this review (#36502)
Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fifteen years ago, I picked up WDADU in the sale basket of the local record store. When I asked for a sample listening, within 3 seconds I was blown away by this band.

I must admit that I've never managed to "like" or "love" a new DT album from the start, it usually takes me about 5 to 10 listenings to get that far. But I always persist, because I know that DT's albums grow on me, and will be hard to take out of the CD player for months.

Octavarium is the first album that leaves me a bit indifferent. This album lacks good songs, strong riffs, there's just not enough instrumasturbation but above all, it lacks fire! Also, the cheesy lyrics on the answer lies within (purge) are John Petrucci unworthy. Just compare these to Lines in the Sand! And was it really necessary to cover the 9/11 subject? Trying to put such a complex tragedy in 10 minutes seems out of proportion.

I hope DT will get their act together and take revenge with a KILLER successor album (bth lyrically and musically) to this {whattocallit} "album". And while we're at it, can't they just beg Kevin Moore to come back?

Report this review (#36779)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars for me these guys have really done a fantastic job. its on my CD player non-stop! every song is highly listenable, and they seem to be heading in diffarent direction from previous albums. as a huge Pink Floyd fan i really appreciated the floydy 'shine on' intro to the title track. another excellent effort as were all the others in my opinion. nice one guys!
Report this review (#36781)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars ok... 2 stars for this one. Probably the most commercial DT album ever to come out. All this fuss about its greatness and genius are only due to overexcitement. Let's get to details.

The Root of All Evil is probably a failure to produce a powerful metal song, and shows some big lack of originality! This has nothing to do with previous DT metal where you could find amazing guitar riffs and superb progressions.

The Answer Lies Within... too soft, too cheasy, and not even catchy... I don't know why DT made such a starter for their album, they could at least have put solid songs on track 2 to attract listeners. For example, my first listen ended here, as I was on the edge of destroying my CD player.

These Walls has the worst guitar sound you could ever see... this is Korn not DT, the riffs are too blured and distorted, that you come to think of a new metal band playing their first radio song, lots of bass, lots of noise, lots of cymbal drumming.... deception.

I Walk Beside You... AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOD!!!!!!! HORRIBLE TRACK!!! I never thought DT could get this "pop-rock"!! The Chorus is a C-G-Am-F style progression, just like common radio commercial stuff, and verses aren't any different! On the top, the scale change at the end made me laugh, climax there, once again, turned the player off... PATHETIC

Panic Attack is a descent effort, but not for DT, I find it suffering from the main disease of the album: lack of originaliy. Riffs are all some short progression based on E, trying to sound metalish.... Drums are fine, as always, but put together with songs, sound a bit out of place...

Never Enough, the Muse pastiche, nothing special in my taste, the opening and main riff are, once again, UNORIGINAL, you feel an 14 year-old wannabe can come up with this stuff (maybe on a slower tempo...). Plus, Petrucci still has the guts to pull riffs in "A- A-G-Bb-A" style trying to sound "oriental", well oriental my ***, I'm lebanese and believe me local pop stars come out with better melodies...

Sacrified Sons. The first progressive track of the album, a nice one actually, if it wasn't for the 9/11 subject which is a little out of date now, and can get really boring. But music is good, no cheasy riffs, drumming regains prog energy, and riffs sound like DT again. Well led song, with good intro and nice ending. Ruedess does a fine job here.

Octavarium. The Song that made me put 2 stars instead of one, a great song that has been well commented before, and that has "70's prog elements...". I won't reapeat what's already been said...

PS: I was probably a bit agressive on this one, but negative points needed to be pointed out. And, I still like TOT better.

Report this review (#36841)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the dissapointing and mostly one dimensional Train of Thought, Octavarium sees Dream Theater return to a more diverse, song orientated sound. The keyboard and guitar heroics have been largely stripped down and now tend to be of service to the song, though that is not to say that Octavarium lacks the musicianship of previous releases. The concision works well in my opinion as previous releases could have done with some editing to remove some rather pointless self indulgence (the final section of "The Dying Soul" springs to mind). As you'd expect there are great performances throughout from each member, with Jordan Rudess in particular shining on this release. There is also a clear "hat tip" to the glory days of prog - the intro to the title track along with several other sections are reminiscent of Pink Floyd, Genesis, Marillion and others. Highlights for me include the excellently written "These Walls", the Muse influenced "Never Enough" and of course the monuemental title track "Octavarium". Overall a great album, which (in my opinion) just falls a little shy of being a classic. Recommended.
Report this review (#36858)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars At first, I was tempted to give this album 4 stars because of the many similarities to other bands. Yes, some parts are reminding of Muse, some of U2, some of 70s prog bands. And? So what? Except for the new atmospheric parts, anyone who knows DT will only need to hear 10 seconds from any of the songs and they will know it's DT right away, without any doubts. I have read through the previous reviews to this album, mostly the low rated ones, and what people complain about mostly is that the new album doesn't sound like Awake or I&W... Why do so many "fans" have to start listening to a new DT release by hoping that it will sound like their first releases (or one which they consider to be the best) and be totally dissapointed afterwards? Doesn't everyone already know that DT are never going to write another album like I&W? Those were other times... It's the same with Metallica... There will never be another Master of Puppets, even thought I'm sure they could do a new album is the same vein anytime. They just don't want to. Because everyone would complain that it sounds the same and also that it's not as good. It's all about doing something different all the time, about progressing. So everyone, stop trying to rate this album compared to other releases. Just listen to the music... And what music this is... Beautiful, from beginning to end, both composition-wise, sound-wise and from the technical point of view. The orchestra is a new magic ingredient that I'm sure we'll have more of in the future. Congrats DT!!!
Report this review (#36866)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oh My God! Dream Theater are back and in a big way! An abosultley brilliant album by the masters of prog metal! Technically brilliant and musically challenging and absorbing and it does rock hard! The highlight is the epic 24 minute title track where everybody in the band has a moment to shine and using all their influeneces while not straying from their own sound! The beginning of the song is very similar to Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" with a flute thrown in there making you believe Peter Gabriel has joined the band. Petrucci's guitar work is toned down yet more evocative and you can tell he's been listening to David Gilmour's work recently. John Myung makes a splash with a funky bass intro in the second movement and Mike Portnoy's drumming is outstanding as always proving he's right up there with Neil Peart and Danny Carey as prog's best stickmen. Jordan Rudess keyboard work is brilliant and James Labire's vocals are terrific showing a softer side to his voice while he can still scream with the best of them When he's on a voicecoder he sounds like a cross of Dave Mustaine and Maynard James Keenan.

Overall brilliant. One of the best releases in 2005. Very highly recommended!

Report this review (#36924)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I had a hard time rating this. I was both dissapointed and glad at the same time. After horrendous release of Six Degrees, the only DT album I refuse to own, Train Of Thought was kind of giving hope that things will get better. Although TOT was more of a straightforward metal (and the heaviest DT release ever), there were less senseless instrumental wanking and more melody during the non-instumental part. The overzelous instrumental trend started from SFAM, another album I don't put high on my list.

Now, this album still dissapoints me in the sense that I really really missed IAW and Awake material. Both of those album were technical, progressive, full of signature time change BUT melodic at the same time. None of their release after that manage to top those two albums. I have stop to hope that they will ever come out with another one, so I accept the reality that it will never happen. That is where I was glad for Octavarium. Firstly, Rudess at last realised his part in the band. I love Rudess in this album as much as I love Moore. No more stupid effects, trying to top Petrucci etc. He plays what he needs to play. Secondly the songs are song a little less heavy than Train. In fact they sound something like Awake, my fav album, with the strong keyboard presense at the right place.

There are a lot of influence in this album. Muse, Linkin Park, U2 etc. Seriously, I don't care. As long as it is not a rip-off, I welcome the addition of anything that helps to add to the diversity of the album. DT in the first place is not unique since their first album. They have always sounded like somebody else but the difference is they make it better. Like Wills in Men in Black - 'I make this look good'.

So what can you expect from this album? Imagine Train Of Thought mixed with Awake. You should get the idea. Not a masterpiece but still a good album.

Report this review (#36944)
Posted Sunday, June 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars After 10 or so listening times I can say that this album is very entertaining in its own way. It doesn't sound like a desperate attempt to find new audiences (like Falling Into Infinity), it's not a tribute to any single style or influence (like Train of Thought), but it's not an unbelievable masterpiece (like Scenes From A Memory). I won't go into detailed analysis of every track, lots of reviewers have already done it with better musical education than I have. There are lots of catchy melodies that stay in your head and you may find yourself humming them the next day at job! Sacrificed Sons is a great sing-along song to end the shows, much in the vein of The Spirit Carries On or In The Name Of God. Oh yes, there are lots of clear influences. I Walk Beside You is very much U2-ish, but not in the annoying way like those tracks on Falling Into Infinity. It even brings Asia into my mind, heaven knows why. The opening of These Walls sounds like Van Halen's I'm The One. The title track has some very distinctive Yes-passages. These, let's say, points of reference are not bringing the rating down. It's very enjoyable to pick up some details and try to remember where did I hear it before. But here comes the big one: This album will go into the annals of heavy-prog-metal forever, because it has the greatest band of all quoting the most despised band of all! Listen closely the post-solo "orchestral" section of Never Enough at 4.45. Then go dig your old vinyls to find Look At Yourself by Uriah Heep. Put on the closing section of July Morning and be amazed! I don't know Muse, but this track has some much older influences!
Report this review (#36963)
Posted Sunday, June 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars First things first. The title track "Octavarium" is a true masterpiece, and probably the greatest rock/prog song to come out since some of the 60's and 70's classics. Beautiful acoustical arrangments of guitar, and flute, as well as sweeping Petrucci guitar solo's, Rudess mastery, and Myung madness on bass. Plus Labrie's voice sounds better than ever. Just wait till the end when he screams his lungs out, literally!!! As for the rest of the album we'll just say it's not on par with Images and Words and Scenes From a Memory. There are still some very solid tracks on this album such as "These Walls," "Panic Attack,"Never Enough," and the 9/11 tribute "Sacrificed Sons." The 1st song on the album is "The Root of all Evil." It brings an end to the trifecta of Glass Prison/This Dying Soul saga nicely, yet it is not as solid a song as the first two. "The Answer Lies Within" reminds me of "Disappear,"and "I Walk Beside you" will be skipped multiple times on your stereo becasue it is a blah U2 rip to say the least. 1.The Root of All Evil= 7/10(Ending to Glass Prison/Dying Soul) 2.The Answer Lies Within=8/10(wooh, this is like Haloween music) 3.These Walls=9/10(Great Track) 4.I Walk Beside You=5/10(Huh, what is this)? 5.Panic Attack=10/10(Turn your stereo up, way up!!!) 6.Never Enough=9/10(Stick with this song, it's really solid) 7.Sacrificed Sons=9/10(Never forget 9/11. This song won't let you) 8.Octavarium=10/10(Must be listened to multiple times until fully appreciated. I know it's long, but it's DT's best work to date, bar none.The song starts slow, but it just builds, and builds, and builds...... True epic masterpiece, and Rudess's solo will blow you away, as well as the most inspirational ending to a song, maybe EVER!!! Dream Theater & full orchestra, yeah, u heard me right. Change of Seasons, make room for this one.
Report this review (#37005)
Posted Sunday, June 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars I used to listen to 11/8 10/8 alternated, patterns terminated before i was expecting, moving in me something like refreshing surprise... now I find out that these guys are able to play even 4/4 8/8 16/16 32/32 64/64 and maybe 128/128, also thanx to the ability of Rudess, the only active musician in this album. I felt really deluded by this work... everyone could play it after 3 days and everyone can sing its songs without running the risk to go out of time... I hope this is not the motor for producing this stuff, cause a weak album can be even forgiven, given that they've recorded their solo album 3 months before this one, but if it should be another change of season the only think left to a scarred dreamer as i feel now is to say a sad goodbye to those guys, wishing them to become more popular as they actually are... but don't expect to see me between the guys at your concert... the one of tomorrow could be my last DT live show i'll attend.
Report this review (#37102)
Posted Monday, June 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was very excited when I read the reviews of this album. I did not like Train of thought at all and was generally dissapointed with the heavier, more mainstream sound Dream Theater was headed towards. So I was pleased to hear that their new album was more mellow and now so heavy.

I am sorry to say that the CD is boring... The last song, Octavarium, is pretty good and redeems the Album some. It holds on to the dream theater sound pretty well, but the rest of the CD is saddly borring. It's as if they now sound just like the many bands who were trying to immitate them may years ago.

Saddly I can say with no doubt that Scenes from a Memory was the best Album they ever did (and ranks at the top of the list for all time best prog album in my opinion) and was the last truely memorable album they ever did.

I cannot see how anyone who would give Scenes from a Memory 5 stars would give this 5 stars.

Report this review (#37103)
Posted Monday, June 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Although I remain a loyal and active-listening fan of Dream Theater, it has taken me a lot longer to digest and enjoy the last three albums, which leads me to believe that they peaked with Metropolis Part 2. I believe this for two reasons: (1) in the quest to expand their musicianship, if that's possible, and to grow the complexity of their compositions, they have sacrificed melody; and (2) by increasingly paying homage to their influences, Yes, Rush, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, and now U2, they have moved away from their signature style and tone, which was a blend of metal, progressive rock and operatic voice, that sounded like no other band. With regard to the softer songs, my three favorites, Surrounded, Silent Man and Take Away My Pain, are far more creative and melodic than any of their counterparts on this album. That said, Octavarium is a very good album that I suspect will grow on me over time. Octavarium may not be as good as the previous seven albums and A Change of Seasons, but Dream Theater continues to write more creatively and play better than any other band releasing albums today. Octavarium deserves 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#37146)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Now, 2 weeks after the massive DT fan base appereance that scattered the site and specially this particular album's page, other people begin to make their own more objective reviews. Many people so far have told everything about each song, so these will be brief.

This is not a bad album at all and it's surely better than the last one (not THAT better though) but if there is something to really take account of, that is the title song: Octavarium. Even though it seems to have many direct influences from 70's bands (Shine on or Crazy Diamond-like intro, Genesis-like Rudess keyboard's great and sudden change and the acoustic melodies at the beginning) this song developes to mix awseome harmonies and melodies with top notch musicanship, resulting in an extraordinary piece of music. This is between my personal TOP 5 songs from DT and i'm sure every 70's prog fan wouldn't say something really bad about it.

After this masterpiece comes songs like The Root of All Evil and Panic Attack. The Root of All Evil is a very good heavy metal song in the vein of its 2 previous "parts" (good as The Glass Prison, not as bad as This Dying Soul) with no individual excesive showing-off and cohesive as a whole. And the other great song of the album is Panic Attack, by far the heaviest of the album and also one of the most interesting songs: excellent riffs, good vocals and certainty when giving "shape" to the song. The rest of songs are not bad, not very good, enjoyable but not memorable.

Conclusion: For all music fans, from all eras, specially for those that keep thinking in DT as a soulless unauthentic band, the song Octavarium is a MUST to listen, an INCREDIBLE song indeed. The other 2 quoted are also very good, give them a try.

Report this review (#37169)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars You know, when you love something or someone and either starts to screw up, you forgive a lot, because you simply can't think it will keep happening forever (forever is a long time). So everytime you can, you give them one more chance. So it goes with DT; it's even easier with them since by the time I get out of the shower in the morning they usually have released yet another album. Lately, there has been "Train Of Thought", "Six Degrees" and finally "Octavarium". I listen to them all, and every time I have this feeling time has been wasted and that I will have to wait for another year at least for a potential great thing to happen. Dammit, this time they even made me miss "Falling Into Infinity!" After trying to listen to delicately interwoven grinding and horrendous noises, I had to stop and take a good night's sleep (yep, that's right, straight after the morning shower).

I won't even go into the details, the "songs" sound all the same to me. No discernable melody whatsoever (except on "I Walk Beside You" and "Octavarium", the latter being the only interesting thing on this... thing), almost no change in atmophere worthy to be noticed or any guitar part that seems to have taken more than two minutes to conceive, and so on. Just noise, noise, and more noise. Is this prog metal? No. This is Metallica or Iron Maiden at their worst. Amusing: I once played the album by moving the cursor forward 10 secs at a time, and all I could hear was that atrocious guitar souding like a chainsaw biting in a metal pipe (is this REALLY Petrucci?). Not enough for me. Not good. Not even decent. BAD.

So I'll guess it's back to waiting. Hoping the awakening will happen once again, and that it will happen in my lifetime. Because I LOVE these guys and I know if I wait long enough they will eventually conjure up something melodic and thoughtful like they once used to. Until then, it's back to Shadow Gallery, Porcupine Tree, Ozric and the promising Riverside. A little bit of Spock's Beard and Planet X now and then, some early Marillion and early Genesis, too. And some of what has become early Dream Theater!!

Report this review (#37172)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the most enjoyable DREAM THEATER album for me of all that I've heard, and those include "Images and Words", "A Change of Seasons", "Scenes From Memory ..." and "Octavarium". I could not stand "Scenes From Memory ..." because of its silly concept and lyrics but I liked "Images and Words" and "A Change of Seasons" -- the latter especially, for reviving Elton John's famous progpiece "Love Lies Bleeding". And "Octavarium" is the most complex, the most melodious and beautiful album of all of these. Except maybe "Sacrificed Sons" which is extremely politicized, "Octavarium" is a wonderful achievement. The last track, as many people note, is the crowning piece and perhaps the best track DREAM THEATER has ever written. The track 'Octavarium' really stands out as a truly progressive rock masterpiece which may be compared to the best creations of the best progressive groups.

If you weren't told this was a DT album would you be considered sane to give it two just two stars?

Report this review (#37173)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Sacrificed Sons" has killed me!

Review on Octavarium? Oh come on . it's already 130 entries by now , with many differing views for those who hated it or loved it - all with their own reasons. That's the beauty of prog isn't it? This album may have won top marks for controversy - splitting fans old and new right down the middle. Those who like the heavy part of the band (as Mike Portnoy commented in DVD Live at Budokan about Japanese fans) would have hated this album. But those who wanted a change in the band's music would have loved it. The fact is: the band is becoming much more popular now. It's good, prog ruleszzz!!

I don't want to call this as review - it's more on experience sharing. For excellent reviews you can read those written by colleague collaborators FloydWright, FishyMonkey, Claude or review by Cam.

What I experienced was truly amazing: at first spin I was stuck with track no 7: Sacrificed Sons and kept repeating this track over and over. Oh man .. This track is truly awesome! Tell me, from which point you wanna have a discussion? Composition? It has a very tight composition strengthened with beautiful orchestration. Musicianship? You must be joking . who will argue on this subject? Melody? It's definitely killing me! Honestly, at first spin I was wrong seeing the track title and I thought it was Never Enough. But I was really hooked to the music especially the melody! For me, this track is reflecting my experience in 1985 when I heard Marillion's Heart of Lothian "It's getting late ." which the melody was also killing me and got me repeating the track over and over. It applies the same with Sacrificed Sons. Initially, I was not aware on what subject this track was talking about but I was totally numb listening the musical harmony produced through this track. There is only one single phrase that best describes what I feel - and my apology for using my locality language - it's called: "mbrebes mili" (having tears in my eyes) and "nggeblak" (I'm stunned and my mind is totally paralyzed) enjoying the wonderful music of "Sacrificed Sons". Only by today I read the lyrics ..and now I realize the context of the lyrics, and am having more tears really with the touching lyrics. We share the same experience with the 9/11 even though the main cause was different; it's an act of God the Almighty, the Merciful - through the tsunami disaster.

The song starts off with news about the appearances of an extraordinarily well coordinated and devastating terrorist attack- But there are times in your life that are life changing, where your life can never be the same and this appears certainly to be one of them. What a touchy phrase! It is then followed with a silent passage where piano touch fills the silent followed with drum beats that brings the music in mellow style. LaBrie's voice enters wonderfully "Walls are closing anxiously ." oh my God .. what a fabulous melody and words! And when the lyrical part reaches "Who would wish this on our people" it makes my pulse racing very very rapidly (this is true, I'm not joking at all!); continued with another nice shot: "And proclaim That His will be done Scriptures they heed have misled them All praise their Sacrificed sons . All praise their Sacrificed sons " . uuuhhhhh .. What a killing melody here! I like the way when Labrie sings "All praise their Sacrificed sons". Hmmm .. I'm not done yet! The keyboard and orchestration sounds that follow are really nice and killing the listener. I mean it. Nggeblak man! I thought that's "it" but it is not done. The band has not finished to make me really dying: the music turns into faster tempo with really amazing interlude (instrumental break)! I cannot believe human being can create this great combination of hard driving rhythm, nice melody and awesome orchestration into one cohesive whole! It's so melodic and really memorable. Enough .. enough . I can not continue. You might think I'm exaggerating. Honestly, I am NOT! Am stunned. I don't even mind the band lends the Beatles melody "I Want You" nuance in its orchestration part.

The band's previous album "Train of Thought" means to me as "Stream of Consciousness" and with Octavarium, this means to me "Sacrificed Sons". This one track has overruled other things. I don't mean to say that other tracks are not excellent. The epic Octavarium is a great one where it has influences of previous bands like Pink Floyd (intro of Shine On You Crazy Diamond) and surprisingly Pallas (intro of Beat The Drum). I also like the high energy "Never Enough" especially in its rhythm section where keyboard and bass lines work nicely, keyboard solo; and also it has a good melody. The Root of All Evil is I think the band's continuation of "This Dying Soul" (ToT). "I Walk Beside You" intro is reminiscent of King Crimson. "Panic Attack" is another excellent track. The only problem with this album is two ballad tracks: "The Answer Lies Within" and "I Walk Beside You". Both are too poppy and the structure are both too straight forward. I do not favor these two tracks. So, I give an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended. Keep on proggin' .!!

Progressively yours,

GW - Review #325

"Who would wish this on our people. And proclaim That His will be done Scriptures they heed have misled them. All praise their Sacrificed sons. All praise their Sacrificed sons"

Report this review (#37186)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I felt compelled to submit a review regarding the new Dream Theater release 'Octavarium'. Overall, this cd, in my opinion is the most diverse that this band has put out. It captures both elements of progressive music, modern rock, and their influences. My personal favorites are Root of all Evil, These Walls, Walk Beside You, Panic Attack, and Sacrificed Sons. I must admit I was a bit concerned when i heard they they had another 24 minute epic on this one. I wasn't fussy about 'Change of Seasons'. However, 'Octavarium' is a masterpiece and it does not seem as long as the clock time. With Jordan keys being more prominent, it reminds me of what happened when the christian rock band Petra released 'Beat the System' in 1984. Alot of people complained where it had too much keys, or they didnt like the way the keys were done, much like the complaints I heard on this cd. I really like Jordans keys on this one, especially on the title track. They add emotion to the songs.

By the way, for some who didn't like 'Train of Thought' , I think its one of their best. Actually, they have been their strongest since Jordan joined them and their 'Scenes From a Memory' cd. Although I loved the 'Images and Words' cd, we dont want another Images part 2, as some compare every cd they they put out to that one. This cd isn't as heavy as 'Awake' or 'Train of Thought', but who cares. So I encourage every one to embrace the new Dream Theater, because every band evolves and changes with time.

Report this review (#37200)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm here to tell you that Octavarium has much more meaning that many people (even fans) know, so let me explain my interpretation.

This is more of an interpretation than an album review of the music. It is more of a review of the lyrics and the concepts behind the album.

Obviously if you do have the CD you have seen the figure of the octavarium. This paragraph will just be an observation of the different clues. The 8-sided figure with the 5-sided star enclosed inside it. You also have seen the many pictures with the 8 figures of one object and the five of another (the fish and the octopus, the spiders and the levels of the maze, the dominoes, the keys in the back, 8 white, 5 black, the side of the album 8 white blocks, 5 white, the eight ball, the eight swinging balls on the front cover with the five birds, ect.) Also note that there are 8 tracks, this is their 8th studio album (excluding A Change of Seasons EP) and there is 5 parts to the title track "Octavarium." Now "Who Cares?" 8, 5, blah blah, this surely has little meaning. That statement will easily be proven wrong at the conclusion of this analysis.

If you notice each song describes a certain fault in a human being, or displays a fault in a certain way. For example The Root of all Evil shows the fault of alcohol or any drug addiction, the Answer lies within shows insecurity within oneself, These Walls shows the lack of confidence of an individual, I walk beside you shows total dependence on another, ect. I am trying to make this relatively short (though its hard due to its complexity) so you can figure out the morals to the other songs.

If you also notice each song has a certain time signature above the lyrics (1/8, 2/8, 3/8...) The figure of the octavarium also has that time signature correlated to one of the eight corners. This is to show that each corner of the eight sided octavarium represents a fault in a human in today's society. Each corner is a downfall in the moral of the average human being.

The five sided star represents five different good moral qualities that are normally absent when it comes to todays society. My own interpretation of the five good moral qualities are stated in "Octavarium" when it is said "Loyalty, Trust, Faith, and Desire, carries Love through each darkest fire." Love being the main of the five qualities while the other four are needed to carry the fifth.

Dream Theater is saying that there are not many people that give respect to good moral value any more in todays society. They are stating that they live with a high regard to moral value and being good, respectable people, and they believe that they are trapped in a world (octavarium) where the other eight values are much more present than the main five that we should be cherishing. It is displayed absolutely beautifully in this album, my favorite part being "Sacrificed Sons" when they talk about how many people blaimed God for the tragic events of 9/11 instead of realizing that God has no control over war or many tragedies that happen in todays world.

Lets talk about the smart additions that make this album a true masterpiece. First off, with the time signatures in the album, each song also has a key in the staff above. The keys for the songs go as follows:

F minor, G minor, A minor, B minor, C minor, D minor, E minor, F minor

An Octave. The first song or the Root of the octave (and coincidently, of all evil) begins on an F from the piano. The last song or the Octave (coincidently Octavarium) ends on the same note from the piano after the ochestra ends extremely powerfully and emotionally while James screams "Trapped inside this Octavarium" stating that he is trying to persue the good morals, though it is not respected and not as present as it should be. This loop of chords from beginning to end is incredible while reading the final lyrics to "Razors Edge":

"We move in circles Balanced all the while On a gleaming razor's edge

A perfect sphere Colliding with our fate This story ends where it began"

I also want to show the final lyrics to section IV of Octavarium and show how they each reflect the eight faults (look at the parenthesis that I place above for a quick summary of the moral of each song):

"[Root] Our deadly sins feel his mortal wrath Remove all obstacles from our path

[Second] Asking questions Search for clues The answer's been right in front of you

[Third] We try to break through Long to connect Fall on deaf ears with failed muted breath

[Fourth] Loyalty, trust, faith and desire Carries love through each darkest fire

[Fifth] Tortured insanity A smothering hell Try to escape but to no avail

[Sixth] The calls of admirers Who claim they adore Drain all your lifeblood while begging for more

[Seventh] Innocent victims for merciless crimes Fall prey to some madman's for impulsive designs

[Octave] Step after step We try controlling our fate When we finally start living it's become to late"

These lyrics are VERY well written correlating with the other songs on the album. Each paragraph is a summary of each song (the root for root of all evil, the 2nd for the answer lies within, 3rd for these walls ect.) There are also many other small prespectives and morals that I will leave up for interpretation.

One thing that I had found very interesting was the back cover. The eight white piano keys contain the songs (or the eight faults) while the five black keys contain the five members of the band, showing how they are trying to live by the good morals and are trying to break out of the "octavarium" that plagues this decaying society where morals are almost impossible to find.

As for the front cover. I have not figured out exactly what it means, or what it is trying to touch base on. If anybody has an idea I would love to know so please post in this forum.

I just want it to be known that it is always an opinion to whether you like Dream Theater or anything for that matter. But to go out of your way to say that octavarium can't be that deep and it only has to do with a musical octave is very ignorant. The octave in this situation has much, much more of a meaning. Of course I left some up for interpretation as there is a lot more that you can say about this album and it can go much deeper that what I have written. In my opinion this is a progressive masterpiece and it holds up against all the progressive albums that are essential. Regardless to whether you like the way Dream Theater combines the various styles or whether you like James LaBrie's vocals, there is no question that they deserve an incredible amount of respect for both their musicianship and their lyrical concepts.

Report this review (#37254)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars i make it no secret in my pleasure at the release of octavarium,eagerly awaited.pretty much knowing the one word exceptional.yes dream theaterare my favourite and most enjoyable band,and mike portnoy i idenitfy with on another level from most dream theater fans. yes the opener as expected is lyrically in reference to steps 6 and 7 of the 12 step recovery program(which i have gone through myself).mike portnoy is a true genius to convert his experience lyrically is not only courageous and honest but its bloody rigorous honesty and truth of the highest order. i understand the heavyness and darkness of glass prison and dying soul,they have to be dark because in the roots of alcoholism thats what it is like to experience.the root of all evil is focused around having god remove defects of character on a daily basis,which are the root of evil as they are conected to resentments which are the number 1 killer of alcoholics and the second part of the song is about humilty and asking god to remove my shortcomings. as for the other tracks,they speak for themselves.this band are truly remarkable.since rudess joined the band and mr portnoy got well i believe they have stepped up a level and the music they are writing is the best yet. truly fantastic. god bless bill w and all of his friends,without them i wouldnt have what i have today,and god bless mike portnoy for indirectly passing on the message to which encouraged me to go through the 12 step program,a true inspiration.
Report this review (#37274)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, this is probably the worst DT album I own. It's not really terrible, it just has some junky stuff, although their lyrics are better any more. But, whereas the small amount of slow stuff on Train of Thought was pretty good and an improvement over their previous slow stuff. But anyway. So the Root of All Evil is an exellent opening track, rocks pretty hard. Then comes a boring slow song, The answer lies within. not very good. These Walls is my favorite song on the whole album, I love the keyboard licks and such. Dream Theater is really good at blending keyboards with heavy metal guitar. Then comes I walk Beside You. This song is not terrible, but I don't know, it doesn't really do anything for me. Panic Attack is a great heavy song, with some of LaBrie's vocals ever. Never Enough has some typical lyrics, but its pretty good anyway. Sacrificed Sons is also a good one, though it drags on a little bit.

Now Octavarium. The twenty four minute title track. It starts out so awesome, with that super echoey lead guitar from Petrucci, then it goes all slow for the first two parts, and this is slow Dream Theater at their worst. Then it rocks a little bit with III. Full Circle, but it has some goofy lyrics, although they are clever at times. Then comes the really rocking part, Intervals, which is pretty good. Razor's Edge is my favorite section of the song, with the slow vocals and the heaviness of it all. So it goes from great to horrible for a while then to pretty good to Awesome.

But anyway when Dream Theater rocks they are excellent, but the slow stuff really brings this album down. Highlights include: The Root of All Evil, These Walls, Panic Attack, the very beginning and Parts 3 thru 5 of Octavrium.

Report this review (#37317)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is probably DT's most controversial album to date, and i seriously doubt whether or not this band will meet again such fan response in the future. I believe that the album's multiformity is it's curse and bliss simultaneously. The apparent musical disjunction between the tracks and the distinct style that each one carries, prevent the album from flowing harmonically. The opening track (tRoAE) is a nice heavy song with a lot of energy, which is, unfortunately, followed by a ballad (tALW) that slows drastically the album's pace. Then again, "These Walls" is a very dynamic song which rises the tempo, but what comes next (IWBY) proves to be the album's most commercial, soft song so another confusion arises. The rest tracks seem to be widely accepted (it couldn't be any other way, they kick ass) so there's little to say about them. Regarding those who keep on saying that DT imitate other bands like U2, Muse etc. First of all, DT were always proud to say that their music was FULL of their influences, they never denied the fact that themselves are fans of other bands. Secondarily, being a U2 fan myself i find IWBY better than many, many U2 songs. Why so much fuss? "Because it is commercial, simple and DT should be extra-complex and heavy!" mean like "Wait for sleep", "The Silent Man"," Hollow Years"," Through Her Eyes" or "Solitary Shell"? We should be grateful for this change. One of the main reasons all of us love this band for, is their ability to keep their sound fresh by adding every time new elements, which coexist tunefully with their trademarks. Until now, we haven't heard 2 alike DT albums, but for all of them we have dozens of reasons to love them. Give this record a chance, it is full of emotions and in my humble opinion this is much more precious than blistering solos and heavy drumming. Being compromised with the idea that DT won't ever release something equal to "Awake" or even I&M and SFAM, i believe that it would be best for us to listen to what the band has now to offer and not stick to the past. It is still zillion times better than anything else in the genre and worthy of carrying the DT logo upon it. Dream Theater is without a single doubt the last GREAT metal band.
Report this review (#37333)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was very sceptical about this album after the release of train of thought. That album was way too dark and not really dream theater. Octavarium is much more like it; i love this recording. Although not quite as technical as i am used to hearing from these guys, the songs are great and very well written. To be honest, i can't believe so many people are bashing songs like "the answer lies within", "i walk beside you", and "these walls". I love all of these songs. Answer is another great slow piece, i walk beside you is very heartfelt (i actually really like this song) and these walls is just awesome. This album reminds me of what dream theater is all about; intelligence, musicianship, and diversity. I am brought back to memories of images and words, awake, change of seasons, falling into infinity, scenes from a memory, and even six degrees. I have been a fan of dream theater since images and words and have always loved their way of mixing heavy metal with great slow ballads that are truly heartfelt. I did not like the way train of thought was so dark, so heavy, and so depressing. Octavarium captures the things that i have always liked about dream theater and is refreshing and truly a progressive masterpiece. Every song on this album is great. I don't have a complaint for any of the songs. At first, the title track did not seem as cool as the other songs, but as i lay down to go to sleep the other night, i decided to listen to it. That did it. Octavarium is a really cool song with some wonderful parts to it. Also, if you want a really great interpretation review, check out adam's review up above. I think he really knows what he is talking about. Octavarium is a truly great, deep album and i can't seem to stop listening to it. Worth every penny and more than deserves my five star rating.

P.S. Influences? What would our favorite bands be without influences? Dream theater certainly stands out on their own regardless of influences and are masterful at incorporating their influences into their own music.

Report this review (#37400)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars alright lets start of by not comparing this to past records (IANDW, SCENES FROM A MEMORY) yes they kicked major ass but we don´t need to argue over the fact that Octovarium is better or worse than those 2. This an extremely talented band.

anyway this is well blended album with its heavy side and its more syphonic side. I found that it was a good mixture or both. u2, Pink Floyd, and Muse seemed to be highlights in some of these songs i liked it

i wouldn´t recomend this for a first time listener of DT. But if you are more of the metal head go listen to Six Degrees or Train of Thought. Images and words is one of their best to but i will not compare.

by the way ruddess can and will blend in with the band

Report this review (#37504)
Posted Friday, June 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 1. The Root of All Evil starts off like Tool, and reeks of aggression. At times grungy and others rock n' roll. 2. The Answer Lies Within in like an Oasis song in many ways, though that is not a bad thing. 3. These Walls is possibly my favorite as it reminds, me of Marillion, especially the start. Great slab of processed commercial progressive metal (if that means anything to anyone). The guitars remind me of Steve Rothery a little here. Great keyboards too on this song. 4. I Walk Beside You is very commercial but I am always a fan of these poppy kind of songs. Everyone's said it and ME2, it's a lot like U2!! A sure song to promote DT on the radio. 5. Panic Attack is thrashy and older DT like the name suggests. Typically jerky and powerful. Will take some time to grow on me. I do like the Iron Maiden bit in the middle. 6. Never Enough is, like everyone says Muse-like. Great guitars here and drumming. 7. Sacrificed Sons is clearly close to DT's heart, especially coming from Long Island themselves. From a political point of view I hope they also come out with a song AGAINST the Iraq war on the next album. Both are as bad as each other. Song sounds poignant and often sad and drawn out. That the good thing about progressive music, the sounds also tell a story. I don't know of any DT song that is over 10 minutes long and is not good. This is no exception. The mix of fast and slow gives you the feeling of devastation and hope, but also alarm I feel. 8. The start of Octvarium sounds blatantly like Gilmore doing War of the Worlds maybe even Porcupine Tree. Then it sounds like Steve Howe with his jangly guitar. Then slow DT. Then Mark Kelly from the Clutching at Straws era. Then Progressive DT. Bumble an' all. Think I even hear Jungle Bells in there. Then DT aggression last seen on WDADU Then DT building up to the end like they normally do with the long songs. Then it ends as the CD started - Full Circle

Overall, I have only heard it 2 times so it is not a real evaluation yet, but on first impressions it is very different and more accessible. Good for new listeners. I don't think DT will ever reproduce the originality of WDADU which is clearly the best DT album. Nevertheless, this will grow as all quality albums do. The album is very techno in places which is strange. Going forward it will move DT into more commerciality which is not a bad thing when mixed with progressive music. Listen Rush, listen to Marillion nowadays, they seem to be doing it well. 1 question? Where is the instrumental? 4 stars from me, good but not perfect.

Report this review (#37707)
Posted Sunday, June 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars DT is and will remain my favorite band. Throughout their career, these artists have created matchless, almost divine music. So when I read all these controversial reviews I felt anxious to give one of my own. But I needed some time to hear the album several times and come up with a more objective opinion, unlike most of the overexcited fellows. Now I can shout for certain that Octavarium is by far the band's simplest creation. But hey prog music can be grand even without shiny solos and spastically fast and complex guitar riffing. (Take for instance Fates Warning.) Prog music can be great if it's authentic and emotionally deep, features that are absent in Octavarium, which seems to be vastly suffering from lack of originality. Petrucci is probably the principal responsible for this mediocrity. Portnoy has some (but not many) fine drum moments but Petrucci seems more compromised and less innovative than ever, with static and repetitive riffs. There is no true progressive metal in Octavarium apart from some satisfactory moments on the two last tracks. In general, Octavarium is too commercial and mainstream rendering apparent that the bar that was set by Metropolis may never be surpassed. So if Metropolis deserves five stars, Octavarium should not get more than two. It's true that they are still immensely better than the average metal band, but guys we have to take into account that these superb musicians can do a lot better than that. p.s. DT Greek fans see you all in Athens on July the 1st!
Report this review (#37808)
Posted Monday, June 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Dream Theater's most recent release, "Octavarium", was a disappointment to me. After great albums such as "Awake", "Scenes From a Memory" and "Train of Thought", I was expecting more of this album. The song writing is duller and overall far from Dream Theater as I know them. This album is less heavy too, with a more modern prog feel to it, but it doesn't make it any better because of that. Of course there are some good songs here. The epic title track for example is highly enjoyable, but tracks such as "The Answer Lies Within" and "I Walk Beside You" are both far from my musical taste as it gets. The rest is good, but overall not nearly as great as earlier stuff.

I wish Dream Theater better luck with their next release, and hope they return to they "Awake" era sound (which will sadly most likely not happen, but we are allowed to hope, aren't we?)

If you like Dream Theater, give this one a try, you might either love it or hate it. As for me, I'm stuck in between. Overall a good album, but nothing really special, it might grow on me even more though, I guess I just have to wait and see...


Report this review (#37825)
Posted Monday, June 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Now, I don't want to come off as a DT fanboy, but I must say that this is an incredible effort. After the excessively heavy Train of Thought, Dream Theater fans were left wanting them to return to their contemporary roots, more prog less metal. This album is a combination of metal and progressive rock, with a twist of pop here and there, and the collaboration of all of these elements is well used. The musicianship, as always, is top notch. Gone are the excessive mind numbing solos from Petrucci, who now plays with a more melodic approach. Jordan Rudess is the star of the album, playing incredible pianos and synths throughout each of the eight tracks. John Myung, normally unhearable on previous albums, is now very audible. He always gives great performances throughout. Mike Portnoy also plays great drums throughout, but nothing out of the ordinary or spectacular. And finally, James LaBrie is now a tolerable vocalist, his voice is great throughout.

The album opener, The Root of all Evil, is a continuation of Mike Portnoy's saga about alcoholism and the ability to clean up. It begins quietly, with a chilling piano note coming first. As the drums kick in (playing the "riff" from This Dying Soul from a percussive standpoint), and the guitar comes through the speakers, the listener is taken for a ride. Petrucci finally has some self-control and keeps with the flow, playing with more of a rhythm approach. Rudess is the only one keeping to the old DT staple, playing off the wall and needlessly complicated keyboard solos. The vocals on this track are also top notch, and the lyrics are among the best that Portnoy has written.

The second track, The Answer Lies Within, is a more laid back tune, with Rudess leading the way throughout. Myung's bass work on this track is great, and LaBrie really is at a high with his singing. Nothing much more to say on this track.

The third track, These Walls, begins with a fade in of Petrucci overly distorted guitar. What begins as a muddy, dirty track, quickly becomes a more symphonic track. Rudess's synths take the forefront again, and they never let up. The vocals are great, and the lyrics that Petrucci wrote are also among his best.

The fourth track, the poppiest track of the album (the only one I dislike), I Walk Beside You sounds like DT covering a U2 track. From a guitarist's view, the guitar is very well done, as is the bass. The drumming is very adequate, as is the keyboard. LaBrie is the star of this track, giving a very emotional vocal line.

The fifth track, Panic Attack, begins with an incredible bass intro. After that, it sounds like old DT. The bass work throughout is phenomenal, one of the best Myung has ever done. The guitar is also intricate and complex without being too technical, the keyboard also makes the song feel more symphonic. In a word, one of the best songs on the album, really harking back to their roots.

The sixth song, Never Enough, has a great riff, great vocals from LaBrie and lyrics from Portnoy. The keyboard and drum on this track are among the best of the album. Not saying that the guitar isn't great either, it's just not up to par with the rest of the album. A great track not to be left out.

The seventh track, perhaps the most emotional on the album, is Sacrificed Sons. The song, with lyrics concerning 9/11 and all of the terrorism in the world. Features awesome keyboard from Rudess, great guitar from Petrucci, and incredible vocals from LaBrie. The guitar solo on this track is also very emotional, at one point sounding like an ambulance. Another very symphonic track from DT.

The finale, the best track on the album, is the 24 minute epic, Octavarium. It begins with a very Floydian intro, just keyboards. Rudess' use of the Continuum in the intro of this track is flawless, and his work with the lap steel is also a great addition to the mix. What comes next is 18 or 19 minutes of prog nirvana. Featuring great bass work from Myung during Awakening, great guitar from Petrucci throughout (especially the opening acoustic work), great drumming and lyrics from Portnoy, and great vocals and lyrics from LaBrie, this is arguably the best track DT has ever done. With lyrics in the middle sections alluding to famous works of Genesis, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and Yes, the metal combines perfectly with the symphony. The last haunting piano note is the same as the opening one in the Root of all Evil.

Overall, this is one of the most balanced work DT has ever done. There are very few dry spots, I Walk Beside You the biggest one, and the musicianship is impeccable. I recommend this album to any fan of progressive music who isn't tired of the endless DT debates. 4/5.

Report this review (#37836)
Posted Monday, June 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's so hard when writing a review to not compare a new release to the artists previous releases. In this case Octavarium can not and should not compared. This album stands alone. DT in this case is showing composition skills as well as crafty instrumentation. They do not show off their chops for the sake of showing them off. It's as though they realize they are at the top of the musician food chain and no longer need to dazzel us with virtuosity. That is not to say the chops are not there, they are, just more integrated.

This album is flawless musicaly. Whether you enjoy it or not is according to your taste. It should not be according to your expectations. Altough I have thousands of prog titles at my disposal I find myself listening to Octavarium continuously.

I do find myself agreeing with people who hear the U2 influence on "I Walk Beside You" that one took me by surprise as well. It's that obivious but not nescessarilly unpleasant.

Report this review (#37963)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Train of Thought" fans beware. Dream Theater fans... welcome the next installment of your prog collection. Although I highly enjoyed "Train of Thought" I like how Dream Theater's sound changes from album to album and "Octavarium" is certainly no different. Not only are they exploring new tones, but also new sounds instrumentally. Jordan Rudess' inclusion of the continuum and James LaBrie's noticable experiments in vocals shows how versatile this band is. Not to mention the addition of an orchestra for select tracks.

Following the trend of Rush (think from "Hemispheres" to "Permanent Waves") and being shorter in their track lengths (with the exception of the final track), the songs are more enjoyable and show no lack of complexity in their compositions. The lyrical content of the songs seem to be "deeper" than perhaps on previous albums. Granted all their albums contain tracks with lyrical depth this one seems to move the listener more easily... I'm just waiting for Jordan Rudess to crank out some lyrics.

Other critics slam Rudess' "over powering" in the songs. But we must also remember Derek Sherinian and how lacking his compositions were, for he was just a "hired gun". The only good music to come from him was "A Change of Seasons", which was written before he even joined the band. Rudess' style leads the band to a more Floydian, melodic sound.

The album does contain much continuity between tracks - just as their previous three albums begin and end on the same note (i.e., SDOIT begins where SFAM ends, TOT begins where SDOIT ends, and now Octavarium begins where TOT AND itself ends). Not only that, but the tracks flow on this album in a very well-planned manner. The album titles shows a connection and a theme not only to all the songs, but to the current members history together.

Final score - 4 out of five

PS - If you're worried about a drastic difference on this album, don't worry. It can't be as bad as "St Anger" from Metallica.

Report this review (#37966)
Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars A lot has been already said about dt's new album and this review is a little Bit of reaction to all this buzz about it! First, i have to confess that i was already quite tired by dream theater Since "scenes from a memory" be honest i liked that album but it Has started being annoying(too and i mean that, too heavy metal inside Their music,too many rhythmic changes etc.. As a friend of mine said and he Wasn't far away from truth dream theater had and have become an endless Tutti!) And this continued and to the next albums, peaking with "train of thought" I would had bypassed all these...ok they like heavy metal let them play heavy Metal...but i can not bare the production of all these albums! When you hear heavy metal a crystal clear production is needed so you Won't be tired easily and i mean that too! Mike portnoy and john petrucci are great musicians but mediocre Producers-just compare the flat and unimaginative production of train of Thought with the greatness and clearness of images and words or awake... Kevin shirley was there and i really wonder why they took over for the Production

Octavarium is a good but but not essential album-i lke only three songs Despite the diversity and i mean:of course octavarium which is a very good And a very clever progressve rock song...they should be really be plaing Progressive rock than metal,anyway the second song is i walk beside you at Last i can hear a strong refrain and finally never enough-it's heavy metal But with very interesting guitar theme. At last we have a better production and myung can be really heard! That's all for octavarium and i hope they will hire kevin shirley again for The production of their next album. Excuse me for the long review...

Report this review (#37970)
Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is equaly far from being materpiece and from being crap. It is very well performed (what else could one expect from DT?) but musically mediocre album. There are many borrowed tunes (Pink Floyd, Tool, Muse, Marillion, Iron Maiden, you can even trace some moments from Jesus Christ Supestar and Trouble) which shows you lack of creativity, composing abilitties, and genearl absence of genius. However album is enjoyable listen, and musicianship is of highest degree as always (they just cannot play it badly, can they?). All in all it's 3 stars band coming up with 3 stars album. I can't see anything exciting in it, and all the huge agio around just proves that Mediocrity Reigns.
Report this review (#38100)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a very good album from DT.

Interesting the change comparing with the previous album, good influences from Portnoys work with Neal Morse and DT being close with YES during their 35th aniv. tour making some 1st parts, DT approach Prog Rock with suberb arrangements, not so heavy as the one before, Octavarium is an album you cn listen from the begining to the end with great joy. Thanks DT!

Report this review (#38115)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Founding Moderator
3 stars I seem to have been "spoiled" by having been introduced to DT through Metropolis (which I gave 4.5 stars). I then went back and listened to Images and Words, Awake and Change of Seasons, hoping to understand the "progression" that produced Metropolis. And although I have not heard Falling to Infinity, I got no sense of "Metropolis" having been arrived at through any particular "progression" of the band. And now (although I have not heard Six Degrees or Train of Thought), having heard Octavarium, I am more convinced than ever that Metropolis was a - very happy - fluke in DT's career.

Octavarium returns DT to its roots in Images and Words. In this regard, although I gave Images and Words three stars, I qualified it as follows: "This is NOT a prog album. What this IS is a speed/power metal album with some "prog sensibilities" (some more well-realized than others) and occasional "true" prog elements. Within its own genre (speed/power metal), I would give this album four stars, since it is a particularly excellent example of that genre. But prog? As a whole? I think not."

Similarly, Octavarium is NOT a prog album, but rather an admittedly impressive metal/speed metal album with perhaps a bit more "prog sensibility" than Images and Words, but not enough to qualify the album as a whole as "prog." True, the band makes a valiant attempt to recreate some of the "magic" of Metropolis in the title track, but not only is there simply not enough "there" there to reach that level, but the band is not as successful in filtering its influences: indeed, they seem to deliberately wear some of those influences on their sleeve.

The album opens with sound effects similar to "Welcome to the Machine." After this, "The Root of All Evil" is mostly straight-ahead (if good) metal, with very heartfelt lyrics about the pains of alcoholism. "The Answer Lies Within" is a nice piano-based ballad, with a particularly sweet vocal by LaBrie. "These Walls" opens with a nice jazzy 6/8 feel (actually three measures of 6/8, followed by a measure of 5/8) in the verses with "standard" 4/4 power-metal verses. There is a particularly nice, restrained solo by Petrucci at 4:45-5:10, and the piece ends with a quasi-symphonic prog ending, into more shameless PF nods, this time a heartbeat and clocks. This brings us to "I Walk Beside You," which has "hit" written all over it. [Indeed, if you listen carefully, you will find that it was EQ'd and mixed differently from the rest of the album.] "Panic Attack" is the most successful track, a "speed metal" composition with some of the best "prog" elements on the album, including a dangerously fast 5/4 tempo, and a nice, subtle mellotron at 1:30-1:45. The breaks at 4:22-6:15 and 6:45-7:30 sound like Queen gone amok (there are nods to "Stone Cold Crazy," among other songs), with LaBrie channeling Freddie Mercury and Petrucci channeling Brian May. "Never Enough" is a straightforward metal composition, with an interesting Lennon-esque chorus and Beatle- ish approach; in fact, this is what The Beatles might have sounded like had they tried doing metal. [As an aside, every time LaBrie sings the line "Because I can only take so much of your ungrateful ways," it sounds suspiciously like something from a Beatles song.] There is also a nice keyboard and guitar break at 3:30-4:45. "Sacrificed Sons" is DT's tribute to the fallen of 9/11. An appropriately "dirge"-y waltz, it has a quasi- Crimzoid jam at 4:20-7:45, and is a wonderful composition overall.

Which brings us to the 24-minute title track. It opens with yet more shameless PF nods, with Petrucci channeling Gilmour and Rudess channeling Wright for the first three- and-a-half minutes. This is followed by a very Yes-like section (3:50-4:20), and then some Gilmour-ish acoustic guitar (4:22-5:20). From 8:45-9:40 and then again from 10:40-11:15, we get the "funky" side of DT. Then it's back to Yes (12:20-13:50), with Rudess channeling Wakeman. From 13:50-15:45 we get lyrics that are suspiciously reminiscent of Belew's "free-associative" lyrics in "The World's My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum," sung over music that sounds very Lamb-ish. From 16:45-18:30 the band channels at least four or five prog groups, including Yes, ELP and UK. And the quasi-symphonic build-up in the four minutes from 20:00 to the end is hopelessly Yes-like. Those sections not specifically noted are more recognizably DT. Despite all the weakly channeled influences, the composition works overall. But it does not have the cohesiveness or "snap" that it might have (and should have) had.

As usual, the lyrics on the album run the gamut from naïve to esoteric to intelligent, and the musicianship and production are top-notch. But it is clear that DT has given up almost all pretense of being distinctly "prog." Yet this is not necessarily a "bad" thing. Even if Metropolis was an extraordinary "accident," DT has been, and will likely remain, the best at what it does best: power metal and speed metal with occasional prog sensibilities, comparatively good lyrics, extraordinary musicianship, excellent production, and a willingness to "buck the trend" of standard power metal and make interesting, often compelling albums.

Report this review (#38290)
Posted Sunday, July 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Octavarium is a great album, not the best album. The epic track Octavarium is wonderful, excellent. This one is more important and more valuable than the other seven joined. In some fragments it reminds me to the Liquid Tension Experiment, and I love that. To include an orchestra is a good decision, but isnt very original. Panic Attack and Sacrificed Sons are 2 songs very interesting, with a big emotional parts. To point out is the work of James LaBrie and Jordan Rudess, especially the last. Jordan is the protagonist in the whole album. I Think that this album is closer to Six Degrees...than the others.

Greetings to all DT fans around the world. I´M FROM ARGENTINA

Report this review (#38648)
Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars They really changed their sound. Comparing to their last release Train of Though which had strong metal sound this album switches to pop style in some tracks. I think this album was made just to celebrate their years together and it is not essencial in a DT fan collection, just like Falling to Infinity and the non-DT first album. Believe me I was expecting a lot more because I and the number one fan of DT, really. But some tracks (or just parts) can be saved. (By the way, John Petrucci is not in this album)

1. The Root Of All Evil - The continuation of Glass Prison and This Dying Soul. Good Sound ->Rating 4/5

2. The Answer Lies Within - Melodius and raw song. ->Rating 2/5

3. These Walls - The song I most liked in this album. A contagious sound that continues from the begining to the end. It should have more instrumental parts though. Good performance by Rudess. ->Rating 5/5

4. I Walk Beside You - Like someone said before here in the reviews, it is an U2 song. Really boring. When you hear the beginning you start to think the rythim is good but then LaBrie start singing like a pop performer. This one is really not DT! Should be excluded from DT life ->Rating 0!/5

5. Panic Attack - The first song I listened. Really good sound but it's not flawless. ->Rating 4/5

6. Never Enough - The instrumental part is good but the lyrics really ruins it! Just like the 4th song. ->Rating 3/5

7. Sacrificed Sons - Didn't listened very well. Good intention to remember the attacks but not very good music.->Rating 2/5

8. Octavarium - I really expected more of this song. When I looked at the lenght of this song (24') I remembered the perfect A Change of Seasons. But it's nothing like it. They should improove it. The first 10 minutes intro is really boring. Then by the 16' when you think you can hear the solo by Petrucci he stop. Really dissapointing. I thought it would be the maximun of the album, but... ->Rating 3/5

Yes guys, I thought this album would be one of their best but... But I don't think we should worry about it because DT will always write new cool songs. I think this album is festive cd and they are preparing one masterpiece. Right now I'm trying to listen it well and see if I can like it. When I'm listening it I remember Pull Me Under, Metropolis, Glass Prison, Beyond This Life, A Change of Seasons and the others God's sound. Maybe they go back to what they were before. Or maybe the invent a new sound that will change MUSIC like they did before whyen they began. I really hope it. Because DT I love you. (Liquid Tension too!) BRASIL!

Report this review (#38921)
Posted Saturday, July 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Octavarium" represents what DT should have done after "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" (IMHO, their best post-Moore studio effort) instead of the forcedly metal- driven "Train of Thought". This album stands somewhere between the diverse musical ambitions of "Six Degrees" Vol. 1 and the poppier facet of "Falling into Infinity", resulting in a more consistent album than the latter. It is clear that DT is not as much interested in using and abusing odd time signatures and tempo shifts as in the previous album, and maybe that's the main reason why some specific portions of "Octavarium" happen to remind me of the "Infinity" album to a certain degree. Anyway, it is the band's more metallic side what is shown at the starting point: the wild 'The Root of All Evil' (which continues the AA-inspired trilogy) kicks off the album with a explosion of emotional struggle that is well commanded by the solid combined performances. The aggressiveness is maintained and enhanced in 'Panic Attack' and in some sections of the dramatic second part of 'Sacrificed Sons'. Regarding the latter, it is particularly impressive how the eerie waltz-like first part stands as an autonomous region in itself, yet, together with the second part, they fulfill a cohesive whole - 'Sacrificed Sons' is one of the best compositions in this album. 'The Answer Lies Within' drifts on calmer waters, with LaBrie offering the inspirational sentimental drive that he usually delivers so well in DT's softer numbers (once again, the first part of 'Sacrificed Sons' comes to mind). The icing of the cake is the namesake closing suite, which fills the last 24 minutes of the album. It is good to learn that after more than 15 years writing and recording albums, the band can still manage to create something that is both true to their progressive influences and genuinely exciting. Even though there are many passages in which Portnoy's drumming, Myung's lines and Petrucci's guitar iterventions burn like forests in flames, it is the magic of "WYWH", the exultation of "Tarkus" and the splendor of "Supper's Ready" the raw materials that the band decided to study and recreate as a point of reference for the 'Octavarium' suite. This straightforward connection to the prog side of prog metal is the main factor that makes this whole album so closely related to the best of their multicolored trademark sound. In many passages of the album Rudess has made good use of the room given to his keyboard input (not unlike the 'SDOIT' suite), and in this particular monster track he effectively shines brighter than ever, including the steel guitar and its derivative, the Continuum (a bundled steel guitar-synthesizer). 'These Walls' is a ballsy rocker with a bit less fire than 'Panic Attack' or 'The Root Of All Evil', leaning closer to the realms of melodic hard rock in order to take advantage of its catchiness. A great deal of catchiness can also be found in 'I Walk Beside You', a pretty, not too complicated song which sounds very much like something out of U2's latest albums - perhaps the best song U2 hasn't written since the "Achtung Baby" days. 'I Walk beside You' is nothing special in the album's grand scheme, but indeed it is, in itself, an attractive song with plenty of potential to become a radio airwaves winner. Also, it showcases again the power that Labrie brings consistently to the band's most emotional repertoire: emotion with a rocking hook. More sophisticated, but bearing a British influence on its sleeve as well, 'Never Enough' brings a breeze of the so-called Brit-pop refashioned with prog metal clothes - like many before me, I've noticed the Muse influence in this one, as well as on 'Panic Attack', only that the latter happens to be more successful at conveying the sophisticated energy in pure DT fashion. Generally speaking, this album is not a step forward for DT, but a successful labour of reconstruction and rediscovery, a labour that, hopefully, will help them to look into a more constructive future horizon than the one that had been dreadfully anticipated (and is now diluted) in "Train of Thought". This is not a masterpiece, but it sure qualifies as excellent for the most part.
Report this review (#39205)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a good album, but below average for Dream Theater. It tries to be the second 'Images & Words" but it falls a bit flat.

The Root of All evil is a song about alcoholism and references 'The Dying Soul'. It is a good opener and while it is very simple, it is well constructed. It finishes with a grand piano finale 6.5/10

The Answer lies within is a decent mellow song in which the singer sings better than usual. 6/10

These Walls : mainstream sounding metal song. The keyboards are decent though. 5.5/10

I walk besides you : Another mainstream sounding song, reminiscent of U2 5/10

Panic Attack : An overrated song. It seems to repeat its good main theme that was began by the bass player over and over again until there is some uninspired soloing. 5.5/10

Never Enough : A song that while I heard it over 5 times, I had to go back and listen to it again because I didn't remember anything. Not very good, and sounds like Nu-metal. 5/10

Sacrificed Sons : This is an emotional song, and means a lot to the members. It is a tribute to the 9/11 tragedy, but I hate to admit that while the vocals are some of the best I heard of Labrie, the songwriting is not that strong in its instrumental section. It seems like they just wanted to solo around a bit. 7/10

Octavarium : not their best epic at all. I expected another 'seasons of Change' but they disappointed me with this. It is still a very solid epic that is influenced by pink floyd, yes, genesis, and other 70s bands. As a result, it sounds very 70s. 7.5/10

My Grade : C

Report this review (#39210)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Eh, it's ok. When I first listened to Images & Words, Awake, and Scenes From A Memory, I got a really good feeling. A feeling like "WOW, this is some good stuff!!!" The same feeling that I got when I first listened to Moving Pictures from Rush, Operation Mindcrime from Queensryche, or V from Symphony X (which has been in my car CD player now for MONTHS!!!). This cd just didn't give me that same feeling. The music isn't bad by any means, but it's not a masterpiece either and I've heard alot better out of this band.

3 stars. :-)

Report this review (#39332)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars With three consecutive almost perfectly-crafted albums already in their laps the last five years, why should there be any reason to be weak at the next destination? Or, why not the other way around? These are fair questions. Without any intention to straightly respond to them, Dream Theater doing just well with this new, controversial album to show us how both optimism and skepticism can simultaneously occurred -- and to just compensate each others.

The weak side: there are things spread across almost every track that remind us on materials and characters of other bands, both from recent days and the past; we, therefore, are also elevated to a point from which we have to ask about the band's (let's call it) pledge of allegiance to progressive rock. And why not? Because in listening we can find The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Rush, Yes, Genesis, probably also Black Sabbath. We hear U2 and Muse as well.

Thanks to the band's solidity and maturity, and the individual and collective musicianships, virtuosities, and particularly songcraftsmanships, we can happily bury the weak side. This album, for instance, still offers Petrucci's proficient, jaw-dropping guitar solos in its rather reduced but well-placed portions. And the other guys are also still there. Above all, we have to admit the band's ability to take a wide range of musical genre and influence and make it all theirs, if not fresh.

This album is not the band's perfect effort indeed. Nevertheless, we still can see it as a proof that Dream Theater is not losing its rank and reputation as one of progressive rock champions yet.

Report this review (#39400)
Posted Thursday, July 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I admit I'm new to Dream Theater and it was the reviews on this site - mixed as they are - that made me go out and buy a copy. I picked the latest album because hey, its not often I buy a new release.

I guess 3 stars says it all - not bad, but not great. The title track, the big prog no on the album, starts with a "Wish You Were Here" style intro, & has two great instrumental breaks in it including a very Wakeman-like moog solo,and a witty vocal section referencing a string of other music & prog numbers (suppers ready, machine messiah...); it does go on a little too long though. "Never Enough" is my favourite track, a very tight number, great riff, witty lyrics; Panic Attack has a similar feel; "Sacrificed Songs" is about 9/11 - even more poignant given events in London - but given the seriousness of the subject why do we get a light hearted Peter Gunn style ditty in the middle? I have to mention "The Answer Lies Within" which is one of the worst tracks I've heard - banal lyrics coupled with a trite tune; not prog, certainly not metal. I've simply avoided it on subsequent playings - otherwise this might get just two stars - & overall I do think the album is better than that.

Final plea please - a number of reviewers praise Dream Theater's musicianship & viruosity and not for a minute would I seek to disagree; but great musicianship on its own does not a great record make. Despite my luke warm review of this CD I suspect these guys may be pretty damn good on stage and I may just shell out my hard-earned to find out.

Report this review (#39411)
Posted Thursday, July 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars After almost accidentally wandering into DT's SFAM concert back in 2000 I was hooked. I got the SFAM, which I consider one of the best prog rock albums, and all of their other CDs.

However, judging by Octavarium (and TOT), it seems that they are runing out of ideas. There are simply too many derivative sections within almost all of the songs on the disc (how much closer to WYWH could the start of Octavarium get without infringing on copyrights?), there seems to be no flow to the album, the songs seem disjointed, but most of all I find the whole affair boring without any hooks or catches that make me sit up and pay attention. I may slowly grow into it, but considering that I've played TOT perhaps 10 times and I still find that album harsh and unimpressive....

Perhaps the clearest explanation of how I feel towards current and previous DT releases is that I'll be going to their concert on October, but only because they will be playing in my home town.

Having said that, the technical skills of the members are, as always, awesome. But if you want to hear proof that you can make fast, loud, technically and *musically* brilliant album with beautiful song (that one would assume DT is (was?) perfectly capable of), check out Symphony X's "V" album or some of their longer pieces ("Odyssey" or "Divine Wings of Tragedy") from their other albums.

Report this review (#39427)
Posted Thursday, July 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of those albums that it really doesn´t matter if you like or not. You all have to listen to it. Carefully. It is simply incredible how these guys are able to get together, and make amazing music like this, with all the contributions that they are all making around the globe, very busy agendas and personal stuff. "Liquid Tension Experiment" (Le Brie, Petrucci, Rudess and Portnoy) with Tony Levin, "Ayreon" (Le Brie) with Arjen Lucassen, "Transatlantic" (Portnoy) with Neal Morse and Ronnie Stolt, last two " Neal Morse´s" (Portnoy) albums and two tours, solo albums work, etc. Lot of musical adventures and a family to take care of. After all this, they give us this album: Nice chorus on "I walk beside you" , great vocals on "The answer lies within", great everything on "Sacrified Sons". Just virtuosity on Octavarium, the 24 min. epic, with all the extraordinary ingredients this band had and still has. For those who didn´t like it, what the hell else you want ? Have they changed ? Who haven´t ? A more progressive style ? Absolutely. Thanks a lot DT for this amazing album!
Report this review (#39458)
Posted Thursday, July 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Time changes and so Dream Theater.But they always change for the better.Octavarium is a truly Rudess album.The influence of this amazing keyboard player is in every second of the disc and throws DT for an new whole era of Progressive Rock.The album is much softer than Train of Thought and the reasons for that are that ToT did only have one slow song (Vacant) and DT have always presented us with beutiful melodies and very good song lyrics for this tipe of songs.The Answer Lies Within and I Walk Beside You are that ballads in this album.The first one is a very DT ballad with orchestration and very slow rythms.I Walk Beside You is a very U2 influenced type song but with much more energy than the first one.The dark side in this album goes to The Root of All Evil, Panic Attack and Never Enough.The Root of All Evil is the parts VI and VII from Mike Portnoy's alcoholic anonymous work and is a track that presents much of the changes that have happened since ToT.Panic Attack is one of the best tracks that Dream Theater ever made.The insane drums of Portnoy,the solos of Petrucci and Rudess and the magical bass lines from Myung made this one of the most challenging tracks for live presentation.CAN THEY REALLY DO IT LIVE?!Never Enough is the most darkest song in the album because talks about suicide and sacrifice with the voice of James LaBrie giving Dream Theater one of their best chorus.The most strange song is These Walls.This is definitely a new style for Dream Theater with various influences by bands like Yes, Rush and Genesis. Sacrificed Sons it's the tipical mini- epic from Dream Theater with the instrumental section in the middle and the majestic end.There's simple no words for Octavarium.What an amazing epic!Once again with influences from classical Prog bands and with a taste of a Neal Morse influnce especially on Full Circle.The Pink Floyd type intro, the evolution between sections, the lyrics,the voice of James LaBrie screaming "Trapped inside this OCTAVARIUM", the guitar solo in the end...IT'S DREAM THEATER AT THEIR BEST!!!This a must buy album for all DT fans and Prog music listeners around the world.
Report this review (#39472)
Posted Thursday, July 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a good album, However it would have been better if they released another album like ToT. In this album they truly became a commercial band, tracks like I walk beside you and The answer lies within had horrible lyrics for this kind of band. I usually like de mellow tracks from DT but this time they made a terrible mistake. In this album Ruddess is back again, but portnoy, myung and Petrucci gave up all their efforts for making original music. The only track that deserves a better qualification is the title track, wich i expected to be the new ACOS, but although i became a dissapointed, it turned to be a really well balanced track and very well executed. Labrie excels hear and Petrucci shows his softer side, which is his best side for me. Its a very nice song and quite magic also, and some prog rock can be heard here, but they are always using to much the raw material from ELP, Genesis, Yes, Tull, etc. I want to hear DT style, that had been buired since Falling into Infinity, I trully expect a new I&W album, but with this new one my hopes had been tottaly killed.

Report this review (#39485)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars this CD earns all 5 stars i gave it... it is absolutly awsome! i liked it a lot already but after i read Adam's review i realized how much time and extra effort they put into it. In my opinion this is tied with Scenes From a Memory for in creativity, effort, deepness, and just awsomeness! The end of Octavarium gave me the worst case of goosebumps i have ever had from music, that says a lot to me if it physically effects me. I like the way DT focuses on good, truthfull, and real concepts. like the 4 *mabye more i havent heard every DT song yet* songs on Alchehalism, instead of promoting drinking like most bands out there do, they tell how it destroys your life. they are one of the few secular bands out there with extremely good morals and i appreciate that a lot. some people are thinking "forget the lyrics, if it isn't heavy enough i dont want it" *not saying i dont like heavy music.* one of my favorite songs on Octavarium is "The Answer Lies Within" because of the lyrics and the fact that they try new styles, which I think they pulled off very effectivly. all of the songs have extremely well written lyrics and music which work very well together. An example of this is "Panic Attack", the music and lyrics have a very chaotic feel to them, because an actual panic attack is very chaotic. So in my opinion, this is among one of, if not the, best albums ever released, only compared to by Scenes From a Memory.

The swinging balls on the front cover are *i forgot the name but it almost reapeats going back and forth forever* My idea of how this is symbolic is because the balls "go full circle". another idea is that the balls are trapped inside the never-ending pattern and the birds in the background are free to fly wherever they please.

Report this review (#39682)
Posted Sunday, July 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars alright... octavarium... well i used to buy every album of this band pretty much as soon as it came out. this time for some reasons i just get it now. i was very exited to listen this one cause ive been so disappointed by their last realese that it could be just good (i mean how could they do worst?) ok lets go for the bad side, first of all portnoy should stop with is lyrics redemption im an alchoolic cause well he is 30 something now and sometimes is good to grow up a bit... the u2 like song is as well a bit boring and remind me a lot of falling into infinity,and the sound in general is much less "brut" than usual.... jordan is incredible but still miss this magic touch moore got (moore was the mastermind (lyrics and melodies)) petrucci took off the word melody in is soloing but he still remain the same as i fell in love with this guy still know how to construct a lead part, as well as jordan(well im sure jr taugh jp a few things like chromatism doesnt fit everywhere) myung does the job nicely and come out of the mix as clever as usual he is a reference (him and geedy and chris) james is singing again but it seems that i cant reach anymore all this amazing stuff he did on awake especially on lie anyway im very happy cause ofthe eponyme song octavarium the genesis sound like took me immediatly the rush/yes bass line kick myself right in the ass every thing else is just blablabla... anyway spirit carries on bye 6/10
Report this review (#39869)
Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Dream Theater were my first approach to progressive music and i really liked the way they put toghether elements of progressive and elements of metal. Later i discovered many bands able to give a deeper dimension of music to me, like Yes, King Crimson, Rush, Genesis, ELP etc.. etc.. and i've been also deceived by DT beacause after 'Metropolis II' i thought they would have turned to a deeper dimension following the seventies footprints... but unfortunately thay kept the metal soul too close to their music producing poor records like 'six degrees...' or 'train of thoughts' or... this one. It's very sad to see they left the prog soul recording a 'trendy-metal' album, it seems they are feeling too old and they are trying to make music for teenagers; some of the tracks sound like Evanescence or Linking park and you can hear a confused James LaBrie on those tracks. It's hard to hear Jordan Rudess as well, infact there is no harmonic space for his tipical keyboard openings. Myung is always covered by Petrucci and Portnoy who keep on playing faster and faster, maybe they think music is an olympic discipline... In the end i hope DT will understand they're not 20 years old anymore and try to make a more complex record like they used to do in the past
Report this review (#39887)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, I have to say that I've been listening to DREAM THEATER's music for qite a while, and I am aware of the high influences they had in modern-day prog.

Even though I really enjoy "Octavarium", I have to say that it has a long way from being a masterpiece of prog, mostly because it's not even that prog. I gave the album 4 stars, considering it a good album, but being conscious that it is far from reaching the highest peak. In order to justify my rating for this album, I should discuss about the good points and the bad ones of each song, so here they are:

The Root of All Evil: It has a strong begining for the album, the first minute or so resembling a lot with the idea of a train approaching. I consider it a great effect, and the whole song is very powerful. I give the song 4 out of 5.

The Answer Lies Within: The bells from the ending of the previous song are actually a good intro for this nice ballad. I have to say that I almost love this song, mostly for it's mesaj. The lyrics are original, it's almost telling us not to let go. It's a message for us to keep our faith and keep believing in the truth. My rating for this one is 4.5/5.

These Walls: I have to say that I've heard a lot of rumours that this song might look a little like a Linkin Park style. Well, I must disapprove with this idea. First, it's clear that the guitar at the beginning has John Petrucci written all over it, and the drums also manage to keep the rhythm alive in a Mike portnoy way of doing it. For this song: 3/5.

I Walk Beside You: And here it is. The album's closest song to commercial. At the first listening you can almost see Mtv on it. It has a "happy happy - joy joy" thing on it, but it is clear that the band, like all other groups actually, is also giving a chance to other people to experience their sound. For its lack of originality, and also for the happy thing, I give it 2/5.

Panic Attack: This is where they come in powerful again. After a nice ballad and a happy thing, it was about time to hear some real stuff. The guitar is great, and so are the other instruments, but from this song to being real prog... it has a long way to go. It is too heavy, but still a good song to listen, considering the technique and the lyrics, so I hive it 4/5.

Never Enough: The heavy stuff stays, as it is present also in this song, and, although we can't be sure of the band's intentions for the message in the lyrics, I noticed it can be an available message to any situation. Just listen to the lyrics properly, and you'll definitely see why I gave the song 4/5.

Sacrificed Sons: In my opinion, this is the song that surely goes to everyone's heart. Well, at least it melted mine... I had to face it, there were almost 11 minutes of nice, soft, really melting lyrics, and the voices at the beginning remind me of a good Dream Theater tradition for "mind sequences", this phenomenon appearing in other of their songs. For melting my heart: 4/5

Octavarium: Finally, the 24 minutes epic that I've been listening for quite a while in order to understand it. I have to say that it has in A+ points, and also its C,D, or even worse points. Well, IMO, its A+ points are mostly at the first part of the song, in the first 4 minutes of instrumental, and I also love the way LaBrie screams out at the end. The song goes from slow to fast, back slow, back fast and it has a good way of making us dizzy. It is a very good work, I give it 4.5/5.

Well, after these ratings for the songs, my final rating for the album is 3.75/5, so an average 4.

Report this review (#40156)
Posted Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album was my introduction to Dream Theater and I expected great things from it-hoping to uncover a clever metal-orientated album (a real rarity). I was, however, disappointed by this effort for due in the main to weak lyrics and the accompanying vocals. Ironically, when James LaBrie's voice begin to take a more pleasant tone on "The Answer Lies Within" the lyrics fall down and cement the fate of this decidedly average-sounding ballad. Throughout the rest of the album I found his voice increasingly grating on me and as such heavily preferred the instrumental sections. His voice reeks of overspilling teenage angst, it has that same annoying whiny sound to it which grapples so obviously for emotion that it manages to avoid it completely. This said the musicianship of the rest of the band lies in no doubt-sadly their technical proficieny is often obscured by James LaBrie's incompetance. There are some interesting moments instrumentally but are usually underdeveloped (the beginning of "I Walk Beside You") but these are tempered by a few guitar solos (though, according to other reviewers these are in mercifully less abundance than on prior albums) which seem to screech on rather aimlessly and some repetitive background occupying on other tracks. I'm not usually a fan of metal but this aspect didn't intrude on my enjoyment too much and I applaud Dream Theater for aiming at quieter moments occassionally but it's only unfortunate these times are usually the weakest.

The themes which reoccur continuously within this album-those of self-destruction and redemption are flogged tirelessly by inept lyrics that express the same ideas without ever really exploring them to the full. The lyrics smack of Linkin Park or other typical rock outfits and sometimes dive into the cheesiness ("I walk beside you/ Wherever you are/ Whatever it takes/ No matter how far" on "I Walk Beside You") yet there are a few nice turns of phrase hidden in there. Below is a summing up of each individual track, the attention any metal album which boasts intelligence deserves.

The Root Of All Evil - The instrumentation is pretty average, thrashing guitars etc pound out the rhythm with a few cuts to the obligatory guitar squeals. There's an semi-interesting instrumental break after the second to last break but this soon tires into the kind of metal we've all heard before.

The Answer Lies Within - Very simple lyrics which follow the typical ballad route and can't be professed as anything ground breaking. After a good but underdeveloped opening section this track loses all ability to captivate me with the inoffensive 'emotional' instrumentation though James LaBrie's vocals are much improved here.

These Walls - Great opening followed by generic angsty moanings which evoke no emotion in me other than plain irritation. Instrumentation throughout is solid and certainly catchy.

I Walk Beside You - Another promising opening followed by the cheesiest lyrics of the album which definitely deserves the U2 label others have firmly stamped all over it. The low point of the album and to be avoided.

Panic Attack - The best track on the album the lyrics are sparse enough to not be an annoyance and the vocals convey the urgency and sense of entrapment they should. The instrumentation is very interesting-it soars with variety.

Never Enough - Again the instrumentation is good but by this time I'm beginning to feel restricted the very stock sound of Dream Theater, the reasons why I've always veered away from prog metal in the past surface in this record-there just isn't enough variety in the sound to make it subtle enough to hold interest.

Sacrificed Sons - Supposed to be emotionally spectular yet lyrically it left me cold though the brief spurts of eery instrumentation were effective. Too obvious-slamming in your face the message which I don't appreciate.

Octavarium - Didn't really live up to my expectations as the pinnacle of the album. It had its moments but these were often stolen from other bands (very noticeable Yes influences) so I even though I enjoyed these I don't know how much credit can be given for them. Ultimately, it didn't quite pull itself together as the epic it had the potential to be.

Overall, I would recommend this as an example of good metal but as a prog masterpiece it is desperately lacking. Lyrics and vocals can't carry the songs which is a shame since the musicianship is always good. The themes are also very generic and it didn't evoke much emotion despite the interesting bouts of instrumentation.

Report this review (#40398)
Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars US By the Paris France.

The last time I remember a group innovative was back in Europe with two bands that are still on the chart Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd....

The last piece of this CD as a feel of Pink Floyd in a fantastic way. It is a exquisite piece of music from Dream Theater. If they continue this way, the world of music will have found the replacement for a band that I miss and Dream theater are the right band to replace and fill and empty space in heart. Thank you...


Report this review (#40426)
Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
King of Loss
3 stars Dream Theater is one of my favorite bands and this is Dream Theater's 8th full-length studio release. This was long-awaited for me ever since news was put out about Octavarium, I just wanted to get it. So when I got it on the first day it came out, I wrote a short review on each song of the album. (Out of 10)

The Root of All Evil- 8/10 - A good opener, but not as good as Pull Me Under or 6:00, but certainly better than As I Am.

The Answer Lies Within- 6.5/10- Kinda poppy but however it is one of Dream Theater's better ballads, certainly not a bad song by any degree.

These Walls- 7/10- I really didn't like it at first because it sounded so boring at first, but I kind of like it now. Its not the greatest Dream Theater song by any means, but still good.

I Walk Beside You- 5/10- The "U2ish-like song" which is actually not that bad. Really nice Vocals by James Labrie.

Panic Attack- 8/10- One of the better songs on Octavarium, a real nice, "heavy" song and the instrumental section highly reminds me of Symphony X. We see how truly variant John Petrucci is here with him playing a NeoClassical solo.

Never Enough- 6/10- The song that is highly influenced by Muse. A lot of people say Dream Theater ripoffed Muse by making this song, but actually it sounds 100 % Dream Theater-like. A very good song, but however its not the greatest song by any mile either.

Sacrificed Sons- 8/10- A really good song, the first song on this album over 10 minutes. A very variant and intense track, I like it a lot.

Octavarium- 10/10 This title track can be described with a couple of words: SHEER MAGIC!

I totally love this track. A good combination of Classic Progressive Rock bands such as Genesis, Pink Floyd and ELP and the typical Progressive Metal that Dream Theater plays mixed in with Ayreon, Neo-Classical parts. One impressive long Twenty-four minute track.

Anyways, this album for me would deserve a solid 3 stars, could have been better and the album itself is not quite up to DT's standards, but 3 stars is still richly deserved.

Report this review (#40722)
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Octavarium is an excellent album. Worthy of a particular mention it is, to my warning, "Sacrificed Son", in particolar way the instrumental part that has its climax in one "struggente" orchestral file. An excellent piece of work, is little from saying. For how much it concerns the appraisals generates them on the album, creed is necessary, in order to enjoy it fully, to depurare the own "shape mentis" from all those cliché from which the fan of the Dream Theater from the remote times of "I&W" is conditioned. To listen to the album and "to live it" without to ask itself to every passage if it is more or less prog or if it sends back to this or that group. Is The Taste to make it from landladies, the pleonastic labels not sure that necessary is wanted to be buckle to the band. I clinch, to my most modest warning and after it in the light of several listenings(and also a experience to you nearly twenty music years), this is a album of crystalline class.
Report this review (#40736)
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars I'm owning several hundreds of Prog-rock CD's and LP's but this is one of the most soulless of them all. Nothing against Prog-metal, I love bands like Cloudscape or Lalu or Evergrey or.... This one is only for the money, no concept no lyrical meaning nothing. It is not enough to be technically masterful. This album is nothing for me... oh it is something: Money for waste. Shame on them.
Report this review (#40739)
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I must say that I was rather disappointed with this album, for all of the hype. Granted, it is not bad, just not as prog as I generally like. It seemed to me to be rather commercial and not innovative enough. Also, I found the lyrics to be rather humdrum and unexciting. The last track, Octavarium, however was incredible. The lyrics were engaging, the music was brilliant and it certainly shows a lot of thought, effort and care went into that track. If the whole album had been had songs of that calibre then it would certainly rate at least four stars. Granted, I cannot speak for the whole of the band's body of work as this is the first album of Dream Theater that I have purchased.

Another note I must make is that it is not very metal. Coming from a rather hard- rock/heavy metal background, as a metal album this does not live up to expectations either. Perhaps I will have better luck with the earlier works.

Report this review (#40758)
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Sad, very sad album by my favourite band ever- they've touched ground here. I've been following DT since 1993, got every single album but this last "Octavarium" one is too much man. Except for the opener which is a descent song, the rest is easily forgettable. They seemed to have put very little effort in their lyrics and their melodies this time. Track 2 is their worst song ever (La Brie sings fine but the song itself is pathetic!) and track 4 could have been done by Bon Jovi. Where is the magic and the eternal epic moments of those 11 or 12 minutes songs that take 10 or 15 playings to be enjoyed and deciphered? None. "Sacrificed sons" wasted 3 minutes in an introduction that leads nowehere. "Octavarium" itself has poor lyrics once again and not a single moment of glory (is this " A trick of the tail" or what?). Man, very dissapointed, that is how I feel. I just couldn't believe they'd do something so basic and lethargic. Should I travel all the way to Stockholm from Dublin where I live to see their show...? Are they ageing or what? I don't understand people who reviewed this last album as a cracker- they've probably listened to their last 2 or 3 albums only. DT has done miles better than "Octavarium"! Let's call it a bad year and see what they offer next.
Report this review (#40801)
Posted Friday, July 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Looking at all the different reviews of this album, i've to say we've all a different taste and a different meaning about what is "Prog" and what not. For me this is an excellent album. I don't want to compare this to previous albums of DT. (The only one I don't own is TOT). "Octavarium" seems to be catchy in some way like the track "I walk beside you" but I don't see that as a problem. I'm enjoying here almost eighty minutes of good quality progressive music, with metal-parts and the more softer side of DT. Although I'm not a huge fan of JLB vocals I think this time his voice fit very well. I would recommend this album to any music-lover, prog or not.

Robin, Holland.

Report this review (#40822)
Posted Friday, July 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars It's obvious that Mike and John listened to a lot of Muse and Pink Floyd before recording this. If DT would focus on DT music and not be involved in a gazillion side- projects this disc may have had potential.

"The Root of all Evil" opens with some good heavy guitar riffs, similar to something on "Train of Thought". Fair tune but nothing new.

"The Answer Lies Within", is horrid! I enjoy several ballads by this band but this is criminal. Boring, childish, and the lyrics are pathetic.

"These Walls" sounds familiar... not that there is anything wrong with that, but they've done it better before.

"I Walk Beside You" is plagued with a very lackluster commercial sounding chorus.

"Panic Attack" is a heavy shred-fest. great tune.

"Never Enough" a blatant Muse rip-off is decent, after the plagiarism... but again the chorus seems very weak.

"Sacrificed Sons" gets off to a slow start but it's another great tune.

The epic 24-minute "Octavarium" Pink Floyd/Yes/Crimson intro lasts far too long. Why copy these bands? Finally, at 12:17 the tempo of the tune picks up just in time to salvage the song, for a bit. Time changes, great musicianship, and quite a bit of shredding occur which is DT's trademark. So why isn't there more of this? At 19:53 we hear another keyboard riff that plummets this tune back into ballad land, so unfortunately we are rewarded with only approximately seven minutes of what DT does best.

It's seems that DT is running out of ideas. The potential this band has is immense and to squander that talent and write below average music like this is embarrassing.

Report this review (#41754)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a review that I have been waiting so long to write. I got the album and loved it as soon as it came out, but because of too many reviews piling in people got mad so I was forced to hold off for a long time. Now is just a random time that I have decided to write my review.

"Octavarium" is another quality album from Dream Theater. These guys are still the kings of prog metal. PAIN OF SALVATION, SYMPHONY X and SHADOW GALLERY can all go to hell knowing they will never be anywhere as good as Dream Theater! Yeah... I went there!

I am thoroughly impressed by this latest release. It is amazing and new enough to stop them being repetitive. Even though i think that "Train of Thought" is their 3rd best album, they managed to beat away the nay sayers by getting rid of some of the aspects that turned fans off with TOT. This album tones down some of the cheeiness of the keyboards, extended soloing and over pretentious moments that have always haunted their career. This one is a bit stripped down is recognizable straight from the explosive intro riff on "The Root of All Evil". It sounds like they have cautiously layed off over crowding it with too many instruments and gone for a plain old rock out.

"The Root of All Evil" is an impressive reprise of "This Dying Soul" from the previous album and carries on the 12 steps suite nicely. A very strong track indeed for some amazing and not uberly heavy riffage. "The Answer Lies Within" is a beautiful ballad. I still don't know why some people see Labrie as a weak vocalist, I think he has one of the best voices in prog and it is shown off well here! Again DT succeed in not overcrowding this track and it makes way for some really emotional keyboard work from Jordan Rudess, proving that he is an excellent addition to the band. "These Walls" & "I Walk Beside You" actually can be prog and still have choruses. These are some of Dream Theater's strongest works. "Panic Attack" allows the bands to have fun with their instruments with some impressive heavy jamming.

The last 3 songs are where some problems start showing off on the album. "Never Enough", "Sacrificed Sons" and "Octavarium" are all amazing tracks but they seem to have problems with originality. "Never Enough" sounds way too much like Muse, including the vocals. Perhaps it is a coincidence but I will let them off here. "Sacrificed Sons" has problems as this idea of 9/11 related themes has been done to death and quite frankly, its not done too well here. It is also about 4 years late but its still a nice effort. The song itself is probably the weakest on the album, it has it's moments but perhaps can stretch on and struggle at times. Nice to see some of their use of vocal insertion effects that have been used on every album I have heard. (Examples are Take the Time", 6:00", "Finally Free", "The Great Debate" & "Honor They Father").

"Octavarium" although it takes lyrics and sounds like Pink Floyd a lot it is still one of the best Dream Theater tracks ever made. This is the definition of an epic and is the best of their 20+ minute tracks. "Octavarium" makes all the prog stops, including some stunning spacey work that is reminiscent of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd. This suite leads into some truely incredible use of orchestration and creates a truely epic sound. This has one of the best endings ever after the heavy "Trapped inside this Octavarium" section! Truely amazing work, nice flute additions that leaves me emotionally high, and completely blown away ever time i listen to it. A true masterpiece.

I would award this album 5 stars but I think it has just a few little niggles in it to prevent it from being a masterpiece. Not to worry though, as plenty of 5 star reviews have already been given. Dream Theater still very much "have it".

Report this review (#42052)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is just a great disc, I think and this is just my personal thoughts, that is a masterpiece, a return to old days when their music was magical. There are too much emotion on petrucci´s guitars and as it´s usual, a perfect technical group performance. This is the first time that i can realize that james labrie is learning how to sing, He was a very good singer, but this time he is amazing.
Report this review (#42314)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the Best of Dream Theater...

For me this is the 3nd best album of DT,behind IandW and Metropolis II.There are alot of new stuff here!Some experimental and un-prog songs,but still really great to listen too even though JL's voice doesnt seem to fit in a fast metal song.But,anyways,DT did great in this album,far better than TOT (although TOT is good too).Thanks for the music you've given us throughout the years DT!

Report this review (#42688)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater is almost a schezophrenic band in the sense that one moment it seems like you're listening to classic music and the other, you've got James Labrie shouting like a lunatic with the whole band playing perfectly coupled, mixing many other styles in between. That's the degree of their mastery. The side effect of this is that you get fans who appreciate more the heavier part of DT and ones which appreciate more their symphonic side. It's easy to figure out who is who by their reviews and the hardcore fans will not enjoy this album as much as the previous two. That said, I do appreciate all the tracks of this album, ranging from what others consider boring and commercial to their heavier moments. Yes, there are parts that reminded me of Evanescense, others of Linkin Park and there was even a second or two which reminded me of Queen (!!), but it is Dream Theater all around.

Styles aside, each album they release is better played than the previous and I just wonder how they're going to top this one. By the way, I neither appreciate more their heavier or their softer side, but precisely the mix of both (and everything else in between) and that is what they've done in this album. It is an album which is best listened from begining to end and not by jumping to individual tracks. The whole piece simply makes sense. I'm sure it deserves entirely each of the 5 stars I'm giving it and I have no doubt in calling it a masterpiece. It even tops my previous favourite album, Scenes from a Memory which was to me another masterpiece.

Report this review (#43097)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I am afraid that I will have to stand by those who did not find this album a masterpiece, at least in comparison with this great group's top creations such as Metropolis II or Awake. I was not too enthousiastic when I bought Falling into Infinity, but right after listening 3-4 times to Octavarium, I put Falling in the CD player and it sounded really great! In Octavarium the voice melodies are simpler and more flat than in their other albums. Even in Train Of Thought which was a more straight metal album and -for many- not a representable Dream Theater release the vocal lines and choruses were memorable and imaginative. "Panic Attack" is the most vivid and fresh track of the album, the U2-type (as many others also noticed) chorus in "I Walk Beside You" ruins the awesome rhythm intro of this track while "Octavarium" is a great piece although it evolves too slowly like "Sacrificed Sons" does. Maybe, if we were still in the vinyl era and this album would not exceed 45 minutes, it would be another great DT's creation. But in its 75 minutes playing time the good and beautiful parts (which indeed exist) seem not to be enough to hold this album in high standards throughout its audience, which is really important now that you can find fantastic albums by post-DT groups, such as Symphony X's New Mythology Suite or Circus Maximus' 1st Chapter.
Report this review (#43101)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars ahh...I think it's a masterpiece really.maybe it's not like six degrees of inner turbulence and scences from a memory and train of thought but it still get 5 stars because those have 50 stars!!!! if it's not a masterpeice,so what is it?

Sacrificed Sons,The Root of All Evil,Octavarium,Never Enough and The Answer Lies Within are awesome and masterpiece and those are as good as previous albums.other songs are great too but maybe if These Walls was not in album,this album was a masterpiece yet. though Dream Theater members,themselves knows what they should do and they create great music really.I heard Liquid Tension Experiment,JP &JR,OSI,Explorer's Club and all of DT works(and singles like Eve,Tears and...) and I believe in Petrucci!!!! I wish one day hear their music live on stage.

DTfan from Tehran

Report this review (#43232)
Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars After a full blown metal album in 2003, DREAM THEATER are back to their more progressive roots, with a vendetta. While "Train of Thought" didn't do much with the latter of the "heavy, melodic and progressive" triplet on which the band takes pride to be associated with, "Octavarium" is again a big melting pot, much like most of the band's previous efforts. The interesting twist is that even though the influence of classical progressive outfits is ever present, this time we see many traits of much more recent and, some would say, surprising bands. You don't need to pay a lot of attention to the music within this record to instantly recognize, of all bands, a big MUSE influence. The truth is that if you have been following this band lately, it turns out not be that much of a surprise. The more creative members seem to be attracted to Muse lately and, if you ask me, it could be much worse. It's actually a good thing, and being influenced by a contemporary and active band shouldn't be a problem.

"Octavarium" is also another Dream Theater's stab at creating a concept piece, even if this one is a little unusual in that and not in the same sense as their own "Scenes From a Memory" or other classic concept albums like PINK FLOYD's "The Wall" or QUEENSRYCHE's "Operation: Mindcrime". This time, the concept is not in terms of storyline but in everything that surrounds the album, all the way down to the artwork and the booklet. I don't want to spoil anything for whoever is reading this and is yet to get their copy, but it shouldn't take much to actually get it when you have the thing in your hands and the disc in your player. And while we're talking about the artwork, this album would honestly warrant 5 stars, if only for it. Hugh Syme (who has worked with MEGADETH, RUSH, QUEENSRYCHE in the past and more recently did NEVERMORE's "This Godless Endeavor") has done an outstanding job working under Mike Portnoy's concept and the booklet is nothing short of remarkable, yet simple and soothing.

And on to the music...

The album opens with the continuation of the on-going alcoholism saga which is being written by Portnoy, one piece per album, since 2002's "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence". "The Root of All Evil" starts ominously, with interesting samples which have been used to this effect for the first time in the band's work. And immediately die-hard fans will notice the back references to the previous songs in this series, namely to "This Dying Soul" which are in fact sprinkled throughout the song. It soon shifts into high gear and for all we know, this could be a continuation of "Train of Thought". The lyrics are very heartfelt and go straight to the point ("Never could have just a part of it"/"I always need more to get by" and "Lazy enough to sleep all day"/"And let my life just waste away"). This is a very hard rocker with instant hooks and it's definitely a great way to kickstart the album. It sure will be interesting to follow this saga onto its conclusion over the next couple of albums and to the expected live rendition in its entirety.

After the storm comes the calmness and so "The Root of All Evil" sweetly segues into the beautiful "The Answer Lies Within" which strongly nods to "Anna Lee" back in the "Falling Into Infinity" album. James LaBrie is quietly stunning in this track and, dare I say it, this is where he shines the most. His work with Arjen Lucassen on the latest AYREON album is proof of that. The mood keeps going back and forth and "These Walls" is another heavy tune and arguably one of the best tracks and that's because every member of the band really is at his best. Take the section from 04:38 to 05:08 where Petrucci does a really nice, simple and moody solo aswell as Portnoy's remarkable drum work which then goes into the buildup to the chorus from 05:08 to 05:23. This is where Rudess shines, albeit not on a technical point of view, and the same is true for the song's outro which leads to the next track, "I Walk Beside You". This song actually puzzles me because DREAM THEATER has never been a band seeking much mainstream exposure but this track reeks of that. Apart from a strong nod to U2 (imagine that!) and interesting drum work during the intro, this song doesn't really have much to recommend it and clearly doesn't fit the whole. While it's not a bad song per se, it really is the album's weakest link.

The second part of the album opens with a shredding badass bass solo by John Myung, which instantly makes you think of similar stuff in "Metropolis Pt.1" and "The Dance of Eternity". The song is powerful and it deals with... well you guessed it, panic attacks. It's interesting to see how all of the panic attack symptoms are illustrated in this song, lyrically and musically. While this could certainly be a part of "Train of Thought" aswell, the middle section features some nice soloing and instrumental show-off which is used very sparingly in this latest offering, unlike the previous work by the band. It's also where the MUSE influence is more clear especially in the way LaBrie sings the chorus. "Never Enough" is another one of the album's best tracks and again Portnoy gets pretty much to the point with his lyrics, dealing with those fans who don't know how to appreciate his hard work for the band and simply can't get enough. The lyrics can even be tough to follow, so crude, graphical and agressive (yet beautiful) they are ("Cut myself open wide"/"Reach inside"/"Help yourself to all I have to give" or "Sacrifice my life"/"Neglect my kids and wife"/"All for you to be happy"). "Sacrificed Sons" brings the 9/11 subject back to light and displays LaBrie's contribution to the lyrics department (along with part of the last song). This is what could be called a "half-epic" and features one of the best instrumental sections of the whole album. Highly recommended.

Finally, there's the epic title track which clocks in at a whooping 24:00. And the truth is that it doesn't fall short of "A Change of Seasons" or "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence". It is indeed one of the best things the band has ever done, even if the lyrics are very obscure and confusing at times which was not really the case of the previous epics. I must confess that during the first few minutes I was confused and not sure if my copy had PINK FLOYD's "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" as the last song instead, but that was just for a couple of seconds there. Jordan Rudess introduces the use of the steel lap guitar (one of a few technical innovations for the band on this record) to great effect which helps on this song sounding like one giant tribute to a lot of the classic progressive bands like YES and ELP. I prefer not to go into much detail on this song because this is something to be experienced and discovered and I don't want to spoil it for anyone who is yet to do so. Suffice to say it is very very good and on par with the best output of the band.

Overall, "Octavarium" is a strong album but as always with this band it is very difficult to compare it with the rest of the catalogue. Despite some really heavy tunes, fans of DT's more progressive side will be happier than those on the metal camp, to whom "Train of Thought" was probably the best offering. It may be the best effort since "Scenes From a Memory" but then again it's not as cohesive and coherent as most of the other albums. For that and for the radio-friendly nods, I don't give it five stars but it really is a 4,5 rating. It will be interesting to see where DREAM THEATER goes from here. It really will be.

Report this review (#43710)
Posted Sunday, August 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I Liked very much. This is more progressive band's album that I heard! Octavarium get elements of metal and 70's progressive rock like Pink Floyd, Genesis and other bands. The result was a new important album for Progressive Rock.
Report this review (#44217)
Posted Thursday, August 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony R
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Dream Theater are, as one astute reviewer has observed, in the same bracket as ELP when it comes to making over-blown, pretentious rock music. I hear nothing that remotely sounds like Progressive Rock here and a whole lot that shouts "look at us,we can really play." Yawn, yawn guys - write a decent song will you!

Review the album damnit!! Ok, Petrucci's endless riffing is tiresome as is Portnoy's heavy- handed sub-Peart drumming. "Octavarium" (the track) is a case - in - point: the first few minutes are fine, but 20 minutes of this? Henry James said "In art economy is always beauty"- they should hang this on the wall next time they venture into the studio!

The first track "Root Of All Evil" starts wonderfully; a single piano key, a Floydian pulse, jangly reverb-guitar, then the drums enter battering away full of portentious intent. One full minute of intrigue and interest then bang! Heavy metal riffing. *Sighs* This track sums up the whole album!

This pretentious ponderous collection of metal disguised as God's own Prog is enough to prompt the question, 'What day did the Lord create Dream Theater, and couldn't he have rested on that day too?' Two stars. Bah!

Report this review (#44672)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The thing is about this album is that you could say that Dream Theater has started to drift more into mainstream metal, with tracks like 'I Walk Beside You' and 'Never Enough' to me sounding not prog enough. But on the other hand you have the title track 'Octavarium', which is an outstanding song and it being 24 mins long plus split into five sections, its certainly prog. John Petrucci recently said that one of his favourite bands as the moment is muse and in 'Panic Attack' and the opening riff in 'Never Enough' has a musey kind of feel to it. What i'm trying to say is that this album gives me mixed messages about the bands future direction in music. But overall a very good album.
Report this review (#44762)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Jazz Rock/Fusion Team
4 stars Octavarium. The 8th album from Dream Theater. I understand that the old sound is gone, where some dont. I understand that they rock out a lot more as well. I understand they have chosen to stay with The Glass Prison-esque production sound for a while. I understand they are not as progressive as they once were (although if you think about it, they've progressively gotten less progressive haha)

What I dont understand is how they made such a great album to follow Train of Thought, which was good because they made a 'heavy' album, they needed to. But to move on from that is just great. Another TOT wouldve sounded monotonous. One thing that makes this album stick out from the rest is the useage of dark elements in the music.

The music here is very diverse also. There's the rock out song in The Root of All Evil, which also follows the AA series of Mike Portnoy. Although the chorus is very melodic and insanely dark.

After a portion of the 2nd passage of the title song, the song moves to the ballad The Answer Lies Within. I was bummed when I first heard it because it just followed a great uptempo song. But the song itself is great, it has grown on me. Mostly piano and James.

These Walls is great. After I almost stopped the CD when I heard Korn type of riffing, the song exploded into what I like to hear from DT. The atmosphere is amazing. This atmosphere of being in a dimension of 0G's with stuff floating around. Very memorable.

I Walk Beside You sucks because it is Dream Theater. I Walk Beside You is the next #1 hit because it's U2.

Panic Attack is where the band held onto their TOT style for a song. Except I think this song would blow anything on TOT out of the water. It's so heavy and fast, very unlike most DT songs. James' falsetto use is amazing as well, wish he used it more in this song.

Never Enough is Muse, yes, but I like this song because the chorus just kicks so much ass. Very melodic and dark.

Sacraficed Sons is where the epic part of the album begins. It deals with 9-11, but the focus is really on the music more. When you consider the big instrumental break, you kinda forget what the song is about. Speaking of the instrumental break, Dream Theater, meet Megadeth ala Rust in Peace. Thats what it sounds like (coincidence theyre touring together?) Then they move to probably the best riff on the album. The one thats mixed with the orchestra and a whole [&*!#]load of pinch harmonics. Back to the chorus and one more time with the best riff and you have a great epic.

Speaking of great epics, a greater one follows. It is the title track. this 24 minute monster is magnificent. There are 5 passages with lyrics and i believe 8 all together. Makes sense with what Romulus141 mentioned about the 5:8 connection with this album.

The first passage is the darkest section of the entire album. Starts with effects ala Pink Floyd, explodes, then moves to really dark acoustics with flute. James' singing has never been better. The focus is mainly James and Petrucci's acoustic.

The second passage begins with Myung with a great bassline which flows through most of the passage. Melodies from this passage are heard throughout the album by the way. The 'chorus' of this passage is just so beautifully projected.

Passage 3 begins the pickup of the song. It is one of the 3 non-lyrical passages. A nice keyboard line that really caught my ear when I first heard it. The rest of the band just begins rockin out for a while.

After that, it moves to the 4th passage which is the full circle section. James' vocal line follows the keyboard for a while. Another 'chorus' type part here which is really memorable as well.

The fifth passage (again more irony, being the fifth) is the 'prog' section if you will. This is where Petrucci, where he held back on leads and wankery on most of the album, finally gets his chance to [%*!#]ing let loose and create one of the most maddening sections of a song I've ever heard from a DT song. There are moments where parts of other songs from past albums are used for a second. Finally, the song becomes so chaotic, you can't believe it's the same song as the first 2 passages. From insane solos, to a part of Jingle Bells, to some Spanish guitar work for like, 7 seconds, this section is the most fun.

The 6th passage the climax. It's chaotic much like the 5th, but with lyrics. This time, James gets to let loose, except he hasnt held back this album, he's held back for the past 4 albums. A final scream is held out while screaming "trapped inside this octavarium!"

The 7th and 8th passages are similar. They feature the orchestra but the 7th is with lyrics and a bit darker.

The 8th is instrumental and is the falling action of the song. I find this to be the masterpiece section and is so epic and chilling. I get chills everytime i hear this part. Being a classical fan myself, I enjoy the final notes with the whole orchestra, like the french horn thing at the end. The orchestra sounds like one youd hear in the 50's or something. Unbelieveable song and unbelieveable album.

Points off for I Walk Beside You. This is essential DT, no matter what anyone else says.

X-Posted at

Report this review (#45098)
Posted Thursday, September 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes, the whole world has reviewed this by now, but I sure haven't. Dream Theater's Octavarium, the last album ever recorded at The Hit Factory, is a solid album from a band known for its bombast in the genre of prog-metal. When I first listened to DT, I was convinced that it was a theatrical version of Metallica with keyboards. Listen further, and there's even more to it. This time around, DT appears to be trying an overall harder record than any of its previous ones, which for the most part comes off as a strong effort. The one problem I have always had with Dream Theater still exists; some of Jordan Rudess' keyboard solos sound out of place in terms of timing. Still, I like the added effect of them, and Dream Theater continues to excel. I especially like the opener "The Root of All Evil," which drummer Mike Portnoy (a master of his own domain in terms of drumming) wrote about coping with alcoholism. It has an edge, and it sounds like a fresh opener. The next couple tracks can drag a bit at points, but they are still enjoyable. "I Walk Beside You" is a rare shorter piece, but they pull it off very well. "Panic Attack" begins with a great John Myung bass line, which leads into an assault of guitars and a keyboard flurry, before James LaBrie's signature vocal takes charge. The song seems more standard than other DT pieces, but I found it to be captivating because of the rush that comes with it. "Never Enough" is a nice fast number also, but once I heard that I realized that there appeared to be a bit more original, aside from the usual influences (i.e. Rush). John Petrucci's slashing guitars dominate the second half of the album, until the epic "Octavarium," which in many ways is their "Close to the Edge," meaning the long-form epic they have always wanted to design. The first four minutes are very reminiscent of "Shine on You Crazy Diamond," with the keyboard backing Petrucci's melodic but very morphed guitars, then leading into the very theatric second part, with solid rhythms and crisp vocal stylings. About ten minutes in, the piece sets up for a faster section, in time signatures that you hardly even hear in prog music itself (11/8, anyone?). By the end of the piece, it reverts to the original theme, but with an orchestral backing, with seems somewhat overdrawn to me, but is still captivating. No wonder the Hit Factory closed its doors after that album; that last number seems such a poetic ending. It may not be perfect, but it's still another great Dream Theater album, and there's more from them that I can always look forward to.
Report this review (#45622)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As far as I'm concerned, DT's previous album Train Of Thought was borderline awful ... a generally one-dimensional metal onslaught with the odd piano piece thrown in to simulate variety. On Octavarium (the band's ninth album) however, the guys seem to have gotten the mix correct and have produced the most balanced DT record I've ever heard.

There's still plenty for metalheads to chew on, though.The Root Of All Evil, Panic Attack and Never Enough (which has a nice classically inflected solo from Ruddess and seems to borrow from both J.S. Bach and Uriah Heep!) ride on incisive metal hooks while These Walls is also heavy, but is a slow-burning, metal blues monster with atmospheric vibes, and a mammoth chorus, topped off by Ruddess string-synths that make a cursory appearance towards the end.

One problem that I have had with earlier DT albums is that I really do not enjoy Petrucci's soloing style, which sacrifices melody and emotion for speed. This time though, the man seems to have reined in those tendancies (well, most of the time anyway!) and that has added to the value of the album. There are still some patchy moments though.

The Answer Lies Within continues another disturbing trend ... that of the DT piano ballad, (although it's almost redeemed by a lovely string quartet interlude) while I Walk Beside You is way too "pop-rock" for my tastes. Then there's Sacrificed Sons a song about the Al-Queda attack on New York. The subject matter is so overdone that it seems tasteless to me, but the song itself is a strong symphonic effort, with a number of moods ranging from sweeping piano and strings to a metallic centre, and some creative explorations towards the end.

Ultimately my assessment of this album hinges on the concluding title track, and it is a real winner. The 24 minute, five part epic Octavarium may not be best thing since sliced bread, but it is the best DT track since their awesome A Change Of Seasons (which came out a whopping 10 years ago!).

It gets off to a spacey Floydian start (uncannily similar at times to parts of Shine On You Crazy Diamond) that leads into a beautiful pastoral section, with Petricci doing some delicate work on acoustic guitar and Rudess adding piano to an eerie LaBrie vocal. This finally erupts into a Styx-like passage, before funky bass and slick drums announce Medicate (Awakening). When the anticipated power metal riff finally appears, it is thankfully accompanied by a superb Ruddess synth solo. I also like Ruddess' organ during Full Circle, and Petrucci's solo is much better than his average offering. The playing between Full Circle and Intervals is as exciting and progressive as this band have ever been, and the whole she-bang concludes with a epic orchestral sweep.

If it were not for the fine final track, I would rate this as a marginally above average metal album, but I have to say that the sheer scope of the epic makes this album a classic of progressive metal. ... 53% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#46487)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Is it me or it smells like teen spirit?

Funny to conclude that the best effort from Dream Theater is the most commercial one? It does smell like teen spirit, finally!

Honda Civic dudes and low cut jeans dudettes could find something for them in this record. My, my, times are really changing and so is Dream Theater. After all, I Walk Beside You is a pretty decent U2 copy!

Do you know what I love the most of this album? It's the little bits and parts of every album put in one. The vampiric gloominess of Awake, the melodies of Images and Words, the keyboards fireworks of Dream and Day Unite and the downright sonic violence of Train of Thought. Man this records shakes Metallica off the mantlepiece in many places, no kidding. It surprised me at first but it's getting more and more hardcore for DT.

This is the album that you should keep if you want one glimpse of what they are, because of it's superior darkness and spectacular power.

Get ready to vote on the nominees of 2005.

Report this review (#46567)
Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars Thanks alot (NOT!!!) to the Hit Factory and Atlantic Records for helping Dream Theater to sound so pop and Sappy. My God!! Where's the fire? I am totally shocked...I've been a fan from the beginning, but after this sea change...I'll have to rethink it. I think I'll go cry... Thank God Nevermore have just put out a great CD and Symphony X will be doing the same soon. Please tell me octavarium was just a dream...
Report this review (#49829)
Posted Monday, October 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This year saw Dream Theater's eighth album, Octavarium, enter the scene. Yes, it must be said, this is indeed the band's most "commercial" album to date, but that doesn't mean much here. It is still an incredible album as you can see by the rating I give it. Excellent album, basically from beginning to end.

The band's playing is still in top form here. The band melds incredibly with each other. Also, this is the band's first effort where they concentrated on writing shorter songs. Luckily, it does pay off. This is not to say that their albums like Six Degrees are bad with longer songs. I love that album. They are the two different spectrums of Dream Theater's music.

The Root of All Evil: Very strong opener. From the moment the listener hears the opening riff, he or she learns two things: 1) This is the third part in the AA series, and 2) this is going to be a great song. And it is. One of the better songs on this album.

The Answer Lies Within: Here is where the album calms down, and it shows that Dream Theater is capable of writing absolutely beautiful songs. The piano is lovely, albeit simple. LaBrie shows time and time again that he is extremely talented at singing slower songs, and that he is not just a heavier singer.

These Walls: A slightly more commercial song than Root of All Evil, but still very good nonetheless. Petrucci is a madman on the guitar. This must be noted. As of right now in history, he basically cannot be beat.

I Walk Beside You: Eh, my least favorite song on the album. Everyone is right when they say that this sounds like a U2 song. Now, this might be fine, if it wasn't for the fact that I don't really like U2. Maybe if I did, I'd like the song a bit more. Still, it isn't bad, it's pretty good.

Panic Attack: Ah, here we go. This is one of the best Dream Theater songs ever. The time signatures are all over the place, and Rudess's piano works well, even in a heavier type song. Portnoy is insane. Just listen to this song, especially towards the end. Just listen, and you'll probably understand. Never Enough: Many people have compared this song to the band Muse. I've never heard the band, so I can't agree or disagree, but I can say that this is a very good song. The singing is very different, but it fits well with the message coming across in Portnoy's lyrics. Thought provoking lyrics, on that matter. But, yeah, great song besides.

Sacrificed Sons: Yep, here it is. The most touchy subject to come out of the last who- knows-how-long. LaBrie handles it very well with his lyrics, and the music itself is extremely meaningful to the matter at hand. If the previous song was thought provoking, this is emotion evoking, especially for those who experienced this firsthand. Executed extremely well.

Octavarium: The band can right all the 6 or 7 minute songs they want, but nothing can touch their epics. The continuum is fantastic, and it takes off, and you find yourself going for a ride. It is my belief that this is the most time-passing epic ever. Honestly, 24 minutes will pass by before you know it. Every time I listen to the song, I am absolutely shocked that 24 minutes went by. Also, the song isn't as heavy as many of their songs. It has a distinctly softer feel, and it's brilliant. Absolutely fantastic epic.

Pick up this album if you're curious. This is a very strong album, albeit commercial, as I said before. 4/5 stars.

Report this review (#50800)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars This is the worst Dream Theater album ever. Hands down. Period. Many bands have released utterly dissapointing releases, but hardly any went this low. Even the numerous side projects and solo albums do not give DT an excuse for creating something this bad. It's hard to believe that this is the same band that is responsible for Awake.The complete lack of inspiration and creativity on Octavarium is evident. Heck, Train of Thought is brilliant compared to this.

First ,we have "The Root of all evil", the third song and whichever chapter of Portnoy's alcohol thing. It seems that Mr Portnoy has set himself the task of making it progressively worse with each part . After an impressive start with The Glass Prison, it is ruined by This Dying Soul and now this - an absolutely unremarkable chromatic riff , typically boring verses, wanky solos (not as wanky as on ToT ,thankfully),etc. The most disappointing start you could possibly think of.

(Fortunately) I cant remember anything at all from track number 2. Moving on.

The guitar tone in the intro of "These Walls" reminded me of Electric Wizard (actually it made me hope it was those British stoners playing) . However it's still DT (if you can call this DT). Again, this is plain bad. Forget the accusations of direct Linkin Park ripoffisms. Comparing this track to anyone's work is a gigantic insult to whoever that anyone might be and should be prosecuted.

Next , we have a flat-out pop song that's average even by pop standarts.

Panic Attack begins with a bass line (the main riff too) that's memorable only due to its simplicity. I must admit , i like the Muse-esque vocal stylings in the bridge . However, anyone who still uses the i-bVI-IV-bVII progression or any of it's variations should be jailed.

Never enough is another track i cant remember at all.

Sacrificed Sons is probably the best song on the album. That does not mean its good, but at least its tolerable. Stretching it to 10 minutes is a bit too much though.

And finally , we have Octavarium. It does have fine moments, but for a 24-minute album closer , it's a complete waste. Its no wonder that Labrie is upset about being "trapped inside this octavarium" - even he realises how bad the song and album really are.

Overall , the only good thing about Octavarium is that the next DT album will almost certainly be better - that is, if they find the strength to at least try and redeem themselves.

Report this review (#50808)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars PLAGIARISM. The best word to describe this album. A massive disappointment.Not only the band fails to achieve the technical power of other albuns (like the superb Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence or, at least, the last one, ToT) but also reveals a incredible lack of ideas (!). The new tendencies the album (seems) to have are authentic plagiarisms from other bands!

I explain: what about to say about song number six - Never Enough ? It is not similar, it is EQUAL to a MUSE song (except obviously the duration) - the nasalated effect voice and specially the psycho keyboard scales which are the TRADEMARK of MUSE ... no more comments. The same must be said about the epic song Octavarium. It could be a great song, the best of the album. The problem is that the first part of the song is JUST EXACTELY the homonimous part of PINK FLOYD's Shine on You Crazy Diamond! "These Walls" seems to be a ripp off of a LINKIN PARK song. The catchy mellower songs "The Answer Lies Between" and "I Walk Beside You" shows the commercial intent of the band, fusing pop influences from U2 to COLDPLAY. The openner track is the continuation of the saga initiated by the superb "The Glass Prision" from Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, but fails to reach the power of the previous ones. Perhaps the most achieved song of the album is "Panic Attack", which kick's off with it's frantic riffs. Sacrified Sons is a very well concepted song about the tragic 11 September, but perhaps if it was a bit shorter it could be better.

In overall, one thing is a band having INFLUENCES from other bands, fusing them to make someting different, OTHER THING is making it JUST EXACTELY it is in the influential band, and that's shamefull.

Report this review (#50947)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars Real poor album! In my opinion DT after SDOIT in 2001-2002 have empty ideas that couldn't go so far in history of music!ok i understand that after Labrie fallin' voice Dt seemed to be Liquid Tension with more instrumental parts but i can't understand this last album, copying U2, Muse songs or Genesis and Yes style, Octavarium seems at the look of DT old fans a cover album!
Report this review (#51071)
Posted Monday, October 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Every DT fan can safely admit that Octavarium and Train Of Thoughts are very different CDs; me, I am nobody to say the opposite, but I can tell you that these two albums have very different lives...

While I listened to ToT for almost a MONTH straight when it was releaseed (such was my thirst for heavy riffs!) and later I started to get annoyed by the "going-nowhere-but-fast" attitude of that release, I must say that OCTAVARIUM is now gaining more and more attention, after a few months from its release, and an initial doubtful welcome; this fact, in my case, gives a very good chance that this album will be a favourite for a very long time.

OK, the songs are not as complex as in the past, but they are SONGS, and pleasant ones to listen to; the DT masterly technique is spread all over, with the possible minor defect that there are not enough Petrucci licks and riffs throughout the whole CD, but then again maybe this is the reason for the songs have more "breath" than on ToT.

I can say that this is a 4 stars CD, considering that SFAM is a 5 and SDOIT and I&W a 4,5...

Nuff Said.

P.S. Octavarium (the song) is WAAAAAY better than A Change Of Seasons... Live With That. Peace.

Report this review (#52015)
Posted Sunday, October 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars what could I say about this album....I really love it. but I am a common mortal, so I can't explain all the sensations that it gives to me, every time I hear it (again and again). Someone could say: this is not a DT album, because their sound has changed so much, that It's really hard to understand who's playing! sure, I agree! but this is not the only one: every Dt album is so different from the others, that you could really think they are eight different band! octavarium really hit me, so I will do a track to track review (with votes from 1 to ten for each song): - the root of all evil 8: the most similar to train of thought..hard and complex -the answer lies within 8: great ballad, in the mood of beatles. great vocal interpretation -these walls 9: one of the most brilliant of all DT career -I walk beside you 6: the secon part of Speak to me is not good as the first. the weakest track of the album -panik attack 10: simply 20th century schizoid song -never enough 10: the song that muse never wrote..and never will! -sacrificed sons 10: amazing...and really thrillig, lyrically and musically -octavarium 10: simply the best song Dt ever wrote....long way better than A change of season...30 years of music in 25 minutes!

so....what could I say.......Five marks....and they are few!!!

Report this review (#52198)
Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amaizing!!!!!! I think this is the best DT album since "Metropolis Pt. 2", and that is WAAY better than "Train of Thought". SFAM keeps being the number one but now "Awake" and this one are competing the second place. Finally DT seems to have abandoned the "Look how fast I can play" philosophy present in the previous record and focused on composition.

I won't make a complete review since there are many of them already. Complete, and with lots of interesting points of view. I'll just add a couple of opinions.

In the first place, I do not think that "These Walls" is a commercial or a poor song. I think of it as a great example on how you can do a terribly good song without going way too technical.

On the other hand, I'd like to say a few words on the masterpiece called "Octavarium"... yes, it starts sounding like "Shine On Crazy Diamond"... but I think it is intentional. If you hear the song it has a blend of many different styles. There's a part when it names many classic songs. To make an example of this: if you listen to the main theme (played first by the flute and then by flute+horns) it sounds in a Nino Rotta style!! Which means that DT is fusing in a single song styles that are not even rock! Making such a coherent mix of styles is the defying part.

Finally, I recommend this record to you all If you haven't listened to it... It Rules!

Report this review (#53908)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars From start to finish and then start again, this album has every genre of "prog" rock imaginable. With the continuing saga of the AA's 12 step program, to the harsh reality of 9/11, to the final homage to the works of some of the greats, Octavarium is without doubt, one of DT's finest moments. The hard sounds of Panic Attack & The Root Of All Evil shows why DT is one of, if not the most musically talented bands rock has ever seen. John Myung steps in front and delivers more than he ever has....and no one can touch James Labrie's vocals, like a fine wine that gets better and better with age. As I've seen after every DT album, there are certain areas that they outdo themselves, and I can't wait to how they top this one!
Report this review (#53978)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars yes!finally these album share the power pounding of train of thought,but OCTAVARIUM BRING THE HEAVINESTand heaviest that Dreamtheater ever recorded.james LaBrie has fearsome voice,mike portnoy power pound in pedal and hitting yes it kick ass!John Petrucci power riff it brings my vain electrifies,john Myung also kick ass finger licking bass acrobatic man.the new guy but not so new the salvaging keymen jordan Rudness awesome not the other keyman your great.the album its like sountrack of the lord of the ring.the root of evil starting the evilness of the band.the answer lies withingives me the answer ,these wall my favorite of all my blood energizes.and until the last trsck .ill give these 5 stars!
Report this review (#54482)
Posted Thursday, November 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars What's wrong with this guys??? where's the creativity they show us on albums like " images and words","Awake" or "Six degrees of innerturbulence" where they proposed new ideas,it looks like in this album they took a bit of this and that other song and made a new one, enough of virtuosism where's creativity?." I walk beside you": do they want to appear on MTV? And one thing i think is for sure is that Mike Portnoy should stop writing lyrics.
Report this review (#56147)
Posted Sunday, November 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Octavarium is not as proggressive as previous Dream Theater albums (save perhaps "The Root Of All Evil", "Octavarium") and much less heavy. This is by no means a bad thing, although fans of the band's heavy sound may be disappointed. The album is generally much easier to listen to. Jordan Rudess is on top form on this album, the best keyboard playing I have ever heard! Sadly though John Petrucci is way to quiet, by no means enough guitar solos. John Myung is much more prominent on this album than Train Of Thought or Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence which is good. He plays a great bass intro on "Panic Attack" and plays brilliantly in the "Octavarium" solo. Overall a brilliant album. A must have for Dream Theater fans but if your new to the band try Images and Words or Scenes From A Memory.
Report this review (#58056)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well where do you start here, this was an album for which Dream Theater needed to redeem themselves from Train of Thought, by far there worst album- it wasn't prog it was metal with great solos. Octavarium is definitely an improvement, but not much. The album seems to me to have been put together in too much of a rush, with two 'Filler Tracks'- The answer Lies Within, and I walk Beside You, and lends itself too much to copying other bands. We know that Dream Theater like to copy other bands/artists - Peruvian Skies is probably the best example, it is Have a Cigar- Pink Floyd with different lyrics- but there was really no need to do what Dream Theater have done here. Tracks 5 and 6 are Muse all over, Track 6 is Hysteria speeded up. The start of Octavarium sounds familiar? Yeah you got it, it is Shine on You crazy Diamond-Pink Floyd, and throughout this 'epic' song Dream Theater play in the styles of Pink Floyd, Genesis, Rush etc. I Walk Beside You is frankly humiliating, a four chord pop song copying the style of one of the worst bands gracing the planet U2. Ok this album has its strong points, Sacrificed Sons is a good song, emotional powerful and some impressive playing but lets get realistic, the writing here is not what it used to be. It's not true progressive writing. It is obvious from this album that Dream Theater are trying to become more mainstream, and I find it very saddening. Ok some of the songs are quite good to listen to, but theres not really any totally outstanding writing that makes you think wow. Octavarium lets us see Rudess use his new toy, the Continuum which is cool and overall it is an average song, but it doesn't even come close to A Change of Seasons. These Walls is quite a catchy song, but again the writing is not that difficult or clever at all. Looking at this album from a Prog point of view I would give it 2/5 but if we were to look at it from a mainstream point of view 4.5/5 would be appropriate, maybe this is what Dream Theater want, but it certainly isn't what prog fans want.
Report this review (#59007)
Posted Saturday, December 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars i was introduced to dream theater by a friend, hearing Don't look past me from their special christmas album. From then on i loved them. But, i am going to try to criticize them fairly and evenly, and i'm rating them as i listen to them. The third track, these walls, starts off with a little keyboard, then the headbangy guitar part. When i first heard this, i thought it was amazing. It does get a little monotonous, though. Then the lyrics come in. I usually don't understand most lyrics, so i wont get into it. But their pretty good, too. It's got another one of those generiic John Petrucci solos in it, but it's no where near as long and boring as some as some. All in all, i liked it. The fourth song, i walk beside you, also has its heavy/hard rock parts to it. It's also got some good keyboard in it, too. The lyrics you can really get into. I didnt understand the meaning, but they sound awesome! The guitar solo starts out very uniquely, i've never heard one like it, but it then becomes another one of those generic ones. But once again, its not long and boring. After listening to this song, it ended up being pretty good. Panic attack, the album's fifth song, is pretty good. I usually only pretty much listen to the guitar parts, but after listening to this song, i thought the keyboard was amazing. The guitar solo in this one does get sort of long and boring, but it was pretty good. This is a... pretty good song

Sacrificed sons, the 7th song, is a pretty good one. The lyrics are pretty crazy, with fast, slow andd middle parts. The guitar solo, while pretty long, doesn't really get that boring. All in all i thought it was a great song. The final track, the 24-minute octavarium, i can sum up in 2 words: totally amazing. starting off with about 4 minutes of wierd... music, it goes into an accoustic guitar part accompanied by an inspiring flute. I'm serious. this flute...i almost cried when it played. The lyrics of the song range from soft, almost whispering, to completely screaming. Its awesome. When i think of the song octavarium, i think of 2 things: the flute, and the little poem type thing ending in screaming. It is amazing. I would describe the song to you in excruciating detail, but i won't. This is probably one of the best dream theater songs i've ever heard. the last thing i want to say about it is the bass. I am a bass player myself, and john myungs playing in this was awesome.

well, the rest of the songs are good, including the amazing guitar solo in never enough, but ill stop now. All in all, i think that this was a good Album, but not as good as some they release, like six degrees of inner turbulence

Report this review (#59273)
Posted Monday, December 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Collins Cobuild dictionary states that "an octave is the musical interval between the first note and the eighth note of a scale." So, what might an "octavarium" be? Dream Theater's new album Octavarium appears to define the word perfectly. The album contains eight (8) mandatory songs and one could argue that between the first track and the eighth one there are eight musical intervals...

But, what everybody really wants to know: "is the album any good?" I am an avid fan of progressive metal music and have been a fan of Dream Theater from the very beginning of their career. I've enjoyed their music over the years but I was most impressed with their last release Train of Thought and I must admit that the band has again struck a very solid chord with me on Octavarium.

As always, you'll find some great guitar work by Petrucci, awesome drum work by Mike Portney, exquisite keyboard work by Jordan Ruddess and in my view, an Oscar winning vocal performance by James Labrie.

1. "The Root of All Evil" - 8m25s - (9.5/10)

Soft atmospheric intro followed by crunchy guitars, heavy bass and a big drum beat. Matter of factly, the music progresses 8 measures at a time. Dream Theater have been known to pay homage to the so-called leaders in metal. Can they be paying homage to Power Metal, the genre and style of music that this track can most closely be associated too? Labrie's vocals have a little more effects added to them than usual but they work out quite well with the music here.

2. "The Answer Lies Within" - 5m33s - (8/10)

Beautiful soft piano driven ballad. LaBrie's vocals are truly exhilarating. Acoustic guitar and other keyboard orchestrations (violin) are added to very good effect. Some may be reminded of Oasis? There most definitely is a parallel with the genre and style of music associated with Oasis but lets not get carried away with comparisons here. This is a powerful song, perhaps containing more mainstream elements than I care to find on a progressive metal album, but this a strong track, regardless of it's influences.

3. "These Walls" - 7m36s - (9.5/10)

Great experimental opening, lots of cool guitar effects. The opening moments is a little deceiving as it is another soft track with a heavier chorus. I like the soft keyboard work in the verses and the stronger, more urgent bridge and chorus are imposing musical moments as well. At this point of the album one might be wondering if this is really a progressive album at all. Progressive elements being kept at a minimum so far.

4. "I Walk Beside You" - 4m29s - (9/10)

A clock is ticking, panning from left to right while a simple keyboard lick (or is that a guitar lick) is repeated throughout the song. Many will be reminded of U2. I know I was. It certainly the kind of music that U2 have been doing for years. Of course, Dream Theater add their own little influences to the mix. I was impressed to hear such a song on a DT album. It really shows another side of the band that most are not familiar with and so, a most unpredictable track to find on an album by such a progressively influenced band.

5. "Panic Attack" - 8m13s - (10/10)

This track effectively instills in the listener everything one associates with a "panic attack." Fear, terror, frenetic behaviour are all highlighted here. This is a fast paced track with frantic musical moments and a most entertaining progressive passage. I love everything about this track. Labrie gives one of his best vocal performance right here.

6. "Never Enough" - 6m46s - (8.5/10)

The band continues to build on the momentum created by the previous track. Again, Labrie's vocal performance is topnotch. There is another excellent progressive musical moment. This track is different than the others in that the verse is faster and catchier than the chorus which is slow and not as exciting as the rest of the track. The band mixes everything up so that none of the songs sound alike. This is truly an awesome accomplishment.

(Side note - One need only listen to 90% of albums out right now to realized that most bands follow a formula that tends to make their songs sound similar, with very little variety overall. This album could be mistaken for like 8 different bands, each performing one song. Or, better yet, Octavarium is an album full of Dream Theater songs paying homage to a very wide variety of musical genres and styles?)

7. "Sacrificed Sons" - 10m42s - (9/10)

This track starts with a series of news flashes from 9/11, very eerie and atmospheric, very sad and gloomy track. It's not a gothic metal track but one could argue it certainly got the depressed atmospheric mood going for it. I like the James Bond orchestrations, I mean, every time I listen to this one I get the feeling that I'm at the movies, it's got the "movie soundtrack feel" going for it.

8. "Octavarium" - 23m59s - (9/10)

Starts off very slow and atmospheric, takes about 4 minutes for the song to get going. Pamela Sklar makes a guest appearance and plays the flute, you'll also hear an acoustic guitar and a piano, this is a very slow moving track. Seems to take forever to get started. There is a change of pace at about the 9 minute mark and then a 2 minute instrumental interlude at about the 12 minute mark. The song undergoes another change of pace at the 14 minute mark, building towards a faster and faster pace all the time. There is another 2 minute musical interlude before the track goes all out metal during what can only be described as the climax of the song. And just as everything started off, the last 4 minutes of the song returns to a slower atmospheric ending. Unfortunately, most people will not have the patience to sit though a 24 minute track, let alone appreciate such a lengthy song. It is a massive undertaking and a classic closer as far as I'm concerned.

There have been a slew of new albums promoting progressive music lately and particularly in the past couple of years that, in my view, all contain very, very good music. This prog addict is certainly not complaining...

A very motley mix and highly entertaining progressive metal album!

Report this review (#59303)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars fantastic¡¡¡ Ii think it is the best LP of Dream Theater as an album, I explain, all the songs have a very good quality. the last song (octavarium) is exceptional with orchestra, and very good solos of keyboard and guitars
Report this review (#59348)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars Undoubtedly one of the worst bands to ever have the term "prog" applied to their music, this is more of the same. Tasteless bombast that makes ELP sound austere. The vocals (as always) are terrible, and if your idea of a hot guitarist is metal hammering/shredding w___-off this is right up your alley. And it's a dead end. Listen to this and then listen to a real progressive masterpiece like Van der Graaf's "Pawn Hearts", then walk shamefacedly towards your dustbin and insert this embarrassment directly into it and never look back.
Report this review (#60264)
Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Amazing Comeback of Dream Theater! Octavarium is simply an incredible comeback of ''The Real'' Dream Theater. This isn't a new Images and Words, but I'm not saying that I need a new one. After the Awake album, DT was just sailing between different, experimental styles, and trying to find the right style for themselves. The Train of Thought album wasn't bad, but it did show that it couldn't get any worse, so I was very suspicious before Octavarium came out.

At first when you listen to the album, you see it as another simple, pop-rock-related DT-album. But in time, you're starting to see the the multifaceted sides in the music. There are also some Pop-rock-songs in it, and at first I hated them, of course, and thought that the pop-style doesn't fit DT at all. But after every times I have listened to the songs, I started to like them, and now I think that Pop-Rock won't get any better, after DT made these songs. Of course, the songs sound a bit familiar because some bands have already made these kind of songs before, but the the pop-songs in the album have the touch of DT. So every song in the album is very good and impressive. The most progressive song is the main-title song; Octavarium. It really shows what DT can still do today, and I thought DT had already lost the real progressive style.

Hopefully, DT is returning to their roots; the real progressive-metal. There isn't any 'showing off'l on this album at all, which is a pretty good thing, because too much showing off is just too much. Especially the keyboard-player Jordan Rudess has finally learned to controll himself with the soloing. Every player does a very fine job on this album. I must also mention that I used to get a bit provoked by James LaBrie's voice, but on this album his voice doesn't sound annoying at all!

The album just get's better and better after every listenings, just like the I&W -album. I recommend this album for all of you out there, who loved DT's old style, but I'm sure that those who loved the previous album, isn't going to love this one as much.

DREAM THEATER FOREVER! \,,/ and sorry about my bad english... :D

Report this review (#60901)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater latest release Octavarium is another top class album.

Octavarium showcases the band in a slightly diffrent shade than fans have seen before. After the decidely dark Train of Thought, Dream Theater comes back with Octavarium and mixes more of the old with the new.

The intro track The Root of All Evil is yet another addition to Mike Portnoy's struggle with alcoholism. The track sets a bluesy metal tone that hangs over the album. The track has all the trademarks from Dream Theater, lighting speed playing by Petrucci and Rudess, great kicks from Portnoy, intense grooves from Myung, and the soft and now harder voices of James LaBrie.

The next track The Answer Lies Within is a brighter ballad showcasing the older side of Dream Theater. This song takes a role similar to Another Day back on the Images and Words album.

These Walls is a little more of the classic Dream Theater. Jordan Rudess' synth sounds are much more along the lines of Kevin Moore with a little Moogtron influence. Rudess' role has changed from the second guitar style keyboard to a more of a pianist role with melody spots.

I Walk Beside you shows more of a pop U2 influence, but its a nice filler tune for the middle of the album. It's a constant build from here on out.

Panic Attack is the "chopbuster" of the standard tracks on the album. This is the tune that shows off the most of Petrucci and Rudess, but the intro by John Myung is something less than fantastic. Overall the track is a really good Prog Metal song.

Never Enough features some cool drumwork by Mike Portnoy, classic tricky rythmns from Dream Theater here with a little muse influence.

With Sacraficed Sons, we really have something noteworthy. This song is the nostalgic Dream Theater track of this album. We have the classic Dream Theater build in this song. There isn't a single note in this song that doesn't lead to another. This is the real masterpiece track of this album.

The final track and the title track Octavarium is another winner to close the album. The track once again starts out with the classic Dream Theater build. The song that climax's towards the middle with the lightning speed trades between Petrucci and Rudess. Rudess does excellent solo work on this track, some of his very best. The song also features a lyrical section that gives tribute to some Dream Theater influence I could only smile when i heard lyrics with "Supper's Ready" "Cinema Show" and "Ripper Owens". Great effort from Dream Theater.

The album is quite dark, but a much better mix of matierial and emotions than Train of Thought. The album also features more of the great Dream Theater insturmental moments we have grown to love.

Report this review (#62259)
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This for me is my favourite album not only from DT but from any album ive ever heard, i just love every second thats on this wonderful album because every song has something special about it, i love both the heavier side as well as the proggy side of DT and this album covers both sides more than any other DT album. A very special mention has to go to the title track, ive been getting into the older epics from Genesis, Yes and Jethro Tull but this is the best epic along with Transatlantic's Stranger in your soul that ive ever heard, DT do borrow from the band Muse on a couple of tracks but still make the tracks there own, there's even a very nice ballad called Answer lies within. DT rule as kings of there field because of there supreme musicianship and because they keep on producing the quality albums, Dream theater I salute you.
Report this review (#62561)
Posted Saturday, December 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars OK...being that my notes for this review are missing (due to a house cleaning gone terribly awry), I'm gonna have to wing it here. Bear with me. "OCTAVARIUM" has to be one of the smartest purchases I've made all year (with the exception of Anna Nalick's CD "Wreck Of The Day", but that's No song-by-song review here, because the tracks seem to melt into each other.

Good parts first: The songwriting is VERY strong. Great arrangements abound, especially in songs like "Panic Attack", "These Walls" and, the uber-maligned "I Walk Beside You". Now, is it just me, or do I hear NO U2 in this track? That "choir" everyone refers to might as well be a chorus of overdubbed keyboards. Either way, it's still a fantastic song, and no doubt, it IS commerical. But, much like with Rush, it's always nice to see such a great band getting radio time. They deserve it as much as anyone, don't they? Hell, no one turned a deaf ear to Rush's "The Spirit Of Radio", did they? The answer

ANYWAY...I digress. I happen to be amazed at the level of thought put into "Panic Attack". The opening bassline doesn't sound so much like a bassline as it does a loop of troubled thoughts. And when the full band launches into the song, it's total meltdown. The keyboard lead is really great; Rudess smokes the keys. In fact, it seems like Rudess carries the brunt of the leadwork here, as he tends to shine in most of the songs.

That brings up one of my main problems with this disc. I read reviews of prior records like "TRAIN OF THOUGHT", where Petrucci seems to have overloaded on the lead playing. God help me; I know people are gonna hate me for this, but I WANT MORE!!!!! More leadwork from Petrucci and less keyboard soloing from Rudess.

That, coupled with the quasi-poor mixing (Portnoy's muffled and the drums sound somewhat hollow, IMO) makes me bring the disc down from 5 stars to 4. Not only that, but I noticed that the chorus melody from "Medicate" seems to come up a lot. Why is that? It comes up in "The Answer Lies Within" (2:55-3:02), the last part of the title track, and several other places. IMO, it seems like DT wrote this part of the song first, and then based every other song around it. That's a bit irritating. Don't get me wrong; this is still a great disc. I'm glad I started here. Now I just have to work my way back and see what all the fuss is about. I'm sure there's a five-star album lurking around here somewhere. I just have to find it.

Report this review (#62586)
Posted Saturday, December 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars 2005 has brought Octavarium. What to say... Well, it's not as heavy as Train of thought and features both very proggy (title track, Panic attack) and poppy (the Answer lies within, I walk besider you) songs. Dream Theater is drawing from Modern influenced such as U2 and Muse on this album, which I think is a shame because they should be making Dream Theater music, not Dream Theater with a side of Muse. The poppy songs are catchy, but overall poor, and the proggy songs and well written but not very original again.

Low Points: the Lyrics of the first song, the two poppy songs, the orginality factor, etc.

High Points: These Walls, Sacrificed Sons, and Panic Attack

Overal 3.4 Stars. This is a good album, but nothing more.

Report this review (#62711)
Posted Sunday, January 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars First it was complex to me to make any representation about this album. It was usual " Dream Theater " while I have not reached up to " Sacrificed Sons " and "Octavarium". Changes shaking. Beautiful and it is fine orchestred compositions, worthy five stars. Use of a flute, violin section and Jordan Rudess masterly keyboard lifts these compositions above the others on an album. But in aggregate with the previous compositions, the general estimation of an album - 4 stars.
Report this review (#63951)
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is weakest record Dream Theater has ever recorded. Keyboards are poor and uninteresting. Guitar - uninspirated. Production - awfull. Two stars rating goes for good song Sacrified Songs and good track Octavarium, but whole album is far from great. In songs Panic Attack and Never Enough band shows huge lack of innovation, poor guitar playing, sounding like any alternative metal band. Song Octavarium should have standed alone as new album, or together with Sacrified Sons, it would have been good record. Listening to album Awake, or When Day and Dream Unite, or Scenes from Memory, this album together with Train of Thought sounds like amateur work of bunch of metalfan kids. I think that Derek Sherinian and Kevin Moore left this band on the edge of cliff.
Report this review (#64833)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars When I first picked up Octavarium I thought that it might be a good album protruding through the the rest of the unacceptably bad music that I've come across this year. I'd waited for a CD to come out that I could really, fully enjoy; an original, inspired album with no complex crap in the way of the pure music. I thought that out of any album of 2005, this would have been the best. Boy, how wrong I was.

While there is no question that Dream Theater are certainly up among the greatest progressive metal bands ever, I felt that this album was much a waste of my time and money. Yes, there are a couple of okay songs, particularly Panic Attack and These Walls, but the rest seemed out of place and unoriginal.

Octavarium seems like the only song the band cared about in the making of the album. The lyrics reach the listener and tell a story, personal or not, and make the song understandable. The rest of the songs seem to go off on tangents and lose the original meaning, as if the band just gave up and tried to covertheir mistakes by adding more instrumentals and lyrics.

Overall, Octavarium feels very forced and uninspired. I couldn't believe the weakness of the work that had come from such a talented band. It is really an awkward album; the music seems to be jumbled, and just a horrid reflection of some of their older work smashed together. I'm sure they put a lot of work into it, but it just doesn't feel right. I can't quite explain; the talent is there, along with the expression, but something gets in the way of making this CD great. The album seems distant, and almost as if it's overflowing with uneccesary vocals and intrumentation. If they would have just made the songs as they really wanted them, it would have been a very good album. It's almost as though they were trying so hard to make Octavarium their standout album that they forgot about the meaning, beauty, expression, and most importantly, the metal.

Report this review (#66070)
Posted Sunday, January 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars DREAM THEATER - OCTAVARIUM may not strike everyone as a prog album but as a typical speed/power metal album with some prog orientation, yes speed/power metal it is and the more power the metal, the merrier it is to my ears and is one of my favourite ProgMetal albums of all time!!! The album opens with sound effects apparently like Pink Floyd's "Shine on you crazy diamond" song from WISH YOU WERE HERE, but I don't understand this as I am not all aware of Pink Floyd!!

"The Root of All Evil" is mostly hard rocking and is a killer introduction to the album, the songs talks about the pains of alcoholism 4/5. "The Answer Lies Within" is ballad with pianos and my least favourite track, ballads ain't my style and the weakest track on the album sorry a poor 2/5!! "These Walls" opens with a jazzy elements and is a fantasic tune to rock too and on my scales scores a whopping 4/5!!! "I Walk Beside You," which is a Poppy tune and it is too comercial sounding and my least favourite track 1/5!!

"Panic Attack" is my most favourite track on the album and is a killer (fast,power,headbanging - heaven to my ears!!), a speed power metal tune with the best PROG elements on this CD, including extremely frntic tempos, and mellotrons thrown in for good favour 5/5!! "Never Enough" is a straightforward metal composition,There is also a nice keyboard and guitars solos and good to headbang to so get that air guitar out and go nuts!!! 5/5!!!

"Sacrificed Sons" is DT's tribute to the victims and associates of 9/11 terror attacks a very powerful emotional track but not my favourite but a modest 3/5!!! "Octavarium" 24 minute title track,split into five different parts which sounds like Pink Floyd and some of Genesis combined and The introduction has beautiful guitar playing by Petrucci and DT has a 70s style playing of the flute, very excellent epic music. 5/5!!

I really love this album an incredibly outstanding effort from Dream Theatre and comes with great good lyrics, superb and cool musicianship, production is top notch, nice orchestra and good fast paced metal!! (Just as I like it) 100% recommended !!

Report this review (#66696)
Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I used to really lay into people that criticized Dream Theater back when I was in college, the days of Awake and Falling Into Infinity. That was before Dream Theater began ripping off other artists in an attempt to sound like the contemporary music of the time. Seriously, from 1992-1997, Dream Theater did not sound like Nirvana, Soundgarden, or Oasis. This album (and the previous), however, are nothing more than brilliant musicians that have run out of new ideas.

The album begins with a decent enough heavy song, The Root of All Evil, in the vain of Countdown-era Megadeth. Labrie does an excellent job on the prechorus in this track. However, the lyrical material is 2 albums tired by this point. The Glass Prison was cool, but the idea of doing a multi-album mega-song on the 12 steps of alcoholics anonymous is waning a bit thin for me. The Answer Lies Within, track 2, was a neat surprise given the band's recent venture into the nu-metal chugga-chugga sound. Labrie never comes off insincere on a good ballad, even one with NO soloing.

These Walls, I thought at first was really cool. After the third spin, I found myself wondering if Petrucci had listened to Meteora by Linkin Park a few too many times. It's a catchy song but its also a big reason why Avenged Sevenfold fans seem to all of a sudden like Dream Theater. Track 4, I Walk Beside You, is the highlight of the album....and it sounds nothing like a "typical" Dream Theater song. It has a huge U2/Coldplay thing going on, but the performance by Labrie again puts in the soul on this one. It's not progressive at all, but this album isn't progressive, evidence by the heavily borrowed styles throughout.

The album kicks back into riff-driven metal again with Panic Attack. The song is catchy and jams like hell, but the main riff seems to be something that a zillion metal bands have all played before. Again, this is a great technically executed song with nothing but rehashed riffage. I also wonder when Petrucci started having panic attacks seeing that he wrote the lyrics. He always seemed pretty chilled out to me. Labrie again steals the show with his Matthew Bellamyesque line "I try to hide, overwhelmed by this complex delirium." The next track, Never Enough, is perhaps one of the most pathetic things this band has ever done. This song is basically Muse's Stockholm Syndrome with a really cool keyboard/guitar solo with more whiny Portnoy lyrics. It seems the guy that pretty much single handedly carries this band has developed a bit of a soft spot for criticism. Much like the average Dream Theater fan as I was, you are not allowed to say anything negative about Dream Theater or Mike Portnoy might write a song about you. While I understand his frustration and know that there are some freaked out fans out there that will go to great lengths to be idiots, why not just take the high road and write a cool song that will not give people a chance to make fun of you. All that said, the song rocks...but so did Stockholm Syndrome.

The next song I just call the 9/11 song. Dream Theater has never been afraid to be sappy with their ballads, and this one is no different. However, and perhaps this is too critical, but I just don't dig the idea of cashing in on 9/11. I'm sure their heart is in the right place and not being that calculating, but Labrie already did a 9/11 song on his solo album that came out months before Octavarium. The latter musical section is brilliant, very Yes-like, and uplifiting. The title track, oddly enough, was recently recognized as the most popular/best Dream Theater song in a dichtomous poll conducted at the official website message board and other websites. The song itself is a lot of fun and jams like crazy, after the first 12 minutes that is. Of course, every major prog band from the 70s is represented throughout this track with a little Spock's Beard as well. Dream Theater throws on their angle with the continuous long, fast 16th note scales in an alternating 15/16 and 9/8 with the ensuing madness. The climax is a little cheesy with Labrie's attempt at hardcore vocals (just kidding!).

In the end, we get a mishmash of song styles as DT did on their earliest albums but overall nothing really progressive as they are known. The music is technical and very well constructed but there is nothing that the band hasn't done before. The final judgment is that this is for good but non-essential for the average prog listener. Although it continues the trend of ripoffs begun by the previous album Train of Thought, it's a much more diverse album with some really great vocals by Labrie.

Report this review (#70695)
Posted Monday, February 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ah yes, Dream Theater. While many people say that this is album is a cop-out, Dream Theater is selling out, they are finally making awful music. Well, maybe people didn't notice the considerable decline in album quality ever since "Scenes From A Memory" was released. While I am not saying that this is a five star album, it contains some bad tracks, some amazing tracks, and then some that just don't really appeal to me. When the album first came out, I was amazed. It was my favorite Dream Theater at the time when it came out, and I just couldn't get over how awesome each song was. However, now that quite some time has passed, I find that almost half the album is quite dull. But all the songs that rock, really really rock.

1. The Root Of All Evil: A very strong song, it has a very good atmosphere going. This one continues along in the alcoholism saga, and it does not fail to disappoint in my opinion. While there is no outstanding riff, the song is just good as a whole, cohesive unit. And unlike some Dream Theater pieces, it does not need one standout part. My only complaint with this song (and sometimes on the whole album) is that Petrucci's guitar is somewhat low, especially on the guitar solo in this song. Rating: A-

2. The Answer Lies Within: This song has never appealed to me. Not when I bought the album, and not now. I've always found it too bland, too boring. James LaBrie does not have the great voice alone to carry on a song like this, and the rest of the band seems to just mesh together for a Norah Jones-type song. Not what I was looking for. Rating: D

3. These Walls: Now this song, whether its too commercial or not, to me it is a killer song. I really love the emotion put into the song by the whole, and James LaBrie puts a good performance into this one. This is a strong song with a very omnipresent melancholic feel, one that I think is executed perfectly, especially by John Petrucci's short, simple, but especially sweet guitar solo. Rating: A-

4. I Walk Beside You: I do not have much to say about this song except that it could very easily be a U2 song. I really tried hard to like this song, but coming from Dream Theater I just couldn't bring myself to it. While it may be a lousy song in my opinion, it could be a good song to introduce fans to Dream Theater with if they are not a prog/metal fan at all. Rating: D+

5. Panic Attack: Now this song is just straight up metal with prog. Very killer song, one that ought to please any metalheads who were introduced to DT by Train of Thought. I find it a very intense and anxious sounding song, with a killer riff and some excellent bass and drum playing. I also quite enjoy Jordan Rudess' keyboard solo in this song, for a change. Rating: B+

6. Never Enough: This is a song that I liked a lot when the album first came out, but over time, like the album, I no longer like this song quite as much. It now seems somewhat bland, like Dream Theater was forcefully trying to do something different, and not letting their hearts tell them to. This one feels very restrained and I think that it has some potential, just not enough of it came through. Rating: C

7. Sacrificed Sons: Now this is where the album begins to really shine. This song being a very serious song about the events of 9/11. James Labrie's vocals are very touching in this song, and all of the guitar parts during the verse and chorus really help to catalyze this emotion. The pre-chorus that appears only once in the song in my opinion is especially emotional.

"No clues a complete surprise Who'll be coming home tonight? "

The way LaBrie sings it meshing with Petrucci's solemn volume swells create an intense sadness that in my opinion really speaks to me in this song. Also, one of the best parts is Petrucci's second guitar solo (the reprise) which begins at 6:24, this is an incredible part, and I feel that Petrucci put quite an amount of passion into his playing especially on this part of the song. The riff afterwards is perfect, and when Mike Portnoy's beat picks up, it becomes legendary. Definitely one of the best songs on the album, if not the best. Rating: A+

8. Octavarium: What could be Dream Theater's magnum-opus, the "piece de resistance", a 24 minute epic that is a highlight of all things prog. From the Pink Floyd style intro, to a Yes-like middle section, and mentions of many prog bands throughout the lyrics. We start with the intro. A keyboard part hitting an Fm, and keeping a solid chord progression going as it fades in. Then Petrucci comes in, with an excellent and haunting lead part, a la "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". It all builds up into a very explosion-like part with a large keyboard part going over some epic-style guitar, bass, and drums. The first verse has a strong melancholic feel, and LaBrie's haunting vocals portray an excellent image. The second part beginning with a strong bass line from John Myung brings in calmness and serenity to the song, which is shortly followed by an arsenal of keyboards that show Jordan Rudess' ability to the fullest extent. As we reach the "full circle", the song turns intense again, with a very dark riff along with the tribute to many prog and rock acts of the past. We eventually reach the last two parts of the song, "Intervals", and "Razor's Edge", which in my opinion are the two best parts of the song and provide an EXCELLENT highlight to the rest of the album. Intervals recites parts of each previous song, tying them each into eight seperate stages of something. (one review above explained this part of the song in an excellent manner) This part ends with the climax of LaBrie shouting "Trapped inside this octavarium", which then segues into "Razor's Edge", the overall climax of the song and the album as a whole. It begins with an excellent and quick keyboard line from Rudess, then quickly turning into a haunting chord progression with an excellent symphonic arrary of keyboards going over it. James LaBrie's vocals help to evoke the tremendous amount of atmosphere in this song, and once the final words are said, a keyboard part signifies the start of in my opinion, John Petrucci's greatest guitar solo EVER. I cannot describe how amazing this solo is to me, so I guess you will have to buy the album for yourself to hear it. I have never heard such wonderful playing (from anyone, even Marty Friedman) that goes with the song and has a soul of its own at the same time. Petrucci builds up the solo into one large bend at the final moments of the solo, which leads into a keyboard reprise of the great explosion towards the intro. The song finally ends on the same note which it started, showing the cycle and how it never ends. Rating: A+

I honestly think that the last two songs make the album worth buying alone, as they are both absolutely amazing, and quite possibly some of the best in Dream Theater's careers. While the album may signify an upcoming change in Dream Theater, I am confident that they will still make at least decent, solid music.

Report this review (#72511)
Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars All I'm going to say is... For all those people that think this album is the greatest thing since sliced bread, get a life! I'm a major fan of Dream Theater - hell I've got all the albums, been to as many live gigs as possible and done as much to do with the band as possible. And frankly, I'm dissapointed with this album. Fair enough, Octavarium is progressively excellent but to me it sounds a bit too corny. As other people have said, its good but its no great. Sacrificed Sons, to me, is the actually 'evolutionary' song for Dream Theater. The others are... well... I'd rather not waste space on this site slagging them off. So all in all, I'd say that this is so much worse than anything this awesome band have produced - ever. And just one more thing that I noticed that everybody's been saying - Train of Thought was not a bad album. In fact, I'd say it was one of they're stronger ones. But enough of that... The album is 'listenable' but nothing else. End of.
Report this review (#73378)
Posted Wednesday, March 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Man i was so syche about hearing Dream Theater making another studio album and every week i would go to their website to see what the cd would be about and well i didn't get much but hey i was patient. Anyway, WOW I must say that once again Dream Theater has made yet another great Studio Album but this time things are just a bit different for OCTARVARIUM. well first off people who say this is not a great ablum should really open their minds and realize how great this album really is as Dream Theater has not only displayed elements of prog metal but more than that as they go from old school prog rock, hard rock, pop, alternative, some funk, psychedelic, well just about everything that's in prog. its all wonderful as we start with the great heavy metal but in a way a groove rock kinda song with THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL, then with some soft piano with THE ANSWER LIES WITHIN (not a good track but hey its just one song) then you go into the AWESOME THESE WALLS one of my favorites as they display some eariler prog metal sounds, then to the very U2 inspired I WALK BESIDES YOU, then in my opinion DT's heaivest song PANIC ATTACK now if you like train of thought you'll love that song, then to another mike portnoy hate song NEVER ENOUGH which has some really good keyboard stuff to it. then to the what i would say a psychedelic hard rock sounding song that DT calls SACRIFICED SONS. really cool song as it builds up from a experimental psychedelic soft fill to an extreme metal symphonic hard rock sound great lyrics as well. BUT WAIT you also have in my opinion one of DT's best songs the oh so wonderful title track of Octavarium. and well i really have no words to say about this as you'll love the many influences made in this song not to mention how i love how it builds up. Yep this cd just about has it all plus each member does their part well. James Labrie shines once again from his very soft soothing and yet angry screaming metal vocals, John Myung really shines in this album especially at the beginning of panic attack and MEDICATE ME which is a section of the title track, Jordan Rudess IS A BEAST ON THIS ALBUM GAh he absolute owned this album, John Petrucci at the same time he does great but kinda dissappointed me for the lack of guitar solos but he does make up for it with the solos he has in this cd not to mention the great riffs he has, and plus Mike Portnoy outshines us once again by not only going over the top with great double bass and fill work but also getting into his groovy side with awesome cymbal work and great rhythms with his single pedal work as well. Let me tell ya if you some non stop great music from a lot of genres this is the album you need to great trust me its worth it. 4 stars
Report this review (#73907)
Posted Sunday, April 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Doing a review of the new Dream Theater album. Now here's something many reporters like to avoid. Yeah, I know it sounds funny, but there are many bands out there carrying a "DANGER" tag above their name. A good warning for anyone who wishes to speak his mind about them: be careful, you can easily make a fool out of yourself. Dream Theater is one of those acts. Doing a review about them is a delicate matter since their albums carry a chameleon disguise: no mater how many times you listen to a song, there will always be something new to discover and probably make you change your mind about the things you've said.

I decided to follow the same pattern I used with the latest Shadow Gallery album in order to review this one. I've listened to the album roughly 4-5 times and then I started writing my thoughts on each song while listening at it at the same time. So, here we go!

"The Root Of All Evil": brings in mind the opener of "Train Of Thought". Kicks in with a small intro (less than a minute) and bombastic drums. The guitars are very heavy, low tuned I dare to say. Quite simple in structure gets more "Dream Theater" around the fifth minute. The keyboard solo sadly sounds of the wall, while the guitar solo is very good. The piano behind the refrain might bring in mind the "Scenes From A Memory" period of the band. I like the atmospheric conclusion. Definitely not one of the greatest songs Dream Theater ever wrote.

"The Answer Lies Within": the second song is a ballad! Starts with a nice combination of piano and vocals (great performance by LaBrie on this one). It keeps a low profile throughout its duration. Definitely a single if you ask me since it can be considered a quite mainstream ballad. The strings doing the short solo in the middle give extra breath to the composition. No matter how you look at it, it's really a wonderful moment in this album.

"These Walls": an atmospheric and quite modern song. Sounds like it is based on the scales LaBrie usually delivers. WOW! This song has a driving silent force with an amazing climax. The keyboards play a very important role in here. The song is slower than "The Root Of All Evil". There seems to be a very detailed work upon the drums in this one. It has a nice brake around the fourth minute. I liked the guitar solo a lot, it's short and basically follows the melody of the bridge. I don't really understand the symphonic closing of the song, sounds useless over there. This is another song aiming at a broader range of audience.

"I Walk Beside You": now this one sounds like it jumped right out of the "Falling Into Infinity" sessions. Based on a very simple guitar riff. Not too metallic, might bring in mind the positive vibes of "Surrounded". Labrie brings forth his days with Winter Rose in a performance closer to Rock. I think this is a more Rock-ish song generally.

"Panic Attack": oh, a fast one! OK, it starts in a really furious way but falls close to the tempo of "The Root Of All Evil", up to the fourth minute where it gets faster again for the solos to kick in. A quite bizarre song. Based on an abstract riff, dark and quite "proggy". Once again it brings in mind the "Scenes From A Memory" era of the band.

"Never Enough": Finally a really heavy song from start to finish. Fast, with a relentless drumming. It could have had a better refrain. There is a smart "electronic" theme on the keys behind the pounding duo of guitar / drums. Modern keys reemerge just before the guitar solo. Once again the guitar solo sounds more like an exercise on scales rather than a real solo, at least just before its end it carries a nice harmonized melody.

"Sacrificed Sons": the second in length song in the album runs almost around eight minutes and it is bridged with "Never Enough" by some incomprehensive spoken words and parts from speeches (referring to global terrorism... I think?). The chilling opening brought in mind at first a fragment of "Voices" from "Awake". This is a dark and kind of hallucinating vibrated song. It has a climax and a GREAT bridge / refrain. It brakes down around the fourth minute to carry out some nice scaling on guitars / drums and an extensive keyboard solo. From there on follows a very lengthy instrumental part that leaves a two minute brake for the vocals to kick in again.

"Octavarium": Well, here it is. The album's title song runs for almost twenty four minutes! OK, this is not the first time Dream Theater offer us such a treat. It has a down-tuned intro, actually kicks in around the fourth minute. The acoustic guitar / flute combo set my mood for all the great things to come. The song gets a bit faster around the eighth minute but keeps its acoustic profile. Around the tenth minute the song gets electrified. Cool! OK, the keyboards on 13:00 sound a bit goofy but really manage to turn the tide in the song. From there on it becomes a "Dream Theater" ride, like those of the old days. Progressive and complicated, baby! It's one of these songs that make you wonder how on earth these guys remember what they play and perform it live. At times it reminded me of "Learning To Live" with all these changes in the guitar / keyboards style. In case some of you are wondering why Dream Theater are so highly praised among the ranks of progressive people, here's proof for you.

If I had to compare "Octavarium" to "Train Of Thought" I would say that: a) it carries much more varied compositions and b) with no doubt the keyboards' role has been upgraded. Though it will take me some time to accept in a 100% rate the low tuned guitars, I can't blame a pioneering band that simply tries to keep up with the progress in Metal music. Yes, "Octavarium" does not include the acrobatics of "Images And Words" or "Awake" but the band's decision to leave (at least for a period of time?) all these out of their music was obvious from their previous album.

Lets face it: Dream Theater have nothing to prove to anyone. They have done it all. "Octavarium" and "Train Of Thought" sound mostly like albums the band crafted to amuse themselves.

Report this review (#75001)
Posted Saturday, April 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Dream Theater were always and are still considered as the Prog-Metal-Gods, but after hearing this release I can just say :

"Twilight in Olympus"

The often adjudicated originality, which I can't find really often on any release is here on the lowest plane. Everything I can hear is some musicians, which combine virtuosic mindlessness with very obvious of bands like U2, Muse and Linkin Park, just to name some. The sound is terrible. The guitar is totally overloaded during the riffing, ok during the solos, although they can't attract. With such an over-distortion, which has nothing to do with true metal or hard-rock, but integrates well into the pop-metal/rock genre, the drums are too weak, not to be scoffed at the style of Mr.Portnoy. He once had better times. John Petrucci's accompaniment is often quite questionable, and his solos, although they are not really bad, can't really stand to be amazing, but are just a blip in the background. The bass is ok but I think it has a bit too much tremble, but that can be disregarded. Really annoying are the keyboards and the vocals. Jordan Rudess is everything but serious. His synthesizers sound like a strange techno-mixture and his style, while exploiting his sounds, is bothering and far behind virtuosic compositional abilities. James LaBrie contributes a lot to the bad final result, with his pseudo-emotional, therefore slimy, vocals, sounding either much too high or as if he would be young child, performing a song in front of the family. In "These Walls" he even sounds like Britney Spears who wants to be a bad, bad girl.

The music as I said, is much too overloaded. While I enjoy real "metal", this pop-blend is just unnerving. Some weird, but still partly original ideas, like the techno-drum-accompaniment in "The Answer lies within", just leave a disapproval and lead to the downfall of DT, which will come, probably. Nevertheless there are some nice atmospheric segments and some nice melodies, which are sadly destructed by James LaBrie. The atmospheric synthstring-passages, aren't destroyed by anything but over-shadowed, by the awful rest. The "best" song in this tainted soup, is "Panic Attack", with a nice intro and some nice melodies. The solos, are...well.Jordan Rudess typical and a neoclassical try by John Petrucci, which is a flop, in my opinion. I think he just isn't such a great neoclassical player, more blues-orientated. The epic, besides the uncreativity and the slowly decaying time, involving boredom, is just not as awesome as many people say. I don't deny that there is a nice concept behind it, but it's musically not really well converted.

All in all you can just say, the sound is bad, the musicians' performance lacks brilliancy and the unoriginality shows the lack of ideas of this meanwhile maybe too old band.

This is prog-metal how it shouldn't be! 1 star maximum.

Report this review (#75476)
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater is one of my most favorite bands, first getting into them when they first released Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. After that they had gotten darker with Train of Thought, and when they came out with Octavarium I was completely thrown off by the sudden change of mood. This album is very good and I really like it alot. These are what I though of the Songs:

The Root of All Evil: 5/5, a good continuation of the first songs Glass Prison and This Dying Soul. I like it alot and it's a good introduction into the album. Being the sixth and seventh part of the alchohol addiction therapy topic it's good and I can't wait till they finish the rest. The Answer Lies Within: 4/5, a good soft song but not as apealing to me, so I'd have to say it was good with some intersting blend of orchestra in the song. These Walls: 5/5, good chorus and very good melody, I love this song alot and listen to it frequently. I Walk Beside You: 4/5 it's a lot like U2, yes, but it has it's pros to the song, though not as much of a DT success, you have to admit it's stilla good song. Panic Attack: 5/5, this is my favorite song on the album and is a very upbeat and hard song. Refers more back to their previous album Train of Thought, if you liked that album you love this song. Never Enough: 5/5, this song is a rockin' one. Very good with a little bit of emo in the lyrics I still love the song just for the guitar solo! It's really good and even though not as technical as thier usual stuff it's very rivoting. Sacrificed Sons: 5/5, very earie song that really puts 9/11 in its place. I love the soft songs that break out to a heavy metal like this one. Lyrics are pretty good and Labrie does a good job at singing it too. Octavarium: 4/5, this song is a longer one being exactly 24 minutes long it starts out with an echoed intro and moves pretty slow till around 10 minutes when the pace picks up on the music. But after that the song is really good and some really good prog material. It's a good song.

Overall I would suggest this album to people who ask just because it's pretty much a masterpiece. Dream Theater has made a big devision among people, dark and light side, and that's why the reviews are really poor in feed back. But if you like hte softer lighter side of music or the pyschedelic, then you'll like this album a lot.

Report this review (#76677)
Posted Saturday, April 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars When you first knew in 1992 Dream theater with the "Image & words" album, you are very skeptical of that they have maintained all through the numerous following years the quality and uniqueness of the compositions involved. Octavarium is certainly not a bad album; it is far from a masterpiece too. The musicians just make simpler compositions here. The good electric rhythmic guitar sound could be a bit more razor and metal; it sounds a bit gross sometimes, especially on "Panic attack". I think the album lacks some color and speed, partly because the keyboards are not enough in the foreground.

The simple and conventional "Root of all Evil" has nothing really sensational. "The answer lies within" is more mellow, but it does not retain the attention too much. "These walls" has a very good combination of piano and distortion-free discrete guitar notes, but I find the refrains a bit deja vu. "I walk beside you" has a refrain pretty similar to the U2 of the 80's! The conventional metal track "Panic attack" has an elaborated and complex part between 4:30 and 6:10, but unfortunately it does not last very long: by this, you clearly see that the rest of the track is pretty ordinary. James Labrie uses a modified voice on "Never enough", and the fuzzy effects on the electric guitar should please the younger people. The very good first part of "Sacrificed sons" is more mellow and atmospheric, and then it abruptly changes to a more instrumental part: however, the musicians can do much better. The last track , "Octavarium", lasting nearly 24 minutes, starts with Floydian ethereal echoed guitars and ambient keyboards. Then, a good passage made of acoustic guitar, piano and flute reminds me Alan Parson's Project. The very good orchestral arrangements of the finale also reminds me the Transatlantic band. The track is good, but it has some lengthy & repetitive passages: Between 12:15 and 18:30, the track is at its best with an often impressive exhibition of technical skills: again, it clearly demonstrates that the rest of the track is less interesting.

Raing: 3.5 stars

Report this review (#77305)
Posted Saturday, May 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's been a long time since I had to review this album, almost since it went out the last year. Ocatvarium is, as a lot of people know, Dream Theater's last studio album, the follower of the heavy "Train of tought". I had a lot of expectatives to hear this album. How is it going to sound ? Will they return to their origins ? Will they do something new ? Well, I think this is somethig new, specially by the sound and the feeling of this album. It brings me to a dark atmosphere, with very overdistorted guitar sometimes and melancholic piano. This is really a change, a change that was needed, but I hope DT return to their origins on their next album. I must say, unforunately, here aren't shredding solos. Labrie's singing is quite different, not going so high as he used to on, for example "Images & Words". The guitar work of John Petrucci here is very different: the guitar is very, very overdistorted, not just on the riffs, on the solos too, maybe a more simple guitar playing. Here he doesn't shred so much. Luckily I can hear a lot more the bass, and it makes me happy as a bass player. Always there behind with very powerful notes. Portony's drumming is similar to their other works. Rudess here stands out a lot more, bringing excellent solos. A change to DT's musical direction.

The CD starts with "The Root Of All Evil": It starts off with the final piano note from "In The Name Of God followed by a rocker cool riff, very metallized. Sometimes during this song Labrie sings harder, more rocker. On the chorus it becomes more dramatic and melodic. It's the continuation of the Alcoholics Anonymous saga that began with "The Glass Prison" and continued with "This Dying Soul". Finishes with a piano melody that will be repeated then during the song "Octavarium".

"The Answer Lies Within" is the ballad of the album. By far the most simple song of the album and of DT's entire career. Very quiet, with no guitar (except for some notes during the chorus). The piano stands out. It shows the most melodic side of Labrie's voice. It's rare that the second song is a ballad, just like "Another Day" on "Images & Words". It's very evident that this song could be a single, very catchy, and maybe a "hit" on radio. I wouldn't like DT to have "hits" on radio ...

"These Walls" is the darkest song on the recording, by far: "Take out these walls for me, stop me of going under...". It depresses me a little every time I hear it. Very melodic on the chorus, with very powerful and overdistorted guitar on the background. It's noce the climax this song brings. A lot of atmospheres here and short but effective guitar solo in the middle.

The follower is the "hit" "I Walk Beside You". This is a typical rock song. As some reviews said before, this could be easily a U2 song, something I don't like too much ... Here aren't solos and it's the most commercial song of the album (it's a commercial song, no doubt). It's true that "The Answer Lies Within" and "I Walk Beside You", end up sounding too cheesy.

"Panic Attack" starts with a cool and fast bass line, and then explodes with a killer riff, extremely heavy, that blows away my head and makes me headbang. Very wild !! Portnoy's drums are very powerful here. The heaviest song of the recording. The solos in the middle are intense, very good instrumentation here. Here we have a more metallic Labrie. It reminds me a lot of "Metropolis pt.2: Scenes From A Memory". The effects at the end of this song are used as an intro to the next track.

"Never Enough" starts with synthetizer, that gives you an electronic music feeling, followed by a cool riff. Nice chorus here. On the instrumental interlude, a classical felling and fast solo, with keyboards and guitar at the same time. Then nice guitar solo, very dark.

The next song is "Sacrificed Sons", which is made in honor of the 11/9 victims. I really love this song, it has the feeling of their "past days". Starts very quietly, with a similar sound Floyd sound. Very melodic pre-chorus part. The instrumental interlude is very a la Dream Theater, getting heavier and heavier, with more tempo changes and excellent solos.

And here it is. The masterpiece of this album, the song "Octavarium". What can I say about this song ? I'd but this CD just for this song !! Nice, excellent epic, from the beginning to the end (the 24 minutes). It's divided in five parts, each one with a special climax, something I really like. Starts with a classical and symphonic piano-effects intro, with Pink Floyd's atmosphere and Yes's effects, really nice. I remind when they played this song live in Argentina, this "intro" was of almost 8 minutes instead of the 3 of the studio song, very good !! Then enters the acoustic guitar with a psychedelic feeling followed by that flute, that makes a delicious melody, which is repeated at the end of the epic. Then enter the vocals: "I never wanted ..." Up to the 11 minute, this track is very symphonic. My father liked it a lot, despite of he's not a metal lover. Then the drums end bass enter. Intelligent bass line !! The keyboard solo that comes next is amazing, because it has a happy/dark feeling. After this the heavy guitar enters and Labrie starts singing not so melodic. After this part starts the instrumental intermission, very a la DT, with ver fast guitar/keyboard solo. Another symphonic part, and changes, and chenges ... Close to the 20 minute it becomes heavier with whe wild vocals that surprised me a lot: "Trapped inside this Octavarium !! " The outro is mainly very melodic with excellent guitar solo at the end, to finish an excellent long song.

Overall, it's an excellent addition to any prog music collection, but not an album to start with DT if you hacen't heard of them yet.

Rating: 3.8/5

Report this review (#78184)
Posted Sunday, May 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In every album, Dream Theater presents different style and genre. As for example, in Images and Words, they made a very progressive album, odd time signature, long composition songs and so on. While in Train of Thought, the style of the album is very heavy metal, although there is also some progressive element in the album. In this 8th studio album, Octavarium, Dream Theater brings more Dream Theater sound, progressive, metal and some pop rock songs. If you notice, Octavarium comes from the word, Octave, which is 8, and you will see many 8 numbers in this album, whether it's on the cover or in the songs itself. In every song lyrics, there is a time signature on top of it. These time signatures represent the time signature in the song below it. For instance, The Root of all evil, has F time signature, therefore it played in F time signature. Moreover, these 8 songs will create an octave. From track 1 to 8, the octave notations are F G A B C D E F. This is one of the things that made Dream Theater is a true progressive band, although they can produce many different styles of music.

The Root of All Evil A great song for the opening song, which Dream Theater always does in almost every album. The important aspect in this song is that the key is the same with the piano key in the last song in the last album. In The Name Of God from the album Train Of Thought. The style of the song is considered as a heavy song with lots of drums and guitar licks. As for the lyrics, there are some parts that were taken from the song This Dying Soul, "I can feel my body breaking." One thing to look at is in the end of the song, there are notes that are also used in the song "Octavarium", which is the last song.

The Answers Lies Within After a metal and heavy song composition in the previous song, Dream Theater presented a cool and relaxing song. The song has the same style as Hollow Years in the album Falling Into Infinity, which is very slow and "peaceful". Two thumbs up for James LaBrie, which sang the song very different with previous songs. LaBrie which somewhat identical with heavy and metal songs, sang very deep and beautiful help from Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci.

These Walls Another heavy song from Dream Theater, you can see from the very beginning of the song, a very heavy guitar riff and mixed with Jordan Rudess's amazing keyboard riff. One thing that I admire from this song is Mike Portnoy's drum sounds, which very identical with his playing, lots of splash cymbals to create certain effects of sound.

I Walk Beside You This song I think is the most commercial song in this album, I can say that because I have listen this song more than any Dream Theater songs in the radio. The style of this song is very pop-rock.

Panic Attack You can tell from the bass licks in the beginning of the song and expect metal song when the drum begins to play. And yes, this is the heaviest song in the album for me. The lyrics also represent the metal side of the song, which tells about the stream of panic. The guitar and keyboard solos are just the same with almost every Dream Theater songs, required virtuosity.

Never Enough For me, this song is pretty much influenced by Muse, just by looking at the bass licks in the beginning of the song, pretty much the same with Muse's song, Hysteria. Moreover, LaBrie uses sound effects for the first lyrics, which is very Muse. The coolest part of the song is the guitar solo, which consists of hard and complex arpeggios.

Sacrificed Sons In the beginning of the song, there are sounds of human talking about politics regarding the 9/11 tragedy. This concept is pretty much the same with one of Pink Floyd song. After metal style in the previous songs, more relaxing and peaceful song presented. One thing to look at is the lyrics, which is very deep and meaningful regarding the connection of human to the God.

Octavarium This is the most complex and progressive song in the album, Octavarium was divided in to five sub-songs, Someone Like Him, Medicate, Full Circle, Intervals and Razor's Edge. The song begins with complex sound effects from Jordan Rudess and continued with John Petrucci's relaxing guitar riffs. Don't expect the same style for the whole of the song, because in the first minutes of the song, especially in the "Someone Like Him", the style is pop-ish in slow beat. The best part for me is in the "Razor's Edge" part, where the lyrics explain all about the album. "We move in circle, Balanced all the while, On a gleaming razor's edge, A perfect sphere, Colliding with the fate, This story ends where it began." And continued with a very classy and beautiful ending solo.

Well actually, the concept of the album is about thing being repeated. Octavarium, comes from the word, Octave, in musical terms, it means one full notation, C D E F G A B C'. But in Octavarium, the keys used are F G A B C D E F, that's why the birds between the pendulum and the piano keys on the back of the cover represents F G A B C D E F piano keys.

Some people think it's the worst Dream Theater album, but when I look into it very deeply and recognize every section of the songs, I found out that this is one of the best Dream Theater albums and is a masterpiece of progressive music.

Report this review (#78295)
Posted Monday, May 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This was the first DT album I listened to and wasn't very impressed. I thought the vocals were kind of shoddy and could barely make it through the album the first time around. The only ong that appealed to me a first was "These Walls", which I still deem as on of thier best,and the opening minuites of the title track, which is reminiscent of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond"

But, as with most prog albums I had to give a second try and found a few more things I enjoyed with it. Once the whole concept is revealed to you (something alnong the lines of trying to stay above sin), it is fairly enoyable, but you might want to take a break before you begin the two final tracks "Sacrificed Sons" and the epic "Octavarium". A good album, once you get into it.

Now that I've heard "Images and Words" "Awake" and "A Change of Seasons", I would recommend those before you beign this one.

Report this review (#78371)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars As you all know, this the eighth studio album by DT and like all their albums this one is not without its quirks. The first major one being that for some reason the band decided that this would end up being an almost tribute album to many of the big names in the world of music, Pink Floyd, Yes and (surprisingly) U2 being the major ones.

The guys also decided that the number eight would also feature heavily. As you know Oct means eight so this was an obvious choice of word to use in the album name and that of the title track. Now sticking with the play on words for the moment some people might have noticed that in the title the word Octave appears. The musically inclined amongst you would also have noticed that all the songs are played in key through an octave starting with F.

Now lets get to the meat of this review, the music. Those that know me also know that I am a massive fan of Dream Theater and this is solely down to the prodigious talents that make up the band, from James LaBrie's amazing vocals to Mike Portnoy's fantastic drumming. However, this is my least favourite of their albums as I believe that it is lacking in most areas throughout the album. The only parts that aren't lacking are Jordan Rudess's brilliant keyboards that are kept to the sky high standards that he set on Scenes From A Memory, and James LaBrie's vocals, that just seem to get better the older he gets (I thought it was supposed to be the other way round!)

The biggest problem that I have found on this album though is that it's very difficult on many tracks to hear John Myung's Bass, and as a budding bassist I am always trying to hear the bass but I find this very difficult on this album for some reason. I know that this statement is in complete opposition to what other reviewers have said but this is how I hear it and this is one of the albums major draw backs for me.

As I mentioned above the band has decided to use obvious references to some bands. Most notable is that The Root Of All Evil and Octavarium both start with a Pink Floyd esq. intro (specifically Welcome To The Machine and Shine On You Crazy Diamond respectively) and in Octavarium's case it ends on the same not that The Root... starts, although this is a nice touch as the last lines of the song are "A perfect sphere/ Colliding with our fate/ This story ends were it began"

The other major references are that I Walk Beside You and The Answer Lies Within both sound like they were written by U2, although I doubt that U2 have the technical ability to pull off these songs, and Never Enough ends sounding like it was performed and even sung by the British rock band Muse. Unfortunately a lot of these songs can be quickly forgotten due to the fact that they are pretty mediocre compared to some of the bands other albums.

Its safe to say that this album only has a couple of really stand out songs. These would be the last two, Sacrificed Sons and the title track, Octavarium. Sacrificed Sons is easily the best song on the album IMO and this is due to the fact that it develops from a slow, melodic song with unusual lyrics and slowly builds up with an impressive instrumental section. Octavarium is a good song but I think its too long, there's only enough material their to make a good 15 minute song, at most. That said, however, it does have some really good parts but nothing special IMO.

One other thing worthy of note is that on this album you get to see John Petrucci's more melodic side to his performances but unfortunately I really miss the technical exuberance that he deployed on the previous albums, he just seems more creative in that style. However this may be the start of a new direction in terms of playing style for Petrucci, but we'll have to wait and see on that one.

In summery then this is an OK performance by the band that everyone seems to judge as the current yardstick of modern progressive music but its not their best, with poor sound quality (at least on bass), not the most memorable lyrics/songs and Petrucci finding his feet in a new, slightly less technically driven guitar style. However this album does allude us to the possibility that we may not have seen the best from this band and I personally cant weight to here what they do next. Only for fans, though, as its rather poor compared to their previous albums, 2 stars.

Report this review (#79003)
Posted Monday, May 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Differently from the other albums of the Theater, Octavarium, expresses the progressive roots of the band, as we can listen from the entire cd, but above all from the title track (octavarium)...24 minutes of pure prog sound, faithfull to Yes and Pink Floyd (listen to the initial part played by Rudess), melodic and coloured with a point of metal style. This album is the great return of the Theater, after a period of insucces, signed by Train of Thought, in my opinion one of the worst album of the band. ...I give four stars for the songs, but five for the tecnique of the musicians.
Report this review (#79161)
Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars After Train of Thought, many fans and critics believed that Dream Theater was headed toward a musical and stylistic dead-end. I, of course, did not jump on that bandwagon and enjoyed the album for what it was, a superb heavy metal album with progressive influences. Its was a vastly underrated effort, and I listened to it countless times, with the knowledge that Dream Theater would inevitably follow it up with another solid and musically progressive work.

Dream Theater's next album was waited for with unrivaled anticipation, and band members hinted at a return to the "glory days" of Images & Words and Awake. It was said to be more melodic, more structured, and more passionate than anything they had previously written in their careers. And guess what?

It was.

Octavarium oozes with depth from the first bass drum kick on opening track, The Root of All Evil, which consequently is the same rhythm that ended This Dying Soul off of Train of Thought. Without going into too much detail, the reason for this similarity is that this track is the third part in an album-spanning saga that began with The Glass Prison on Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. The song soon blasts into a Velvet Revolver-esque riff and takes off from there. What amazed me the most about this opening cut, is the relative simplicity of the song. Compared to the shred-fest that was the majority of Train of Thought, this was a brilliantly straightforward song that wad rife with emotion from the onset of the chorus till the very end. While it is, by no means, the greatest song in the Dream Theater catalogue, The Root of All Evil packs a powerful, passionate punch and opens this unique album with a kick... literally.

The Root of All Evil - 7/10

From here, the album takes a shocking turn into the wonderful ballad, The Answer Lies Within. Its seemingly motivational lyrics are a stark contrast to the melancholy combination of piano, acoustic guitar, steel guitar, and the string quartet that serves as its backing. While many has described this song as "cheesy", I believe that it quite immature to degrade a song simply because it has uplifting lyrics. James LaBrie has a wonderful vocal performance on this song, as he does on this entire album, but more on that later. This song possesses the first of many wonderfully written build-ups on the album. You'll know the climax of the song when you hear it. Overall, a satistying and unexpected foray into the world of ballads.

The Answer Lies Within - 8/10 This is where the album truely begins to shine. These Walls begins with some bizzare guitar noodling that can only be described as "revving ups" for what is about to ensue. Suddenly, an almost undescribably powerful instrumental section begins (which is essentially the chorus without the vocals), dominated by a skillfully written keyboard line. The verses to the song are shockingly mellow and have an almost Carribean feel to them. James LaBrie really demonstrates his versatility on this song by passionately singing during the verses and belting out the vocally challenging chorus perfectly. The remainer of the song continues with a conservative instrumental section and the best Dream Theater ending since Scarred. What more could you possibly ask for?

These Walls - 10/10

Following a brief interlude, the next song breaks in with a very pop-influenced rhythm. And for good reason, because this track, I Walk Beside You, is the band's intentional experiment with the genre. I've always said that Dream Theater can take any style of music and perfect it. This is no exception to the rule. The expertly orchestrated instruments seem to just weave into each other to create one solid sound, melding with the vocal melodies. The chorus also has one of the most beautiful chordal progressions I've heard in recent music. John Petrucci really outdoes himself with the lyrics for this song, harkening back to his old style of writing during the verses and merging it with his new, more deliberate approach to lyrics. Other than taking a point off for simple personal preference on a certain section, this is as close to perfect as any pop-esque song can get. I Walk Beside You - 9/10

From the lightning fast bass solo at the beginning of this song, you can tell that Panic Attack is going to be something special. The guitar and keyboards erupt out of nowhere with a force never heard before in Dream Theater music. Even songs such as Honor Thy Father don't possess this kind of power. Without a doubt, this song is at the pinnacle of progressive metal. There are far too many sections to even describe, but overall the song is bombastic, furious, and relentless in typical Dream Theater style. Every instrument, from drums to keyboards stands out during the whole song, yet none overpower the others. James LaBrie continues his onslaught with vocals that are quite shakey... in a good way. He utilizes a very approprite panicked tone throughout the entirety of the song. Once again, this is a song that I could find nothing to improve upon.

Panic Attack - 10/10

Jordan Rudess begins Never Enough with a grinding keyboard solo that sets the dark and frantic tone for the ensuing song. Mike Portnoy then rolls in with drum fill that still gives me chills. While I'm still on the subject, the drumming is exceptional on this song, and it ranks with some of Portnoy's greatest work. Guitar and bass then blast in simultaneously and continue their maniac pace through the verses and the token instrumental section. The chorus is very distinct, and like Mr. Portnoy's drum work, ranks with some of Dream Theater's best. While Never Enough has plenty of exceptional pieces, a truely good song is the sum of its parts, and this lacked the climax that I was waiting for throughout the song. Once again, this is personal preference and most likely a stylistic choice on their part.

Never Enough - 7/10

Now, Dream Theater brings out the big guns with Sacrificed Sons, a song that tastefully tells the tale of the 9/11 tragedy as well as searches for a deeper meaning to it. After a chilling aural collage of news samples chronicling that horrible day. A slow piano bit fades in over an echoey and sustained guitar. James LaBrie sings innocently in near- falsetto until the immense crescendo that is the chorus. Along with the usual quartet of instrumentalists, a full orchestra sweeps in and highlights the section incredibly. Then, one of the most interesting instrumental portions I've heard commences. It builds... builds... and builds until it reaches a unbelievably passionate guitar solo that is followed by an angry riff that (without sounding too cheesy) perfectly simulates the emotional chaos that was 9/11. Finally, the orchestra blares in a again and completes this masterwork of a song.

Sacrificed Sons - 10/10

The brilliance that is Octavarium can not even be described. It is not only an absolutely perfect epic, it is an absolute summation of progressive music since its creation. I refuse to spoil this song for those who have not heard it. Octavarium can only be described as an experience. In my honest opinion, never before has such perfection been achieved in progressive music. Admittedly, it does borrow heavily from past influences, but that its the underlying meaning behind the album and most relevantly, the song itself. Listen and be amazed.

Octavarium - 11/10

I really have to applaud Dream Theater for their true skill in making this album. No other bend could have pulled a project like this off as well as they did. The individual members even strayed from their usual styles to better fit the overall music. John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy took a surprisingly conservative approach and it resulted in some of their most tasteful work, Jordan Rudess sacrificed much of his usual speed for an incredibly majestic and melodic composition, James LaBrie provided the most varied and solid performance of his career thusfar, and John Myung played as tremendously and approriately as usual. Bravo, Dream Theater!

Report this review (#79339)
Posted Thursday, May 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I grew up a closed minded top 40 follower with The Offspring as my favourite band until one of my mates told me to listen to a band called "Dream Theater." Naturally to me, I had never heard of DT in the top 40 especially in Australia so I thought very ill of what I would be listening to, but decided to give it a go anyways.

From the moment I looked at the cd and saw that songs existed over 10 minutes I knew that I was in for the best ride I had ever experienced. And I wasn't wrong. Octavarium will be up there among my most favourite albums I've ever listened to.

Whether it be the headbanging and energy-driven Root of All Evil, These Walls or Panic Attack, or the calming and hopefilled The Answer Lies Within or I Walk Beside You, Dream Theater blew me away and introduced me to one of the best bands I had ever heard.

If the first 6 songs aren't enough to get you hooked, then the final 2 will. For ten minutes you are tossed around to the instrumentals of Sacrificed Sons, and, although left slightly empty, you crave to hear what this 24 minute song has to offer.

My ears have not heard a better song than this. Octavarium has been my favourite song ever since I first heard the song. Whether it be the Continuum, Orchestra, Drumming, Guitarwork, even the Vocals shine and add a sort of dimension that it is YOU who are feeling these things, like your body is experiencing the song in reality instead of just hearing it on a stereo. For 24 minutes you are tossed around to the melodies until you reach the climax of the entire album. TRAPPED INSIDE THIS OCTAVARIUM! LaBrie screams his heart out and makes you feel like screaming with him.

Octavarium is a masterpiece in my eyes and is, IMO, one of the best prog. albums one can make.

Report this review (#79869)
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars When THE TANGENT released they're recent album, A PLACE IN THE QUEWE, printed after the lyrics for "GPS culture" was a note that read along the lines of 'in this song band members counted several short phrases that sounded like other tunes, such as the Eastenders theme... see if you can spot them too". That game is fairly difficult to play, I've spotted a few tunes but most are too subtle for me to get. However play this game with the new Dream Theater album and you'll have at least 5 in the first listen, more on replays.

While the music is good (though as it has been noted by other reviewers, Mike Portnoy hasn't managed to surpass himself as he has done on almost every other album), and will most likely be very good indeed for the popularity of Dream Theater, it will disappoint a fair few fans. In a strive to break away from the definitive sound of progressive metal they set with "IMAGES AND WORDS", they've tried in the last few albums to try a more original sound. With TRAIN OF THOUGH, a primarily metal album, it worked. With this, which plays almost as a mix-tape of someone's favourite bands, it doesn't. Originality doesn't come from others, it comes from you!

Having said that, the opener, 'The Root Of All Evil' is a classic DT track and, continuing MP's alcoholic based saga, is the one track that I loved here.

As for the rest, many will enjoy them, they show a new side to DT, but as for me I'd say they haven't found they're 'new sound' just yet.

Finally, THE TANGENT's spot the tune game is best played in "Octavarium":

Pink Floyd, Tool, Transatlantic are among the more mainstream influences, but there's at least 10 on this one track.

3 stars, it is anything but 'for collectors/fans only', and to be fair is a good album, but far over-shadowed by their previous classics.

Report this review (#80928)
Posted Sunday, June 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The beginning of the title track is a magic and ethereal tribute to the Floyd ; and I remember that the first time I listened to it I was flabbergasted. This is the first DT album I bought. This is not their best, sure, but for me it's better than the heavy "Train Of Thought".
Report this review (#81865)
Posted Saturday, June 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars very good album. starts out with the root of all evil with hints of ToT in it that gives it that prog feel to it. also very catchy melodies. softer songs like the answer lies within and i walk beside you gives you time to "catch your breath", which makes this album a better album than ToT. the last two songs on this album, Sacrificed Sons and Octavarium make this album a masterpiece. the lyrics are amazing, the instrumental is amazing, the vocals are amazing, what more could you ask for.
Report this review (#81897)
Posted Saturday, June 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater, Techincally, is proabably one of the best bands ever played in the prog-rock-metal scene, the line-up of the band is really a "dream team", and the sound is also magnificent. But, as we look at "Octavarium", it is problematic. The main problem is that it sounds too much like other prog-rock bands (you can call it an influence, but it is much more in my opinion. I can only mention their second album, "Images & Words", when you can hear the influences by Rush, but it's not so radical as it is here, when it sounds perfectly like an out-take of other bands). Some examples are "Panic Attack" and "Never Enough" - when the last is almost a copy of Muse's "Stockholm Syndrome"

The worst moment of the album is "I Walk Beside You", which in my opinion is embarassing Dream & this album, as well. I must say that when i heard it the first time, i could swear it was a mistake and a U2 song has recorded on Dream's album.... But on the other hand, some tracks are really a ray of light in this dark album. One great example is "The Answer Lies Within", one of the best Dream Theater ballads ever written. It comes with striking melody & very moving writing. Other excellent track is "Octavarium" - the theme song of the album - which is one of my favorite Dream Theatre tracks, which includes a great finish with the reprise of the first track, "The Root Of All Evil", and also the opening seconds of "Someone Like Him".

There is a controversy about "Octavarium" - some will say it's the weakest, some will say it's not bad but also not very good. In my opinion, i would say it's average. Average album could get an average rank - 3 stars.

Report this review (#82430)
Posted Sunday, July 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars I'm 17 years old and after an infance about red hot chili peppers and joh lennon, I discovered Dream Theater, and I became a fan, becoming deeper and deeper inside the band's albums and projects. I learned every song of Scenes from a Memory and Images and Words (teh best albums i know), and when I could get enaugh of Dream Theater and I needed more, I knew a new album was coming. Incredible pictures and a great comercialisation make me to expect a great album. The day of release was comming... (before that I had a terrible moment with a false octavarium - it was Element of Persuasion of James Labrie), but the day come and I got the cd... it was everithing else but not Dream Theater. The Root of all evil was a song without new ideas... ¿where were the real PROG metal times? that was just boring metal (and I love metal). The answer lies within was just trying to copy the soft songs of good times like "another day", "through her eyes" or "through my words". These Walls was just fine... nothing else, nothing less. When it came I Walk Beside You, i couldn't believe how that great musicians could became such pop as U2 or the BAD TIMES of Genesis (cause I think Genesis is the best that has happened to music in the last Century); that song was just for MTV. Panick Attack has a sound to really rock... that could be good.... that Papa Roach song was on the highest points of the album. Never Enough and Sacrified Sons were good, but not enaugh to make me forget the songs I've just heard. Lately it came the great Octavarium. That was really Dream Theater, that is what I expected about the principal song of the cd. For me taht's the only song in that CD (Comercial Disc). Hope they can get back to old times.
Report this review (#82979)
Posted Thursday, July 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yet another Octavarium review! I must say that this is a massive improvement from Train of Thought.

"The root of all evil" is a good opener and the song has some great melodic changes (good song writing) James La Brie sounds so good on this album! He has really given it his all for this album!

Things slow down next with the ballad "The answer lies within" The song is excellent but I have to say the lyrics are a bit corny, "I know whatever you´re gonna shine!"

"These walls" is an interesting song with some really interesting drumming by Portnoy. It begins softly and builds up nicely, actually the album is great up to this point!

Then comes the worst track they have probably ever done, the cringe worthy "I walk beside you" Sounding as commercial as possible this song sticks out like a sore thumb.

Things get better again with "Panic Attack" and there is some great bass work (especially the introduction to the song) from John Myung. The band are very tight on this track and it´s like going on a roller coaster ride!

The intro to "Never Enough" is fantastic when Portnoy leads the band in. This is another great song, but like "The answer lies within" the lyrics are absolutely ridiculous. Basically they are moaning that their fans don´t appreciate the sacrifices they make!

Now comes for me what is the highlight of the album, "Sacrificed Sons" This song is about Sept 11th and really expresses the feelings of what happened on that day, first shock and then deep anger. It is also very well written with La Brie (who also wrote the lyrics) doing an excellent job on vocals. Petrucci´s lead toward the end is also very emotional. A DT classic if there ever was one!!

The album closes with the title track "Octavarium" Another long classic which borrows a lot of ideas from Marillion, Kansas, Floyd etc. The beginning sounds a lot like Floyd. But one can´t help but marvel at the sheer complexity of their playing which is somewhat mind boggling in parts and soon forget about who they ripped off or copied. Another long classic, on the same level(well almost) to A change of seasons.

If you take out "I walk beside you" and some of the cheesy lyrics on "Never Enough" you would have an almost perfect album!

Report this review (#83585)
Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I've listened Dream Theater for over a year, but I don't see me as a 'fan', anymore. I still like their music very much, though I dislike much too. I love 'Awake', I like 'Scenes From a Memory' and 'Images and Words'. This record...? From what I think, Dream Theater is loosing its touch. This album is not very bad, but it is quite bad. It definitely is not a masterpiece of progressive music. Though the concept is very intresting, the music is not. If I had reviewed this little after buying this album, I would've give this a four star rating, probably.

The first track, 'The Root of All Evil' starts with drumming from 'This Dying Soul'. Those and 'The Glass Prison' all are linked together. There is really nothing special about the first track. After listening it, when I notice that it lasts for over eight minutes, I get confused. It really could've been shorter track. There is very boring riffing and singing. The song just leaves my head after listening it, and two minutes after listening the album through, when recalling the songs, when I'm thinking this song: nothing. Not very prog song. The next track, 'The Answer Lies Within' is very beautiful to listen. But it really is very corny, musically and lyrically. It could be a rock ballad by a rock band. Or a pop ballad, by the sexy pop artist James LaBrie. The orchesteral part in the middle is fine. Basic rock beat must be very difficult for Portnoy to play. 'These Walls' is another boring track. There is not much prog in this one. Simple guitar melody, simple keyboard lines. Nothing special about the track. Almost the same feelings as in the first track (...I can't remember the name of it...?). I heard a funny story for the fourth track, 'I Walk Beside You'. Dream Theater wanted eight tracks in the album, and they had only seven. So they 'had' to do a very simple filler track. You know what? They succeeded in that! This is a pop song with pop lyrics. This is quite enjoyable pop song actually. Top class in its own genre. Very refreshing part in the album. The next bit is 'Panic Attack'. Now I hear the Dream Theater what I've been waiting for. Prog metal song. Though not very progressive, but still. I love this part: "Run/Try to hide/Overwhelmed by this complex delirium" and the singing of LaBrie in it. After that, fast solos by keyboards and guitar. This is very Dream Theaterish track, though not a great one.

'Never Enough' is another fine track. Going towards the end, the album gets much better, but not too much still. Psychedelic intro and very good drum fill. I like the keyboards in the whole song. Structurally not very prog. I love the guitar solo part. Intro-verse- chorus-verse-solos-chorus type of song, like 'The Answer Lies Within' and 'These Walls' and of course the 'I Walk Beside You'.

'Sacrified Sons' is a good track. Soft touch of Dream Theater punches with rather low power. Good feeling through the song. For me, the feeling of the music is very important. The song evolves into metal from a calm beginning. Good keyboard solo. This is quite progressive piece of music. Good drumming by Portnoy. Very enjoyable song.

The last song is good, but too long compared to its quality. The title track, 'Octavarium' is an epic Dream Theater track, which lasts exactly 24 minutes. Calm beginning with a keyboard intro and LaBries soft voice after that. The first ten minutes are very mellow. Good bass playing by Myung. The song evolves slowly to rockier direction. Very fine keyboard playing and rhythm changes. Good melodies and fine proggin'. This is very good Dream Theater material. Fast soloing and swift drumming. Very agressive singing by LaBrie, when "Trapped inside this Octavarium". After that part, good classical keyboards and the song starts to fade slowly away. The structure of the song is kind of "Rise and Fall"-type. Begins slowly, calmly. Then evolves (very slowly) to faster rock. It evolves and develops into its climax; "Trapped inside this Octavarium" and after that the song fades slowly. Good song, but doesn't save the album.

All in all this is the worst Dream Theater album I own. (I don't own their first record, and 'Falling to Infinity' and 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence' are still at the recordstore). As I said before, Dream Theater is loosing their touch. They are musically and lyrically cornier than before. Half of the album is ok music (the last four tracks), but the album is bad as a whole. This album doesn't impress the genre, progressive metal much, if at all. I would've give a one star rating for the first four tracks, but the rest deserves three stars. But because all the songs are in the same album, as a compromise, this album gets two stars by me. I recommend this to all diehard fans, but if you like their previous work, this will be a disappointment. If you are looking for prog metal, avoid the album.

Report this review (#84053)
Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars "Octovarium" is a rather disappointing album in my opinion. There are some amazing songs on the album, namely "Octovarium", however the rest of the album is very poppy and boring ("The Answer Lies Within.") "Octovarium" was successful for Dream Theater and It reached number 38 on the US charts. This is probably due to the fact that the majority of this album is leaning towards the pop side. The song "Octavarium" is one the best songs by Dream Theater, it is without a doubt a prog song. There is a very good synthesizer solo in the middle of the song, and the guitar work once again is impressive. The closing section of "Octovarium" is another highlight of the song. The rest of the album, excluding "Sacrificed Sons" and to a lesser extent "Panic Attack" is not up to Dream Theater standard.

1. The Root Of All Evil (2/5) 2. The Answer Lies within (1/5) 3. These Walls (2/5) 4. I Walk Beside You (1/5) 5. Panic Attack (3/5) 6. Never Enough (2/5) 7. Sacrificed Sons (3/5) 8. Octavarium (5/5) Total = 19 divided by 8 (number of songs) = 2.375 = 2 stars Collectors/fans only

It may seem I'm being a bit tight on the rating but I believe 2 stars is fair. I don't think "Octavrium" is a particularly good album, I would recommend it only for the song "Octovarium", other than that there is no real reason to get it unless you are a hardcore DT fan.

Report this review (#84877)
Posted Thursday, July 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars I thought I had reviewed this album, but seeing as I haven't, I'll give a breif statement.

I am almost in shock, now seeing all these reviews, as to how much this album is praised, despite the fact that a great deal of it is plagiarized. How one can call something progressive, and a masterpiece of music to an album that steals others work, is beyond me, as cheating and copying others works word for word, or in this case, note for note and beat for beat, is not progressive at all, it's stealing.

This album is not that bad, if you don't look at the plagiarism. There are many interesting melodies and Octavarium the song itself is ok. Other than a meaningless bass solo, its a really great song. Normally I would give an album like this 2 or 3 stars, because of the more "pop" nature of the album and because the title track is fairly good.

However, in this case, I would give the album -1 star. Tributing a band is one thing. Stealing their work and calling it yours is another. There are two song sections which are exact ripoffs of the band Muse. Before the recording of the album it was heard that the band had really gotten interested in Muse and liked that particular band. However, using their music and calling it yours is and will always be plagiarism. The opening riff in Panic Attack is a complete and utter steal from Muse, and I find it amazing that these talented musicians would do something like this and that a seemingly large portion of their fan base do not even care, but will blindly praise them anyway because they are Dream Theater.

Don't tell me that if DT had say, copied the acoustic chord progression from Wish You Were Here and tried to sing in the same manner and style, but just changed the lyrics, that you wouldn't think that was complete and utter theft, unless of course, they had credited the band and not tried to pass it off as "their own work."

Not worthy of my money or anyone else's for that matter. Stealing and cheating should not be praised. Having the same vibe as a band is one thing, but stealing thier work is entirely different.

Do not buy under any circumstances unless you don't mind stealing and cheating.

Report this review (#84886)
Posted Thursday, July 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater have always been a band that wears their influences on their sleeves, but never to the blatant degree of "Octavarium". They almost sound like a band just beginning, trying to sort out their own sound from their influences. This is something I expect on a band's debut, but on their eighth album it comes off a bit ridiculous. Obvious Nods to U2 and Muse dominate the music, and the album's epic runs the gamut of prog clichés. However, they still manage to make some of the material enjoyable.

The whole album, including the epic, seems to have a bit of a mainstream feel to it, especially obvious in U2 inspired I Walk Beside You and The Answer Lies Within. Some truly heartfelt moments shine through the muck and are what make this album worth your money. The Root Of All Evil, the best of Portnoy's AA installments, shows James finally giving a acceptable vocal performance for the first time since "Scenes From A Memory" and contains a hauntingly beautiful chorus. The powerful Sacrifice Sons is hands downed the most inspired, genuine, piece of art that Dream Theater have done since "Awake". Unlike many Dream Theater songs, the piece starts somewhere and progresses to its climactic finish.

Some restrain is finally shown by the band on "Octavarium". There are almost no points that seem to be needless showcases of talent, indulgence, etc. If Dream Theater had taken the time to establish their own sound avoided obvious clichés that they almost seemed to embrace, this could have been another masterpiece in the Dream Theater catalogue.

Report this review (#86532)
Posted Friday, August 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Octavarium is in my opinion, Dream Theater's second best (next to 6 Degrees). I find each song to have somethign unique. The epic Octavarium is amazing. each time I listen to it, I am amazed.

I think that even a ridiculed song, like "I Walk Beside You" is extremely useful in converting non-prog fans into huge prog fans. I have used that song on many people, and all of them come back craving more Dream Theater and more Prog.

Perhaps the most interesting Track on this album, however, is Panic Attack. It is completely unique in that it has a great bass line, keys, and drums. THe lyrics are a little lame. But the fast-paced power metal tpye of song is awesome, and fits perfectly in the album.

Overall a great effort. Wonderful musicianship, interesting song ideas, and most importantly, it is strikingly different to the last album, Train of Thought, and much different than the rest of Dream Theater's Discovery

Report this review (#86535)
Posted Friday, August 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a modern classic. Now, it took me a lot of listens of this to fully realise this. But I stand by my descision that this is a mindblowing achievement. There's a lot of hidden meanings and continuality, you can check out some sites for more information about that. But here's my in-depth:


Wow. What an introduction. This is a great Prog-Metal epic which is a lot like some other Dream Theater stuff. It is divided into two parts. The first part flows along nicely and the second part just goes insane with some great guitar work (as usual) and effects.


This is a BEAUTIFUL ballad which makes use of the keyboards to a great extent. It's slow and mournful but also gives off a positive vibe. Something really special.


Another song with some heavy riffs and a cool orchestra style sound. It's very epic and I find myself listening to it a lot. It's got a really unique sense of longing and wanting something.


This is a ballad that opens up in the choruses and sounds a lot like U2 (who I used to like but not now) and it's another one of Dream Theaters songs that is nearly cheesy but is just cool enough to not be. It's got a place on the record, definetely.


The heaviest song on the record that conveys a sense of paranoia. It's a kind of new direction for the band but contain enough familiar Dream Theater sounds to be familiar to fans.


This one is pretty hard to explain, but it has a cool chorus that sounds like a lot of the songs on the album mixed into one. Uses an electronicy sound similar to "These Walls".


Probably my least favourite song on the record, but that's probably because all the other songs on it make it look worse than it actually is. It stands alone as a great song and has a lot of the cool tempo changes and epic buildups which Dream Theater do best.


Wow. This clocks in at exactly twenty four minutes, so you need patience with it. This is the type of song that if it had been around in the late 60's or early 70's, would have been regarded as a masterpiece. So it's under-rated to todays standards. It has a lot of crazy parts with weird guitar solos etc.

The ending is damn cool as well, it may not be apparent at first. but give the record another listen and maybe you'll get what I'm talking about.


This album is essential to all Dream Theater fans, and especially for Prog-nuts. Also, metal fans may like to take a look, though it's quite soft in places.

I can't believe that some people say this is a weak Dream Theater album. It's absolutely amazing.

You have to hear it. Now.

Report this review (#87537)
Posted Thursday, August 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A truly enjoyable LP while not their best, because of its lack of 'regularity'. 4 stars, because of "I walk beside you" and "the Answer lies within", 2 songs we could dispense with, very unworthy of their talent and sadly poppish . 3 great tracks: the dark "Panic Attack"and "Sacrificed Sons" and the epic "Octavarium", which is probably their all-time most progressive song (hmmm, this floydian psychedelic intro, this fascinating evolutive structure and these solos... ) and which proves that DT can still produce huge music.
Report this review (#88568)
Posted Thursday, August 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the most defining Dream Theater album. It has everything DT does on their previous albums rolled into one super album. It's got prog metal (Root Of All Evil, Panic Attack) The popish dt ballads (answer lies within, sacrificed sons) and of course, the epic. Octavarium that concludes and recaps teh album: (lyrics from the song octavarium)

(Root Of All Evil) Our deadly sins feel his mortal wrath Remove all obstacles from our path

(The Answer Lies Within) Asking questions Search for clues The answer's been right in front of you

(These Walls) We try to break through Long to connect Fall on deaf ears with failed muted breath

(I Walk Beside You) Loyalty, trust, faith and desire Carries love through each darkest fire

(Panic Attack) Tortured insanity A smothering hell Try to escape but to no avail

(Never Enough) The calls of admirers Who claim they adore Drain all your lifeblood while begging for more

(Sacrificed Souls) Innocent victims for merciless crimes Fall prey to some madman's for impulsive designs

(Octavarium) Step after step We try controlling our fate When we finally start living it's become to late

Trapped inside this Octavarium Trapped inside this Octavarium Trapped inside this Octavarium Trapped inside this Octavarium

If I had to pick one dt album to give to someone, it would definately be this, it's got something for everyone. 5/5, i hope that they keep up the good work.

Report this review (#89711)
Posted Friday, September 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars From the "Old dog/new tricks" file I reiterate some of the same observations I made in my review of "Scenes from a memory" in that if you are over 50 like me and want something that excites you the same way Genesis and Yes did back in the 70s this is for you. These guys are fabulous musicians and songwriters and their music has the kind of power that moves me every time I slip the disc into the changer.

While not as exemplary overall as their landmark "Scenes" album, this CD shows them to be further branching out from just being a headbanger's paradise. There's plenty of guitar shredding by both Petrucci and Myung to be found here, for sure, but it's the variety of their approach this time that I find to be most alluring. "The Root of All Evil" is a very straightforward hard rocker that appeals directly to the metal lovers in their audience and I think it's very important that they honor that faction's loyalty. However, I seem to be in the minority here but I applaud their foray into a more "pop" vein with "The Answer Lies within" and especially "I Walk Beside You" because they're both damn good songs. Period. (And those don't grow on trees) Relax, it's not like they've changed their stripes and started making disco or hip hop music, fans. I don't mind that the latter tune sounds similar to U2 because it's on a par with that band's best stuff. I also love "These Walls" for its thrilling blend of so many different styles of rock music and Portnoy is very imaginative with his clean drum fills and ferocious double-bass work.

Yet not every track is my cup o' tea. "Panic Attack" and "Never Enough" grate on my nerves sometimes and I really have to be in the right mood to not skip over them. "Sacrificed Sons" has some of the most thoughtful lyrics I've ever heard from these guys and I love LaBrie's vocal delivery. James has really come a long, long way from the screaming mimi's of "Awake." Anyway, the epic that lifts this album into being one of their greatest achievements is the 24-minute tour de force of the title cut. "Octavarium" is a true definition of progressive rock that has every necessary element to bowl the listener over and I rank it right up there with "Six Degrees" as far as being expertly composed and arranged. Jordan Rudess shines like a beacon throughout this mammoth song.

I don't expect that this highly talented group will ever abandon their heavy metal upbringing but it seems to me that they've been there and done that enough to move on to less unsettling genres of progressive rock. But that's just me. I highly recommend this band and this album to those looking for a musical adventure. No matter what, Dream Theater is anything but boring. 4.2 stars.

Report this review (#90343)
Posted Tuesday, September 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I love these guys, really.

I mean, there is a ton of reproaches that you could address them but one thing is sure : unlike some other bands (hello, Symphony X) you can not blame them for repeating the some kind of stuff over and over. At each album its own style and the controversy that goes with it. Let's quickly remember. WDADU ? No singer in sight. I&W ? Too good to be honest. Awake ? Too cold. ACOS ? Too many covers. FII ? Too commercial. SFAM ? Too pretentious. SDOIT ? Too long. ToT ? Too metal.

And now Octavarium. So, what have the usual bashers found this time ? It's an easy pick. Too much plagiarism, of course. Well, let's verify. * "I Walk Beside You" - U2. Yes, true. I am happy cause I found this one alone . Same thing for "Octavarium" (intro) - Pink Floyd. * "These Walls" - Linkin Park. I don't know Linkin Park but my girlfriend confirms. * "Never Enough" - Muse. I don't know Muse either but everybody -my girlfriend included- confirms.

So they stole or at least imitated four songs from other bands, the four others being stolen to themselves. It is enough to accredit the accusation, no doubt. And so what ? Let me tell you a quick anecdote. I read an interview of Muse on a French website, made in June 2006. The journalist told Dominic Howard that Mike Portnoy claims to be very influenced by Muse lately. Howard laughed and, though admitting that he never heard any Dream Theater's song, answered : "Really ? So I love Dream Theater now". What is the point to this anecdote ? The point is that if bands themselves don't worry about imitations, why should we worry when the music is good ? And "Never Enough" is damn good, as far as I am concerned. Plus, Muse could gain one more fan since I am going to check their music very soon, thanks to plagiarism.

In fact, once you have set aside the plagiarism thing, Octavarium is a truly good album. Yes, like a chameleon, it constantly changes its colours. At first it disturbed me and this feeling lasted for a while. Now the music has grown on me and I am fine with it. OK, I have to admit that "The Answer Lies Within" is a very ordinary ballad with lyrics that could have been written by my 8 years old son (come on, John, you can do better than that). But everything else, although fulfilled with DT's usual flaws (too long, too technical, too commercial) is highly enjoyable.

Wait for me, Muse, I'm coming .

Report this review (#90888)
Posted Thursday, September 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars hey guys... So anyways, lemme give you some background DT is my favorite band, so i might be a little baist. here goes.

Track 1- The root of all evil: This is the third part of Mike Portnoy's AA suite, one of my favorite parts of DT. This installation is a great song, but not really as good as the first two. One concern i have about this song is the ending, which sounds like Octvarium. It seems like it sort of wouldnt fit with the rest of the AA suite with that in it... maybe thats just me... 9/10

Track 2: The Answer lies within: Good song. One of the many slow DT songs, and this one is actually not boring! Thats all i really have to say about this one... 8/10

Track 3: These Walls: I was just a little disappointed in this one. The beginning is awesome heavy guitar, so you think its gonna be some kind of like hardcore song, but then i heard the keyboard and im like what? It sort of seems like they made that awesome riff and wanted to use it but couldnt figure out what song to write for it, so they just stuck it in one of the songs. Its a good song, but that part sort of disappointed me... 8/10

Track 4: I walk Beside you: Good fast paced, pop-like song. I like it. Not exactly normal DT, but with DT, what is norm?...9/10

Track 5: Panic Attack: Really really good song. Heavy, really fast paced, perfect. Heavy Metal fans will like this one...10/10

Track 6: Neve Enough: Another heavy song, sort of wierd metal. It gets sort of repetitive though so not a ten...9/10

Track 7: Sacrificed Sons: DT's Twin Towers song. 11 minutes of greatness, especially the inspiring chorus... 10/10

Track 8: Octavarium: Ahhhhh... another classic DT long song. Its about the same length as A change of seasons. Staring out with 4 minutes of like the pink floyd song "shine on you crazy diamond" follwed by an inspiring flute part... the rest you listen to amazing song..10/10

Report this review (#94932)
Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Lots of variety on this one in contrast to the previous album "Train Of Thought" which only knew one style and that was heavy. I much prefer "Train Of Thought" to this one. In fact i'd rate this near the bottom of their discography with their debut and "Falling Into Infinity". Still there's lots to like here.

"The Root of all Evil" is a good song but there's something about it that keeps me from saying it's a great song. It's much better than the followup "The Answer Lies Within" though. This is more or less a ballad that doesn't do anything for me at all."These Walls" is pretty good, the intro is really good. Very wild. It goes down hill from there though. "I Walk Beside You" is U2 sounding all the way and it's a little shocking that the band would be okay with releasing this song. "Panic Attack" has a frantic, heavy intro that continues throughout. This is one of the highlights for me. The vocals are rougher and Portnoy and Pertucci are all over the place wreaking havoc.

"Never Enough" is another heavy one and a top three for me. "Sacrificed Sons" is too mellow for the first 4 1/2 minutes then it changes thankfully to a heavier sound. The final song "Octavarium" is the 24 minute epic. Sounding like PINK FLOYD in the beginning with spacey synths, to an almost KING CRIMSON vibe with the flute and acoustic guitar, to listening to John Pertucci shining so brightly with his amazing guitar work, to James letting go with intense vocals. At times in this song i'm thinking to myself "This is DREAM THEATER ?" Anyway for a 24 minute epic it could have been a lot better.

I find this album a little confusing and have to wonder if they felt swayed to make it more commercial sounding at times. I don't get it.

Report this review (#99474)
Posted Saturday, November 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Before Octavarium's release, members of the Dream Theater claimed that this was their favorite album and that it was their crowning achievement so far. I should have been wary right there, since it's one thing for a band to look back 20 years later and pick the album they felt was best, but it's quite another when they say it at the time. I got into Dream Theater a little over a year ago and was blown away by their virtuosity. I give Scenes From a Memory and Images and Words regular spins. Octavarium was the last album I got. I bought it along with the recently released live opus Score. Score impressed me to no end. This, however, is the worst studio album in DT's otherwise illustrious career.

Fans of the album claim that this disc is a return to their prog roots. I don't know what they were listening to, but it certainly wasn't this album. In fact, only two of the songs on this eight track album are remotely proggish. The band envisioned the album as a summary of their career, conjuring sounds reminiscent of past albums. In that respect, I can overlook the lack of originality in some aspects, but not all.

"The Root of All Evil" opens the albums with the outro of In the Name of God, the final track from DT's controversial predecessor Train of Thought. It is a continuation of Mike Portnoy's Alcoholics Anonymous suite, so it borrows from Glass Prison and This Dying Soul, which is fine. This is a more straightforward metal track, and I like it.

"The Answer Lies Within" is a ballad that attempts to recall the brilliance of Another Day from Images and Words or Hollow Years from Falling Into Infinity. Unfortunately, it comes off as a poor AOR track with inane lyrics.

"These Walls" is a stab at bringing back the excellent Scarred from the superb Awake album. The song is decent, but pales in comparison to to its inspiration. Its redeeming quality is James' vocals, which are usually never mentioned in a positive light. He's an underrated singer, and its a shame his moment to shine was on this album.

"I Walk Beside You" is another AOR ballad trying to recall more FII straightforward rock. This is the worst track on the album with insipid lyrics and pop instrumentation.

"Panic Attack" is the answer to Train of Thought heaviness, with it sopening bassline to its pummelling guitar and drums. Somewhat decent, though not nearly as astounding as the material of the fantastic ToT.

"Never Enough" has the synth and keyboard dominant sound of the debut and FII. The song is on the cusp of goodness, but it never quite reaches a higher level

"Sacrificed Sons" opens with audio clips in the manner of The Great Debate from 6 Degrees. The songs centers around the September 11 attacks, and it is the first truly prog song on the album. This even begins to make up for the tracks between the first song and this.

"Octavarium" is the greatest epic the band has crafted so far. Even 6 Degrees can't match it. The song opens with Jordan fiddling with his new toy, the uber-cool continuum. He then hits the lap steel and the orchestra comes in to truly set off the first movement (Someone Like Him). James' voice comes in at barely above whisper over Petrucci's spare acoustic strumming. John Myung's bass (It's audible!!) leads into the second movement (Medicate Me) which keeps the soft tone of the first movement.

Suddenly the band hits the third movement (Full Circle). The lyrics name check the band influences via song titles (Lucy in the Sky, Supper's Ready, Cinema Show, etc) and even band mottoes (Gabba Gabba Hey [Ramones]). Jordan leads the band into an instrumental break which constitutes the first half of the fourth movement (Intervals). This is a superb bit of musicianship where the band, for maybe the first time, acts as a cohesive unit as opposed to out-soloing one another. Petruuci, Rudess, and Myung weave their instrument in and out of the other two's, and Portnoy is rather subdued and gives his notes time to breathe. Petrucci's solo is great and fits the break well.

The second half of Intervals is James' time to shine as his voice gets increasingly aggressive until he explodes "trapped inside this ocatavarium!" The orchestra slows things down and paves the way into the final movement (Razor's Edge), which sums up the epic quite nicely.

In conclusion, 2 out of 8 songs are essential DT (title and Sacrificed Sons), another 2 (Root of All Evil and Panic Attack) are resonably good, These Walls is decent, and the other three are monumental let downs. I recommend buying the excellent Score CD before you get this. The orchestra improves Octavarium's, Sacrificed Sons', and even The Answer Lies Within's studio arrangements (it makes TALW enjoyable). The band only versions of Root of All Evil and I Walk Beside You are improved as well (though IWBY is still mediocre at best). Plus the revamped versions of 6 Degrees and Metropolis are insanely good.

I give this album two stars because it is for fans and collectors only. It isn't atrocious and it's pretty good for a band's worst album, but it should be one of the last DT albums you buy.

Grade: D+

Report this review (#100514)
Posted Sunday, November 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a somewhat underrated album. Octavarium was the first Dream Theater album I owned, although not my first exposure to them (that was Six Degrees). I still like this album very much even after listening to earlier Dream Theater Material.

Octavarium starts very strongly with "The Root of All Evil," another song in Mike Portney's "AA Saga." This is followed by "The Answer Lies Within," one of DT's softest songs. "These Walls" is a solid song on this album. The only song I don't care for too much is "I Walk Beside You," although it's not a terrible song. The next song on the album is "Panic Attack," a very good fast-paced and heavy song, possibly one of DT's heaviest. "Never Enough" is a song that doesn't sound like typical Dream Theater, but is still very good nonetheless. "Sacrificed Sons" is one of the better tracks of Octavarium, which is about the 9/11 attacks. Finally, the title track "Octavarium" is 24 minutes of amazing music. It's difficult to describe, as the sound of the music changes through the different stages of the song. It's one of DT's best songs!

Although Octavarium departs from the typical "Dream Theater" sound, it's still a very solid album. Keep an open mind with this album, and don't expect it to sound like any of their previous albums!

Report this review (#104274)
Posted Saturday, December 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good record, bad production/mixing/engineering. That's the only bad thing I can say about it. Normally, I'd not comment on the production if the songs themselves were solid enough to stand on their own, and while I appreciate the effort it took to produce such an undeniably MASSIVE undertaking, I don't think Petrucci and Portnoy were quite ready to produce DT. Portnoy might get mad at me if he ever reads this, but I think David Prater (Images And Words) or Terry Date (When Dream And Day Unite) were more aligned with the "prog-based heavy metal" that the group had/has in mind.

Problems start almost immediately. The drums, while pounding (no doubt) are ear- bleedingly twee and too high in the mix. The kick drum sounds like a popcorn machine (Shame on you, Portnoy!) and the snare is akin to someone beating on a tin can for 75 minutes. I thought I was hearing things...I really did. But no. In a nod to Lars Ulrich (Metallica), the snare goes BUNG! in classic ST. ANGER fashion. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

And how about that John Myung? Poor guy...he's definitely a presence, but he's almost MUTE here. The only time I can hear him is the opening of PANIC ATTACK. Brilliant. But the vortex of Petrucci and Portnoy (coupled with Rudess' frantic fingers) swallows him whole. The bass levels are dead before and after that, leaving Petrucci to aimlessly play him rhythm guitar all over. What happened to the lead playing? Hopefully, it'll be back. From what I understand, DT have never been about what the public wants; they've also made music for themselves. The equation's flipped sounds like Korn. YUCK! But with the low-tuned, squealing guitars and complete LACK of bass, I close my eyes and right in front of me is...sigh...Korn.

But the songs are good, if a tad nondescript. My fave of the eight? I WALK BESIDE YOU. Starting on a minor key, it makes you think that it's gonna be a downcast tune (never mind the title) but it modulates, and becomes the only bright spot on an otherwise dank, dark record. The aformentioned PANIC ATTACK is another highlight, as the band stretches out and porduces killer riff after killer riff...but instead of that keyboard lead, how about; oh; I dunno...A GUITAR SOLO?

That's another can of worms...the lack of good lead playing. Sure; THESE WALLS has a "lead", but it amounts to nothing more than 30 seconds (exactly) of Petrucci bending strings in a descending chord progression. Whoop-de-doo! I could do that, and I don't play guitar. It's, in its simplicity and relative lack of excitement, all too Nirvana-esque.

So there you have it. Good songs (some solid, some not, but all listenable) with a ham- handed production/mixing job. Can't even give this one 4 stars. I would if I could, but since production is overall an aesthetic choice, I feel it was a mistake. I blame Petrucci, Portnoy and Doug Oberkircher (liner notes; bless.) Back to the drawing board for you five!

Report this review (#105497)
Posted Thursday, January 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars The last album I had heard in full (and in attentive listening) from these guys was the double live album, where they had an interesting 24-min track called a Change Of Season. Since then, after having seen the group twice live, I had cast it aside as simply not my cup of tea. For over a decade, but staying aware of their releases and lending an ear when the occasion arose, I was more than happy to live and let DT live. But this writer could not possibly spend many more years ignoring THE locomotive (commercial, anyway) of modern prog, so I went out of my way and actually rented their latest album, to see where these guys stood nowadays.

The least we can say is that DT have remained true to themselves, no matter how controversial LaBrie's vocals and lyrics are: he writes almost no lyrics, so that settles that side of the debate rather quickly and I have no qualms as to his voice's timbre (sounds like 100 other prog singers), but he is not really surprising or inventive. After a strong and credible opening Root Of All Evil (well at least they have no illusion about themselves (I know too easy, but I had to get that one in ;-), the album seems to sag with the slow Answer Lies Within, where DT fails to convince me and the added string quartet sounds completely superfluous to me. Funny enough that the non-metal progheads wish that the progmetal start doing something different than the usual crunching chords, the very same progheads do not find the group very credible in a softer role. But the following These Walls and Walk Beside You plunge me in the abyss of boredom (LaBrie's vocals are not the most inspired and even mechanic on this track) and glide on the shell of my indifference.

Of course, the following Panic Attack is much more like what we expect from the band with its huge power chords with pompous keyboards. While DT uses all of the progmetal clichés (Spinal Tap-esque), even drawing a mocking smirk on our lips, the least that we can say is that they are very convincing at it, and obviously the group was born for this kind of epics. Yes, DT is impressive during moments like those. However the wrongly- titled Never Enough (oh yeah??? ;-) is actually rather good and fairly unusual from what we are used to and might just be their better track on this album. But the partly correctly-titled follow-up is best Forgotten (that's the correct part ;-). Then we get to the "plat de resistance", the title track, the cornerstone and the piece that will make or break this album. The 24-min 5-part epic Octavarium is starting out like a Gilmour's Floyd-esque piece, before pulling a Howe's Yes-esque (or should I say RudYess-que? ;- ) minute (with a flute, no shut(e) ;-), but as soon as the song finally really gets underway (that's after the sagging vocals of the second movement), Full Circle is actually of a quality that reminds me of their early major epic, A Change Of Seasons, coming at times to ELP or Yes's excellent moments. Yes (!! ;-), Octavarium is an excellent track and from what I've heard from DT (not that much really), it ranks in my top 2 tracks. Does it save the album, though?

Still not my cup of tea, but this early winter (or non-winter should I say), I've had my share of progmetal exposition hours, and of the many groups I heard, DT will not be amongst my fave, but their aura, and certain aptitude at staying on top of their game, still makes them a force to reckon with.

Report this review (#107210)
Posted Friday, January 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, after my surprise at seeing Sean Trane review this (he is a prog folk specialist, after all), I felt it was time to put down my own thoughts on it.

Being a very casual DT fan (though I do own all albums from Scenes to this one, with the exception of Train Of Thought which I have not heard........and Score, but no other live stuff), I have a pretty objective view of this band. I like some things, dislike others, and am fairly indifferent on some things. I appreciate, and often really like, their technical skill at playing their instruments. I also like their bombast and more complex writing. I do find, however, that they lack emotion much of the time, and when they do try to inject emotional parts or songs, they come off sounding trite and contrived.

This album fits with all that. The first track is pretty much typical DT and does little for me as it is just more of the same "formula", if you will. But not a bad song really. I actually find that These Walls and I Walk Beside You are refreshingly different for DT, and I kind of like them. Sure, they are being a bit too obvious with the influences for these songs, but at least they are trying something different. Panic Attack is quite good to my ears, being the first thing on the album that really shows off their ability to pull off quite complex and dexterous playing. Never Enough is Mike Portnoy's swipe at picky DT fans, and as such just seems to give them more ammunition to complain, in my opinion. A fairly dull metallic number that doesn't reach the complexity of the previous number and just kind of bludgeons you with heavy drumming and riffs. The next track, despite it's rather poor lyrics, is pretty good and brings in the symphonic side of DT. A song that I have grown to like and is certainly leaning more towards my more preferred style of prog rock (I'm not a big fan of prog metal overall to being with).

The title track, while being the most derivative DT track I have ever heard (of traditional 70's symphonic prog bands), is still quite impressive and very will put together. It contains essentially all of the elements DT has put into their music over the years in one very concise and powerful package. This song truly reaches greatness on the live Score DVD.

So on the whole, a decent effort. I find it amusing to read all the various reactions by the DT faithful (or once faithful but not so faithful now :-) to their various albums. Though to my more objective view, they seem like a very consistent band to me, dutifully putting out prog metal opuses on a yearly basis that seem to have fairly equal levels of quality (though not always appealing to my tastes equally......or their die hard fans, it would seem). This is a pretty solid effort that gets a 3 from me, maybe even getting pushed slightly above that by the final two tracks.

Report this review (#107272)
Posted Friday, January 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is my least favorite DT album. I am a huge fan of their work. But this album just feels and sounds too commercial for my tastes. There are parts of the album that are classic like Panic Attack and Octavarium. But there's a lot here that wonders if they were writing for the record executives. I was truly anticipating something a little better from these guys. I understand even as fans we're gonna have our favorites and not every release is gonna be as good. But for the money the title track is the only song that makes this CD worth purchasing. I still listen to it and hope their next effort is a little more heavier. So I sit here and wait for about 4 months until the newest CD comes out.
Report this review (#108990)
Posted Friday, January 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars In this one, Dream Theater has come back to their more classic sound. Songs like "these walls" (in this song I liked so much the "bass guitar" part, wow, you did ít again Mr. Myung. You're awesome) or "the answer lies within" show it us, a band that apply some new elements in their music, for exemple in "never enough" Dream Theater give us a tune in a pure source from the Brit-rock & progressive act "Muse", good play and at the same time sounds innovate inside of the band's style. My favorite moments on this record are; the opening titled "the root of all evil", the catchy "panic attack" (so cool song) and the final track "octavarium", what kind of masterpiece with a big Pink Floyd's influence.

Finally I have to say this not the grestest Dream Theater's album up to the date, but if it's a great work and other step in the journey of these Prog-Rock & Metal master.

By: Epsilon.

Report this review (#110305)
Posted Thursday, February 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars About half (or less) of this album is standard metal. Adrenaline-pumping, fast-paced rockers with intense musicianship, but generally simple songwriting. Maybe simple isn't the right word. Unsophisticated fits better. Artless writing, it seems, sometimes. Personally, this sort of thing doesn't overly appeal to me: I find it too aggressive, and not sensitive enough. Great music isn't simply about crazy musicianship (though, it clearly has its influence), but more about feel and creativity, methinks.

There are moments (not as scarce as it might seem) on this album where Dream Theater's unique personality shows, and where emotion can be seen (or...heard). Moments of the opener "The Root of all Evil", and the second track "The Answer Lies Within" (If you can look past the moaning voice of James Labrie), along with the possibly Chrisitan-based "I Walk Beside You". On these tracks, keyboard, vocals and even some orchestra is prominent. The biggest example of this more sensitive side of Dream Theater, however, is on the epic the title track, Octavarium. From the ambient (slide?) guitar of the introduction to the powerful orchestra towards the end, this track is absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, these moments are not frequent enough to make the album a classic, and they are eclipsed by the unsophisticated metal ramblings (which sometimes work well).

Some of the faster, more aggressive metal songs are well written, however. They are well structured, tight, and unique compared to most metal. Sacraficed Sons, for one, is a very atmospheric metal song that I (increasingly) enjoy. Unfortunately (in the case of "The Answer Lies Within", and more importantly, "I Walk Beside you"), James LaBrie's dramatic, moaning, whining vocals can get very tiresome and even a bit (for lack of a better word...) disgusting. But, especially on the faster tracks, his voice works very well to add another level of adrenaline (see the climax of the title track). Trapped inside this Octavarium!

If straight-forward metal is your thing, then you may thoroughly enjoy this album. If you, like me, cherish more than just fantastic musicianship, and complex structure, then this album may leave you unsatisfied (despite the many softer and more touching sections).

Report this review (#110604)
Posted Saturday, February 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I’m a big fan of DT and I think they’re one of the best bands (or probably the best) in the world. But this album makes me think twice, why did they make such an album? What’s happening with the great DT? This album, by far, the most controversial ever. I won’t review song-by-song since hundreds other people have done it nicely. Some people love it and the others hate it. No problem I won’t be on any sides, So this is what I think..

They say: “Not original”

I say: It’s true they played like other bands/artists, but why bother? I think it’s just their appreciation to them, They make music that has influenced them. And I think they’re in the mood in doing covers for other bands.

They say: “Too many solos”

I say: Yes, I agree with this. It’s a layback, they did too many solos (esp. Rudess & Petrucci). If there is an award for “The Best Show Off-ers Artist”, It will surely belong to one of them.

They say: “They’re changing direction”

I say: It’s a possibility.. Maybe they try to broaden their listeners. And if it’s true they will connect new listeners to progressive music, then other prog bands will become famous too. Right?

Okay, despite all these facts I still like this album. Never Enough & Sacrificed Sons are my personal favourite.Never Enough, sounds like Muse but Labrie’s singing is amazing here! So I give a special credit for this one. Sacrificed Sons, really really emotional song and the guitar solo is one of the best I’ve ever heard. What about the epic Octavarium?? Hmmm, I don’t really like this track, it’s just not better than A Change of Season, but the final part is quite great though. Overall, it’s Absolutely not a Masterpiece but it’s also not a Rubbish.. It’s maybe just a transition for a new DT. Let’s just wait for a better album next. For new listeners this is not the best to start, but for those who like easy-listening songs maybe this could be an album for you.

The Decision : *** (3stars)

Report this review (#112545)
Posted Sunday, February 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I finally have the chance to review Dream Theater's latest release, OCTAVARIUM. As everybody around PA knows, I'm one of the most critical objectors of this band's music, so it's with great interest and excitement that I proceed to give my opinion about the outfit's 8th release.

After a slightly awkward release (TRAIN OF THOUGHT) that left many fans in the dry because of its emphasis in heavy riffs and strongly rhythmic songs, Dream Theater takes a slightly different approach in OCTAVARIUM: though the "metal" side of their music is still present in each and every song, melody and atmospheres have somewhat returned to the band's overall sound. We don't get a lot of extra-heavy parts like in TOT, and all of DT's members have a better chance to shine here. Yes: while in TOT all we could say was "how fast and precise these guys can play", in OC. we can praise them not only for accuracy and precision but also for pure musicianship, for true skills in balancing a showing-off of his abilities and of true great song-writing craft.

Another comment that has to be made: if there was one band member that kind of got lost in the mix in TOT it was Jordan Rudess, whose keyboards really were almost nowhere to be found. In OC. they come back from the limbo they were sent to in TOT and the mature master has the opportunity, once again, to prove all of us that he's one of the instrument's true virtuosos. The keys are very in-your-face now in the mix, and not only that, but they are used to a much greater extent than in the preceding album (or in 6 DEGREES for that matter).

Not everything is brightness and color in OCTAVARIUM, though. While the album has its ups, as I mentioned before, it also has a few downs. One: the song structures are common-ground, we don't find almost any track that deviates from the verse-chorus path, and even though the songs are brilliantly composed within this rather mundane frame, we are talking about Dream Theater here, the same band that recorded IMAGES AND WORDS and SCENES FROM A MEMORY, neither of them a collection of "normal" songs but of complex, intricate constructions. It's sad to notice that the band insists on trying to reach an audience it won't reach, the mainstream-rock audience. And, two: for the first time ever, DT sounds a little bit "like somebody else", if only at times, at a few, scarce parts, but it DOES. We can feel the LaBrie-driven Mullmuzzler influence here; that we don't mind, because that's coming from one of the band members. But when we hear a song that sounds almost like a REPLICA of a song by another band (more on that later), we have to say it out loud: DT used to sound like 100% ORIGINAL DT, not just 95%. I hope this changes in the upcoming release.

On with the songs:

The Root Of All Evil (10/10), never has a DT album kicked off with its best song, but this is the case in here, in my humble opinion. A fantastic heavy-progressive-melodic ride, a non- regular song, LaBrie in good form, atmospheric at times, soulful, great. The chorus is excellent, almost superb, sounds like if it came straight from the golden fountain of music that bred Masterpiece SCENES FROM MEMORY. Terrific song. We have a reference to one of the tracks in TRAIN OF THOUGH halfway down the song. Part of the "Mike Portnoy repentance trilogy?"

The Answer Lies Within (8/10). To all James LaBrie's nay-sayers: please listen him singing this song and then go compare him with non-singers window-breakers. The song itself is not brilliant or anything, a rather regular ballad, but the canadian master saves it from oblivion with a soulful, melodic, MUSICAL performance. 6.5 for the song, 10 for LaBrie's singing.

These Walls (8.5/10), what's up with that start? Is this Machine Head (the band)? Then the main riff comes and the song gets interesting. It sounds a little like Vanden Plas, a band that sounds a lot like DT so everything is just a circle of influences here, as DT were the creators of this in the first place. Good classy drumming by Portnoy, only with hi-hat, a treat he should use more often (he relies too much in double-bass frenzy). The chorus sounds like Mullmuzzler or like James LaBrie's Elements of Persuasion. The song is not overly original, but it's good.

I Walk Beside You (8/10) Dream Theater-meets-U2, as illogical as that may sound. Very catchy song. I have to say it again: this is LaBrie's record. At times he just eats what's behind him. he makes rather mundane songs a lot more interesting. The track is nothing to write your lost brother about, but it doesn't hurt to listen to it, either. Thanks to LaBrie and partly to Portnoy, too, for showing restraint and class.

Panic Attack (9/10) The song is violent, extremely heavy-yet-progressive, great drumming by Portnoy, the pre-chorus piano-notes reminds us of Uber-masterpiece SCENES. Great song, if a little too frenetic at times. It builds up tension, released in the falsetto-sung part by Labrie, who again shows his atributes. A highlight.

Never Enough (5/10)??? What the h...The song is not that bad, BUT (and a big, CAPITAL "but") is that it's almost the SAME song as Muse's "Stockholm Syndrome" from ABSOLUTION. Especially the first part is incredibly alike, almost copy/paste alike (yes...sadly). So this song gets no props because of that factor. Anyway, the song itself is not very interesting. The low point in the album.

Sacrificed Sons (9.5/10), Man can LaBrie sing! After such an incredibly melodic, almost beautiful start with piano and LaBrie flowering the field over it, the song enters an ambiguous, doubtful territory. Then the anthemic chorus appears and we are happy again. The middle part is true-DT, complex, difficult, virtuose. The song has many different parts, faces, it drives us through a tunnel filled with kaleidoscopic images painted by the skillful hands of the 5 new-yorkers (well, 4 new-yorkers and one canadian). Another highlight. Another one of those songs that re-affirm why I regard this band as something slightly better than your average radio-hit band (insert your blinking face here).

Octavarium (9.5/10) We know this song is a hommage of sorts to the prog-giants that helped shape DT's sound, so we won't take points out of this track because of the incredibly Pink-Floyd-ish beginning; after more than 4 minutes of pure space-sychodelia, a flute in true Genesis-like form marks the appearance of LaBrie. From this point on, the song goes through many different moods. We have bits that sound like Yes, even like some of today's bands like The Flower Kings or Beard! But LaBrie with his fantastic voice makes the trip a pleasant experience. So what we got in this song is 80% DT, 20% a lot of different bands. But in this case we know is on purpose, they even tell us that in the lyrics ("Supper's Ready" anyone?) I find the song terrific, but slightly overrated. That is: everybody gives it a 10, say it's the best in the album (even those who don't like DT or this album say this song is the best), I personally think it's not perfect. It's not up to the level of ultra-masterpiece " A change of seaons" or "6 degrees of inner turbulences", but is almost there. At times it lacks melodic interest for me. But it's a fantastic song nevertheless.

In the end, my opinion of Dream Theater's OCTAVARIUM could be summed up like this: a good album, in a different vein than that of TRAIN OF THOUGHT, more melodic, but less virtuosic; more listener-friendly, but also less unique than its predecessor.

Once again, this is, at times, James LaBrie's record.

Recommended for: DT fans, prog-metal fans, good rock fans.

Not recommended for: DT-haters, of course; people that don't like anything to metallic, people that can't stand James LaBrie, but first of all, MUSE's lawyers....

... don't listen to this. I don't want you messing up with DT's economy.

Report this review (#114726)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars What a shame.

DREAM THEATER has done, it seems, what every artist is tempted to do: listened to their fans. Big mistake! They continue to search for a voice here, and the message they received from their fans about 'Train of Thought' was 'not that!'

So 'Octavarium' is a diluted offering, seeing DREAM THEATER falling between the metaphorical stools. Nothing here has the emotive and heavy riffage that stirred feelings on the previous album. It's a pity: DREAM THEATER are not lyrically or compositionally spohisticated enough to carry off this style of music.

Listening to 'Octavarium' has convinced me that their most authoritative and suitable voice is that of 'Six Degrees', 'A Change of Seasons' and 'Train of Thought.' That is, fast and furious.

So, to this album. A couple of tracks stand out: 'Panic Attack' and 'These Walls' are strong throughout, with memorable musical phrases. Other tracks are run-of-the-mill, stirring neither interest nor hatred. However, I must pass comment on the last two tracks. 'Sacrificed Sons' is excellent musically, but for me (avowedly left of centre politically) the politics are far too one-sided. I thought, from the title, that DREAM THEATER might take an even-handed look at the sons sacrificed on both sides - al la 'The Great Debate' on 'Six Degrees'. Both the samples and the lyrics are a shallow and trite exploration of the subject. A student presenting me with such an assessment would fail.

Now, for the final 'epic' track. I find this track extremely disappointing. It's a slow builder, but very little apart from LaBrie's excellent vocals captures my interest. But what kills it for me is the final section, so transparently constructed as an emotional coda. Is that a flugelhorn I hear at the end? My goodness, this could have been written by a Disney hack. I feel DREAM THEATER can aspire so much higher than this.

Ignore the comparisons between U2, Pink Floyd and Muse. People look for hooks to hang new experiences on; it's a human trait to make comparisons. This is another attempt by DREAM THEATER to find their own voice. They're still looking.

Report this review (#115409)
Posted Saturday, March 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't understand how this album has no mor rating. I've heard all the studio albums of Dream Theater and I can asure that this is one of the two better. The other is Scenes From a Memory. It seems to me that the join of Jordan Rudess gave the group other contexture. In this album all the five musicians makes the best work. No one other line up could made these musics. A powerful, solid an rich rhythmic base by Mike Portnoy and John Myung, the music lines crossing themselves by John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess and the voice, like other instrument of James La Brie, in complete coordination. There's no one imperfection or fault in the whole album. Someone can say that the theme I walk beside you sound too much like U2, but this makes no other thing that confirm the versatility of the group. High points: The Root of all Evil (pure strenght and rhythm), The Answer lies within (a beautiful and powerful melody), Panic Attack and Sacrifice Sons (perfect examples of what Symphonic rock means today). A masterpiece.
Report this review (#117243)
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great album, but they really need to find a solid sound. Labrie is okay...Musically perfect like I say in every DT review I do..

The ROot of All EviL-Should not have tried to start off like train of though, but whatever... The AnSweR LieS WiThin-sounds like Anna Lee..... ThEse WaLls- Oh goody, trying to get some radio play. I WaLk BeSide YoU-Oh Jesus!!! They can do that song with U2!!!!! Panic Attack- Oh Jesus!!!!! The song almost gave me a panic attack!!!! Never Enough-Just shoot me now on this one (laughs out loud) Sacrificed Sons-Trying to sounds like 6 degrees of turbulence.... Octavarium--oH my they did a long song that has everything in it GOOD JOB!

Well, that's my opinion on it, but by all means it's great, I just got tired of DT...

Report this review (#118207)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The first track is decent. A good hard rocking song, a good continuation of Mike Portnoy's twelve steps.

The last track is great: a sprawling 24 minute epic, with beautiful parts, a savagely intense section, head-spinning instrumental madness and a truly magnificent climatic guitar solo by John Petrucci.

Everything in between is terrible. Puerile, obvious lyrics. Predictable riffs. Poor rehashes of everything Dream Theater has done before. One track that is designed to sound like COLDPLAY, that most irrefutably dull of all "bands". This is not Images & Words. This is laughable.

Octavarium - the song itself - is the album's mitigating factor. This song alone secures the album a three star rating.

Report this review (#118329)
Posted Friday, April 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars A focused, mature, artful, dynamic return to form which boasts some of the band's most dynamic and intense music yet-- what a relief after "Train of Thought"!

"Octavarium" features a refined sound that has much more of a group dynamic when compared to previous albums, with no one member dominating; everyone sounds awesome and has their moment in the spotlight. What really shines, is the song writing, and most of the tracks on "Octavarium" leave in impact-- especially "I Walk Beside You", which might be the band's most catchy and uplifting song yet. I especially enjoy "Sacrificed Sons" as well, both for its message and mighty instrumental passages.

The centerpiece, "Octavarium" is easily the band's best single extended track, wel conceived and played, finishing off the great album with a soaring, and uncharacteristically simple guitar solo.

Solid and enjoyable work, all around.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Report this review (#119293)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Writing a review for their last album I feel somewhat obliged to writing a review for Octavarium. In my opinion it is a perfect mix of could be top-chart singles and epic masterpieces. In one word just brilliant! starting of with the root of all evil is powerful and a very good start indeed. setting the pace right from the beginning. on to a easier melody now with the answer lies within and back to these walls. Some people might say it is not progressive rock but the again listen to panic attack, Wow! progressive enough the me. and it gets even better with never enough, a rollercoaster ride of a song.but the best part to me is the title track. I can listen to that one over and over and never seems to falter. A nice touch to it is the ending which blends perfectly in the beginning of the root of all evil. And there we are back to the beginning. Yes a masterpiece indeed!
Report this review (#122426)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This might be the best album by Dream Theater so far! What a masterpiece! Everything is great about this album!

1.The Root of All Evil: Very cool intro and a very cool guitar riff! A perfect way to start off the album! Overall: 4/5 stars

2.The Answer Lies Within: This is the only song from this album that gets boring sometimes, but sometimes it's bautiful, depending on your mood. Overall: 3/5 stars

3.These Walls: Great song! It's like "The Root of all Evil". It has the cool riffs and melodies and it's simply a great song! Overall: 4/5 stars

4.I Walk Beside You: Though it sounds like something by U2 or any other band like U2, it's still a great song! I cannot dislike the fact that it's a mainstream rock song, it's a great song anyway! Overall: 4/5 stars

5.Panic Attack: I'm spellbound! This song is a amazing! One of the best DT songs ever! I love all the 8 minutes! Overall: 5/5 stars

6.Never Enough: Great song! Like "I Walk Beside You" I just can't dislike it! Why should I? Well, it's very, very similiar to Muse's "Stockholm Syndrome". But afterall, they did that on purpose. Great song! Overall: 4/5 stars

7.Sacrified Sons: Beautiful song with beautiful melodies, but this is the least good song among "The Answer Lies Within". Overall 4/5 stars

8.Octavarium: 24 minutes of great, wonderful music! I love every second of this song and I never get tired of it! What a masterpiece! The best song from this album among "Panic Attack". One of the best DT songs ever! Overall: 5/5

OCTAVARIUM: 5/5 stars

Report this review (#122802)
Posted Saturday, May 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars While this album hasn't held up too well with me since it first came out, it's still a good album. Octavarium sees Dream Theater experimenting a little bit with their sound with mixed results. I like diversity and variety, but with Octavarium, it really interrupts the flow of the album, and that's important. That with some a few substandard songs adversely affects the album. But it's not all that bad. They show a bit more of their "sentimental" side featured in "The Answer Lies Within" and "I Walk Beside You." Cheesy, but nice. There are plenty of rockin' tunes like "The Root Of All Evil" and "Panic Attack," but it just feels like something is lacking that's usually there from Dream Theater. "Never Enough" is a Muse-esque song that was accomplished better by "Prophets Of War" on Systematic Chaos. The real highlight of the this album lie in the last two songs, "Sacrificed Sons" and "Octavarium." In Sons, James LaBrie delivers probably his best vocal performance that just sends chills down my spine. The first part of the song is an eerie ballad about the 11 September attacks, so that kind of hits home for me. The second part of the song feature a pretty typical (awesome) DT solo breakdown. The last song, the 24-minute epic "Octavarium" This is easily one of DT's best and most awesome songs. It has quite a build-up, 10 minutes or so, from the spacey Pink Floyd intro to the softer acoustic section and finally where DT just hold nothing back. This song is sweet. While this is a pretty good album, don't make it one of your first few DT purchases if you are new to the band. **I added an extra half-star just because the title track is so amazing.

Standout songs: "Octavarium" DT Cheese Moment: "I waaalllkk beside youuuuuu, wheeeree eeevverrr youu arrrrree!

Report this review (#125352)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now, this is a great record. Don't expect a SFaM kind of album, but I must say this album is a great pice of work. This was actually the album that made me like this band. The album that introduced me to it was SfaM, but it wasn't until I listened to Octavarium that I became a DT fan. After becoming a fan of this record, I started to listen to Metropolis part II (SfaM) and grew on it more and more. And eventually, I got most of their studio works and some live stuff. But, the album that started my really being a fan was this one.

1-The Root of all Evil: Parts 6 and 7 of Mike Portnoy's AA saga. Very mysterious intro with some stuff from "The Clock-work Orange". The "This dying soul" riff can be heard softly, and then it builds in until the actual song openes the album. Very cool riff with heavy guitars doubled by keyboards. The vocals sound very clean and agressive. The chorus takes away the agressive element for a while, accompained by nice piano. The middle section provides some nice soloing, first Rudess with the lead sound and then Petrucci. Nice piano in the end.

2-The Answer Lies Within: This one openes the more "commercial" part of the album. Starts with some calm background noises and then the piano comes in playing an easy melody. The song is pretty mellow, with nice strings (real strings). Nothing too complex, but a very nice ballad.

3-These Walls: This is the least commercial of the 3 more "commercial" songs here. Starts with really heavy guitar effects that create a kind of motor-bike sound. Then a cool riff comes in and some nice thick keyboards are heard. Overall, it's a very nice piece, full of nice sounds and very well organized. The vocals are great and there's a little guitar solo in the middle. No complex soloing here, but great tune.

4- I Walk Beside You: This one is the most commercial and the least interesting. It sounds pretty much like U2, except for the riff maybe. No solos. It's a good tune, but no usual DTcomplexity, whatsoever.

5-Panic Attack: This is one of the 3 more metal songs (Root of all Evil and Never Enough, being the other two). One of the best compositions. With very fast tempo and complex time signatures and changes. The vocals show this "Panic Attack" feeling, they're really expressive. John Myung plays some cool bass parts, here. The soloing part is also good, but I kinda feel they needed more space it was done too quickly, maybe.

6-Never Enough: Some weird syth effects can be heard, that's really cool. Not much to say about this one. Cool soloing and stuff, you know.

7-Sacrificed Sons: this is awesome! One of my favourite Dt pieces. It's about the 9/11 incident. The beginig is really touching, especially when you know what it's talking about. Full orchestra accompains the band and creates a really moving sound. The instrumental section is just musical genious! John Myung sets the mood to start this section with a cool bass riff. The orchestra combined with everything else is just amazing. Awesome Jordan Rudess keyboard solo, and John Petrucci guitar solo, which sounds pretty experimental. Awesome!

8-Octavarium: Uhh!!! now...the best part! A 24 minute super epic. I think that this is pretty much symphonic prog. It sometimes carries you back to the 70's prog sound with a lot of Pink Floyd, Genesis and Yes influence. Jordan Rudess shines here. He does mostly all the intro, introducing the inovative continuum fingerboard. Then he plays some lap steel guitar. The orchestra is also present here. Nice 12-string guitar accompained by piano and soft vocals can be heard in the first section "Someone like him". Pay special attention to the part that goes "...missing out this time.....{drums solwly come in}..As far as I could tell, there's nothing more I need" oh, God, it gave me shivers when I first heard it! A lot of things to talk about from this epic. Like the instrumental parts in the begining and end of "Full Circle", with awesome synth wich sound pretty Rick Wakeman, and also some Genesis influence. The part before "Intervals" is one of the best DT intrumentals, sometimes bright, sometimes dark. Really fast guitars, bass, drums complex keyboards and time signatures. Portnoy really does an amazing job, here. This part creates, in a way, the same effect of the instrumental part on Genesis' "Supper's Ready" before the "666" part. Colossal ending with "Razor's Edge". Pretty similar to the "Supper's Ready" ending. Nice vocal harmonies and wonderful guitar solo by Petrucci.

So, overall this is pretty much a summary of Dt's elements: The more heavy side, the virtuosic element, some of the more commercial, the more symophonic, epic style. Like Petrucci said "If you wanna know what Dream Theater is all about, just play that CD". Maybe the ammount of more easy going material lowers the final mark a bit. And I sometimes feel that, as they want to show all the basic elements of the band, it's not all so focused. Sometimes I feel the solos are done too quickly. But, anyway that's no big deal, it's the perfect album for DT beginners and an excellent addition to any prog music collection. PS: There are 5 star songs in here. I think they are: Root of all Evil, Sacrificed Sons and Octavarium. The 3 of them are included on their live masterpiece "Score", fortunately.

Report this review (#125943)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars In my opinion this is not a masterpiece as they stole other bands ideas??? Seriously...(I could say more, but I'll get too deep into it.) Not to mention everything "NEW" was taken from past albums which shows a lack of ideas and creativity...

And now for the review:

"The Root of all Evil": Okay, they took a song from another album and squished some other crap in between. 2/5 "The Answer Lies Within": A cheesy non-prog ballad. 2/5 "These Walls": A song meant to be commercialized that isn't that good. "I walk beside you": They tried to sound like U2!!!!!! 1/5 "Panic Attack": Now this is the part of the album where they don't really care about the song, but rather blow you away with their skill...Nice try....3/5 "Never Enough": I've had enough!!! 2/5 "Sacrificed Sons": Umm....Okay....They tried sound like 6 degrees. 3/5 "Octavarium": Okay, WOW, the beginning is just like Pink Floyd's "Shine on you crazy diamond", enough said!!! If your going to make an epic song for your own band make your own material!!!! Not to mention they just try to sound like other bands the whole way through, not only on this song, but the whole album. They just twist it up with their "DT" sound and put their logo on it.

The only good thing about this album is their technical skill on their instrument the rest is rubbish.

Report this review (#128975)
Posted Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Very unpleasant album!!!

I think that in the same way Genesis became a legend in the 70´s, Dream Theater has become an important landmark in 90's progressive metal. Their unsurpassable innovative musical proposals, their high quality compositions, and their significant capability of performing such masterpieces as "Images & Words" and "Scenes From a Memory" has taken this band to glory. But in the same way great bands have recorded terrible albums, Dream Theater released "Octavarium".

Octavarium is a very mediocre album that does not have anything interesting for prog listeners. It is just dull and monotone noisy music with almost no decent solo, boring and depressing from beginning to end. I'll analyze it track by track:

"The Root Of All Evil" 2/10. It begins with a confused 1:00 min intro. Then, an ordinary alternative rock track begins with a hostile air that may be qualified as bothering. Starting from the 5:20 min there is one minute of chaotic and disordered participation of Jordan Rudess and Jon Petrucci that I find unpleasant. It has very incongruous solos lacking cohesiveness but in the deep preserving few traces from glorious DT in "Scenes from a Memory". This track lacks of subtleness and has a very archaic artistic concept. In the line of DT music I consider this track very deficient.

"The Answer Lies Within" 4/10. It begins with soft keyboard lines and a decent presence of Labrie. At 3:38 min, an enjoyable symphonic part begins. As rock ballad I would qualify it as regular due to the lack of emotion but as a progressive track it doesn't have artistic sense and it is a boring and destined to fall into oblivion.

"These Walls" 2/10. It starts with a delicious instrumental intro until 1:00 min. Then this track decays little by little until becoming into a mediocre and dark state of sonic contamination. Compositionally: an unsatisfactory track. There are good vocal arrangements, decent drumming but there's a heavily commercial air. Even though, vocals keep alive some progressive reminiscences this track that could have been good with a smarter concept. Jon Petrucci makes a terrible work darkening the atmosphere that cages the music. However, since 6:30 min it finishes with an unexpected and interesting ending.

"I Walk Beside You" 1/10 A predictable track that reminds me Marillion in their album "Afraid of Sunlight". It is an extremely commercial track condemned to fall into oblivion too. There is no single trace of progressiveness here.

"Panic Attack" 4/10. It begins with a thick atmosphere that falls into chaotic sounds. At 1:30 min a sudden change takes place. But as a whole, this track is whatever you want to imagine except decent progressive, even less it is not good music at all. The solos at the 5th minute seem to be entertaining and they prove that deep inside DT still have talented musicians. A decent track, contaminated by this heavy atmosphere but still enjoyable for those who are considered open-minded. Personally, it is no more than a plain rock track.

"Never Enough" 1/10 It begins with soaring vocals that characterize a complex and eccentric track that reminds me "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence". Their extremely repetitive riffs and eccentric atmosphere make of this track a chaotic and homogeneity- lacking composition. At 4:00 min. there is a very interesting and enjoyable progression. Despite their poor composition this track is almost good.

"Sacrificed sons" 4/10 A long track lacking order and artistic concept. Terrible from any point of view, I find poor participation of Rudess and, however Petrucci participation is decent, it lacks a cohesive sense. There are some curious moments but there are not enough good ones to be considered them interesting. In coclusion, this is a mediocre track with a minimum enjoyable essence. Good choirs!

"Octavarium" 0/10 This track is a sad attempt to create an epic. This track is an exact copy from "First Light" a track from Shadow Gallery in Legacy album. This track isn't that bad but the real problem is that it has no improvement at all, no new proposals, just predictable music that has been composed previously. This is a very sad ending for a very sad album.

In conclusion, for a beginners' prog rock band, this is a curious album and maybe should deserve one more star than I rated. But taking into consideration Octavarium comes from the Titans of Progressive Metal, it is less than a very poor album.

Good progressions!!!

Report this review (#130495)
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars DT makes some good songs, but that's about as good as it gets...

The Root Of All Evil: They took the main concept of this song from a previous album, and if your familiar with DT , you get the idea...3/5 stars.

The Answer Lies Within: Another soft ballad that can go along with other soft ballads DT has made 3/5 stars.

These Walls: Was made for general radioplay, a bit rock/poppish. 3/5 stars.

I Walk Beside You: Is more like a wannabe U2 song...I'm giving this song a 3/5 with a bit of spite.

Never Enough: Sounds like Muse, but then they throw their DT stuff in it. 3/5 stars.

Sacrificed Sons: Sounds like 6 degrees of Inner Turbulence, though they did this sound better on 6 degrees. 3/5 stars.

Octavarium: Ahh...They stole the beginning from Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond, that's honestly just a bit sad. The rest of the song sounds like a bunch of their influences mushed in one big song that they called Octavarium, but for whatever it's worth 4/5 stars since it was better than most of the previous tracks on this album.

This album leads me to think that they've ran out of ideas...From using previous material, redundant ballads, trying to make that "radio-playable song", sounding like U2, sounding like Muse, and then again sounding like previous material...What is a bit of a shame is that they tried to make an epic song starting off with Pink Floyd's epic Shine on your Crazy Diamond....

The music here is a bit jaded; it's not their best, yet it's not their worst...Hmm....Their lack of creativity made them steal ideas; I'll cut to the chase:

35 total points

23/35=65% =(Round that up to 70%) and you get 3 Stars.

Report this review (#132239)
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars First of all, I'm a DT fan.

My primary problem with this album (after 2 years of listening) is that it's boring. It's much far from a really masterpiece, but I realise that there are poeple who really likes it. I don't.

Not enough individually, not enough strong, weak themes, weak progressive virtues, rather pop-tasting but without any real hit songs. (There are some hits I like because they are just GOOD, that's all.) It's a little bit pensionary music.

Altough there are some exciting moments on this album, but not too many. The persistent flow of sound is missing from this work. Always when I start to listening this CD, the performance doesn't begin. The first DT album, where I don't feel the "theater of dreams" from the very first moment of the listening (including "Infinity" and "ToT" too).

And sometimes LaBrie does not sing but sharply screams the song what really hurts my ears. I hardly understand...

Finally it is worth some listening but will never become my favourite.

Report this review (#132410)
Posted Thursday, August 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I had high hopes for this one, especially with 24-min long track mentioned in announce message. Unfortunately, this is another bitter disappointment a-la FII

DREAM THEATER have changed their idols. Now we hear MUSE, U2, LINKIN PARK and METALLICA instead of RUSH and YES. No, wait, there’s also some PINK FLOYD material thrown in there…In other words, this is the least natural album of them. Most track simply drag on without a reason. “The Answer lies within” is the cheesiest thing DT ever done. “Sacrificed Sons” just slipped through my ears without a trace leaving me totally cold. Finally, the title track had some moments to offer, but I had to wait for 15 minutes of filler for them to appear! “Systematic Chaos” is almost in the same way, but it does better to me anyway; dunno even why (to be honest)!

Best tracks: well, for this album! “These Walls” (best track LINKIN PARK never did), “Octavarium” (except for opening intro stolen from “Shine on your Crazy Diamond” which I always skip)

Best moments: riffing in “Panic Attack”, chorus’ beginning in “Never Enough”

Report this review (#134149)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars My DT rediscovery continues as I work backwards from Sytematic Chaos.

I don't think that Octavarium is nearly as solid as SC overall but is saved by the title track. The better tracks from the first part of the album would be "The Root of all Evil" with its irresistible heavy groove and "Sacrificed Sons" which qualifies for mini-epic status. "These Walls" has some really nice emotional guitar leads from Petrucci. "The Answer Lies Within" seemed incredibly hokey on the surface the first time I heard it but the song has grown on me. I think it's actually one of the better cheesy power ballads although the recent trend of affirmational lyrics gets old pretty fast for me. The other shorter songs are less successful with "I Walk Beside You" being pretty lame actually.

But the make or break here is the title track of course. It is 24 minutes of classic prog that is just jaw-dropping. It builds so beautifully and every idea works perfectly. At the risk of gushing I just love this song and feel it's one of the best tracks I've heard in a long time, putting to shame some of the wannabe albums I've heard lately from the likes of Spock's Beard or Magic Pie. Those groups wish they could pull off something like this.

The lyrics and themes are interesting throughout and some hit home. Regardless of what the band is writing about specifically, the issue of feeling trapped is something individual to all of us. Free will? Most people instinctively would say they have it and are almost offended at the idea of Determinism. My only comment is that while most feel they have total freedom, the choices they have are the conformist options allowed by the Establishment's systems. If your ideas of freedom do not conform to their rules you may well find yourself in economic ruin down the road. If you still call that "free will" then you're a true optimist. But that's what Labrie's rageful scream of "trapped inside this Octavarium" means to me. It's not the ability to make a "choice" that matters, but rather the meaningfulness of the choices offered-and our society has a ways to go in that regard.

Special mention for the stunning album cover, very cool. The title track is very close to a masterpiece but overall I'm at 3.25 stars for Octavarium. With that said, every prog fan should hear the title track-just realize the rest of the songs are not to that level.

Report this review (#138706)
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Almost five hundred review for this album. Of which close to three hundred without comments... .

"Dream Theater" will always bring controversy, especially on a prog site. I really could not stand a second of their previous studio release "Train Of Thought" which was their most heavy-metal album so far. A major disappointment in comparion with "Six Degrees...").

The opening number of "Octavarium" shares the same influence as "As I Am". Fully "Sabbath" oriented. A mix of real heavy music, and at times some melodic chorus. But as far as I know, "Sabbath" was not the most progressive band in the seventies (but they might well be included one day in PA I guess...).

As usual, we'll get a rock ballad as well on this album (which was not really the case on "Train..."). Somewhat mellow but featuring a nice melody at least. A pleasant break.

The album really starts with "These Walls". It is again one the very good "DT". compositions : combining heavy riffs and truely melodic passages. These guys are really unique in this work. Mixing such a subtle guitar solo, some chords feeling (but these might just be some synth effects). The next song "I Walk Beside You" is also more rock oriented. Simple and short. It is more accessible for the casual fan.

When you listen to the very first notes of "Panic Attack" you immediately know that the classic "DT" is back. Extremely hard Petucci riffs and this "wall of music" which is omni-present in "DT" 's discography. But there is more than heavy stuff in here (even if it is on the forefront). The beat is incredible troughout its eight minutes. A great heavy-metal anthem with a few prog touches. At times it reminds me of "Muse". Actually, it reminds me "Muse" a lot. Especially the closing part.

The same "Muse" feeling is present during "Never Enough". Highly powerful, great vocals. A very good moment of music, but not really personal I would say.

"Sacrificed Sons" referred to the awful terrorist attacks on 9/11. It is a poignant song with a very dark mood (obviously). A nice homage to their hometown which has sufferred so much (as anyone in the world on that damned day - at least it was how I felt this day). It can be related to prog for the use of the keys and the global mood. As such it is my fave of the album so far.

Now, the title track. The epic "Octavarium". Few times was "SOYCD" borrowed as much (even if "Pendragon" did it with "The Walls of Babylon "). This opening part is just brilliant. Of course, most of the progheads will shout out loud that it is plagiatory, but I just like it. The structure of this great song is also very well thought. Fully prog (really), lots of theme changes, no loud and heavy passages. No, it is truely a very good prog song. You should have a listen to it; it really deserves it (just as I have recommend for " Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence".

I guess that if one should praise this song so much is that he /she likes the prog "DT" aspect that most of the true "DT" maniacs wouldn't care of. I just believe that it confirms that the band is really not only a metal one and that here and there they have produced great prog music (but no more than ten per cent of their releases is prog IMO, this also needs to be said).

In terms of true prog, "Octavarium" is my secong preferred epic of the band ("Six Degrees..." being my first one).

It happens that I was almost born with hard-rock and therefore could appreciate several of "DT" work. If you don't have this background (or broader view) I guess that is difficult to enter into their catalogue from a proghead point of view (although there might be some of you that could share this view).

It is always amazing to read that this album "is a true masterpiece of prog music" or that "DT" is the biggest "prog" band on earth. I like them moderately and I will attend my first "DT" concert next week. I doubt a lot of fan go there for their "progressive" side. But I'll be more confirmed in my judgment after this experience.

four stars for this very good album.

Report this review (#141175)
Posted Sunday, September 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ocatavarium is a long album - this is my only certainty related to this album. Not only it doesn't explore music in any way, it also gets monotonous at many points and sounds very unoriginal. For instance, Octavarium has many things in commune with the Cloudscape's self-titled that was released in 2005 as well. Perhaps the most notable innovation of Octavarium (is there are any) is the fact that during the recording process an orchestra was used... well ... the problem is that it never became useful in spite of having being used (if you know what i mean). The music isn't even symphonic metal although symphonic metal is based more on the instruments rather than the complexity. However, the word "bad" doesn't coincide with this release because we mustn't forget that this a Dream Theater album. I am not being snobbish, but since Dream Theater has used their fans with very complex and sophisticated music, this album might be underestimated by comparison with the other materials, instead of comparing it with the general musical context. The pluses of this record consist of the difference between the styles of the tracks and the oscillation of the atmosphere. For example, compare "The Root of All Evil" with "I Walk Beside You"! A summary of the record, as far as i see things, is:"The Root of all Evil" marks the beginning of the album and it continues the musical line of "Train of Thought", only this time with more feeling. It is followed by a simple piano/voice ballad entitled "The Answer Lies Within" - a very melancholic track indeed. The third song,"These Walls" is a sort of typical metal radio hit that is very dynamic and has some nice electronic key work. Then comes "I Walk Beside You", the opposite of the first melody. The second half of the record has an annoying groove metal guitar rhythm and it's called "Panic Attack", a suggestive name nonetheless, which is followed by "Never Enough",a obscure track with lots of "balls" (pardon my French). Finally some progressive rock can be heard on "Sacrificed Sons", but the enthusiasm of "Octavarium" takes my concentration away. Here we are then: OCTAVARIUM, a 24 minutes long song that can be spit in two:the first part is a ballad with psychedelic interventions while the second part is progressive metal all the way and has some interesting guitar/keyboard duet solo. At the end, the song returns to the melodic line of the debut only this time with a symphonic backup. In conclusion, eh, the least good album ever to be released by Dream Theater.
Report this review (#147236)
Posted Friday, October 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Masterpiece? My rating is 4.7 out of 5

By this point, it almost seems pointless to review this album since everything there is to say, and anything can can be said about it has already been said. And there's everything to hear! Just look at these reviews: everything from 'this belongs in the trash next to an empty box of pizza' to 'this belongs in a musium next to the Mona Lisa'. Well, I geuss that's the beauty of Progressive Music, there is a diverse range in thought about it. But on to my own two sents on this album.

This is a very odd album for Dream times it sounds....can it be? Radio Friendly? Manstream? I think it could! But for this album, it's not such a bad thing. I know, I know, I'll be the first to tell you that anything remotly close to the manstream needs to be disregarded as 'Greatness' in music....but maybe Dream Theater is on to something with these few songs. These songs are 'The Answer Lies Within' 'I walk Beside You' and to some extent 'Never Enough' (Lyricly). For me persanaly, I needed these songs at one point in my life, and damned if I'm going to turn to the mainstream for help. These songs sound as though you'd hear them on a 'Soft Rock' morning radio show or something along those lines (well, excuding Never Enough for that one). As Mike Portnoy put it on the DVD of 'Systematic Chaos' it has a 'Cold Play' feel to it. *Shudders* But they do so well, so good on them for trying something new. makes one feel good after hearing it! Le Gasp all round.

But lest move on to the harder points. Mainly "The Root" "These Walls" "Panic Attack" and even "Never Enough". These are your tipical head pounding Metal songs we've all come to love from Dream Theater. For those of us that arn't Metal heads but still love the energy that Metal brings but cant take the complete madness that comes with it, these songs are true treats. They provide deep movement and sounds along with very technical and skillful craftmenship of music. These guys know how to play, and play well. They're quite complex (at least to my ears) and overflowing with colour and change. The longer the song, the deeper the movements. I perticularly love 'Never Enough' for it's great use of a buildup and climax. Dream Theater sure knows how to build up to something spectaculer, which I will come back to for Octavarium.

Sacrificed Sons seems to be another one of their traid mark political songs they include on most of their newer albums (I only own and have heard from Scenes from a memory onword, so I'm quite ignorate to Images and Words). I've got mixed emotions with these songs. But I supose they felt it was time and they needed to do it, and I give them codos for doing it. Its not a bad song by any strech of the amagination, and I'm glad it does progress or else I would have to skip it each time. Luckaly it dose have some very exilent parts once it starts going.

This brings us to the epic song of the album: Octavarium. This is where the album truely shines. You can hear riffs from this song scattered through the album as a dusting of delight for those of us that love taking a deeper look into albums. It starts off very 'shine on you crazy diamonds' by Floyd with a very deep synthaziser and a very emotional gitar. It then explodes to show the listiner that this is not Floyd but Dream Theater, and then implodes back to a mellow scene to get a foundation for the song layed out. I love the transitions this song gose through, and the montause of all the classic songs splurged into verse is just beautiful. I had to rewind when they say '..and my Supers Ready', wait? did I hear them corectly?Did he just say Supers Ready? Arguably the best 20+ minuet song ever recorded? AND Cinama Show?!? These guys have some great tast in music! I shead a tear of greatness. The only point that I dont like from this song mind you, is at the climax and James LaBrie continualy says "Trapped inside this Octavarium". It just feels too 'Screamy' for me. Had he just sung it, it wouldn't hurt my ears so much. But luckaly they redeam themselves from rapping it all up so perficly. These guys really know what they're doing.

So, my final verdict: its more then an Excellent addition to any prog music collection........but can I call this a true masterpiece of music? Does it earn a place beside my 'Foxtrot' 'Selling England' 'I AM' 'Going For the One' 'Wish You Were Here' 'Darkside of the Moon' and 'Thick as a Brick?'.......its tough, since '6 Digrees' and 'Scenes from a Memory' do, but can I say 'Octavarium' does also? If it doesnt, it definitly earn a speshil spot in my play list. If I tally all the songs together, out of five, this album would earn a very worthy 4.7, but a masterpiece? The jury is still out on that one. I want to say it is, and to me this is a complete masterpiece of music. So that is how my rating shall stand. This has taken the music one step further and there is a much deeper meaning for the listiner. Its not just 'Another album full of music' its 'Another Dream Theater album full of though and beautiful music' and if THATS not a masterpiece, I dont know what is.

Report this review (#147713)
Posted Saturday, October 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's a little late to do the review of Octavarium but I'm in a "cathing up" action so that's why. It's Octavarium time and this is really an interesting one to do the review of. And that's because the opinions about this album are so extremely versatile.

So what is my opinion ? I understand the disagreement because the distinction and the contrast between the best and the least song is really huge on this album. It almost goes without saying (at least to me) that the title track is a true masterpiece. But although that track is very long it's not the whole album. The other songs are at least debatable. But I disagree to call all the other songs poor efforts, this is exaggerated ! To me Sacrificed sons is a terrific track and also Panic attack is a very good song. The first part of the album + Never enough is indeed less but even those are not really bad, just less.

I always wonder why people give albums by DT 1 star. Are they DT-haters or are they so much disappointed compared with their expectations that out of frustration they give one star ? Because I think DT is done a lot of injustice by that. Their music is of such high quality and they are such great musicians (I witnessed them 7 (!) times live and they never had one poor performance) that they never deserve 1 star, 2 is already very low. That's not just a matter of taste, it's a matter of facts. Of course it's possible DT is not one's cup of tea but then at least have the decency to give 2 stars because of the craftmanship that is really there ! I'll leave it at this because this is actually a discussion for the forum but this really effects DT averages of ratings and I see it happen particularly with albums by THIS band. It's unfair !

So even while I think this isn't their best ever their basic level is at least 3 stars, I add one for Octavarium (track) and two nice others and end up with 4 stars.

Report this review (#152236)
Posted Thursday, November 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars A massive step back, due to there being only three good songs here, and due to the horrible presence of The answer lies within and I walk beside you, which are a step back to the Burning my soul evil present on Falling into infinity. However, a few songs rescue this album; these being The root of all evil, Sacrificed sons, and the last twelve minutes of Octavarium (I don't really listen to the first twelve any more). Also, this is the first prog album I bought, and so I have a little nostalgia for it: but that still doesn't stop me from giving it two stars...
Report this review (#152268)
Posted Thursday, November 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Dream Theater - Octavarium 2.0 stars.

What the hell is this piece of trash? This is probably one of the worst albums I own. Never have I heard something that was so boring, poorly put together and plagued with plagiarism. This is Dream Theater trying to put a full circle around their history and creating a cd that sums everything up. Gone are the brilliant influences of Yes, Rush, Metallica and Iron Maiden.bands that Dream Theater will never be able to pass, to Muse and Coldplay.are they stooping this low? Truly the mighty have fallen. I honestly don't know why I gave this two stars. I suppose it stems from that I'm a huge fan of the band and I think just about every song sucks beyond belief.

'The Root of All Evil' is the third song in the AA suite by Mike Portnoy. The 'This Dying Soul' section is the intro to the song, and then is followed by a distasteful guitar riff. The song really doesn't stretch too far from there.

'The Answers Lie Within' is one of Dream Theater's worst. All it is is a slow ballad that just has no direction whatsoever. I can't really compare it to anything because mainstream music isn't to my taste. Take any mainstream band that put out a hit on their album, listen to all their lesser songs on the album and there you have it.this mess barely passable for a song.

'These Walls' I shouldn't really go into about. Listen to that Muse song that made it big. Plagiarism.

'I Walk Beside You' I won't go into about either. This is a U2 and Coldplay rip off track. Why should I waste my time describing stolen work?

'Panic Attack' is the only truly original song besides that title track. The intro is done by some awesome bass work by Myung and then extremely heavy tone by Petrucci. The song is dark and powerful.but not that great. Perhaps this and the title track saved it from the one star.

'Never Enough' is I guess a little pissy song done by Portnoy. It's about people not being happy with a certain individual or *cough band *cough, and then when they leave, you appreciate them.but then it's too late. Why would he write something about this if this album were supposed to be 'so great'. By the way.another Muse rip off.

'Sacrificed Sons' is another decent track thrown on to the album. It's really just a lesser version of 'The Great Debate' from Six Degrees. It could be a lot better if it was dragged on way too much.

'Octavarium' was a good song at first.but it definitely has dragged down quite a bit. Let's also not forget about 'A Change of Seasons' here. 'Octavarium' was dragged on by a Floyd influenced intro that really went nowhere. After 4 minutes the song finely truly begins with the verse. If you fast-forward 5 more minutes.well what do you know.nothing has changed! No wonder why they hyped up this song because of the length.must have been the only thing they were going for obviously. The thing that saves this song is the instrumental build up which is one of the most intense in the history of music. While that might save the song, it definitely did not do the same for the album.

John Petrucci stated this is the best Dream Theater album. If you look at when artists say this about one of their albums it is because it is new.they want people to believe it and buy it. When I see something like that I automatically think one thing,"Wow, this is going to be a real big hunk of [&*!#]!" Expect my rating to possibly go down to one star. I don't know what happened here. Only buy if you are a collector and fan.

'When Day and Dream Unite',' Images and Words' and 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (song)' are all made up of 8 songs.was this also part of the big scheme for the album? No, they just happened to have 6 then 7 songs on their past albums.and what a dumb concept, the number 8. 8 sup-par songs for an 8th studio album. Clever.

Report this review (#155057)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Octivarium is a good album, even though I do like other Dream Theater albums more. The new Dream Theater has been mainly focusing on John Petrucci's electric guitar playing. Jordan Rudess' piano playing has been pushed into the background a little.

The album starts off with a very heavy prog metal song, Root of all Evil, which goes on for 8 minutes. Next is a beautiful ballad, which actually does focus more on Jordan Rudess. These Walls is another very heavy John Petrucci song. It is very progressive, though. I Walk Beside You is more alternative. Panic Attack is one of the best songs on the album in my opinion. It is VERY heavy, though. Never Enough has more synthesizers in it. Sacrificed Sons is one of the epics of the album. It is good with piano. Ah, the title track! This is a great epic with lots of technical features in the music!

Octivarium is good, but Jordan Rudess needs to play a bit more.

Report this review (#160529)
Posted Saturday, February 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Octavarium is Dream Theater's excellent album, where one sees that this group to improved enough, though the album is not totally perfect, for my it is a great work of this group.

That I can say the song of Octavarium it is surprising and really the beginning is incomparable.

But in general it fulfilled my expectations and I believe that this inside best three Dream Theater's albums.

Report this review (#164182)
Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Something about the number 8.

Dream Theater's eighth studio album has always been a bit of a let down for me. In my hay-day of Dream Theater fandom this album was released and I bought it in full anticipation. While it was perhaps that anticipation that would eventually lead to my being let down, I think there's more than just that. After all, after the first couple listens I loved it! But with age it would seem that this album has worn off quite a bit. This is for a number of reasons, which I'll soon get into, but the main one being that in terms of Dream Theater, this is some of the more flat music they've done... It simply doesn't have that hook which will keep you coming back for more.

Always with the eights...

Eight tracks, eighth album, and Octavarium, the title track is the eighth track. There's actually something very nice about this theme, and on the liner notes it's repeated with pictures of arachnids (eight legs) and octopuses (same) along with the boy holding the can to his ear bookending the album almost making the first and last track connect in a weird sort of way (after all, the first track is parts vi and vii of their ongoing AA series, while Octavarium only has five parts). Very meticulously thought out and executed, the concept here is the thing of progressive dreams! But will the music follow suit?

Well, kind of.

Octavarium gets off to a shaky start. THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL carries on the (by now) stale AA series started by Dream Theater back in 2002 with ''The Glass Prison''. While the series has been strong until this point this is kind of where it starts to stagnate. Recurring riffs come back like a bite in the ass and the song comes off as kind of weak. Still a good rocker in some respects, this song can be seen as good at best. Following that is the (IMHO) very poorly executed THE ANSWER LIES WITHIN. After a bombastic start the band just dies right off and does something a lot more lo-key. Likely the slowest song they've ever recorded, it's low volume and pace make it very inaccessible to most people. The song in itself is not so bad, but it's the (mis)placement and volume that really give the song a bad name in my books.

Luckily the album starts to pick up from here... but it's still a mixed bag.

THESE WALLS is a strong track that ranks among some of the best stuff that the band as ever put out. Powerful and dark, this is one that gets the blood rushing again. A memorable riff from Rudess and Petrucci make this track one to crank the volume on. Following that powerhouse comes another weaker song. I WALK BESIDE YOU is a good catchy song that would be great as a single. Poppy and redundant, this is one that may scare off the average prog goer. Have a heart, however, as its mid pace and light sibject are actually rather uplifting, making it one of the better songs on the album. PANIC ATTACK picks up more or less where THESE WALLS left off, it's bludgeoning guitar pounding out so that one has to shield themselves against the force. This is, of course, in a good way. The frantic pace of this song likely well simulates an actual panic attack, and as such earns it's keep on the album. NEVER ENOUGH is a song in the same vein which is not quite as well executed, although people who are mad a significant others may laugh evilly at the lyrics at points.

Coming to the end... the longer songs.

Dream Theater has always been a band whose longer compositions have always been enough to impress even the harshest of critics... and it's truly what makes them Dream Theater. On this outing we have two tracks that break the ten minute mark, and based on the content of the rest of the album, will they live up to their predecessors? Yes and no. SACRIFICED SONS has always been a song that (to me) never really did it. A strong lyrical content (albeit a bit late) makes for an emotional song in which the vocals are grossly overpowered by the instrumentals. While the beginning of the song is 'meh' the ending starts to get fantastic thanks to the instrumental work put forth by the rest of the band. While this ending part may be very redeeming to the song it definately gives it a terribly unbalanced feel, and that's not really something that the long, focus pulling song should ever do. OCTAVARIUM, on the other hand, is a work of art. Pulling together the scattered elements of the album, the title track manages to make the best of where the band is at. Surprisingly mid-paced for the band, this song is a lot different from an epic like 'A Change of Seasons', but it's a welcome change. Coursing along with an intriguing story as DT often does, Octavarium goes though it's motions until it comes to it's climax. Then, after quoting several other band and letting James LaBrie scream into the mic for a bit the song fades off into nothing. Quite the redeeming track.

While it may be redundant to be the 516th review of an album, this one still needs some more opinions to it (aka, I'm trying to catch up to my collection with reviews). It seems that the album is either love it or hate it, but I fall to the center of the road. What we have here is an album that is about as uneven as the Swedish Alps. Some very high and some very low points make for a good album. Some great tracks, some bad tracks. 3 stars, not essential, but Dream Theater fans can not be without the title track. Others can pass.

Report this review (#164680)
Posted Sunday, March 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I first read the reviews I was expecting a bad album (or at least something like Systematic Chaos, and by the way, I like it). Now that I've listen to Octavarium very carefully and a lot of times, I can say this is not a bad CD, in fact is, for me, one of their best works. And why do I say that? First of all, we should assume the fact that there won't be another Images and Words anymore, and that's perfect because that shows the evolution of the band. Dream Theater could be mediocre and make a lot of albums like Awake or Images and Words, suffering from that Iron Maiden archetype (always the same sound). So, what's the bad thing in innovating? This album still sounds like Dream Theater, but with more complex and refreshing sound.

The root of all evil is actually a masterpiece by its own merits. It's powerful, heavy, and, in my opinion, has the most memorable riff of the entire album. LaBrie's voice in here is simply amazing, and that's why I do not understand why so many people hate his voice. He's just perfect as the song itself.

The answer lies within is a very nice ballad with enough power to remain in the mind a very long time. It's both melancholic and beautiful. Maybe it's not the best Dream Theater ballad, but it is indeed good and subtle.

These Walls has an excellent chorus leaded by a mid tempo melody which fits perfectly with the whole song. It's not boring, but such a calm and strong track.

I walk beside you, okay, very U2-ish for all, even though is the weakest song on the album, it's not that bad. It's catchy, superfluous, and proves that progressive metal bands don't need to make every single song difficult to listen to. I do hate U2, but what can I say? I like this song.

Panic attack is the heavier song on the album, and balances perfect the circle in where we're now immerse. After two soft tracks, a heavy song is what the album was praying for. Musically, I can say this is pure technique: a lot of rhythm changes, a constant fast melody, an accurate LaBrie, many keyboards and an excellent guitar work by the master himself, Petrucci.

In Never enough some say Muse changed roles with Dream Theater in this song, and made a powerful remake of Stockholm Syndrome. I don't know if that's true, but while we discover it, we can say this is a good song with a great chorus and a powerful guitar solo. Not the best of the album, but a nice song.

Sacrificed sons is the first really epic song. In a few words: it's emotive, subtle, desperate and awesome. Lyrics are really nice too, they describe a very deep feeling of the Americans after 9/11, but not go through the trite denounce. It's just beautiful, some kind of dark, epic and evocative.

What can I say about Octavarium? I cannot describe this song with human words. Maybe you'll say I'm exaggerating, but this is an ode for the progressive rock, an anthem of the genre. As the title suggests, it's circular, because within the melody we're not able to escape of it, we keep trapped inside this Octavarium for 24 minutes, flowing through this virtuous music. It's epic, it has the best musical work of the entire album, and it has the album within it (literally). Also it has a lot of references to prog music through history: from Pink Floyd, passing through Yes, to Genesis and a lot more. The best part in my opinion is Intervals, where LaBries goes dark while speaking, and finally screams in a very good way, actually in an epic way.

Octavarium is a great album, no matter what other people thinks. This is the way which music should sound. One more time Dream Theater proved that they are nothing but one of the best musicians in the whole metal scene. I wouldn't call this a masterpiece, but a very brilliant and excellent work.

Report this review (#165590)
Posted Thursday, April 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I hold this album in high regard. Not every song is perfect which stops it from being a 5/5, but being the album which got me into Dream Theater, it still amazes me in the thought put into the album.

The Root of All Evil - 4/5. Good song. Just the right length.

The Answer Lies Within - 3.5/5. Cute. I like this song. Very soothing

These Walls - 3.5/5. Good rocking track with great drumming

I Walk Beside You - 3.5/5. Shows you dont need complexity to make a song sound good

Panic Attack - 4.5/5. Heavy. Awesome. Great soloing

Never Enough - 5/5. Mine and DT's heavy Muse love and influence shines through. A brilliant track which I still can't get enough of.

Sacrificed Songs - 3/5. Starts off a bit slow, but ends well.

Octavarium - 5/5. The amount of time i've put in to listening to this track is amazing. This is a journey through art.

Report this review (#165752)
Posted Saturday, April 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is realy impressive. After their thrash-style, DT show themselves as high-culture artists. This one is quite soft and avantgardistic but every moment it sounds brilliant.

Root of all evil - 4/5 - Not much prog, but pretty for beginning. Heavy-metal sounding is usual for them.

The answer lies within - 5/5 - Good and charming ballad. I love this style of DT's ballads like that.

These walls - 5/5 - It's more progressive i think then the first track. Good arrangements.

I walk beside you - 5/5 - Perfect song! Prog rules here, it's not pop really. A memorable one.

Panic attack - 3/5 - I dislike this. Too boring for me.

Never Enough - 5/5 - It's better. I like technical manuvers in this one.

Sacrificed sons - 4/5 - Boring at the beginning and not bad in solo.

Octavarium - 5/5 - Fantastic!!! Genious progressive epic work!

Report this review (#165997)
Posted Monday, April 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars As I read the reviews about this album, I'm very taken aback. After giving this album multiple spins, I expected to find for it a reception of kings amongst progressive fans. True, Dream Theater lets their influences show in this album, but does that degrade it? No. The amount of sampled sound from other artists is not only acceptable, but intentional, as seen in the lyrics to the titular track. This album had a solid 4/5 as it approached track 8. It was wonderfully executed, and masterfully played. However, it is not tracks 1-7 I wish to discuss: it is track 8, and track 8 alone. I consider Thick as a Brick to be one of the world's few progressive masterpieces. This mainly is derived from the song's focus, and detail. I wholeheartedly believe that should the eighth track of this album have been elongated to an entire album, it would have matched if not surpassed JETHRO TULL's masterpiece. Between concept, lyrics, melody, craft, and pure skill, this track is one of the most beautiful and satisfying songs I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.
Report this review (#167540)
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars The return from the dungeons of Train of Thought.

I just listened to Octavarium again after some two years. I don't think the album will stand the test of time. The album seems to be a featherweight, obviously the band wanted to do something light and positive after the dark experience of ToT. Most of the compositions are superficial, nothing you can lend your ear to too often. I still like some parts and a handful of songs, especially the aggressive ones. One bonus of this album is its diversity, and the band still had the spark to come down with some attractive ideas.

The let-downs on this album are the two mellow songs, I'll Walk Beside You (sounds like U2) and The Answer Lies Within (a most boring ballad). From the aggressive stuff especially The Root of All Evil is lacking musical depth, it's a normal formulaic prog metal piece. The other songs are better, have pleasant ideas and are played with some rage. The most mature piece on the disc is Sacrificed Sons, with some good melodies and an exciting instrumental section, some oriental influences being scattered across the whole song.

The title track is a suite of 24 minutes. It starts off with a nice Floydian instrumental intro going on for some minutes. Then the verse part comes and it goes down the train until minute 12. From this minute on the epic changes its face. It starts off with some heavy and fast played parts by Ruddess who shows us that he spent some time listening to ELP. The verse comes in's good! Next we find a tiny stitch to Frank Zappa (only a few seconds) until we come to a section obviously "borrowed" by Marillion's Forgotten Sons!! Then LaBrie gets the fits, Floydian outro, over.

A mixed bag, if you ask me. Good but non-essential, this phrase fits perfectly.

Favourite Tracks: These Walls, Panic Attack, Never Enough, Sacrificed Sons.

Report this review (#168691)
Posted Friday, April 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hmm I am not a Prog Metal fan but I play one on TV ..OK enough bad jokes I must at least explain that I am not a big fan of metal in general except for some of the harder groups from the 70's. I also am rating this almost three years after the Dream Theater wars here at Progachives.Com when every other topic was about them and everyone was really on one side or the other. I didn't want that to be an influence on the music I was hearing. This is the only Dream Theater album I have heard.

What is funny however is how I came about owning this CD. I was buying online one day and wanted to get Spock's Beard Octane but accidentally ordered this instead. So now I own a Dream Theater CD the next question is will I listen to it? My son likes these guys I thought but he then again likes a lot of metal. After a week or so I thought what the hell and gave it a spin. My first thought after that was well this isn't really something I would choose often but it doesn't make my ears bleed or make me want to get a tattoo and wear leather either. So then a couple of weeks later I played it again and there were some distinction between some movements that didn't distinguish on the initial spin but still not much. Then I put it away and did not listen it to it for a year and half.

I had just seen Jordan Rudess perform with Rod Morgenstein at Calprog and was impressed by him as a keyboard player. So again I put it on and some things became clearer. Then I got Jordan's last solo CD and after listening to that I put it on again. Then I just listened to both Liquid Tension Experiment CD's recently and so now I am listening to it again. This time I hear it and get it and it isn't half bad.

There are just enough metal parts in it to call it metal I suppose but these guys have some talent as songwriters as well. Some criticism of this album is that it is just a metal CD not prog. I disagree with that assessment. While there are some metal trappings (of course there are the band knows its core audience) there also is some skillful and clever songwriting as well in the Pink Floyd, early Crimson vein and even some early Kerry Livgren Kansas. Yes there is a lot of metal in the Root of All Evil(I can hit the play next button pretty easily) but there are several songs with none at all.

Another controversy is James LeBrie's voice. Now James will never make my list of top ten singers I have heard worse and in some respected prog bands like the Tangent. The real problem with Labrie's voice is that it is too nondescript and lacks real emotion that distracts for the intent of the song The Answer Lies Within is a good example. This is a beautifully crafted chord projection but the voice doesn't match that softness or emotion. But then again it doesn't ruin it either. He reminds me of Klaus Meine of The Scorpions. So James LaBire is not a deal breaker for me either.

The song that really made me sit up and take notice is Sacrificed Sons the tribute piece for 9/11 victims. I love the "song' part and the radical change in the middle that displays a musical vision of that tragedy. Other things like the aforementioned The Answer Lies Within and These walls have a lot for me to like as well. Yes there is about 10 seconds of metal guitar in the latter but the rest of the song could have been written by Kerry Livgren of Kansas. I don't hear a overblown metal guitar solo either just a nice tasteful melodic one played skillfully by Petruci and some great keyboards by Rudess. The poewer of Portnoy's drums give DT a metal edge already but he also is a skilled drummer as well and he knows his prog and does a great job on many of the fills.

I Walk beside You again has some nice chord structures even a bit like U2 in parts. Panic Attack and Never Enough are about the only other songs with a lot of metal trappings the latter I don't care for but the former isn't too bad. As for the epic title song cut out the two minute part where LaBrie is screaming Octavrium and I like it.

This isn't a bad album at all and I will listen to it when the mood strikes. For now I am giving it 4 stars and may change that after I explore a few more things from this band.

Report this review (#170808)
Posted Monday, May 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Octavarium is as the title suggests the 8th album from Dream Theater. The last album from Dream Theater called Train of Thought was a really heavy and pretty dark affair. I was never too thrilled with that one. Octavarium is very different compared to the complex and dark Train of Thought. The song structures are generally much simpler and the mood a bit lighter.

The album consists of eight songs. The first seven are generally pretty normally structured songs with focus on vocal melodies while the last song which is the title track is a 24 minute epic where there is more place for instrumental excess. Besides the title track which is pretty good I only think The Root Of All Evil, The Answer Lies Within and the melodic Never Enough is worth my time. The rest is pretty trivial. All songs are good, but IMO they don´t add anything new to Dream Theater´s discography. The songs are not very memorable and it´s a big problem IMO.

The musicianship is brilliant as ever, but there is no warmth in the music. It leaves me cold most of the time. One positive thing on Octavarium is that John Petrucci´s guitar solos are very melodic compared to the show of soloing of the last couple of albums. Jordan Rudess also plays some very melodic solos on the keyboard the only thing is that his solos doesn´t really sound like keyboard solos. The solo sound Jordan Rudess uses sounds like a guitar. Why on earth do you play keyboard solos that sounds like guitar solos when you already have a guitarist in the band ? The advantage of having a keyboard IMO is that you can play with all sorts of sounds that does NOT sound like guitar, bass or drums. Well it´s an aquired taste for sure.

The production is actually pretty good and I must say it´s Portnoy and Petrucci´s best production to date. Finally they have made a professional sounding production.

The overall impression I have after listening to Octavarium is that it´s a good progressive metal album. It adds nothing new to the genre or to Dream Theater´s discography though and therefore I think it´s a very average album. 3 stars is deserved here.

Report this review (#171157)
Posted Friday, May 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars A tribute to...

After Dream Theater were exploring heavy metal territory, they decided to come back into some lighter atmosphere. They however have souvenirs from their trip to Metallica and co. Also, with ''Octavarium'' the band shows which groups had an influence on them in the past years. The album is full of quotations of more or less famous songs and bands from the wide realm of rock. If you feel a bit bored, you can try to spot them. Yet because of the quotations, the music suffers a bit. The well- written material here has a lot potential, but the sometimes forced will to qoute and pay tribute drags us down from the high moments. As an independent record I would have rated it four stars.

''The Root of All Evil'' starts the album with an intro very reminiscent of Pink Floyd's ''Welcome to the Machine''. When Petrucci plays his first chord, however, it is clear that the least we can expect are melodic soundscapes. It continues the AA-suite, and is like the predecessors a more metallic track. With ''The Answer Lies Within'' you can lay back from the foregoing rush. The ballad has almost pop sound, Rudess plays mellow piano sections, LaBrie gently sings. Nothing special, maybe a weak point on this album. ''These Walls'' is again more heavy, but the playing more creates an atmosphere than aggressive riffs. For the tribute paying, the hearbeat in the end might be to honour the start of ''Dark Side of the Moon'', but this is unclear since the sound was used by various artists before. ''I Walk Beside You'' returns the poppy sound, a more mid-tempo, light song. It sounds much like U2, who were, by the band's account, an influence on them in the last time. ''Panic Attack'' is all what the title promises. The leather jackets of ''Train of Thought'' return, LaBrie tends to shout, heavy, dark guitars and background keyboards. Is there again something hidden? Not at first look, but the sequence at the end may be familiar to some Pink Floyd sequence. ''Never Enough'' could also have been recorded by Muse and LaBrie doing guest vocals. Decide for yourself if this still is a tribute or imitation. This is Portnoy's lyrical revenge to his dissatisfied fans. Where they come from I do not know, for me he does the best he can on drums. For a band with origin in the USA/New York, it was nearly inevitable to write a song about the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11. The result of the feelings is titled ''Sacrificed Sons''. At first, it seems like another ballad. The spoken words in the beginning are echoes on the event, and lyrical content deals with the motivations. It stays not as mellow as in the first part, but ends in an instrumental section. The comparison might be drawn from far away, but in some way it reminds of King Crimson's ''Moonchild''. In opposite to the song, ''Sacrificed Sons'' is more composed than jammed together. The next track, the title track of this album, is a 24-minute-monster, consisting of five (or eight, if you consider the instrumental) parts. I will not describe all of them, just the song. From the intro compareable to Pink Floyd's ''Shine on you Crazy Diamond'' up to part IV, there is a progression of heaviness. A high point is the beginning of the fourth part. What LaBrie does here, is outstanding. Again, this climax in voice and mood is a tribute. To list all melodies of other songs spread all over the track. With referrences to names, it is easier to say ''Section III Full Circle''. You get why when reading, it is a row of names and titles. The fifth section closes it all, very pompous keys and guitars to the end. We hear the same piano key with which ''The Root of All Evil'' started (F), and have our full circle.

In conclusion, this is a very solid effort from Dream Theater, but not their most constant. Either the songs are exceptional good or bad. What is also missing sometimes is the OWN sound of Dream Theater, pushed in the background for some tribute-paying. As afore mentioned, as an independent record they would have done much better, at least for me. To complete it with my staple sentence, ''three stars is not a bad rating'', I would like to add that I was close to giving it four. Recommended, but by no point necessary.

Report this review (#172075)
Posted Saturday, May 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars After deciding DT was the best band going after SFAM came out, then being disappointed by both SDOIT and TofT....I was a bit indifferent to the release of Octivarium. While I hoped for the best, I feared a further degradation. What I got....basically more of the same, which is both good and bad.

On the positive side....the song-writing is improved, the music is more varied than recent releases, and there are some truly outstanding moments. Like TofT the disc's highlight is song #1 The Root of All Evil. From the opening staccato drums to the slow-build intro to the crunching riffage just an classic DT song through and through. The introspective lyrics (third in the 12-step process Portnoy is going through) are also better than most recent output.

Other highlights, however, are buried in otherwise mediocre songs. For instance, Never Enough is an awesome song musically. The lyrics, however, are some of the worst rock superstar whining I've ever heard. Yes...Mike Portnoy gives 1000% of himself to DT fans and treats us wonderfully; fans couldn't ask more from their musicians. But let's face it...we've also given a lot back to Mike. He's seen the world and played in every imaginable setting. He gets to play music for a living. I don't know how wealthy he is but probably more than most any of us. The last thing I want to hear from someone who's basically lived a dream is whining about how hard or difficult it is or how no one appreciates what he does. If you're an artist people are going to criticize you....after 20 years you'd think Portnoy would know this by now. answer the question, if you walked away I'd say thanks for giving us a vast library of great music and some of the best concerts I've ever attended. Good luck on the rest of your endeavors. And then I'd move on.

Other songs are equally disjointed...The Answer Lies Within is a decent ballad (something that's been missing last few releases) but never builds. These Walls is a good rocker, but not much more. I Walk Beside you has cool intro and good verse but chorus is pure cheese. Panic Attack is a regretful return to the wankery found all over TofT. Sacrifced Sons is just absymal, with terrible lyrics and dull, meandering music.

Finally, Octivarium, the 23-minute opus. In many ways, this combines the schizophrenia of all things in the latter part of DT's career. Yes, we get an epic prog piece with awesome musicianship. We also get some of the more imaginative lyrics the band has produced, stepping outside their usual territory. And we get one of the more emotional climaxes the band has ever produced.

Unfortunately it's packaged in a bloated song that contains a useless keyboard opening from Rudess (like most of his contributions) and some needlessly long, meandering transitions. I think a 15-minute version would have been a classic but this just has too much bloat.

All in all an interesting attempt at more varied sounds and textures but ultimately just more of the same from DT. In my opinion they haven't really come up with any new ideas or produced anything approaching their SFaM, ACOS or I&W days. Not a criticism, I still like them very much but just trying to judge them objectively.

Report this review (#172284)
Posted Monday, May 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Overall, I really loved the tracks that aren't plagiarized. So I'll only give those a real review.

The Root OF All Evil, next to Repentance, is my favorite AA suite song. Not too metal, not too soft. It's really nice, the most distinctive in the whole suite. Nice tribute to Pink Floyd's Welcome To The Machine with the beginning synthesizer. (8/10)

The Answer Lies Within, sounds like Coldplay. (0/10)

These Walls, sounds like Linkin Park. (0/10)

I Walk Beside You, sounds like Coldplay. (0/10)

Panic Attack, sounds a little like Muse. (0/10)

Never Enough, sounds A LOT like Muse. (0/10)

Sacrficed Sons, now this is the Dream Theater I remember! Slow start, but becomes this wrecking ball of prog towards the middle with an intense instrumental. Great song. (9/10)

Octavarium, now here's a difference between a tribute and Plagiarism. This song is a tribute to 70's prog, with clear sounds like Pink Floyd, Genesis and Yes. One of their best epics, great song, great lyrics. (9/10)

Now, if Dream Theater actually had creative ideas, like their last albums before this, they might be still a great band. They still are, but ultimately fall face first with their thumbs up their asses one this one. Two stars.

Report this review (#173673)
Posted Thursday, June 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Crow
3 stars Better than Train of Thought... But far from the Dream Theater's best moments!

Octavarium is a diverse album with a lot of good points, and some mistakes... The best I can say about this release is that it's funny to listen to. The songs flow peacefully and in an interesting way. The only bad chosen track is the boring The Anwer Lies Within. A ballad so slow and weak can't be a second track in my opinion... After the solid opening The Root of All Evil, this track low the level of the album miserably down.

But beside this fail, the rest of the tracks are good chosen to give an impression of variety... The average These Walls, with the typical Dream Theater's sound, is followed by the very weak I Walk Beside You, wich is a sad attempt to mix some Muse verses, with a typical U2 chorus... Very miserable for a band like Dream Theater is this song.

The rest of the album is OK... Panic Attack is one of the hardest songs of their career, technically outstanding. Never Enough is not bad, but the verses are again spoiled from Muse. What were this guys thinking? Even the LaBrie's voice reminds me to the english band... But then, we have Sacrified Sons, the best song of the album. Is a track a bit in the style of the short tracks of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, but even more inspired. The album's classic, in my opinion.

Then we have the suite Octavarium... This track opens with a passage directly spoiled from Pink Floyd. After this, we have some melodies wich reminds me to Spock's Beard... Yes, even the John Myung's bass has a similar sound to the Dave Meros's one in some moments! But this lack of ideas is not a great problem, because the track is at least funny to listen to... At the time 12'15'', we have even a Neo-Prog section! I find it very cool, and the symphonic ending is also appropiate. So this track is not so good as A Change of Seasons, or Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, but it deserves a good listening.

The last thing I'd like to comment about this album, is the lack of strength of James LaBrie's voice... He sings in almost every song without real passion in my opinion, like he was tired or bored when he recorded this album. He has nothing to do with the energetic singer of the first Dream Theater albums, and he has not the inspiraton of Scenes from a Memory... The weakest fact of the album, in terms of playing.

Best tracks: The Root of all Evil (cool riffs for an appropiate opening...), Panic Attack (funny and powerful), Sacrified Sons (the best track in my opinion) and Ocatavarium (it has some flaws, but it's interesting anyway...)

Conclusion: an irregular album wich is better than the previous Dream Theater's release... But undoubtly, Octavarium is not one of the band's highlights. The band shows some lack of ideas, and they spoil too much from other bands in my opinion (I think that calling it influences is a bit hypocrite...) So being an insteresting album, wich some worthy moments, if you don't hear it you'll not be missing something really special.

My rating: ***

Report this review (#178571)
Posted Friday, August 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This has to be one of the most underrated albums on the entire site. I almost can't believe that a masterpiece like this has an average rating under 3.7 stars. This truly is a masterpiece, and in my honest opinion, is one of Dream Theater's best albums. This is stuck in between two average albums, but this is an essential album for any Dream Theater fan, and is also a great place to start listening to Dream Theater.

For people who aren't interested in prog metal, this is a great place to begin your DT journey. It maintains their status as a progressive metal band, but this will appeal to many more traditional prog rock fans. The closing epic is one of my favorite epics ever, this is without a weak track, and it just has a magical feeling throughout the whole album.


"The Root of All Evil"- This is the third part in Mike Portnoy's "Alcoholics Anonymous Suite", and it is one of the best steps in the suite. This is more of a straightforward metal song, but it has its progressive moments. This song really rocks, and has a great main riff. It introduces the theme to the title track at the end, and it ends on a sort-of cliffhanger for anyone that gets to know the music to this album well.

"The Answer Lies Within"- This is just a beautiful song, nothing more, nothing less. It proves that Dream Theater isn't all about shredding and brutal complexity. This is a very melodic song, with great orchestrations. This may disappoint prog fans, being that it isn't progressive, but if you can just forget about that and just enjoy the song, you won't be disappointed.

"These Walls"- This is a cool song with a great riff and a nice chorus. It has a cool opening with distorted guitars and has a great synth line. The outro gets me every time, and it just ends perfectly. This is one of my favorite songs on the album.

"I Walk Beside You"- This is a more straightforward song, but it has great chord progressions with excellent changes from light to dark. It starts out kind of dark, but then just has a beautiful chorus. I really love this song, and while it may disappoint some who are expecting something else, if you're listening to the music for what it is, it's hard not to like this one.

"Panic Attack"- This is the heaviest songs on the album, and shows the skills of the band. It has an incredibly difficult guitar solo, proving why John Petrucci is one of my all-time favorite guitarists.

"Never Enough"- One word can describe this song- Muse. I can't say I'm a big fan of them, but this is an excellent song with Muse sounds at times. The solos during the middle of the song are very good, and this is an exceptional song.

"Sacrificed Sons"- One of my all-time favorite Dream Theater songs. It is about the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, and it definitely does an excellent job. It accurately captures a mood that makes you feel upset and angry at the same time. It has very dark piano chords that really are very good. It has a jam session that progresses back into the main theme perfectly. A masterpiece without a doubt.

"Octavarium"- This is another excellent Dream Theater epic that is easily in my top 10 songs over twenty minutes. It opens with a Pink Floyd-sounding opening (reminds me of Shine On You Crazy Diamond) and after it keeps building a synthesizer comes in and really is one of the great moments in music. The song progresses into a cool part that builds into a raging, almost gothic metal section that goes back into the main theme incredibly. The song ends with a French horn melody that just ends the album incredibly.

Well, there you have it. I know I'm by myself giving this a 5 star review, but I feel this really deserves it. It ranges from sounds by Pink Floyd to Metallica to Muse to Yes. I don't understand how this can get criticized for not being "original" enough, but I certainly find it to be far more than original. It will appeal to a wide range of audiences as well. I love progressive metal, and I'm not disappointed, and I know traditional prog fans who like this as well. There are excellent epics, and without a weak track, this deserves a 5 for sure.

5 stars.

Report this review (#179319)
Posted Saturday, August 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Like A Change of Seasons, Falling into Infinity, and Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Octavarium is very much a mixed bag.

The band came off the noodle-fest of Train of Thought and took a long look at their music. That's good. I approve of this sort of introspection. However, they overshot the wrong way and ended up with a few too many light and poppy tunes for the album truly to be well rounded. This release does get points from me, however, on account of the limited amount of noodling. There are short guitar solo in half the songs, a keyboard solo in one of them, and then a lot of surprisingly meaningful noodling in the title track, but more on that in a couple of paragraphs or so. An overall concept, or more like theme, uniting the eight tracks here give it enough of a creative and experimental edge to raise it above the level of the other post-Six Degrees albums. The music is very stripped down and focused on melody, which is a very welcome change. Furthermore, the songs fit with themselves very nicely. Unfortunately, the simplicity of the music, while refreshing at first, means that the music here is not nearly as deep or lasting as it could be.

The album opens with the Terminator theme, or something like it, which becomes the third part of the Alcoholics Anonymous suite (begun by The Glass Prison and This Dying Soul). The Root of All Evil is, in comparison with those two, much more laid back and human, focusing on the vocals and melodies rather than series of shredding solos and complicated unisons. The Answer Lies Within comes next, and while it is a nice track, it is not really much of a memorable tune. Something like Hollow Years or Through Her Eyes. These Walls arrives after this, built on an enthusiastic keyboard tune and a very clever bit of drumming. The chorus is one of the catchy and most solid the band has ever recorded. The guitar solo is short and not technical at all--a large surprise after the complete lack of lack of pure technicality on the previous release. All in all, this is a well rounded track, though not particularly progressive in many ways. I Walk Beside You is a fun little U2 jaunt. Nothing much more than that, really. Panic Attack is the fast paced metal song here (almost the only straight metal track on the whole album). The bass and drums especially are in a form not often seen even on Dream Theater albums.

Next wanders in the angst-riddled Never Enough, a cry for a bit of peace and quiet from the band's disgruntled fans who want this or that or whatever. While the band has gotten slammed often for so boldly getting angry back at their fans, I find it a nice bold move that shows that the band is human, and really the guys just want some people to enjoy their music and have fun. An okay song, too, with some cool drum fills and a strange unison portion. Sacrificed Sons is a mostly splendid track featuring some very haunting sounds and lyrics, but the noodling middle section here reminds me of nothing more than Train of Thought and how several great, emotive songs were cut down by random shredding and progressive riffing that didn't fit. Unfortunate, but these things sometimes happen. And with the end of this song, the end of what would be probably a two-star progressive metal album hits us, and from here on out, we have a very clever tune.

The title track is an epic coming on the tails of Dream Theater's last major epic, the forty minute plus Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. Only, this song is built for prog nerds, which probably explains why I like it a lot. Opening like Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond, this twenty four minute tune is unique among songs of comparable length in that for most of the duration of the song, it's a constant building, each successive part adding energy and intensity. The entire time, famous bands are being musically quoted and name checked, many of which quite cleverly. Halfway through, Jordan Rudess enters his most entertaining solo to date, a two minute dallying with some keys reminiscent of Styx. The music continues to build, moving into an instrumental section that just begs to be dissected and examined for hidden musical references. It culminates in James LaBrie screaming as hard as he can over a pretty neat and headbangable rhythm, then twisting around and ending in a typical prog epic sort of orchestra way. The final guitar solo is very tasteful, too, not just wild shredding over strings.

If the album were up to the standard of the title track, this would be a very formidable Dream Theater release indeed. Instead, a number of interesting but not lasting tracks make this a good addition to their discography but nothing terribly impressive.

Report this review (#185284)
Posted Saturday, October 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
2 stars My first encounter with a Prog Metal band, but not exactly Prog Metal

Octavarium was and still is quite a mixed bag for me, from the the straight-forward Metal songs with some commercial leanings to the Prog (Heavy)Metal tracks and finally to the Retro-Symphonic-esque epic. You really can't expect anything in the likes of the Moore/Sherinian-era in here, hence that the music since the entry of Jordan Rudess got darker and heavier, with more focus on the guitars and drums, and in the case of this album also lacking own ideas.

The album starts off with The Root of All Evil, which showcases a small intro very similar to Welcome to the Machine by Pink Floyd. The song moves on to heavy territory: Metal. It has a quite heavy riff, as well as an unstopabble massive drumming by Mike Portnoy who I already knew through Transatlantic. James vocals aren't that powerful nor expressive, but still they suit the band's style very good. The song overall, lasting over 7 minutes, is quite straight-forward metal, lacking of diversity thus making it a bit boring after some repeated listens if you're looking for Prog Metal, otherwise it's a great tune to rock out with.

Follows-up The Answer Lies Within, a soft tune led by James gentle vocals and Jordan's decent piano. Pretty simple, but that's not really the problem, the problem is that the originality and the emotion is mainly lacking, being very similar to 2003 hit single, Look What You've Done by Jet.

Then comes These Walls, resurrecting the heaviness from the opener, with a roaring guitar opening to then a massive heavy guitar riff. Just like the opener, it's a pretty straight-forward metal song allthrough, nothing really interesting for the Prog fan. Also here you can listen to traces from other bands, specially Linkin Park's 2004 single, From the Inside. Not bad per se, though.

Going further through this album you have I Walk Beside You. A Pop Metal song, if that genre really exists. Again, no traces of well-thought passages nor solos, and once again the word ''rip-off'' pops to my mind, with a chorus that truly makes you think you're listening to U2; that's another reason why I like James hitting the high notes like in the early days, he's totally recognisable, now he tries to emulates others and fails at it badly.

We move on, and we got Panic Attack. Gees, I was wondering where the Prog was in this album, damn why was I so intrigued about it? Opening with a monstrous rage of guitar and double bass drums, I literally get a panic attack everytime I listen to that intro. However, luckily for me, it softs down a little bit after that, making it beareable for my ears, as well as having a good bunch of time changes and an enjoyable guitar solo, making it even more beareable for my non-metal ears. In general, a pretty good Proggy (Heavy)Metal song, even if a bit too heavy some times.

Next stop, Never Enough, the last of the ''trilogy'' of straight-forward metal songs from this album. Just like the previous song, the opening of this one is very heavy, however the verse's, while pretty dark in mood, they're softer. Not a very enjoyable track allthrough and again other band's influences notably appear, this time from Muse.

Now to Sacrificed Sons, a dark and slowly evolving monster which turns out to be the best song in the album. This is 00's Prog Metal at it's best; not as heavy as the previous two, yet the metal characteristics are clear, and it still makes up a highly satisfactory 'original'(!) Prog song.

Finally the end, 8th track, Octavarium, is a full blown Symphonic Prog track resembling some of the Prog giants from the 70's, not only in the music, but as well as in the lyrics. However, despite it's length, it doesn't really match with any of the 70's giants epics to tell you the truth. Yes, it has divided parts which all have their own strength and they do connect *almost* flawlessly, however overall it's really lacking something brilliant and unique, despite some cool bass lines and powerful synth, the rest is quite un-inspired taking stuff from Supper's Ready as well as from Shine on You Crazy Diamond. Don't get me wrong, it's not really a rip-off, but I've heard modern symphonic-epics being way more original and grabbing, those from The Flower Kings and Transatlantic blow away this one in terms of originality and amusement, while in the instrumental side Dream Theater manages to be on par.

To conclude, Octavarium is overall lacking originality, but also the prog quotient isn't very high either. As far musicianship goes, in this album they play some nice heavy riffs and powerful drumming but not really on par with anything they've done before this. Got to admit though that the keyboards have more appearance here, yet they're still by no means essential nor as great as in the Moore-era.

A heavy, prog-less record, with more down's than up's. Recomended for those modern-symphonic lovers just for the epic, while I also recomend this to Rudess-era Dream Theater fans. Moore-era Dream Theater fans can pass this. Not a bad album despite the 2 stars I gave, it's decent and enjoyable but the lack of own ideas is something that doesn't deserve more than the 2 stars from a prog band.

Report this review (#188716)
Posted Monday, November 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars In my opinion, Dream Theater's Octavarium has what it takes to be a Masterpiece, and get 5 stars. However, I understand that there are those who don't have the same tastes as me so I'm giving it a 4 just in case. Octavarium was my very first album I heard of Dream Theater. I saw Dream Theater on with only one song, Constant Motion on the player, and I thought they were just an average heavy metal band. However, while looking at Pink Floyd on Wikipedia, I saw that they were influenced by Pink Floyd, read about them, and realized that had some epic compositions and surreal album artwork, and were called Progressive Metal.

Upon seeing a 24 minute song on Octavarium, I went to the store and bought it on impulse, a little afraid of what I'd hear. It was not only a random impulsive purchase, but I had never even heard the band before.

I heard The Root of all Evil, and was kinda convinced that they weren't that progressive until a certain Keyboard solo within it, around the 5:30 minutes mark. I was particularly amazed by the Keyboardist's skill. As the next song flowed in seamlessly (something I love in progressive albums) It was very quiet and uplifting sounding, and I was confused. It went from Heavy to very mellow. And the next song was heavy again, but with a very progressive feel. I realized the 3rd song in, that Dream Theater was very diverse. Each song had a different style. And as I listened to it, I was amazed by the musicians' skill at their respective instruments.

I got out of the car and popped the CD out at the end of track 7, just before the epic magnum opus Octavarium, so I immediately went in and listened to it. The beginning reminded me of one of my favourite epic prog compositions, Shine on You crazy Diamond, by Pink Floyd. And the album's cover totally seemed to remind me of the song. Octavarium (the song) has everything from progressive Pink Floyd-ish sounds, to acoustic ballads, psychedelic passages, heavy metal riffs, chaotic sounding instrumental parts, a wonderful Orchestra, and an amazingly epic climax and outro that interestingly looped right back around to the first song. I was VERY impressed.

Amazingly, the album got me obsessed with Dream Theater, but I found later that it was no match to some of their other earlier stuff. I would say that this is the perfect album to start with if you're completely new to Dream Theater. Any prog fan would love this album... but only if they can tolerate heavy metal as well. Which, being progressive rock fans, we're pretty much open to lots of new experiences anyway.

Great album, and an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Report this review (#196951)
Posted Friday, January 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dream Theater's eighth album, Octavarium, is in generality highly underrated for an unknown reason. Many say, that it lacks in originality, it's not DT-ish, it's not true (some people are dropping around this world so silly) my opinion, it sorely is. That's not the old DT you get here, but a new and strong band. A good step forward from Train of Thought, unfortunately their way led to Systematic Chaos...but that is another story.

All of the musicians play excellent (no surprise form DT). I have to praise especially Mr. Portnoy: THIS is the drumming style I expect from him (listen to the intro of Never Enough), and his backing vocals here are well done, and he don't pushes himself in the foreground

Let's see it track by track.

1. The Root of All Evil: Pretty heavy, metal song (not a heavy metal song, though), a fantastic opener (just watch it on Score!). The main landmark is the riffing, which is chequered by the piano. The

2. The Answer Lies Within: A nice ballad featuring mostly the piano, and here we have the first point where the orchestra joins in. Very strong song, due to LaBrie's emotional interpretation and the high- class bridge at 3:05.

3. These Walls: Great song with a great riff, catchy chorus and excellent instrumentation: the distorted guitars and the background piano are each other's awesome counterparts. And it's NOt nu metal as in the eyes of some deaf critics. (If you want to hear DT making nu metal, then check The Dark Eternal Night.)

4. I Walk Beside You: A light hit song (though, never released as a single), relatively simple. Its best point is Portnoy's nice drumming during the verses.

5. Panic Attack: You are shocked, aren't you? This is the band's most extreme song, but a damn good one as well! Long, agressive, technical, and the chorus (Run, try to hide, overwhelmed by this complex delirium) gives me shivering. The building up is smart, the solos are mind-blowing (for example the guitar-synth unison).

6. Never Enough: Some may say, it is a Muse song, and while they're right in some measure (see the melodic similarities between this song and Stockholm Syndrome, falsetto-like voice from LaBrie), I ask them: when did Muse use long instrumental sequences? Not a highlight of DT music, but a pretty track. And

7. Sacrificed Sons: The track is based on 9/11 (New York City is their hometown). Although it is the most repetitive song, you don't really recognize it due to the energy and the emotions. The orchestra finally gets a bigger role.

8. Octavarium: Fantastic 24 minutes long epic! Their best work so far. The first two movements are slow, but in the middle it becomes faster and faster, then it reaches the climax Trapped inside this Octavarium!, and the final movement brings it off. Absolutely beautiful.

Obvious FIVE from me.

Report this review (#200741)
Posted Monday, January 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Child is Father of the Man; And I could wish my days to be Bound each to each by natural piety.

-- William Wordsworth Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

In this case, the Child would be my eldest son, who, repeatedly during the first few years of this decade, insisted I listen to Dream Theater. Growing up in our household, Number One, as I have called him, referred to himself as the Yes Prophet. During The Ladder Tour, Yes made its most recent appearance in the Crescent City, and my son, at the very last minute, prevailed upon his mother and me to dash out to the concert. Later, in 2005, Octavarium became my first acquaintance with Dream Theater.

This acquaintance abides. In my view, one's experience of music is inextricably bound with memory. My memories of my first encounters with Octavarium are tied to August of 2005 and flight from the path of Hurricane Katrina. My family and I spent about five weeks in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area, before our return home. Through the agency of Providence, our neck of the woods was spared the cataclysmic flooding visited upon our now infamous Lower Ninth Ward, St. Bernard Parish, New Orleans East, and Lakeview areas. My respect for and enjoyment of Octavarium and the music of Dream Theater will always pass through my mental veil of recollection of Katrina.

And, now, to the music. Beginning with Octavarium, I worked my way back to Scenes from a Memory, Part II, Train of Thought, Images and Words, Awake, and so on. Yes, the clear crystallization of the music came first in its original form on Images and Words. This album is to Dream Theater, what The Yes Album is to Yes. There are those who appear to suggest that, following Awake, the band has become more and more a Progressive tribute band. Of course, 1999's Scenes from a Memory, Part II, negates much of this view. In Octavarium, we find almost a scholarly set of reference points to musical memory that is effective.

Obviously, there is the epic Octavarium with musical quotations from the Moody Blues, to Genesis' In the Cage, to Jordan Rudess' use of what is ostensibly a mini-moog, and, of course, to the actual lyrical references to the history of Progressive Rock. Derivative? Perhaps . . . . However, humans do not create from within a vacuum.

Not only was Panic Attack appropriate music to a major hurricane and its aftermath, but it is also one of my theme songs. Yes, I am a nervous guy. I am also a great fan of the bass guitar, and must point out John Myung's almost tortured rhythmic foundations here. As is evident, Portnoy, Petrucci, Myung, Rudess, and LaBrie are all monsters in the musical sense. And, yet, they do know restraint. And, to some, this leads to a few less than progressive numbers on this album. In its entirety, Octavarium would occupy a special place in my memory without its association with Hurricane Katrina.

Yes, thankfully, The Child is Father of the Man. Number One, the Chief salutes you.

Report this review (#203980)
Posted Sunday, February 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars I have been surprised to see the love for this album from many people on this site. I will begin by comparing the album to its predecessor, Train of Thought. ToT was definitely the bands heaviest output so far, attracting a lot of attention from the metal community. With their next album, Octavarium, they tried to continue to appeal to this audience while at the same time trying to appeal to mainstream audiences and also their prog-rock fans. Inevitably it seemed, the blending of styles did not come out well and what we have is an inconsistent and (from a prog rock fan's perspective) poor output from dream theater.

The album begins with another heavy addition to the mike portnoy AA suite, The Root of All Evil. This song is inferior to the previous two AA songs and a little too heavy for my tastes. They then try to change the pace with a softer ballad, The Answer Lies Within. Somehow, Dream Theater has forgotten how to write these kinds of songs because I relaly enjoyed when they did songs like Another Day and Surrounded on Images and Words. I find this song to be hollow and somewhat depressing despite the optimistic lyrics. These Walls is a heavy song looking to appeal to the mainstream and it wouldnt sound out of place on the radio if the station plays metal. I actually enjoy this song quite a bit when im in the right mood, but objectively theres nothing great about it. I dont blame them for trying to appeal to popular audiences, and the song isnt awful, but theres not too much in it for a prog fan. The next song, I Walk Beside You, ventures even further into the radio friendly world, losing the heaviness of the previous track and even shortening to a radio friendly length. This song always made me think of U2 and apparently so have a lot of other people who reviewed this album.

Panic Attack is probably the heaviest song on the album and as a person who is not a big fan of metal, I cant say that I really like it. It seems to me to be a good song, but my personal taste gets in the way and I just do not care for it. This is the band trying to appeal to the fans they had made with their previous album, and I would bet it does a good job of that. Never Enough is another heavy song that really does nothing for me and I suspect even metal fans would say the same, there is nothing remarkable about this song. The lyrics seem to be about portnoy's frustration with his treatment by fans, saying that everything is never enough for them. Sacrificed Sons is a sad song about September 11th. It is a sad and heavy song, but with this one I think the band pulls it out and makes a half-decent metal song. It captures the emotions of that sad day for many Americans and features some good instrumentals. Now, we come to the title track, which is definitely the highlight of the album. The song features many different moods and transitions as everything in the album comes full circle. It starts off slow, eventually building to an energetic climax. I wont go into the details of the song, except to say that it features the wide range of sound from the band (and this time I mean it in a good way) from softer ballad passages to awesome instrumentals and heavier parts. I just recently went back and listened to this song and noticed the full-circle part makes many references to classic prog songs by bands like genesis, yes, pink floyd, and the beatles. This song is clearly the highlight of the album, but it is not nearly as amazing as some here might say and it definitely doesnt compare to other epics like A Change of Seasons and Learning to Live in my opinion.

This album is for fans only because there is no reason you should get this album unless you alread have most of Dream Theater's other material. If you are looking for something really heavy, get Train of Thought. I dont care for it, but I can see that it is a much better album for the metal fan. If you want something on the lighter and proggier side, go for Images and Words, their best album. If you already have I&W and wouldnt mind something a little heavier, get Scenes From a Memory. Do not get Octavarium unless you are a DT fan who already has most of their albums or you are trying to get your mainstream friends to like some (not so progressive) prog metal.

Report this review (#205320)
Posted Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Octavarium' - Dream Theater (6/10)

I really don't see why some Dream Theater fans despise this album so much. What's wrong with it? Is it the fact that it has some relatively non-metal, mainstream leaning material? Is it the heavy drawing of influence from other prog rock sources? Nontheless, 'Octavarium' while not comparing to the truly amazing Dream Theater albums, is really good and if anything, worth buying it for the 25 minute epic.

The album really starts with a bang. 'The Root Of All Evil' is without a doubt the best part of the ongoing Alcoholic's Anonymous Suite. There is a fine mix of heaviness and progressiveness. It's essentially an example of what a good, modern Dream Theater song should sound like. Next is a song with heavy AOR influence, 'The Answer Lies Within.' It's pretty, but nothing special. It's probably the low point of the album, but it's indeed listenable.

'These Walls' is fine, although there's definately a few mainstream hooks in there. But the true mainstream feeling of the album comes in with 'I Walk Beside You,' which despite it being mainstream, I still enjoy it, and it has a very cool intro nontheless.

'Panic Attack' feels a bit too corny for me. There's great musicianship, but it's backed by rather lacking lyrics, and that spoils alot of the enjoyment for me. If you can stand the cheese though, 'Panic Attack' is a great song that showcases Dream Theater's heavier side.

Next comes 'Never Enough,' which has a great electronic/baroque feel. It's essentially a precursor to 'Systematic Chaos' 'Prophets Of War,' if you're more familiar with the newer Dream Theater. While being a great song, it still doesn't compare to the two remaining songs. This, ladies and gentlemen, is where the album starts to go full pace.

'Sacrificed Sons' is a ballad about the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers. It's beautifully sung by LaBrie, and has some great songwriting, before going into an all-out prog metal jam session, which also feels like a 'Systematic Chaos' song, 'Ministry Of Lost Souls.' It's an amazing song, and as an oddity in Dream Theater's modern works, there are actually some great lyrics to go along with it.

Bringing the album to a close is the epic 'Octavarium.' While it's not up to par with 'A Change Of Seasons,' it's a masterpiece in it's own right. I can still remember the first time listening to this song, the day I bought the CD. I literally put down everything I was doing and for twenty minutes, I did nothing more than lie on my bed, and listen to the majesty of it all. Starting out with an enveloping trance-like Continuum solo from Jordan Rudess, the band suddenly cuts in and I'm blown away. I expect alot from DT epics, and this one certainly did not dissapoint at all.

Octavarium is a great album, and will definately be enjoyed, if there isn't any expectation for another highly progressive all-out masterpiece. It's very good, and despite some of it's mainstream leanings, is a great Dream Theater album that does not dissapoint.

Report this review (#205538)
Posted Thursday, March 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#205986)
Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Compared to "Train of Thought", this is album is way softer and lighter, the furious metal riffage being substituted by mellow guitar work and the double-bass driven drumming by a calmer drum performance. Some songs are also notably shorter and more compact, like "I Walk Beside You" and "The Answer Lies Within". Unfortunately, the songwriting is really bad if we judge this record by a Dream Theater standard. I mean, "Awake" contained several short songs which, despite being short, were absolutely deserving of the "progressive metal" label. They had tempo changes, complex rhythms, etc. A song like "I Walk Beside You" is NOTHING like, say, "Caught in a Web". Despite sharing the same length (more or less), "I Walk" is just too simple and pop-ish to be even considered a progressive work. Sure, the drumming is stellar and complex as hell, but, as a whole, the song sounds like U2 or something. I know bands must explore other musical realms, but as pop rock is definitely not my cup of tea, this record leaves a sour taste in my taste. "These Walls" represents another problem, with a very cheesy chorus and some really muddy riffs that wouldn't sound out of place on a Disturbed album (not a good thing in my books).

Thankfully, there are still some quality progressive stuff here. The opener and "Panic Attack" are both solid progressive metal cuts, but the two gems of "Octavarium" are the two last tunes, "Sacrificed Sons" and the title track. "Sacrificed Sons" is an excellent progressive rock song with mellow guitar work and an excellent solo. The middle section also contains some heavier parts, and the song comfortably flows well, definitely sounding like a pearl compared to some other tracks. The title track is the real masterpiece of this work though: awesome intro, a heartfelt and very well composed calm part, followed by heavier sections bringing us to the monumental climax. Really, this is one of the best Dream Theater songs ever.

So, 2 and a half stars, mainly because four of the tracks rock and the other ones kinda plod along, boring me to tears.

Report this review (#213047)
Posted Thursday, April 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Truth
Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars Very much to me Dream Theaters best album. Each song is a total masterpiece, starting with the head- banging Root of All Evil which starts off with a Metallica driven riff but still has elements of prog rock in it. The Answer Lies within doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the album but it has to be there or it's just not the same. It is kind of like Beth on the Kiss album, Destroyer. These Walls is the heaviest track on the album showing the almost death metal sound Dream Theater has. I Walk Beside You is a nice song, almost like a rock ballad but just a little too heavy. Never Enough is the only song I don't like but it isn't enough to keep it from being a masterpiece. Sacrificed Sons is an amazing song probably more prog than others because of the way it's arranged and the epic track Octavarium is one of the best Dream Theater has ever released changing from soft prog to heavy metal very quickly. I call it a masterpiece alright!
Report this review (#215457)
Posted Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Sometimes you hope to listen new things in life. Did I say things?, no, I'm sorry, MUSIC (using uppercases) that moves not only your mind but also all the senses and may go straight to the soul to generate an unique reaction and making all the feelings come out once for all. That could be the sensation that Dream Theater's music caused me the first time I heard it, to be more exact with "Images And Words" album almost 8 years ago.

That's ironic in someway, because Octavarium was the first DT's record I bought in my lifetime. This album made me recognize some things that I never had felt before while I listened music. So, for this same reason this one is so special for me, not only opened a universe of feelings around of a simple music record, besides gave me a new perception of what the music really is. Music turns an emotion, can be beauty (like on "The answer lies within"), can be tragedy (like on "Sacrificed sons"), can be negation (like on "Panic attack"), can be a catchy and subtle bass line (like on "These walls", awesome work Mr. Myung!!!) even epic (like on "Octavarium") and much more things to discover and enjoy along of an album as interesting as its variety.

Best tracks:

Octavarium: unique, epic, musically transcendent, and why not. that subtle Pink Floyd influences at the beginning, really nice! (10/10).

Sacrificed sons: it's obviously the impact that September 11 (twin towers' terrorist attacks) caused inside the band, a really touching song that give us DT's point of view about that date (9/10).

Panic attack: doubtless, the heaviest song of entire album and also shows the catchiest and cool guitar solo of Octavarium, courtesy of Mr. Petrucci! (8/10).

These walls: as I told on the second paragraph, it has one of my favourite bass lines of this record and probably from all the stuff I have heard from Mr. Myung and maybe also from DT. (8/10).

The answer lies within: maybe as any music record, this is the ballad time!, soft and delicate. Personally this one is not my favourite DT ballad, but it's enough captivating and give some colour to the final result (7/10).


Report this review (#216432)
Posted Monday, May 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars DREAM THEATER is one of those bands I absolutely dislike, but which I also respect. It's impossible to deny the skills of Myung, Petrucci, Portnoy and Rudess, but it's also truth that skills alone don't make a great band.

In my case I always thought that DREAM THEATER abuses of speed, solos and shredding, plus the fact that only four legged beings can attempt to listen Myung playing; if we add the bellow than average vocals of LaBrie, we get a band full of virtuoso musicians but little coherence.

So being that I don't like the band, I tried to avoid reviewing them, because don't want to be unfair, but his doesn't mean I didn't listened "Octavarium", as a fact nobody who was in Prog Archives when the album was released (and even before) could avoid getting involved, being that we had a record of 5 stars reviews in a couple of weeks, so after the things got more calmed, I bought a used copy very cheap from a disenchanted fan and now will try to review it.

The album starts with "The Root of all Evil", more or less what I expected of DREAM THEATER, well performed, fast but with terrible vocals and unnecessary guitar solo, even when I believe it's more a mainstream Metal track rather than a Prog Metal one, it's a pretty good song for any decent Metal band, but not enough for DREAM THEATER which by that moment was proclaimed as the best Prog band of history by not few fans.

"The Answer Lies Between" can be described as a ballad, not even a Power ballad, but a plain ballad, simple, repetitive and honestly boring, I never liked DT albums, but at least the previous kept me awake, this is stronger than Valium. I can't imagine how disappointed the faithful fans must be by this moment.

"These Walls" is musically a step forward, but lets be honest, smells to Muse everywhere, despite this fact, love the keyboard passages and how excellent Petrucci guitar sounds when he stops trying to be the fastest guitar in Prog, not very original, but very good track.

"I Walk Beside You" is anything except what anybody expect from DREAM THEATER, has some sort of Aorish sound with RADIOHEAD touches and even a bit of U2...The question is where in hell can we find DT?

Musically is the weakest song in the album by this point, I guess no Prog Metal fan will feel satisfied by this hybrid.

At last a good Prog Metal track, "Panic Attack" has everything I could expect,. originality good riffs, sense of musicality, amazing drumming, even LaBrie sounds great, never thought I would applaud a Prog Metal track, but if I get a DREAM THEATER album I expect Prog Metal.

"Never Enough" is another strong track, the keyboards are simply breathtaking and the drums accurate as always, also influenced by MUSE but this time I can listen more of DT.

"Sacrificed Sons" is so boring that I will pass directly to the central theme Octavarium, a 23 minutes epic that I can say it's..............long, well that's the best I can say.

The intro is almost exact to "Shine on You Crazy Diamond", het they maybe should pay royalties, the flute section is very pretty, but again not something I would expect from this band, by moments seem they lost their teeth and can't bite anymore.

Rudess is above the average as always, but in some moments a bit cheesy, the vocals are correct but again correct is not enough. the guitar solo near the end is simply distasteful, yes the combination wit acoustic guitar is complex, buy nothing more, at the end becomes pompous and at least that's something.

I believe that if I had to choose a word that describes this album would be unimpressive, something that a band based in the spectacular skills of most of their members and impressive solos can't afford, I would say is bellow the average, and being that in our system the average is 3 stars, can't rate Octavarium with more than 2.5 sadly this is not possible, will have to rate it with 2 stars.

Report this review (#218287)
Posted Monday, May 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
2 stars Octavarium, Dream Theater, 2005


Octavarium marks a sort of double-effort by Dream Theater, aiming to create another distinctly Dream Theater album, with Dream Theater compositions, including obligatory ballads, metal songs and epic songs but also to do something new and artistic overall. So, I'm offering two opening analyses: one, the 'art', two, the 'songs' (they're not entirely indivisible, but they're not exactly too chummy either).

Personally, the first aim turns out rather better than the second, which goes in for the gimmicky 'nuggets' far more than truly novel ideas. I guess the best illustration is that if I'm meant to give them credit for having 8s and 5s, should I criticise them for having track limits that aren't 8.88s or 5.55s or not using cyclical track lengths, or say they should use something like ottava rima or a Sicilian octave for the rhyme scheme of the lyrics? Yes, it's arguably clever, and I have to admit one of the nuggets was actually, as I understand it, pretty good, but does it actually add anything to the album and the impact it has? I don't think so... the 5s, 8s and cycles are all referenced fairly often, and all sorts of influences are consciously and often openly aired, but again, that's just an artistic superfluity. So, that's one side on which the album attempts to make a lot of impact or show cleverness that really, just wasn't needed and doesn't add the overall piece.

So, the second: initial remark, the songwriting (or else pick-and-choosing: some reviewers have mentioned borrowings from bands I basically don't know, so for the sake of the review, I'll call it writing: just be aware I'm not 100% certain it always is) is pretty good. The four metal songs are effective and moderately individual, though they're not sing-in-the-shower memorable, and Sacrificed Sons, the Preppic (preparatory-epic), much as I don't really appreciate the lyrics, is a musical triumph, and the title track definitely has its moments, though honestly, I could happily cut it off the album's end. So, all-in-all, on the musical, and, for most of you, I guess, more important front, a success, though not an unqualified one.

Well, that's three times the usual space for an introduction, but what I'm going to say is something contradictory to expectations: if your listening approach is generally like mine, fussing over the effect of specific fills, whether a song should or shouldn't use a fade, whether a lyric is supported properly by the feel of the music and so forth, this album gets much better if you can just switch off, and let the music sink in rather than trying to seek the album's deeper conceptual fish, which are floating lifeless on the surface. At least, that's how it worked for me.

The first of eight (surprises there...) tracks, The Root Of All Evil starts promisingly with a firm, low piano note, a menacing hum and Rudess solidifying over Portnoy's startling, mechanical bursts. A thick riff coalesces very naturally from this, and from that, somewhat more awkwardly, the vocal bit. Labrie offers menacing and murky vocals for a snappy set of lyrics with a matching bass underpinning the whole thing. The slightly ambling chorus doesn't have the punch of the verses but on the other hand the superb squirming Petrucci solo and a tasteful piano part from the later Octavarium slipped in smoothly at the end make this an effective statement of intent, both for the metal and the artistic sides of the album. Not entirely certain we needed eight minutes to get it, though.

The Answer Lies Within is a somewhat typical Dream Theater power ballad in the vein of Another Day or The Spirit Carries On. While it doesn't have the inspiring guitar part of the former, it compensates with somewhat less painful lyrics and a fairly nice, if simple (for some reason, Rudess seems to turn the speed down on the 'emotional' piano parts), piano backing that is darkened neatly at the entrance of the violin. On the minus side, the harmonies just aren't something Dream Theater have convincingly engaged, and Labrie's basically good voice is hamstrung by the audible intake of breath before just about each word and an occasional ineffective echo choice. The violin's entrance and a nicely dark conclusion stand out, and all in all it's not a particularly important attraction, but a fairly pleasant break in between the album's general heaviness.

These Walls opens with a block of surprisingly effectively arranged noise which twists into one of DT's most convincing metal riffs. As Rudess enters at speed it's not really so much changed as revealed to be a more deep, dark, brooding song, and a drifting electro-acoustic or something of the ilk brings us to a great entrance from the still hard-breathing Labrie, as usual, slamming vibrato left, right and centre in a decent performance. Rudess takes the only real criticism for his pseudo-orchestral apparitions, which don't really give the Stravinskian punch I think they were meant to. But, even if the song could be a little more involving and stabbing, the melody is great, the bass part is really neat, the chorus is very memorable, and I don't dislike the lyrics. Petrucci's clever hooks offer it an almost unanticipated staying power (and he also takes credit for a calm, tasteful guitar solo with a good tone), and the rhythm section gives a spectacular, cohesive impression as well as the idea that these are really good individual players. I mean, as Dream Theater goes, this just about manages to unite all their best elements, and I can only criticise a couple of either basically insignificant or else very general elements (too many chorus repeats, maybe? Rushed ending? Not a lot of balance?, but these are all very general or nor really important).

I Walk Beside You opens with a fairly clever transition from a jumpy string-synth opening somewhat reminiscent of Queen's The Show Must Go On to a fairly horrendous pop track ? now, I admit that elsewhere I've been lavishly praising of 'pop' songs on otherwise 'prog' masterpieces: I Know What I Like on Selling England By The Pound, Love To Love You on Nine Feet Underground, Tua Casa Commoda on Ys... the difference between this one and those ones is that the classic prog bands were generally able to keep their identity and individuality, and also to throw out great hooks and compositions even when working within pop constraints: Dream Theater, here, at least, do not. Labrie's vocal begins well with a sort of jittering Myung bassline, but, as the chorus begins, the song moves from anything memorable to a general mess. The lyrics are uplifting in the sort of way that Finding Nemo was uplifting (terrible movie). The big crescendo is just trying far too hard (straining your voice is not the only way to evoke emotion with it... sometimes it's not even one of the ways), albeit balanced with a brief and somewhat more tasteful piano-sounding flourish. The issue with this isn't that it's pop, incongruous though it feels, but just that I get no impression of personality from it, just 4.27 which is, admittedly nice intro aside, emotionally blank and musically limp. Short, by the album's standards, and inviting the skip button.

Panic Attack continues the trend of the 'metal' songs on Octavarium being better than the pop/rock ones by a large margin, with a hell of a kicking riff interspersed with effective orchestra-lite melodies from Rudess. Energy, attack, a great vocal melody (later reprised in Octavarium with a bit of a twist). Labrie is again (I much prefer him this way) working on the darker side with a couple of neat wavering high notes, and the vocal melody is interweaved pretty cleverly with repeats of the riff. Petrucci and Portnoy are both in full force on this one, offering aggressive, mule-kick drumming and screechy guitar solos, with Rudess' selective decoration and this energy doesn't relent at all until the great end. I haven't a complaint... well, maybe the introduction of Petrucci's solo involves a couple of unneeded bars, but even with that tiny nitpick, it's a hell of a song. Best on the album.

Never Enough is another of the album's metal numbers, and with the heaviest riff, I think, though the build of the chorus leads us only to some very plodding long syllables (I can only take so much of your un-GRAAATEful wAAAYS) are emphasised agonisingly. That particularly section aside, Labrie's twisted, slightly distorted almost opera-metal vocals are among the best I've heard from him, and even his bawling long syllables seem to slip in unreasonably well. Portnoy's lyrics are pretty simple and direct, and dissecting them is naturally going to prove both unfair and unnecessary, but the chorus feels almost intently ambling by comparison with the verses. However, his drumming here is great: energy, attack, a mild element of surprise, fits neatly in with the bass parts, and not too dense for continued impact. Both Rudess and Petrucci seem to be contributing basically embellishments during the song's main chorus, they seem to twine together to create both the killer opening riff and the instrumental mid-section, but then, they're acting just right by the song, and, even if it's not musically visionary and the chorus isn't as great as it could be, it is really a very good song.

Sacrificed Sons finds itself in an awkward position. Automatically, it's the second-most-epic song on an album, which is never enviable, and it's put right against the title track, and it's clearly aiming to be something more than the metal tracks. So, in the album's context, I don't think it's really going to bring out its full potential ? guess that's the issue with making 70 minute albums rather than 40 minute ones. However, from the synthesis of Arabic-sounding prayers, a wandering violin and a set of quotations about 9/11, understandably a sensitive and relevant topic, and I credit the band for trying to engage with it. On the other hand, I don't particularly feel they engaged with it effectively but maybe I'm just too detached to really feel the human, emotional pull they're angling for.

A chilling, simple piano-voice-drums trio, with Labrie's voice on top form is augmented by a fairly harmless orchestral addition played off against swirling, brooding solos from Rudess and Petrucci. The initial melodies aren't especially creative, but the song's main attraction lies in Petrucci's astounding soloing - and all directed towards the song and its lyrical theme ? and the heady metallic mid-section, full of the sort of complex band-lines that made Metropolis pt. 1 such a classic. All, in all, were this the album's ending, I'd call it an almost unqualified success, as it is, the denouement before the album's intended piece de resistance doesn't really suit it, but still, a minor classic in the band's repertoire, and the best playing I've yet heard from the very talented Petrucci.

The centrepiece and twenty-four minute epic Octavarium is obviously the album's making-or-breaking, whether it'll be an occasional listen or a regular visitor to the headphones or CD-player. I personally can understand the accolades it receives on one level ? Dream Theater are a talented bunch of musicians, and they're producing an enormous piece jammed full of information and references in a strictly progressive rock track. I guess it's just not an idea that appeals to me, and the silly five/eight/cycles thing appears to gain any interest accidentally as much as by design ? OK, the notion of infinite reincarnation as a trap is interesting, but I'm not convinced with all the eight-octave-that's-a-cycle thing going on, and five-that's-like-the-black-notes-man. As for the reference soup in pt. III: well, I can't blame them for using them: who doesn't , but just slamming references down rather than using them to establish a point or something of the kind is essentially messy rather than insightful. Still, musically, it's not a bad thing, and addressing that:

So, the first four minutes or so are a twisted welding of Bijou and the introduction of Shine On You Crazy Diamond ? Petrucci's more than up to the task, not so convinced that Rudess' keys have the emotional grip that Wright never relinquished. After this and admittedly a very pretty flute part, a content guitar (any resemblance to Cadence and Cascade is probably an imagination on my part), a good Labrie vocal and the occasional reinforcing piano note. Portnoy's arriving rattle adds a slight, building depth, though the transition of 'I thought what I could tell' unfortunately sees Labrie straining to create effect. I find myself at about nine minutes in by now, with a cool bass groove, less cool lyrics, some neat fills by Portnoy and three minutes later, I'm still in much the same mood... it's not so much that the song's not good, but just that it's making no continued impression on me. I phase out and find myself waking up occasionally to check where I am by the lyrics.

A very neat synth solo ? according to the site I've got up, cribbed, but still, it's well-played ? is my next point of actual contact with the music, and after sitting through it and wondering just what it's meant to add to the piece before settling down to plain enjoy it. Now, Full Circle, part III, is a dilemma for me. As mentioned, I think the lyrics are a horrendous mess, but Labrie is on top form and the riff they've pulled out is really strong, and the descent into a sort of collective madness at around 16.00 is great, with what sounds like a brief reference to Metropolis pt. 1, or, at least, the same sort of complex fast-paced, high-energy progressive metal. Head-spinning assaults from the bass and guitar and synthesiser counterpointed with a big range of keyboards, solid ten-second references. I find myself strangely able to completely ignore the lyrics of the next section and carry my full enjoyment of the song across Labrie's odd, but effective, vocal stylings and the full yowling post-ordial swirl of the band. Razor's Edge, though itself somewhat unremarkable, does a good job of working out the tension and energy spilling over from the previous two sections. Some more Brian May-ish guitar-work takes us on our instrumental ride out with a complementary, if brief, appearance by the orchestra.

Well, left in the aftermath with one chilling low piano note, what do I think of Octavarium? Good question... my description's been pretty brief given the length ? and I've been trying to give impressions rather than a list you yourself can hear if you pick up the album. Still, it's an enjoyable progressive rock track, with some of Dream Theater's most focussed and impressive music yet, and yet it's a conceptual mess ? pritt-sticking a hundred influences together with little other than a lot of instrumental talent to do it. From an intellectual, puzzle-solver and poet, standpoint, I think it's decidedly lightweight, from an emotional standpoint, it almost pulls off the huge finale thing it was going for. And from about the 11.00 or 12.00 mark it never really lost my attention. Unfortunately, this isn't really a case where something less than absolute success can be enough, the album's impact clearly depends on this suite to unify it from a smorgasboard (I wouldn't recommend the cheese) of harmless pop/rock and artistically-leaning metal numbers, and for me, this one isn't good enough to do that.

So, all in all, I think Dream Theater somewhat overreached themselves by a sheer effort to be artistic here, instead ending with a jumble of circumstantial or arranged fives and eights and a couple of whole-album links that really are a bit too light to justify the effort put into them. Additionally, the enormous centrepiece supposedly unifying this is good, but just not good enough or intellectually convincing enough to iron out so many kinks. However, this artistic misfire actually has little effect on the enjoyment of the album proper and, all in all, we're left with some very good songs, in fact, some of DT's best, especially Never Enough, These Walls and Sacrificed Sons, and I think the band's overall sound benefits a bit from Rudess being a little less and Myung a little more noticeable (worth using a good set of headphones for this one ? really enjoyed the production). All in all, a pleasant, fairly memorable effort, and worth a few listens even if you're not the band's biggest fan, even if the whole effect doesn't really pull together and I Walk Beside You is a real monstrosity. Three deserved stars from me.

Rating: Three Stars, 10/15... if you want an introduction to the band, I'd say Images And Words (a sketchy 11/15) would be a better choice than this, and Awake a better album than either of them. Favourite Track: Panic Attack


For the record, this is the fifth Dream Theater album I've heard, and the fourth I've listened to enough times to get a good impression (about four or five 'complete' listens, and a fair few repeats of the various songs depending on inclination and challenge). However, given I'm reviewing this one based on the excellent Spotify, I find myself without the negative time between the tracks, so be aware that I'm missing about two minutes of the album's incidental music. Additionally, this review has hit, at the moment of completion, 2917 words... long reviews, I'm afraid, result from my style ? it wasn't just that I really hated Scenes From A Memory Metropolis. Oh, and I forgot: a mention for Myung's bass solo in Octavarium. Always good to hear a bass solo.

Edit: Cut to two as I'm moving to generally harsher ratings (not just because I'm having a go at Dream Theater... whose latest wasn't terrible, btw), I felt that maybe the derivative nature of the album works against it and there are noticeable patches of patchiness in among the neatness (I also figure that if I can't remember what happened in what I called the best song on the album, it probably isn't the best song on the album... heh).

Report this review (#223758)
Posted Monday, June 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars After not just exciting "Train of thought", DT in 2005 returned to be really great! Although not particularly innovative, the atmosphere in this album is truly remarkable. The first part of CD (tracks 1-7) fall into classic DT repertoire: considerable riffs, instrumental excursions, good singing and melodies and a great ballad like "The answer lies within". Personally I don't understand why a band like DT has to offer tribute to U2 and Muse (see "I walk beside you" and "Never enough"), however the first part of CD is good overall. But all is yet to come, because here we are at the final masterpiece, the song "OCTAVARIUM", or 24 minutes of genius, the song that alone gives 5 stars to this album. "Octavarium" is probably the most typically progressive composition of entire production of the band, from the wonderful Pink Floyd-style intro, through the great effect and harmony singin', going to the intricate instrumental interlude, with decidedly vintage sounds, and arriving to the grand orchestral finale. For me, "Octavarium" (song) is one of DT masterpiece and I think it will remain a long in the progressive history.
Report this review (#223953)
Posted Tuesday, June 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars Review # 469

Following the very metal heavy sounds of Train of Thought, Dream Theater opened up their veritable can of prog worms to produce a fan pleaser with heaps of prog elements including the multi movement suite epic tacked on for good measure - result a very accessible and highly revered album.

The musicianship is absolutely brilliant. Rudess and Myung shine on this album as they play some intricate passages that far surpass earlier work. Portnoy is great on drums as usual and I am particularly impresssed with the vocal performance of LaBrie who is at his best on each track. The effort is excellent. Interesting to note that Petrucci does not launch into complex lengthy guitar solos, the band are really working together as a unified organised unit.

It begins with the riff heavy Portnoy penned The Root of all Evil, beginning with a soft piano that builds to a fortissimo of keyboards and bass.

The Answer Lies Within is a quiet ballad that is melodic and ambient.

These Walls blends symphonic prog with heavy guitar effectively. The wall of sound of synths is wonderful.

I Walk Beside You is radio friendly and the most accessible on the album, though not necessarily a great track, it is at least tolerable.

Panic Attack features a good bassline showcasing Myung's prowess and the track is one of the highlights.

Never Enough features prog riffs and very competent keyboards.

One of the best tracks is Sacrificed Sons which begins with the 9/11 report and therefore clearly a tribute to the disaster that changed the world. Everything about this is great especially LaBrie's emotional performance.

I loved most of all the epic that clocks in at 24 minutes, Octavarium. Live on 'Score', this is a treasure with an amusing animated clip to complement it. The 'Shine On' Pink Floyd intro is marvellous showcasing Rudess' continuum keyboard gadget, as seen on 'Score' DVD and this continues for quite some time before the guitars chime in, acoustic, slide and fuzzed distortion. A very melancholy ambience is created.

The prog references are interlaced in the lyrics as seen here:

III. Full Circle Sailing on the seven seize the day tripper Diem's ready Jack the Ripper Owen Wilson Phillips and my Supper's ready Lucy in the Sky with diamond Dave's not here I come to save the Day for Nightmare Cinema show me the way to get back home Again

Flying Off the Hand With careful with That axe Eugene Gene the dance machine messiah Light my Fire gabba, gabba Hey hey my my Generations home again

It builds up to a crunching heavy riff and La Brie screaming 'Trapped in this Octavarium'!

It finishes the album on a high note and you know you have heard one of the best DT tracks in their history. The live version is as accomplished as this studio version, in some ways even better. Conclusion ? this is one of the best DTs and well worth grabbing at your earliest opportunity.

Report this review (#228695)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The ever praiseworthy title track is in fact the SECOND piece of music that opened the world of prog to me (right after 'panic attack' since my playlist was on shuffle) - and I fell instantly and deeply in love. Alright alright please don't mock me for listening out of order - I eventually found my way to the Crimson King and 'Close to the Edge'. Someone had to path that transition for me yes? I was in fact looking for an album of electronic music, and was delighted to find a strong album of (what I initially thought was) metal. Funny story.

It is a pleasure to enjoy this level of craftsmanship in the world of music. Can you write an almost perfect song that runs for 24 minutes? I cannot - and mostly likely you cannot either.

Panic attack is a perfect piece of prog-metal. Energetic, lyrical, powerful.

"Sacrificed Sons" is most memorable. Have another listen to that instrumental section. Again - could you write something like that? Give it a try - I dare you!

I do spin 'The Root of all evil' when I dig up this album, this is an excellent addition to the 12-step suite.

I applaud the band for constructing each track in the album with great precision, despite any less desirable episodes.

If you are keen on following prog since the pioneering giants of the 1970s finished up their gigs, the title track OCTAVARIUM is an essential track for your music library. Oh that haunting reprise theme ... gorgeous gorgeous..

Rock on prog-metal kings

Report this review (#229226)
Posted Friday, July 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I must admit that this is a better than average Dream Theater disk. While it does have the obligatory schmaltzy Journey-like ballad ("The Answer Lies Within"), and a couple of boring, AOR sounding tunes ("These Walls" and "I Walk Beside You"), the rest of the album is very good, and the title track is actually great.

Although Mike Portnoy tries his best to ruin songs like "Panic Attack" by playing incessantly and maniacally over everything, including what might be a fantastic keyboard solo if we could hear it, the album has quite a bit of high energy interesting prog metal.

"Octavarium" itself is a twenty four minute symphonic prog opus, which starts out like Pink Floyd, and builds to a prog metal frenzy. Good enough to earn a place on my MP3 player.

Report this review (#232483)
Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my opinion, best Dream Theater album of the past decade. Every song fits perfectly in the album, no dragging solos or unnecessary parts, and the band is really focused on just making the songs strong and to the point, maximizing the potential of almost every track. I am actually amazed at the relatively low rating this album gets on this site, I mean yeah, maybe most of the album's songs feature normal song structure and its not as progressive as SFAM, but the music for itself is for the most part amazing. Stand-out tracks are, for me: These Walls - an amazing, very powerful song with incredible drum work and really just all the band shines here, I just love the atmosphere this song gives. Sacrificed Sons - haunting song that talks about the 11/9 events, the build up in this up to the chorus, then the instrumental part and the break to the final chorus... amazing. Octavarium - the title track. I can't really describe the song here... if you haven't yet, just listen to this prog-rock masterpiece of 24 minutes of amazing, beautiful music.
Report this review (#238612)
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I first got onto this site, I was very surprised to see that Octavarium had gotten such low ratings compared to the other albums of its caliber. It I was the best Dream Theater album up to that point. It includes eight exceptional songs to go along with it being the eighth DT album so far. These are my thoughts on all of the songs.

1/8 "The Root of All Evil" is the third installment of Mike Portnoy's 12 step AA program and may be considered to be the weakest but with its classic thrash jam, catchy riff, and chorus it is defiantly a good song. The Alcoholics Anonymous suite also includes "The Glass Prison" from 6 Degrees of Inner Turbulence, "This Dying Soul" from Train of Thought, "Repentance" from Sysmatic Chaos, and "The Shattered Fortress" on Black Clouds and Silver Linings.

2/8 "The Answer Lies Within" starts out with nothing but bells but turns into one of the better songs on this album. It is a very slow song with guitar and chorus all through out the song and it is driven by the piano. It is also the main ballad of this work and has heavy emotions throughout the whole song.

3/8 "These Walls" is the first of three DT classics on this album. In the beginning it is a mix of heavy and soaring sounds and this continues through the whole song. Throughout the whole song there is awesome guitar and on the choruses Portnoy's bass kick and Rudess's keyboard playing is masterful.

4/8 "I Walk Beside You" is one of the slowest songs put out by Dream Theater but it is still an awesome song for prog rock fans. It starts out with a soft ticking sound which turns into drums than leads into more guitar and drums. While the song starts out kind of dark it grows into a lighter song and has good vacals.

5/8 "Panic Attack" is one of the songs that shows why DT is such a great band along with Octavarium and some others. It has very good riffs in it with some amazing drumming tucked in. In the middle of it all John Petrucci nails a difficult drum solo which puts this song over the top.

6/8 "Never Enough" has very good keyboards and is one of the better metal songs on this album. The heavy riffs and Labrie/Portnoy lyrics blend together perfectly. The instrumental mid- sectional is owned by Rudess and Petrucci.

7/8 "Sacrificed Sons" starts out with what sound like prayers and actual broadcasts from the 9/11 tragedy. Throughout the whole "broadcast" you can hear a wandering violin in the background. Then in the middle Petrucci hits an amazing solo that transfers great back into the main piece. This song gives you the right kind of emotions for this kind of song; anger and sadness.

8/8 "Octavarium starts out with a Pink Floyd opening that shows signs of Shine on You Crazy Diamonds. After the opening it turns into a small flute solo that sounds very good along with the intro. Than in the middle it turns to a bit of Yes, Rush, and some Black Sabbath. Even though they put all these different bands together they still make it sound awesome. Then they end the song with a great French horn outro.

Great album. Great Rating. 5 stars.

Report this review (#238694)
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater: Octavarium

This is the album i would lend out to a friend if i wanted to show them what Dream theater sounds like. I feel that this album is the best overview of Dream Theaters works up to this point. In a way its like a greatest hits album but every song is new (not that every song on here is amazing its just seems like they took a sound from each era and put it on this album.). The Album starts out with "The Root of all Evil" which is on the heavy side. It is part of Mike Portony's 12 step suite. I feel as if it were written around the same time as Dream Theater's "Train of Thought" Its a decent song not great I would give it a 7/10. "the Answer Lies Within" is a slow ballad that i find amazingly boring, It's by far the worst song on this album. 5/10. "These Walls" is a the first classic on Octavarium. It starts out with John Petrucci goofing around detuning a string to make the guitar sound like a monster having a fit. After the intro, Jordan Rudess takes over with a cool keyboard melody. 9/10. "I Walk Besides you" kinda seems like Dream Theater's gone soft again and made a U2 song but on steroids. Its as if the went back to Falling into Infinity on this one and Im not much of a pop rock fan so ill give it a 6/10. "Panic Attack" starts off with a really cool bass riff and soon the rest of the instruments join in. Its by far the heaviest song on the album. It would be a great song but the lyrics bring it down a notch 7/10. "Never Enough" Is a average song. nothing really special. I like the keyboard guitar duet in the middle but nothing really grabs you beyond that 7/10."Sacrificed Sons" is about 9/11. it starts out slow but once it gets going it really gets cooking. I enjoy this song, it has a depressing subject but that doesn't take away from the music 8/10. "Octavarium" happens to be one of the greatest songs ever written by man. My God just listen to it for yourself. If you like prog rock you will love this song. 10/10

Report this review (#250092)
Posted Thursday, November 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've noticed I had not review this album yet... My mistake...!!!

I want to add something usefull to the mix of reviews, so I will start with a worry: why DT tend to make that amount of criticism...??? possitive or negative, but at the end DT seem to be a band to love or hate, but nothing in between... I feel that some progheads still refuse to admit metal is a good part of prog and still try to let down THE icon band of prog metal... but it is ok... Prog rock is still alive on the mainstream notion because of Dream Theater success...

In Octavarium DT brings a lot of different inlfuences that build a very moody album, the first half oriented into a more "pop" routes while the second part is heavily focus on prog-metal but with more "futuristic" sound... I've heard that they stole songs of Muse and U2 in this album, and thats of course, again a liar from the DT haters... everbody has their influences and DT has never denied theirs, so, if you like U2 o Muse, well, hear the songs and decided if those are good or bad but not come with exagerated statements... please...

This album is Dream Theater leaving their 80's sound behind and bringing a complete fresh sound of the new millenia... and that's it... a little more electronic noises and ambients, a wonderful quality of sound, good lyrics and less solos and "showing off" that seems to put many people nervious... So I find it very interesting cause it's very untypical on them -there are songs without solos at all!!!!!- and Octavarium is one of the most impressive songs I've ever heard... so, I feel this album is great... What I've always respect from these guys is trying not to do what is expected but what they like... and this is surely one of their most solid albums... maybe not at the Images and Words standards but quite ok...!!!

Report this review (#250121)
Posted Thursday, November 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars A good album, but not amazing

Octavarium may not be great, but is definitely a step up from Train Of Thought. Most of the tracks on this album are good, but not great. The title track is absolutely stunning and their 2nd best song in my opinion, next to A Change Of Seasons. The rest of the album, however, is lacking in some areas that will be explained later.

A description of the music: Octavarium has a couple tracks with a mainstream-ish tune, like Falling Into Infinity. However, I find the tracks are a little more well done here. "Root Of All Evil" is one of the heavier songs on the album and contains some pretty good lyrics and a catchy main riff. "The Answer Lies Within" is a very simple piano ballad. "These Walls" shows our first shred of mainstream in this album, but I find is a very good track with a memorable chorus. "I Walk Beside You" is also a mainstream track, however it's not nearly as well done as "These Walls" and has an enormous amount of U2 influence."Panic Attack" contains some Muse influence on vocals and is the heaviest track. A not-so-good track that gets a little repetitive and has a pretty bland instrumental section. "Never Enough" sounds so much like "Stockholm Syndrome" by Muse that I think they shouldn't have bothered putting this on the album. "Sacrificed Sons" has some sub-par lyrics, but has an amazing instrumental section and at the end of the instrumental section (and also at the end of the song) is a very memorable riff. The title track is a 24 minute epic with a "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" influenced intro and should cater to many fans. It's one of their best songs and will be explained further later.


Less excessive shredding: This should be a relief for some as this doesn't contain many shredding solo's as many people hate.

Choruses: The songs "Root Of All Evil," "These Walls," "I Walk Beside You," "Sacrificed Sons," and the "Medicate" section of the title track all contain great choruses.

The title track: The 24 minute epic title track is pure bliss. The beginning should put many through nostalgia of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." The section titled "Medicate" contains a catchy bass groove and a chorus to the tune of what I call "The Octavarium Theme" as it is repeated a few times and is played at the end of "Root Of All Evil." This chorus is one of my favourite moments in all Dream Theater history. "Razor's Edge" contains nods to things that Portnoy likes. Some songs are mentioned in the lyrics such as "Supper's Ready," "The Cinema Show," "Careful With That Axe, Eugene," and many more. "Intervals," while it contains screaming vocals, I find works as an incredibly effective climax. It also references every song on the album in each stanza. "Razor's Edge" contains one of Petrucci's greatest solos. Just amazing... The horn section repeating The Octavarium Theme at the end combined with this makes my favourite outro to any song ever.


Soloing time: Well I mentioned the fact Petrucci has less shredding as a pro, it is also a con. The con being he has barely any solos whatsoever.

Too much influence drawing: Well it is okay to draw SOME influence from other bands, this album does to the point it may seem very unoriginal at times. Especially in "Never Enough" sounding like "Stockholm Syndrome."

Mainstream sound: Some people just can't tolerate the sound of mainstream in their prog. I, to an extent, am that kind of person. "These Walls" I can take because it is still a very good track. Some of the rest, however, is not nearly as successful.

Song ratings: Root Of All Evil: 9.5/10 The Answer Lies Within: 7/10 These Walls: 9.5/10 I Walk Beside You: 5/10 Panic Attack: 3/10 Never Enough: 3/10 Sacrificed Sons: 8/10 Octavarium: 11/10

Recommended for: Fans of some mainstream rock. People who like instrumental sections without many guitar solos.

My rating: 3 stars. The title track alone makes this worth a listen in my opinion. Most of the rest, however is nowhere near the quality.

Report this review (#263184)
Posted Thursday, January 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I admit, compared to Train of Thought, this is a bit disappointing at first. Nearly any semblance of heavy metal is eroded or glossed over in favour of a more alternative-rock approach for the majority of this album. This change comes to mixed effect--"I Walk Beside You" is actually a fantastic piece, whereas "Never Enough" and "These Walls" leave something to be desired. And don't even talk to me about "The Answer Lies Within." Screw that piece. Seriously, dump it in a trash bin and never look back. I have no idea what Dream Theater was thinking, but that song is a piece of horse bile....All hatred for one specific piece aside, the songs where they stick to their guns tend to be the highlights on the album. "The Root of All Evil" and "Panic Attack" are both clear highlights on the album, consistent with Dream Theater's established sound. The epic title track is also pretty good as well, melding their sudden obsession with soft-alterna-rock with their heavier-prog roots in what turns out to be a satisfying listen. In summary, the pieces representative of Dream Theater's sound tend to be better, their alternative rock dabblings are really hit-or-miss, and "The Answer Lies Within" should be burnt at stake.
Report this review (#275178)
Posted Monday, March 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Octavarium was my introduction to progressive rock music. My father gave me this album when I was seventeen, and it has no doubt launched a wave of incredible music in my life. It seems only fair that my first review here on ProgArchives be of Dream Theater's Ocatavarium.

The Root of All Evil is a great opener, with heavy riffs throughout accompanied by lower toned keyboard and piano. This song is somewhat slower-paced and isn't as technical as other works from Dream Theater, but that doesn't diminish the metal edge of this song. Overall, a very good opener. 9/10

The Answer Lies Within is a beautiful ballad with some truly epic moments. I really enjoy the lyrics here, as well as the vocals and piano (a running trend in this album). Not too much variety, but a well-crafted song nontheless. 9/10

These Walls kicks in with some cool warped-guitar sounds. The melody here is outstanding and the band sounds full and focused. Great lyrics and some pretty cool drum fills. One of the best tracks on the disc in my opinion. 9.5/10

I Walk Beside You is the most radio-friendly song on the album, but that doesn't bother me too much. There are plenty of great moments here, including a part that reminds me of the song "surrounded" from Images and Words. This song is epic in its own way and fits perfectly within the album. 8.5/10

Panic Attack is the heaviest song to be found here, and the album really starts to kick in at this point. This song has an Interesting structure and really showcases the technicality that's almost been missing from the first four tracks. The instrumental/solo section is pretty awesome. Just as epic as can be expected. Great song! 9.5/10

Never Enough has a cool opening keyboard and the vocals have a great sound throughout the song. Everything here is top notch, including the main riff and the chorus. 9/10

Sacrificed Sons starts out pretty slow and haunting, then transforms into a wall of prog riffs and crazy soloing! Which is quite welcome at this point in the album, considering the only other songs to have such instrumental busyness so far is The Root of All Evill and Panic Attack. The song never loses focus, though. The chorus is great and the ending is heavy and epic as usual. Outstanding song! 10/10

Octavarium is the greatest track on the album. There is too much in this song for me to accurately cover, which is always a good thing. This song has everything any prog fan could ever want. So epic and full of instrumental madness! Amazing lyrics and emotion, tying together the theme of the album, and the guitar solo at the end makes me shiver every time. Without a doubt the greatest song Dream Theater has ever made. 10/10

While this album isn't considered to be the pinnacle of Dream Theaters accomplishments, to me it certainly is their masterpiece. Every song fits together wonderfully, and the concept is original and executed perfectly. Maybe it's my personal connection to this album that's saying all this, seeing how it is my first prog cd, but it's certainly enough for me to reccommend to anyone. Overall, 10 out of 10. A prog metal masterpiece.

Report this review (#279986)
Posted Friday, April 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow this album is just great. Everything is defined in this album. If someone asked me "hey what should I listen to for dream theater" my answer would be simple, "Besides Images, Octavarium is the one to hear." This has a gothic feel to it and which makes it sound great. The song Octavarium let alone is amazing. The lyrics are deep too which as far as lyrics go, remind me of floyd a little. Just overall great album. And I was very impressed with every song on here. No song was just like eh, its okay. It was like. Wow this is a cool song. So get it if you dont have it and listen to it immediatly!!!!!!!!!!
Report this review (#282709)
Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is quite a mixed bag, some are just utterly fantastic (the title track, THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL, THE ANSWER LIES WITHIN, PANIC ATTACK with its Muse-ness) and there is some that start good but kinda fall flat by the end like I WALK BESIDE YOU, SACRIFICED SONSand NEVER ENOUGH. With all that said this is still a fantastic effort and one that i keep going back to again and again despite its flaws, and why is that? because its Dream Theater of course, they just cant make a bad album, they just seem to have this talent of always making albums that keeps you begging for more and i think thats why this band will stand the test of time, no other band can seem to do that as well as DT. Of course this release was again produced by Portnoy and Petrucci so the production is just like the music, fantastic you cant go wrong with DT's production, with every instrument is clean enough to eat of and theres enough of everything in the mix;

The Root Of All Evil - 10/10 The Answer Lies Within - 10/10 These Walls - 8/10 I Walk Beside You - 7/10 Panic Attack - 10/10 Never Enough - 7/10 Sacrificed Sons - 7/10 Octavarium - 10/10

My Conclusion? Another spellbinding album from these progressive metal gods, a high reccomendation.

Report this review (#284260)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars it was hard t00 get into the Train of Thought and Live at Budokan album. from Train of Thought, i could only get into This Dying Soul, Honor Thy Father, and In the Name of God and on Live at Budokan, I only could get into Beyond This Life. i say that Octavarium would b a relief album for me cuz it was hard getting into Train of Thought and Live at Budokan. On the Octavarium album, i only got into The Root of All Evil, These Walls, Panic Attack, Never Enough, Sacrificed Sons, and the title track of course cuz the title track is the last song and its the longest song for the album. they then released the live album Score, which made me like the Octavrium album. and on June 5 2007, they released the masterpiece album Systematic Chaos under Roadrunner Records. The Root of All Evil - 9/10 The Answer Lies Within - 7.5/10 These Walls - 9/10 I Walk Beside You - 8/10 Panic Attack - 9.5/10 Never Enough - 9/10 Sacrificed Sons - 10/10 Octavarium - 10/10 on a scale from 1-10, i would rate it a 9/10.
Report this review (#289023)
Posted Saturday, July 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars My introduction to Octavarium occurred when I saw Dream Theater perform at Sweden Rock Festival 2005 where they played a few new songs starting with the concert opener The Root Of All Evil. At the time I didn't know much about the new album but heard from a friend that the band would have one hour signing session a few hours after the gig. Needless to say, I went there.

The line to the room where the signing took place was huge and at the entrance there was a counter where they were selling Octavarium. Unlike some of my friends who weren't too happy about purchasing another copy of the new album when they already had the album pre-ordered, note that this signing took place just a day after the official release date, I was pretty lucky since I got to buy the new album, have it signed by all the band members and received an opportunity to have a quick chat with them. I was trying to prepare the perfect words to say for the occasion, but when it finally came to the moment I simply uttered a few words about how I loved their music and that I was looking forward to seeing them perform in Stockholm just a few month later.

Once I finally came back home from the festival with my brand new signed copy of Octavarium I literally didn't waste any time and put the CD in my record player. What I heard was definitely the same Dream Theater that I came to love on Scenes From A Memory but now there was a feeling of uncertainty coming from the music that I never noticed before. My guess is that Dream Theater basically reached their peak over the course of the previous three albums and began to search for a new direction with the release of Octavarium. Hence it did feel a bit like a letdown, but it would have been unfair for me to expect these guys to do the same thing album after album, progress is never a bad thing even if you have a good thing going!

I'm actually quite content with some of the new approaches that Dream Theater undertook with songs like Never Enough and Panic Attack, plus there are of course the classic performances like Sacrificed Sons and the 24 minute title track that should make any fan quite content with this album. Yes, there are a some lesser moments at the beginning of the album, a reoccurring trend that will continue on the next few releases, but the overall product is still the same great band that we all love and support.

Even if Octavarium was a step forward for the band, it was definitely a shaky such and Dream Theater tried to spread out the risk by making many different types of songs which would hopefully appeal to all the different fan demographics. At the end of the day it's still all about what style a particular fan enjoys the most. Since I like the heaviness in Dream Theater's sound, this album still gets a shaky excellent addition-recommendation on my part.

***** star songs: The Root Of All Evil (8:07) Never Enough (6:33)

**** star songs: The Answer Lies Within (5:26) Panic Attack (7:16) Sacrificed Sons (10:42) Octavarium (24:00)

*** star songs: These Walls (6:59) I Walk Beside You (4:29)

Report this review (#294668)
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dream Theater's eight studio album is a big surprise. After the great "6 Degrees Of Inner Turbulence", where the band seemed to have reached a new type of sound, and "Train Of Thought", where the sound is even more diverse but a little less successful, Dream Theater return with an outstanding album. I must say, I really didn't expect it to be this good.

The style is the typical 00' DT sound: heavy guitars, virtuous keyboards, fast rhythms, nice catchy melodies and choruses: the same characteristics as their previous album, Train Of Thought, although "Octavarium" is much more original, creative, and fun to listen to.

"The Root Of All Evil" has now become one of my favorite DT songs. Catchy riff, great chorus, and a repetition of the chorus of the song "This Dying Soul", from their previous album, even though the lyrics are different. Fantastic, one of the best of the album.

"The Answer Lies Within" isn't as nice as the previous track, but it still has it's moments. It's mostly a ballad, with a nice melody, but the chorus doesn't seem to be at the same level as the verse. It would have been a nicer song otherwise.

"These Walls" is a great, heavy song, with a nice verse, chorus, nice everything. Mike Portnoy does a brilliant performance for this song, in my opinion.

"I Walk Beside You" is another really good song, kind of a weird verse, but a lovely chorus, very catchy and moving. Even the pre chorus has something special. But my favorite part is after the second chorus, where all the band joins for the backing vocals, and the melody is fantastic. Excellent.

"Panic Attack" is maybe the most technical and heavy song of the album. Personally It isn't one of my favorites, but there are some great passages. The verse is OK, the chorus is better but not as catchy as others. A little overrated song.

"Never Enough" has an awesome intro, but everything seems to go downhill from there. The verse is a little irritating, the chorus as well. The only thing that saves this song is the intro, which is also repeated after each chorus.

"Sacrificed Sons" is the second longest song of the album. The intro is just some different people, one of them sounds like Portnoy, talking about different stuff, but shortly after the song starts, with a pretty nice verse. The chorus, which arrives after a few minutes, is great, and really puts the song onto a new higher level. From there, the song is a little more brightened up. A fabulous, fast part arrives after the chorus. Very catchy. A short keyboard solo follows, then a guitar one. The melody then get's slower, then again fast. Then Labrie starts singing again, and it goes on until the end. A great song, one of the best of the album.

"Octavarium" can easily be the best Dream Theater song. It starts with a very Pink Floydish atmosphere: a slow, atmospheric keyboard, accompanied by an excellent Gilmour like guitar. The mood is quite mysterious, making it most definitely a progressive rock song, more than metal. Ahead, the mood gets more epic sounding (think Lord Of The Rings), even though the atmosphere is the same. All the band comes in in about 4'00'', immediately followed by a beautiful acoustic guitar part, accompanied with a flute, instrument that I've never heard in a DT song. Soon Labrie starts singing, and the music sounds more like a ballad now. There is an increasing, climax, until the part that seems to be the chorus arrives. And what a chorus, one of those choruses that makes you understand that it's just a start of an epic journey. Then a new verse comes, with a very crunchy bass riff, and an awesome rhythm section. A new chorus arrives, but it isn't as good as the first one. The verse is repeated, and when it ends, a new part of the song starts. The keyboards give an awesome and essential contribute to this grand opening: they sound very Symphonic Proggish. Another part starts, more aggressive and quite catchy. The verse is awesome, the chorus is even better, with Portnoy's backing vocals. After this whole part, there is an awesome, mind blowing, keyboard riff/solo, soon to be alternated with guitar and bass. After this, we find a lightning fast guitar solo, possibly my favorite Petrucci solo. Another awesome keyboard part comes in, immediately alternated with a great guitar part. When the new part comes in, everything is calmer, but the atmosphere gets more tense and tense, thanks to Labrie's increasing climax of aggressiveness. Until he's yelling like never before: "Trapped Inside This Octavarium". The part closes and a new part, which has the same melody as the one that was presented earlier, around the first six minutes, starts. A slower guitar solo is followed. Around 23'00'', the grand finale arrives. And the song ends, as well as this terrific album.

There are some truly great moments here, and I say to give this album a try.

Report this review (#296872)
Posted Tuesday, August 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was my first listen into prog metal and ithought it was A MASTERPIECE absoulty still in my top 3 favourite prog albums just the songs and themes fit so well together panic attack being the 5 track out of 8 tracks and in the time signature of 5/8 then the 24 minute epic octavrium just was so amazing at least to me it was the songs were more managable for teh most part i liked the instrumental parts on this album a lot better than most of dream theaters they didn't seem to drag on even Labrie's vocals were great drumming was exceptional espically on panic attack all in all this album 4/5 stars just an excellent additon to anyone's album collection
Report this review (#297651)
Posted Monday, September 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars 547 ratings already ? Short, experimental review then:

5(-) ...

why ? Well, from these 73 minutes, I can think of about 2/3 of it as top class (title song, The Root of All Evil, Panic Attack, Sacrified Sons). Why Octavarium is a great song is without doubts I suppose. Those who doubt won't be convinced so easily, so I'm not even trying (yep, you hear well). Great song that has everything, long synth intro (lengthened of about 250% on Score tour) and slowly graduated for whole song's length. Have you ever heard something like that ? Very rarely, if something like that exists. Yep, there are some rip-offs / homages (I've read the analysis of this song, it's interesting piece of work and from it, I realized many things which made me love this song much more). Also, equally charming is its story. Why not, I like these. A little bit of mystery, metaphors, philosophy or maybe social problems ? Put it all together. What I instantly noticed is that how Myung's bass works here. I'm glad because this is one of few bands where bass lines are clear to be heard. So, let's back to the song. Pop-cultural reference section is unique, as with a lot of things in this "song" (not your normal kind of song). Climax of Octavarium works perfectly, with every bombastic and pompous moment being turned on. I like that, I appreciate that and what's most important is that I think that this is the way I will rate it highly. This is top by my opinion.

Some will disagree though.

So even this song is of about 1/3 of this album, its presence is like about 2/3. Of course, it's the main reason why people will (probably) listen this album. The rest 1/3 songs I haven't mentioned are good, but it takes time to adjust for them. But this applies to previous ones as well.

Yet I still don't know what to think about I Walk Beside You. After reading FishyMonkey's remark about U2 similarity, I can't stop thinking about it and laughing to how true it is. Weird.

Report this review (#299864)
Posted Monday, September 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars 8variums.

Well, I really hate most of the songs on this album. That being said I will only review 4 songs.

1. I WALK BESIDE YOU: This is by far Dream Theaters worse song. At first I thought it was a parody but the lyrics are too cheesy to even be a joke. DT playing Coldplay like frightening.

2. THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL: This one broke the trend of good AA suite songs.

3. THESE WALLS: Well, 1 of 2 songs from this album that I actually like. Great Intro and an awesome keyboard melody by Ruddess. Chorus is really catchy.

4. OCTAVARIUM: The 2nd of song I enjoy from this album and this one is an awesome epic masterpiece. One of DTs best songs. Begins with an amazing Haken continuum solo and lap steel guitar solo by Ruddess that last about 4 minutes. Extremely ambient and quite relaxing. Then comes the acoustic guitar which is crisp and superb. The song like many other epics builds up and the hits you with a smashing crescendo, then comes the awesome solo, and then ends in an epic and memorable way.

This album is a lot like TARKUS. Tarkus has a title track that's an awesome epic while the other songs don't need to be listened to. Also, this album (like TARKUS) is saved by it's epic title tracks!!!!!

Overall a 4 because of Octavarium

Report this review (#299904)
Posted Tuesday, September 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm going to be bluntly honest: this review is driven by one song, and one song only.

...and no, that one song is not Panic Attack!

Someone (I forget who) on ProgArchives referred to Octavarium as a museum of prog, and I think that is a wonderful description. I simply love this piece, from the spacey intro to the epic finale, and everything in between. Dream Theater has tapped into a common prog epic formula--one which, when done tastefully, houses some of my favorite musical moments of all time--and filled in the blanks about as well as any set of musicians ever have.

This of course is what turns many people off to the song. If you're always out for something uniquely creative and original, then Octavarium may seem stale and cliche. On the other hand, if you like the standard prog epic formula and rarely tire of creative and earnest imitations thereof, then Octavarium takes its place alongside the classics. And if you can't put it up with Supper's Ready, we can at least place it with some of the best metal and neo-prog epics (i.e., The Great Nothing, Milliontown, Stardust We Are, etc.).

Octavarium has it all: some tasteful flute, some nice (and audible!) bass from Myung, a few time changes, some creative and playful lyrics from LaBrie, a killer synth solo from Rudess, plenty of standard DT keyboard/guitar unison riffing, and, of course, the cathartic climax and guitar solo. Some will accuse me of sacrilege, but I put this solo up there with Comfortably Numb.

It's a personal preference, and I feel strongly about it, so I wanted to put it out there. Judge me not harshly, ye loyal Floydians, for verily I yet remain one of you still!

As for the non-title-track songs? Well, we've all heard the standard DT crunching before, as well as the "classic"--to put a positive spin on it--LaBrie/LaBrie overdubbed harmonies, and there's little to hold my interest (although Sacrificed Sons has admittedly grown on me just a bit over the years).

So, three stars for an average album, but five thumbs-up (and possibly any more thumbs I might have at my disposal on a given day) for the title track, today's featured exhibit in the museum of prog.

Report this review (#313237)
Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's amazing how a band can vary from a dark death metal to symphonic rock and mainstream without losing what quality.Was Dream Theater did after the criticism of the "Train of Thought" (although I loved it)-the result is "Octavarium. "

Yes, this album is the weakest of them in recent times.But is great! These guys do not disappoint me at all!

From beginning to end, everything is Good only exception is "Never Enough", which is somewhat boring.But when you have masterpieces as "The Root of All Evil, " "Panic Attack" and the title track, not no reason to complain.

5 stars: The Root of All Evil, The answer lies Within, These Walls, I Walk Beside You, Panic Attack, Sacrificed Sons, Octavarium

3 stars: Never Enough

Average: 4.75

5 stars!

Report this review (#319887)
Posted Sunday, November 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is an interesting album that is definitely worth listening to, but not worth buying or replaying often. What strikes me about it first and foremost is the amazing production - it's scrubbed clean, but in a way that makes use of its immaculacy. Every crunchy riff becomes ear candy; typical proggy wank that usually comes off as "bleeps and bloops" instead becomes exploration of fun and quirky timbres, in the manner of the greats of the past (Gentle Giant in particular). The final track - the title suite - uses this production to the fullest, combining the previous songs of the album into one full-blown conclusion. This song reaches a *climax*, in the most powerful sense of the word, and brings together the whole listen into cohesion. And how wonderful that the concept of the album itself deals with circularity. Clearly, there was a decent amount of thought put into this aspect of the music, contrary to what the most rancorous of the band's detractors claim.

However, my praise of the album pretty much ends there, at the surface level. As far as composition goes, I'm short of impressed. The Root of All Evil starts out *very* promising, with a tense rhythm growing out of a dreamlike stupor, but it isn't long before we're being weighted down with tedious vocal bridges. The thick (and I mean THICK!) 4/4 riff that dominates this song is also pretty decent, but frankly I find it overbearing as a victim of the Loudness War. Portnoy's drumming is aggressive, but strangely static; he has the bite to match Mark Zonder, but not the taste or swiftness.

The Answer Lies Within is a wash, something of a lost cause in sappy baroque pop. If you're in a *very* specific mood, you might find it touching - but this is the bad kind of mood music: that is, the kind that requires you to be in the correct mood beforehand rather than putting you into it as part of its quality. Some decent vocal melodies, but overall, I'm not a fan.

These Walls is structurally tame, again with what I find to be an extremely unconvincing vocal bridge. There is also a keyboard riff here so wild that Kansas would hide their Moogs and ARP's in shame - this is part of what I mentioned earlier, the exploration of fun timbres. But in all honestly, something that overblown is going to have a short shelf life. Similar excess haunts the likes of Muse, which is not a compliment. LaBrie's vocals are run through a thousand toys, which doesn't endear me at all, and I find Petrucci's guitar to be lifeless. The orchestral hits near the end are an egregious offense of taste. Yes can pull it off with some success - sorry, DT, I can't say the same for you!

I Walk Beside You is a solid pop song with decent uplifting verses and chorus. It feels a bit effortless for a band whose reputation stands as such, but honestly I'm not complaining. I never found Dream Theater's noodling to be top caliber anyway, so to hear a break from it is not the end of the world. I also find the lyrics to be sincere and kind without being too overblown (though let's be honest, it's a bit cheesy), which is not too common these days. I find the section before the final set of choruses to be a bit busy, though - the vocal harmonies only weigh it down, and the rhythm guitar needs to shut up. The unnecessary thunder there really distracts from the song's conclusion, which is supposed to be the result of a powerful dynamic change. What dynamic changes can you make when you're always playing full blast? :)

Panic Attack starts out with a fine bass riff, a perfect example of where this album's production shines. It's a breath of fresh air, but altogether too short: I wish Myung could have spent some more time on his own developing that rich and sweet phrase. But no, it's not to be; the rest of the band joins in and we're drenched, particularly with Portnoy's overly busy drumming. The melodies feel confined, which is in part intentional (it's a song about anxiety, after all), but in part not. We get some dumb 80's metal throwbacks along the way in the phrasing (Anyone smell Megadeth? "Winning, sinning, beginning!" Eh he he...) The transition to the dizzying piano melody is nice and has the intended effect, but again I feel that thew song is so busy that the impact is sapped. There are also some LaBrie lines here that are clearly influenced by Matthew Bellamy; I personally am not a fan of the style, but it's not altogether a bad thing. There is also some brief melodic soloing that is reminiscent of German 80's metal such as Running Wild or Helloween.

More fun timbres kick off Never Enough, which is supported by a powerful and actually quite well written verse melody. The riffing feels trendy, though - I am reminded of Tool against my will, and the arrangement is still entirely too busy. There is another bad bridge that the band cannot seem to escape, and the tone of the song is amazingly self-righteous. The soloing is solid and for once Portnoy's drums seem to compliment it perfectly. But overall I'm tempted to pass on this one.

Sacrificed Sons opens with some kitschy audio samples that have plagued prog metal forever (...Queeeeeeeensrÿÿÿÿÿche!!!) and then segues into a relatively halfhearted attempt at being ominous in the form of a 6/8 "funeral march" (what, no snare, guys?). There's a decent synth line following the first verse. The movement into the chorus is...well, it's bad. There is some decent instrumental work later on, though - some chunky symphonic prog play that manages to drop the metal dominance at least partly for a few minutes and pump out what is definitely my favorite part of the album. A great odd-time groove holds down the beat while the guys do their thing. The overdramatic ending is pretty lame.

And finally, the title suite! As I mentioned, it does a good job of tying the record together at a surface level. But as for the song itself, it's not much more than a medley with some great moments and some hackneyed ones. Basically, we have about 5 minutes of Pink Floyd noodling (not bad), a couple pop songs (I would have gotten rid of them!), a really cool instrumental section based around a bright, energetic riff (nice!), a climax (your mileage may vary), and a softer conclusion (not a fan). Lyrically, the tribute to the prog giants of the past is interesting, but come on - I do hope the implication is not that this deserves to stand on the same level as Cinema Show, which is one of the songs referenced.

2 stars is the best I can do. Listen to it if you want a summary of the current state of prog metal.

Report this review (#341174)
Posted Thursday, December 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
4 stars Never enough

I have stated countless times before that Dream Theater is my favorite band of all time. It may seem cliche, but I can't help it; they're great. This album is in the middle of a slouch period for the band, however. After their wonderful masterpiece Scenes from a Memory, the band slowly declined with less and less creative music. They still retained their wonderfully progressive and dynamic music, however, which is great. The band, although leaning towards much more popularly accessible melodies, have still retained a wonderful sense of progression and melodic grace. And of course, the massive title track is easily one of my favorite Dream Theater songs of all time, and a fantastic display of the band's technical, compositional, and progressive skill.

At this point the majority of the music appearing on this album seems like your generic progressive metal, but in reality the band has crafted some truly spectacular, melodically dense music. While some (most notably I Walk Beside You) have some obviously popularly leaning melodies, the music is still progressive and very much good. The band crafts some really cool stuff on this album, despite being pretty cliche.

However, this album is really made by the title track. The massive, 24 minute giant is truly the quintessential Dream Theater track: long, dynamic, inclusive of everything good about progressive music, some interesting (but not fantastic) lyrics, and an overall truly incredible vibe.

Overall, this is in no way Dream Theater's best work. However, this album is still indicative of a band who is willing to grow with the music industry while at the same time sticking to the roots that got them where they are. The album has pockets of genius, with an incredibly creative lose musical concept, some truly creative musical moments, and an overall inviting atmosphere. In the end, this is certainly a good Dream Theater release, and continued the band along the beaten path of progressive metal. 4 stars.

Report this review (#357591)
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the album where Dream Theater tries to forge its power of the tranquility that most of the songs inhabit.

Of course, there are a few exceptions, for example the opener and part of the famous twelve-step suite "The Root Of All Evil" to mention a good example, a complex and difficult opener that becomes more interesting and addicting the more you listen to it and the more you are able to see it in the context with its other parts. "Panic Attack" is also an exception and a very hectical and annoying track that is technically amazing but musically crushing every head and a rather negative example. Everything is played fast and in a very low tuned agressivity and terrible vocal sound effects make the whole thing sound very artificial, technical as if a robot was singing. I really don't like this experience.

Concerning the smoother songs, there are at first hand the ballads "The Answer Lies Within" and "I Walk Beside You" that are dominated by keyboards, smooth guitars and the calm vocals but those tracks don't show anything new or interesting and never reach the level of older ballads like the magic "Surrounded" and eventually fail. The first track is extremely smooth and at least fits to the general atmosphere of this album but it sounds rather like a "Evanescence" pop song meets the aesthetic boredom of a weaker "Awake" rip off. It's a song I normally skip on this record because it makes me disconnect or fall asleep after a very strong opener. "I Walk Beside You" sounds like if Bon Jovi met U2 so purist metalheads should be warned right now. This songs is interesting but nothing more than an average experimental track. "These Walls" is another rather smooth songs with a very strange introduction that fits to the style of the album but doesn't have anything surprising to be truly recognized or kept in mind eventually. It really seems that Dream Theater wanted to try out something completely different once again after the surprising and heavier "Train Of Thought" and from that perspective they have truly succeeded and added another element or piece of style to their diversified universe.

"Never Enough" sounds like "Muse" meets "Tool" and has smoother and harder parts but lacks of an own addicting identity. It is the only song that neither fits to the rest of the album and its two different styles and seems misplaced and lost. It would have found a better place on the "Systematic Chaos" record in my opinion. This song is surely not a bad one even if it is not groundbreaking but goes somehow under on this album and feels like a disturbing piece that doesn't fit into the whole puzzle.

Let's now talk about the two tracks that are really strong and dominating this album. Those two songs make this album worth to be listened to because the other tracks are all disturbingly weak and often even not of an average quality. Those two songs, the last ones of the album called "Sacrificed Sons" and "Octavarium" save this album from being the band's worst offering ever. What a chance that those two songs last over more than half an hour and that means that at least half of the music on thsi record is very good if you only take a look on the length. "Sacrificed Sons" begins with a very cinematic and weird introduction that goes over to a very smooth and calm melody that fits to the overall style and appearence of the record. The guitars sound very experimental, dreamy and eerie during the calm introduction while the chorus is harmonic and peaceful. This track slowly elaborates a feeling of smooth magic like the band was used to do so on the better moments on "Awake". After a while, the songs gets a little bit faster and the instruments proove their talent in various solos and surprising breaks without losing its epicness. The title track "Octavarium" is than a smooth and experimental masterpiece of tranquility where Tangerine Dream meets Genesis meets King Crimson. Just lay down, close your eyes, listen and dream or fly far away as this song creates magic moments and shows us the true quintessence of this album. Especially the keyboards and guitars sound as if they were from another world with there weird effects that create a new kind of sensations that Dream Theater haven't explored before. The smooth orchestrations like violins, violas, cellos, flutes and french horns that ahve already been used in "Sacrificed Sons" but that were less present in the overall sound add now something new to the musical universe and harmonize with the usual instruments and overall songwriting. Of course you have to be patient with this long masterpiece and it won't be easy for every metalhead to attentively listen to such a calm song for twenty-four minutes. But once you get used to this style, you will surely appreciate this epic piece of tranquility with its smooth changes and floating rhythms that are completely different from what he have been used to with songs like "In The Name Of God" from the last records.

But sadly the last two great songs can not let us forget the weaker six first songs that are rarely convincing and consistent. "Panic Attack" and "The Answer Lies Within" on the other hand are maybe among the worst songs the band has ever written. And that's why I can't give a very high rating to this album and must give you the advice to be really patient and open-minded to appreciate this record and that you may really admire it you more you listen to it.

Originally published on on January 13th of the year 2011.

Report this review (#379070)
Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#392172)
Posted Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars A really good album, close to great. One of DT's best.

The "Root of all evil" kicks it off, and a great, energetic start. Then we need a ballad to cool things off, but "The answer lies within" fail badly. What a shame.

"These walls" and "I walk beside you" brings the album back in the game. Then comes "Panic attack", which is Lloyd Webber in metal. Progressive! Weird that very few reviewers catch this influence.

"Never enough" is another, good, energetic piece. And then comes the two-part "Sacrificed Sons", which is beautiful and respectful and mighty, before the instrumental middle part rocks your pants off. This theme of pure power is further explored on the next album "Systematic Chaos" (the very start), so here is interest on many levels. Then Petrucci is to be adored for his magic guitar, and the song finishes off with the beautyparts. Respect!

And last but not least the masterpiece. "Octavarium" (24:00). This song really sums up what the band is about, and it is f? amazing. The start is pure "Wish You Were Here", close to plagiarism if you read the chords. But never mind. That is part of the plot. Then comes the 70s-flute and the next five parts. Each part has different writers (lyrics) and themes, but somehow they all build up to the grand finale where Petrucci's warm guitar finishes off this symphonic concerto better than Rachmaninov ever did (had he played guitar). Goosebumps!

Very few reviewers actually catch all the historic references in this song, but here are a few hints: This is studioalbum number eight (octo) from DT. They have explored new ground, and yet they are back to where they started. (They "Move in circles" and the story "Ends where it began"). Therefore they are "Trapped inside this Octavarium", as LaBrie screams.

The song is so packed (in both lyrics and music) with bits and pieces from former DT and other bands that it is almost too obvious, but nevertheless: There is more PF ("Careful With that Axe, Eugene"), Beatles ("Lucy in the Sky"), Genesis ("Supper's ready", "Cinema Show"), Yes ("Machine Messiah"), Ramones ("Gabba Gabba hey"), The Who ("My Generation"), The Doors ("Light My Fire"), Queen (Brian Mays signature guitar, no lyrics required!), Neil Young ("Hey Hey My My"), Marillion (theme from "Forgotten Sons"), and others (including OMD!?)

"A perfect sphere / Colliding with our fate"

But the band is aware of it, and the end of "Octavarium" is not shameful, but so ... majestic! So Great! It is not so bad to move in progressive circles after all, when you stand on the shoulders of giants. To refer so clearly to those giants brings even more respect to this band. Very well done!

Report this review (#414953)
Posted Saturday, March 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater has long been established as the kings of Progressive Metal. I remember the first time my friend Matt took me to a DT concert ? I was just amazed at what I was watching. These guys are the most technically amazing musicians I've ever seen. It's downright frightening to think how good each one of them are on their instruments.

Dream Theater is a mix of Metal (think Metallica, Queensryche, and Rush) with Progressive (think Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes).

Much of DT's music features extremely complex and fast metal, with sophisticated time signature changes thoughout, which makes for difficult listening to the uninitiated.

But with Octavarium, the band focused more on actual songwriting, creating a much more accessible album, with songs that sound like Muse ("Never Enough") or even U2 ("I Walk Beside You"). But for the diehard Proggers, there is the magnificent 24 minute, eight-parter, "Octavarium".

Report this review (#442795)
Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars A longtime Dream Theater fan who comes from a prog background rather than a metal one, this album should have been right up my alley, it being fairly heavy on the prog, but the songwriting on this album is just lacking. The title track is dynamite and easily one of the band's best songs of the Jordan Rudess era, but the rest of the album ranges from merely good (The Root of All Evil and Panic Attack) to boring (These Walls and Sacrificed Sons) to bad (Never Enough). The whole idea being the album is neat, each song being in a different key and everything, but it's just too bad that they didn't write better songs to go along with it.

I often see this album recommended to new fans because of the variety, and they pretty much do throw everything they are about at us but the kitchen sink, but the songwriting, usually a strength of the band's, simply lets them down. The title track is definitely essential, but the rest of the album is not. I would call this one of their two or three least best albums, and on certain days, THE least best.

Report this review (#450460)
Posted Friday, May 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The one with the G5...

Dream Theater's eighth studio album and their first to feature an Orchestra.

The Good: The title track is absolutely brilliant and remains one of Dream Theater's greatest epics to date. Whilst the band had previously released longer suites composed of several tracks, this was the first full studio album to include a track over twenty minutes in length. Although some of the sections are a little bit drawn out, the majority is absolutely top class, especially the synthesizer solo at the end of "Medicate (Awakening)" and the guitar work during "Full Circle".

The Bad: None of the seven preceding tracks are particularly great. I do enjoy Panic Attack and These Walls but don't find them anywhere near as memorable as the Dream Theater of yesteryear. The other songs have a couple of cool moments between them but for the most part just end up sounding like a poor man's Muse. A special mention goes to I Walk Beside You for being cheesier than a piece of six year-old Stilton trapped in a sock.

The Verdict: Five stars for the finale, two stars for the rest.

Report this review (#457447)
Posted Sunday, June 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars i heard someone say somewhere that this sounds like DT trying to be Coldplay - what a load of rubbish.

opening with parts VI and VI of Portnoy's 12-step saga, all they way through the last note on the superb title track to close the octave "loop", this is DT almost at their best.

there's a lot of innovation, creative riffs linking various tracks (of the 12-step), the genius of the 24-min title track with all its little nuggets and gimmicks, this is one album definitely not to be missed.

my personal bit of advice: always play it sequentially from track 1 through 8 (maybe skip The Answer Lies Within), this one tells a great story...

stand out songs: The Root of All Evil, These Walls, Sacrificed Sons, Octavarium

Report this review (#472739)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Quite the contrary to the heavy "Train Of Thought" but I figured on a progressive rock site that this record would be highly praised by prog fans alike.

Guess I was wrong. But why?

An album of a band coming off its period (so to speak) is, to no real surprise, going to be coming downhill in a softer, more sophisticated fashion. It's a bit unusual to hear that off "The Root Of All Evil", which opens on Rudess' low F chord left off on "In The Name Of God". Coincidence. It's part 3 in Mike Portnoy's Twelve-Step Suite, the shortest and probably the most accessible of the five tracks, which reall opens up the album in usual fashion. It segues into a nice bolas in "The Answer Lies Within". Coupled with a wonderful prog track in 'These Walls" and the pop rock wannabe "I Walk Beside You" makes this one of my favorite sequences in all of prog. The quality, the composition. This is far different from most DT albums ever made.

The second half starts with a blistering tune in "Panic Attack" followed by it's brother, "Never Enough". These are two particularly heavy tracks that follow the DT blueprint for prog metal success (whatever that may be). It only gets better with the gripping "Sacrificed Sons" (which contains the most epic ending ever conceived in metal history) and finishing with the incredible epic of "Octavarium".

While some people compare it as a failed "Six Degrees, Pt. 2", others can't compare the two because they can't tell which direction the band was taking with this album. I, however, believes this disc goes in a class of it's own. "Six Degrees" was the ultimate prog metal album at the time, based around the title track and a fascinating concept (the entire disc was very medical/disease related). "Octavarium" goes straight home. This is more of an emotional, gripping album. It tells of stories even average people like us can relate to. While I don't think this disc is absolutely as groundbreaking as "Six Degrees", "Octavarium" is another Dream Theater album that must be heard for fans of prog metal.

Report this review (#523398)
Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars A lot of people are mixed about this album, but personally, I think this was the best Dream Theater Album after Six Degrees, (and I mean out of all the albums so far after Six Degrees, Black Clouds, A Dramatic Turn Of Events.) This album just has more flavor, and charm to it compared to albums like Systematic Chaos, (the worst Dream Theater Album ever if you ask me.) There's just more to like in this album, and they seem more focused on this one, but please don't get me wrong, this album isn't a masterpiece, and it's not the best Dream Theater Album.

1. The Root Of All Evil: 7.5/10, Yes! This is a great track, and really sets the mood for the album, you will love the many riffs it goes through, and Labrie doesn't sound too bad on vocals, And you will fall in love with the solo that explodes in the middle, a great first track.

2. The Answer Lies Within: 6/10, We soften up on this track, and is not that bad, infact I like it, I like the keyboard work, and Labries singing is alright, alright track.

3. These Walls: 6/10, this song is kind of bland, and a little bit cheesy, not bad, but not very good, however it has a riff in it that is awesome, that keeps the song from being too meh.

4. I Walk Besides You: 6.5/10, This song is a little bit better than These Walls, I love the strange clock intro, and the verses are really nice, but the one thing that alot of reviewers here complain about in this song is it's chorus, and I will disagree, the chorus is incredibly cheesy, but Labrie actually doesn't sound too bad, but it is verrrrryyyyyy Cheeesyy especially for Dream Theater.

5. Panic Attack: 8/10, Yes!!! This song is definately worth an 8, you will fall in love with it's many riffs, and Labrie (sorry for mentioning him alot by the way,) is just at his peak here, he just sounds absolutely perfect for this song, and this is the heaviest song on the album, and if you want to get introduced to progressive metal, this song isn't too bad of a start, (or The Glass Prison.) And the cool ending will grab you and pull you into the next song in excitement, amazing track!

6. Never Enough: 7/10, Yes! This is yet another great one, the love the keyboards in this, one thing I like about this album is that Rudess uses many different keyboard sounds (compared to other albums where he uses like the same sound on every song.) And This album is a great example, with an awesome keyboard groove in the middle followed by some more soloing.

7. Sacrificed Sons: 6.5/10, this is a great one, and brings you back to their album Awake if you ask me, a subtle but heavy song, a little bit sad if you read the lyrics, a little bit long though.

8. Octavarium: 8.5/10, YES!! This might be my favorite Dream Theater Longtrack up there with A Seasons Change, the beginning as MMAANNYY reviewers have stated (and even people I know personally have said,) sounds very much like Pink Floyd's Shine On Your Crazy Diamonds. The song will go through many changes, and Labrie sounds very nice here (except maybe the end where he screams, sounds like a chipmunk at a slipknot concert or something.) There is a keyboard solo here that starts around 12:15 I think, and it is the beginning of a long and amazing trend of soloing, and it is ABSOLUTELY amazing, it's like Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird solo, everyone knows it and loves it, and it's amazing, well if you ask me, this is Dream Theaters Freebird, From beginning to end, completely awesome, and if you like Dream Theater, you must listen to this song. And sadly, this is probably the last song from Dream Theater going foward I can give an 8.5 rating, an anthem that to this day will be remembered by many fans of Dream Theater.

Overall, this album is very good, it has it's weaknesses, but it also has it's strengths, and it's strengths will keep you wanting to listen throughout the album, if you want to be introduced to Dream Theater, I would not start here, I would start at maybe Six Degree's, (that's where I started.) This is a great album, recommended!

Report this review (#576678)
Posted Monday, November 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Simply one of the least inspirational DT records. Most of melodies, rhythms, lyrics seem to be forced, and not creative. They have a song or two which might be interesting, like Walk Beside You, but they repeat here what they already did, and this time do it worse. Production is not up to standards of modern metal music, and drums sound bad especially, although Portnoy does the best job here. After this album they will manage to return a bit, but the bend turned into crisis, and never managed to produce albums of quality of their records from nineties. But, that is to be expected, as the only thing that could have saved them would have been some big leap forward in terms of change of the style.
Report this review (#577788)
Posted Monday, November 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I first got into Dream Theater, I thought this (along with all of their stuff) was amazing. The technical skill is obviously on display as ever, however, this album in particular struggles from a lack of inspiration on the songwriting front. It's like Dream Theater on cruise control or painting by numbers. It's more varied than Train Of Thought, but in my opinion, lacks the great riffs, solos and the structuring of Train Of Thought.

None of this applies to the title track of course, which is easy the best song Dream Theater have ever done in particular. The closest they ever came or ever will come to doing a true prog epic in the vain of Supper's Ready or Close To The Edge. Starting off with a soothing keyboard/steel lap guitar opening, reminiscent of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, it takes off from there through a variety of sections, all put together perfectly. No forced or awkward transitions, no solos to just link one piece to the next, you can tell that the band put a LOT of effort into this song. It also features my favourite Rudess keyboard solo and my favourite Petrucci guitar solo. Mike Portnoy's performance on this track is also fantastic, with a lot of subtle grooves and creative fills. Again, the best they've done.

Report this review (#652154)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Octavarium from 2005 finds Dream Theater in crisis of great ideas and memorable arrangements, at least for my ears. Anything from this album is mediocre at best, not bad, but to damn usual. If there were not the last epic pieces the title one, the album was a total failure. Is not enough to have great musicianship is very important that those musicians can offer intresting, memorable pieces where the listner can be hooked. This is not the case with this album, even has some good passages where Petrucci delivers some great guitar pieces like These Walls or I walk beside you are totaly unintresting and boring as hell, nothing is going one, only noodlings. I'm not a big fan of the band but I do appreciate their works over the years, Images and words are by far the best album and most original from them all, with Octavarium Dream Theater falls in the category of usual bands, nothing is groundbreaking here or inventive and is far from the peak of thir career the '90s. As I said the last tune Ocatavarium save the album,is more then ok piece, in places almost doesn't sound as a prog metal piece at all, a combination of Pink Floyd and Mike Oldfiled for the space intro with some symphonic prog keyboards added in the middle of the piece and the track ends quite good, one of the better DT pieces and by far the best from the album. After Scene from a memory they become heavier more and more, a thing that I'm not so keen about. 3 stars is best I can give a forgetable DT album, even not bad but totaly lacks in great and inventive passages as the albums from the '90s.I don't rank this album as one of the best DT releases even is not bad overall.
Report this review (#758162)
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.


Report this review (#771380)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The album that got me into Prog.

Everyone has a story about how they were introduced to this type of music. As a teenage back when this album came out, I was more influenced by the Pop and Punk traditions of the day. I remember talking to my mate about who the best guitarist was. Having no idea at the time I threw out many a bad name only to be recommended I try John Petrucci of a band called Dream Theater.

One look at the tracklisting and I knew I was in for something completely different (how the hell can you write an 11 minute son..... 24 MINUTES!?!?"

At the time it was huge for me to be listening to music on such a different level to what I had been listening to. Concept albums, Easter Eggs, Shredding. I was new to it all. Looking back now that I am close to 10 years through my musical journey, it's good to put everything into perspective.

1. The Root of All Evil - It still rocks to this day with a heavyish drive and great musicianship. Brilliant way to start the album

2. The Answer Lies Within - When I first heard it I thought it was fantastic! Listening back through it now though and it feels a little tedious. Just your average ballad to calm things down from the first track.

3. These Walls - Much like "The Answer Lies Within" it was a regular on my playlist back in the day. These days it is just a song that contributes little to the prog world. A very good rock/angst track.

4. I Walk Beside You - Again with the tediousness ageing of songs. It's a U2 rip-off and I'm not a U2 fan.

5. Panic Attack - Awesome piece of music. Much like what the track name is it sums up the feeling one would have if suffering from anxiety or any type of nervous shock. Great musicianship to drive the point home and Petrucci is awesome

6. Never Enough - Reading a lot of reviews on here this is a Muse knock-off. If this is how Dream Theater knock off Muse I'd happily listen to an album full of Muse knock-offs. The riff is brilliant, the solo kicks arse, James actually sounds good and if I didn't find out this was actually a bitch to the fans by Mike Portnoy, I would enjoy it a lot more

7. Sacrificed Sons - On first listen - WOW 11 MINUTES! Now: It kind of meanders and doesn't get to the point quick enough. Sure it's still a good song, I just find it hard to remain focussed on the song when listening to this album again.

8. Octavarium - I'll let a lot of the other reviews speak for this one. It's simply a masterpiece. No ifs or buts about it I still listen to this song in full on a weekly basis.

The idea that the one test a new album hasn't faced yet is time is a good point. When I first listened to this I had prog-coloured glasses on losing myself in it. Put it perspective however, it is still a very good album with some kickarse songs on it, and the title track alone is why one should buy this record.

Report this review (#934423)
Posted Saturday, March 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars Octavarium was the beginning of the end of my love affair with Dream Theater, but they weren't completely out of gas at this point yet.

"The Root of All Evil", a continuation of the saga that started with "The Glass Prison" and continued in "This Dying Soul", is a solid offering, driving forward with more of a hard rock groove than its predecessors. While it calls back to melodies, vocal lines and lyrics from the aforementioned songs, this song still manages to feel considerably less derivative than some of those that lie ahead.

Dream Theater always seemed upfront about their influences, but on Octavarium, they don't just wear them on their sleeve--they've got stickers all over their clothes. "I Walk Beside You" and "These Walls" are ill-fitting attempts at modern pop/rock songs, and the overt Muse-worship on display on "Never Enough" (and, to a lesser degree, "Panic Attack") is unbecoming of the band. "Sacrificed Sons", although a more typical Dream Theater tune, is among the sleepier of their long-form songs, and so the album basically does anything but go from strength to strength.

The title track is indeed the best thing on here, but coming into it from a solid thirty minutes of mediocrity, it's difficult to muster up enthusiasm for its four-minute intro. As such, I think it's actually better experienced as a standalone track. Good song, though. For me, it features both the best calm sections and the best balls-to-the-wall moments on the album, as well as the rare occasion where I think Portnoy's vocal input is warranted.

Report this review (#1064242)
Posted Monday, October 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Lacks appeal. Unprogressive and cliche sound - All except the title track.

It pains me to write this because Dream Theater is one of my favourite bands. This album to me is their second weakest, right after Falling into Infinity. I say this because the entire middle of the album is just blah. While some of the songs have a pleasant 'sound' to them, they are hardly memorable nor worthwhile listening. Which really is unfortunate because the one track is simply incredible. Octavarium is way up there, rivaled by only a handful of other Dream Theater tracks. One of my favourites by them, but not quite their best work.

A 2-star album with a 5-star epic title track. This leads me to give it a weighted 3-star rating.

Report this review (#1214439)
Posted Thursday, July 17, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Depending on who you ask, Dream Theater is either pretentious or genius. They've done concept albums, meta-album cycles, the Twelve-Step Suite, and they've even written a forty-two minute song that takes up an entire CD. With Octavarium, they take it to another level. Basically, the whole album is a nugget. It's been analyzed by the fans and there is a webpage floating somewhere out there dedicated to better understanding all the references it contains. In short, it's an album based off the concept of, yes, you guessed it, the octave, with a recurring theme of fives and eights. Each song is in a different key, riffs are repeated subtly throughout it, and it continues the meta-album cycle, starting where Train of Thought ended and finishing on the same note that that begins the album's first track, Root of All Evil (coming "Full Circle").

I understand the hate for Dream Theater's self-importance, but concept albums and high levels of technicality are impressive, and obviously, I like music to be impressive. As do most people. These nuggets make the album a more interesting listen, and I really enjoy it. There are weak points, but most of the songs are solid, and the title track is undoubtedly one of Dream Theater's finest works.

The album flaunts its influences shamelessly; I Walk Beside you an uninspired attempt at a radio-friendly, poppy sound with some guidance from bands like Foreigner and U2, and Never Enough, while a good song, basically rips off Muse's Stockholm Syndrome. Panic Attack also exhibits the same Muse influence, to a lesser extent, sounding more original, but clearly a reference to Hysteria. It falls on the heavier end of the Dream Theater spectrum, and the lyrics fit the music extremely well: it's frantic, headbangable, and even nervous at times. The Answer Lies Within is a return to balladry and it's definitely the worst song on the album, a cheesy soft rock number that deserves to be eternally skipped, unless you like their soft stuff. Then it might be worth a listen. Generally, the album's first six songs tend to be more structurally traditional.

Dream Theater definitely saved the best for last. As for influences, the title track displays so many. Part three of the song's lyrics are devoted to naming all of them; it's just a tribute to progressive music as a whole. The structure of this song is incredibly effective and it must be taken as a whole. Octavarium builds up steadily for almost twenty minutes, reaching an intense, climactic bout of LaBrie screaming (yes, screaming) "TRAPPED INSIDE THIS OCTAVARIUM!" It doesn't sound very exciting when I say it like that, but when you get there after tension gradually increases until you're wondering how it could possibly get any more intense, it's incredibly satisfying. Awesome keyboard soloing, plenty of time signature changes, and technicality, it's everything you'd expect from a Dream Theater song, only in a more driving structure of steady buildup. The title track is just a prog masterpiece and probably Dream Theater's best song. I would still be giving this album five stars even if the other seven songs were mediocre because this one makes up for all of their flaws.

The band's albums after this have seemed relatively unambitious (or less pretentious, if you see it that way). That might be because they've already tried everything. Octavarium is an excellent effort, the title track making up for the weaker songs. Dream Theater have taken their dozens of influences and crafted something that some may see as pompous, but I view as uniquely elaborate and bold. Definitely worth checking out for and not an album to be dismissed.

Report this review (#1434447)
Posted Saturday, July 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the all-out metal assault that was 2003's 'Train of Thought', Dream Theater continue to develop their "metal" sound, while at the same time paying homage to their progressive roots. And so it is, that 'Octavarium' is seen from two perspectives. There's the fans who see it as Dream Theater's 70's-era prog rock album, and there's the ones who think it's just a smorgasbord of stolen ideas.

Admittedly, there are songs that sound similar to artists such as Muse, Linkin Park, U2 and the very Pink Floyd- sounding title track. But does that really make them bad? Does a band consisting of some of the finest musicians in the world really need to resort to plagiarism? And when did it become such a sin to wear your influences on your sleeve? Stolen ideas or not, I like the songs, and that's all that truly matters to me.

The main focal point of the record is the 24-minute title track, 'Octavarium'. A song that builds from a hauntingly ambient intro to one of the most climatic finishes in a Dream Theater track, it perfectly appeals to fans of both old progressive rock and modern metal alike, and will easily go down as one of the bands most memorable pieces.

The rest of the album features a mixture of heavy, rocking songs and soft, radio-friendly ballads. 'These Walls' and 'Never Enough' take the group into more alternative rock-inspired territory, whilst others such as 'The Root of All Evil' and 'Panic Attack' continue in the same vein Dream Theater have been on since 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence'. And while the musicianship is incredible, as expected with Dream Theater, it's keyboard player Jordan Rudess who really gets to shine on this album, with many of the songs being heavily synth-driven.

Riddled with Easter eggs and hidden references to the number eight, Dream Theater's 'Octavarium' sees the band continue to challenge themselves by trying new things and taking inspiration from different sources. It's a throwback to 70's and 80's progressive rock, whilst maintaining the bands own signature take on the metal subgenre they helped pioneer, thus making it a worthy addition to fans of both genres.

Report this review (#1777268)
Posted Thursday, August 31, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars No doubt, this definitely is on the top 3 Dream Theater albums for me.

Octavarium is a concept album, but a really unusual one: it doesn't necessarily have a storyline, or even circles around a certain theme. It revolves around two numbers: 8 and 5. Point for prog.

It is filled with elements that point to those numbers that, those alone, already are a reason to buy this in physical copy. It is their 8th studio album, containing eight songs, called OCTavarium. You see, the band has five members, and to this point had released five live albums. The numbers make you think of piano keys: C D E F G A B and the octave coming full circle (ha-ha), and C# D# F# G# A#. So, the songs' tones follow this very scale, with five transitions between the songs in the sequence of a piano. I could write quite some others, but you should find them yourself.

The Root Of All Evil is amazing, making it up to Portnoy's ambitions with the Twelve-Step suite. Some more commercial stuff will appear, such as These Walls and The Answer Lies Within, but these are great songs nonetheless. You see the Muse-ish Never Enough, with its weird and awesome time signatures that have everything to do with the song, and things only get better.

For the two last songs, you have a full orchestra working alongside. On Russia On IcWHOOPS I mean Sacrificed Sons, it works beautifully, and on the album's last track which gives the album its title, you not only have Dream Theater's best song ever made, but possibly one of the best songs ever made in history.

Octavarium (the song) deserves a separate review for its awesomeness. The Shine On You Crazy Diamond beginning, its five (YEA BRUH 5 AGAIN) sections that are meticulously crafted, the lyrics emphasising the cycle concept, that everything ends where it begins, and fantastic musicianship: from the Petrucci and Rudess unison solo to LaBrie screaming at the top of his lungs, this song is, for me, the best song there is, simply put.

Everyone should know this album and you're not complete if you don't know it.

Report this review (#1865613)
Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2018 | Review Permalink

DREAM THEATER Octavarium ratings only

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