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Dream Theater - Awake CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.12 | 2061 ratings

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5 stars I think it was 1995 when I visited my elder brother, Henky, who introduced me to prog music in 70's, played DT "Awake" on his Yamaha stereo set and Polk Audio speaker system at his house. He turned the power amp loudly. I was amazed with the fantastic drumming at the intro of first track by the "unknown" (for me, at that time) Portnoy. It reminded me to RUSH's Neil Peart. What a fantastic drumming style! "Who is this guy?" I asked my bro and he still kept the CD case with him. "If I show you this CD case, you would know the name of the band as it's now famous already", he said. In the middle of this first dazzling and uplifting track he handed me the CD case. DREAM THEATER - Awake!! Wow! I'm familiar with this name as so many teens use their T shirts in my country. But I never heard their music yet.

At that time I was not so keen with prog music anymore as MARILLION, my hero, went pop / straight rock in early 1990. I was fed up with musical trend at that time. I was so longing for early YES, early GENESIS, PINK FLOYD, ELP .. that sort of bands. But "6:00" of DT blew me! I even failed to identify what sort of music these guys were playing. Frankly, I was not aware what is prog music. But "Awake" changed my perception about DT. Since then I collected almost all official albums of DT.

My visit to my bro's house when he introduced me, again, to the root of modern prog rock music represented my second come back to prog. The kind of music I had been dreaming to enjoy. I also remember that Henky also showed me the other album of DT "A Change of Seasons" that did not attract me first time looking at it because it contained some cover of LED ZEPP, KANSAS, DEEP PURPLE and others. I did not like a cover band actually. Since then I started collecting prog albums again.

What's so great about this album? Two things: musicianship and composition. These blokes are really skillful in their respective field. Other than Portnoy, I was amazed with the bass player John Myung who plays dynamically throughout the whole album (except "Spce-Dye Vest" probably). The other players that I like as well were Moore with his thick sound keyboard, Petrucci with his powerful riff. On composition, all tracks have been beautifully crafted by the band, each track is well positioned to create ultimate satisfaction for listeners. On particular, I want to emphasize the nice position of "Erotomania" - "Voice" - "Silent man". I think these three tracks must be enjoyed as one track as "Erotomania" has successfully created an atmosphere to enter "Voice" which then closed nicely by acoustic based "Silent Man". Really cool!

Having enjoyed the relaxing music of "Silent Man", the band brings us back to a heavy guitar riff (and dazzling bass guitar) kind of music in "The Mirror". I like also the way Moore plays his keyboard. Stunning! LaBrie's voice is powerful. The tone of this track slows down in approx min 5:45 with keyboard taking its part followed by guitar. It then flows smoothly with "Lie". What a wonderful transition!

If my bro at that time played "Lifting Shadows Off a Dream" instead of "6:00" I might probably think that DT is another neo-progressive rock band. Sort of MARILLION, IQ, PALLAS with a different kind of singing style. Definitely, LaBrie's voice is not the kind of voice for neo prog rock. The keyboard melody at the intro of "Lifting Shadows Off a Dream". Excellent track. The next track "Scarred" has a very cool intro of cymbal sounds, followed by stunning lead guitar and drumming. LaBrie's voice enters in "breathing" style. The track is then going into a higher tone with (as usual, DT style) guitar riff "jeg-e-jeg-je-eg" (that's how rock community in my country call the sound of guitar riff). It's a terrific track packed with instrument sounds played skillfully by the boys in the band.

Any human being, be it a pop lover, rock lover, or other music lover will definitely love "Space-Dye Vest". It has a very nice piano intro and touchy melody! Try this track first before you try any other track. You would think that DT is not "metal" influenced band. You might recall PINK FLOYD influence in this track, especially the sound effect of people's voice in the crowd.

Overall, this is a MUST HAVE album in your prog collection. It's a masterpiece! I think.

What do you think? - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Gatot | 5/5 |


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