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Dream Theater - Awake CD (album) cover

AWAKE

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

4.12 | 2060 ratings

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Kempokid
4 stars Right after 2 albums that were really enjoyable and fun for the most part, Dream Theater went and released one of their moodiest, proggiest, and best works in their career. The overall sound lacked all of the saccharine, poppy tones of the keyboards, synths, and production, instead having a much colder, emphatic feel to it, which is especially noticeable in the much thinner sound of it. The akbum is also far more unified and cohesive in sound, each track feeling like an important eleent to the album, along with small melodic moments that end up developing in later tracks. This creates a more complete experience that ebbs and flows throughout, with some increibly heavy moments throughout, really emphasising the metal aspect of them.

I personally find the weakest section of the album to be the opening three tracks, as while they aren't bad. they do pale in comparison to the more intense, complex songs later on. This said, I do quite enjoy them all, with 6:00 being a groovy song with some fun sampling and great drumming, Caught In A Web being quite intense and having cool layering of vocals, and Innocence Faded being a somewhat competant, albeit dull ballad. This is really the only song on the album that does absolutely nothing for me. The album then picks up dramatically past this point, starting off with one of DT's better instrumental tracks, which has awesmoe riffs, a short middle section which is then later expanded in The Silent Man, and an awesome neo-classical guitar solo, which is one of the greatest parts of the entire album. I really love how this is a pseudo suite, while each song also stands on its own excaptionally well, yet working perfectly fine all as one. Voices is one of the most dramatic, powerful songs on the album, especially during the chorus, where Labrie is at his peak in the album, all before shifting its intensity into The Silent Man, a beatutiful acoustic ballad. After this is one of my all time favourite songs by the band, The Mirror, which the intro alone is enough to have caused me to adore the song, being wonderfully heavy, aggressive, poewrful, and definitely worthy of being a precursor to the excellent 12 step suite. Lie is a great continuation of the previous song, but with an even more aggressive tone. At this point, the single flaw with the album shows itself, each song feels slightly too long and drawn out, and while it really doesn't mean too much to me when it's only a couple of songs, but when it's a massive portion of the album, it does start wearing me down. I personally believe that this album could have been quite a bit shorter, but that said the songs are still mostly great. Scarred is one of the more strange epics by the band, with more off kilter, strange transitions that don't quite explode in the same way that many of them do, but the song still works amazingly due to the passionate delivery and raw emotion put into it. I definitely think that the album ends on one of the greatest songs that Dream Theater have ever written, being extremely subtle in its progression, having what seems like a haze over everything, with the vocals sounding slightly distorted. The melody is nothing short of perfection, and the way the isolated piano slowly has more elements added to it until it almost forces me to just lie down and take in all the utter beauty presented to me.

Overall, This is one of my favourite Dream Theater albums, as while it can be quite tiresome to listen to if not in the right mood, almost every song here is extremely well crafted, along with being one of the more unique albums by the band thanks to the spacey feel it has. This would definitely be a pretty poor starting point into the band, as it did take a few listens to properly grow on me, and I feel like other albums could be easier to start off with. All in all, I really feel that if they trimmed the fat on this album, this would be an easy 5 stars for me, but unfortunately, it is held back a bit due to this.

Best songs: Erotomania, The Mirror, Space Dye Vest

Weakest songs: Innocence Faded

Verdict: A colder, modier album by the band that also enploys a lot of aggression. I definitely find it to be one of DT's more difficult albums to get into, but do think that it's more than worth checking out once you've familiarised yourself with the band, with Space Dye Vest being one of my favourite songs by them, full stop.

Kempokid | 4/5 |

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