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Dream Theater - Octavarium CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.66 | 1995 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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