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Dream Theater - Octavarium CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.67 | 1993 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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".

frenchie | 4/5 |


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