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Dream Theater - Octavarium CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

3.66 | 2016 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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