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Dream Theater - Awake CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.12 | 2068 ratings

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La fraisne
5 stars Awake is considered by many to be Dream Theater's greatest album, and it is difficult to argue that it is not a defining release for mid 90's prog metal. Awake symbolises, much like Train of Thought, the peak of one period of DT's music. Moore never sounded better than he does here, and like Rudess nowadays, his sound and technique pretty much defines DT's sound - it pushes it one way or another, defines the mood and style of each peice within its type: that is to say, during the ballads, his playing defines it from other ballads, during the metal songs, his playing defines it from other metal songs. Much is said about Moore's ability to provide atmosphere, and it is here that one can find the best evidence for it. LaBrie's vocals are as good here as they have been to date.

From 6:00 onward, this album is sublime. The album is divided into three segments: the first comprises the singles, the standalone songs, (6:00, Caught in a web, Innocence faded) the second is A mind beside itself, a three part suite, and the third is long, interlinked, comprised of five songs. The first section is really a great presentation of how prog can be effective as a more conventional song length and aim without losing its edge. 6:00 and Caught in a web are both heavy, (6:00 having something to do with Joyce's The Dead, - I know all about the honour of God, Mary Jane - but I'm not sure what,) and Innocence faded, one of DT's most effective ballads, provides a nice contrast to these two, also seperating them from the heaviness of Erotomania. All of these songs have killer moments in them, which is evidence for the good song construction that characterised DT in this period. What follows this opening adress is the 20 minute three part suite, A mind beside itself. The opening section, Erotomania, still stands toe- to-toe with some of DT's best instrumentals. It's all here: the complex riffs, the technical pyrotechnics, the strange melody, the expertise of composition. Voices is a wandering, varied section which comprises the main body of the suite, and as such it is fairly dark. The silent man is another ballad-like entry, that provides a gentle resolution to the whole piece.

The next section begins with a miny section, The mirror/Lie, which really shows off how good LaBrie was pre-vocal chord problems. He is agressive and powerful, snarling and emotive, without losing any melodic integrity, an effort which puts many of his contempories to shame. The mirror is heavy, sounding more so because Moore leaves it desolate for the most part. Lie is by comparison far more energetic.

Next, Lifting shadows off a dream, another ballad to balance the preceding heaviness. Scarred again provides some bulk, and Space- dye vest is a fairly dark way to end the album, which is always something I find effective (major endings normally seeming somewhat trite)

Overall, this is the best album of DT's first period, and therefore one that anyone serious about Prog should have.

La fraisne | 5/5 |


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