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Dream Theater - Awake CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.12 | 2069 ratings

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5 stars Ka-BOOM !

Awake, Dream Theater's 1994 release, is their best album being a masterpiece of progressive metal. Like all records, Awake is unique in it's own way: unlike Images and Words, the music is very jazzy and spans into neoclassical metal from times to times. Also, the sound is dirtier, the guitar riffs are harder and the vocals rougher. Not to mention that the production eliminates any glam metal sound influence that was so annoying on the previous full length album.

The compositions are complex and are executed quickly giving the music tenacity and making it more dynamic. There is a certain urban attitude in Awake that somehow gives you the impression that you are in the middle of New York with all the noise and agitation. Going further than Hendrix's Crosstown Traffic, the guitar is the melody created by the speeding cars cutting through the thick air, the drums are the doors slamming everywhere and the constant move of thousands of feet while the bass is the downed tuned voices of everybody chit-chatting leaving the keys to represent the sirens, the honks and other typical metropolitan sounds. This sort of atmosphere is totally different than the one on Images and Words that featured a more infantile attitude. It can be said the Dream Theater left home for the big city and what a mature decision it was!

Awake has no weak points, no doubt about it, but I have to put emphasis on some tracks that I particularly enjoyed. For starters, 6 o'Clock is harsh and mad with it's avant-garde guitar riffs that can be noticed in the beginning and with those strong vocals that are the best LaBrie has to offer. The next one, Caught in a Web, is even harder and more ecstatic. Erotomania is a first class instrumental that has it all, neoclassical metal, heavy metal intense solos and jazzy layout that is more prominent on Lie. This song is a representative for the entire record and my personal favourite.

The moods inspired by Awake are peace - The Silent Man - euphoria and self-confidence - 6 o'Clock and melancholy - Space-Dye Vest and Voices. Dream Theater have always been known for creating very good ballads because of their originality. Most ballads follow a similar musical line that songs like The Silent Man don't pursue . In addition, the last track is a semi-ballad the is quite unconventional.

To conclude, I find Awake a perfect unity between creativity, technique and originality. I believe this album is essential not only for progressive metal but for music.

Zarec | 5/5 |


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