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Dream Theater - Awake CD (album) cover


Dream Theater


Progressive Metal

4.12 | 2068 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I am of the opinion that Images and Words is one of DREAM THEATER'S best albums. ONE of their best, but not THE best. That title would have to go to their third album, 1994's Awake. In my opinion, Awake epitomized DREAM THEATER'S sound to a ''T'', heavy guitars from John Petrucci, Kevin Moore's sweeping keyboards, and a strong, consistent rhythm section courtesy of John Myung (bass) and Mike Portnoy (drums), with James LaBrie's soaring wails thrown in for good measure.

There are two things that make Awake a unique album, that when combined makes for an wonderfully enjoyable listening experience from beginning to end. The first feature is atmosphere. Awake, at the time of its release, was much darker than Images and Words. Kevin Moore's keywork here is dark, heavy, and always sets the mood for a certain song. On songs like ''Voices'' and ''Lifting Shadows Off a Dream'', the key layers are thick, orchestral, ominous, foreboding, and just plain dark and brooding. Moore really shines on his sole song, ''Space-Dye Vest'', built off a piano melody and many random samples and noises. It fits the album well.

The other feature is the album's heaviness. Awake had the right amount of crunch and force. Not as heavy as Train of Thought, but more so than Falling Into Infinity. The back-to-back assult of ''The Mirror'' and ''Lie'' are the best examples. ''The Mirror'' starts out with Metallica-style crunches from Petrucci, layered with Moore's foreboding keys. Despite its heavyness, ''The Mirror'' still contains immense atmosphere. ''Lie'', however, is much more straightforward than its predecessor. ''Lie'' has much less keywork from Moore, and focuses more on Petrucci's somewhat hard-rock guitar acrobatics during the chorus, which is absolutely irresistible. Opener ''6:00'' is a catchy rocker featuring gruff vocals from LaBrie. ''Caught in a Web'' follows in the same suit, and is purely balls-to-the-wall.

''Erotomania'' is the perfect showcasing of the band's skill. Everything sounds flawless. ''The Silent Man'' is a nice acoustic tune and is very chill compared to the rest of the album. ''Innocence Faded'' contains one of my favorite outros from DREAM THEATER, with the whole band going crazy in the final minute. ''Scarred'' is my personal favorite off of the album. After a dream intro, things get frantic amid Moore's keyboards. ''Scarred'' contains the strongest sense of melody on here, and sends the listener on an emotional roller coaster for 11 minutes.

All in all, Awake is part of the Holy Trinity of DREAM THEATER albums, sharing slots with Images and Words and Scenes from a Memory. No DT fan should miss this album at all. After all, it is the epitome of their sound.

ZeroDreamPlasMaximus | 5/5 |


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