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Dream Theater - Awake CD (album) cover

AWAKE

Dream Theater

 

Progressive Metal

4.12 | 2069 ratings

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Berenger
4 stars Being a huge Dream Theatre fan I understand I may come off as a biased sheep when I'm reviewing - but I'll give you all the solace of knowing that this is a genuine review, and despite the fact that this is my favourite album by them, I would only give it 4-4.5 stars.

The reason this is my favourite DT album I guess is because I feel it's where they were most creative and mature. I guess I should break this down into the main things which seem to concern people with DT:

The vocals: certainly not a problem with this album. I found that Labrie's singing isn't superfluous in any way and his vocals are very creatively done, especially compared to some of their later work. I'll maintain that he appears to shine quite a bit more on his other projects - but he is still quite good on this album.

Lyrics: the lyrics aren't angsty or forced in any way - however, this I must attribute to Kevin Moore. Though I don't consider him to be the superior keyboard player, he really is the best lyricist the band ever had. They should seriously consider hiring him for that sole purpose.

Gratuitous display of talent: Again, not something you'll find here. The music is very controlled and enjoyable by most standards.

So really I guess what makes it so good is that they embraced the virtue of not being bounded by one uniting story or awful lyrics, while at the same time they propose a lot of positive things like a sense of variety and maturity.

MY QUALMS ABOUT THIS ALBUM: I can't rate it at five stars because that would imply that it's perfect - which it's not. Good bands tend to have this disease where they always have to ruin a perfect thing. With Awake, my scruples lie in the superfluous use of samples (6:00, Space-Dye-Vest (the Julian Sands monologue is extremely fitting, but everything else doesn't belong)) and just some of the lyrics in 'Lie' which give me an uneasy feeling. (Ironically, The Mirror/Lie is one of my favourite Dream Theatre songs.)

Some of the better tracks on this album are 6:00, A Mind Beside Itself (tracks 4, 5, and 6 in succession) The Mirror/Lie, Scarred, Lifting Shadows off a Dream, and Space-Dye-Vest (despite horrible judgment with regard to the use of samples). I guess that last, long sentence exhibits why I like this album so much - 'some of the better tracks' constitutes nine of the eleven songs!

Anyway, even if you're completely not into prog-metal, or metal at all (it isn't even really that much of a metal album if you look at it), this album is worth giving a chance (hell, even just for a download). And maybe if you like it enough - you'll do some good and support the band... ka-ching.

Berenger | 4/5 |

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