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Dream Theater

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Dream Theater Awake album cover
4.16 | 2319 ratings | 176 reviews | 44% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. 6:00 (5:31)
2. Caught in a Web (5:28)
3. Innocence Faded (5:43)
4. A Mind Beside Itself: i. Erotomania (6:45)
5. A Mind Beside Itself: ii. Voices (9:53)
6. A Mind Beside Itself: iii. The Silent Man (3:48)
7. The Mirror (6:45)
8. Lie (6:34)
9. Lifting Shadows Off a Dream (6:05)
10. Scarred (11:00)
11. Space-Dye Vest (7:29)

Total Time 75:01

Line-up / Musicians

- James LaBrie / lead vocals
- John Petrucci / guitars, backing vocals
- Kevin Moore / keyboards, co-lead vocals (11)
- John Myung / bass
- Mike Portnoy / drums, percussion, backing vocals (7)

- John Purdell / backing vocals (6), co-producer
- Duane Baron / backing vocals (6), co-producer
- Rick Kern / programming (11)
- Prix-Mo / voice (5)

Releases information

Artwork: Larry Freemantle with DT (concept)

2LP Eastwest Records America ‎- 7567-90126-1 (1994, Germany)
2LP EastWest ‎- ETR-90126 (2014, Europe) Remastered (?)

CD EastWest Records America ‎- 90126-2 (1994, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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DREAM THEATER Awake ratings distribution

(2319 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(44%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

DREAM THEATER Awake reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by The Prognaut
4 stars A splendid well orchestrated piece. It certainly refers us to that stage of growth and ripeness the band went through before submerging entirely in the depths of prog waters. "Awake" is purely metal and clearly influenced by band members' all time favorite rockers, specially from Mr. PORTNOY that has openly confessed to have plenty more musical roots and influences besides prog rockers. In the beginning I sort of had my doubts about this very recording because nonetheless I had already listened to DREAM THEATER and already purchased "Images and Words", this sounded nothing like that band I recently discovered and it actually surprised me. Firstly, I noticed that "Awake" was merely composed and arranged by the band itself, it had nothing peculiar such as covers or experimental jammings, it was all about DREAM THEATER. I even recognize and applaud the devotion and the self-committed spirit Mr. Kevin MOORE put into the project to pull it off and give the world a brand new DREAM THEATER. Guitar performing by John PETRUCCI: simply outstanding! it just can't get better than this. The arrangements I appreciated to be more complete and impeccably mastered, were those put into "The Mirror". Great song, punchy, hard and moody. I also think of "Lie" and "Erotomania" as the two rocks supporting this great labored album. Mike PORTNOY's gesture to dedicate the album to the memory of his biggest inspiration recently deceased at that time, Frank ZAPPA; was unarguably something admirable. So, my last words: an important transitional point for the band to cross the line of the stereotyping to concrete its permanence in prog rock once and for all. Definitely, a must.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I think it was 1995 when I visited my elder brother, Henky, who introduced me to prog music in 70's, played DT "Awake" on his Yamaha stereo set and Polk Audio speaker system at his house. He turned the power amp loudly. I was amazed with the fantastic drumming at the intro of first track by the "unknown" (for me, at that time) Portnoy. It reminded me to RUSH's Neil Peart. What a fantastic drumming style! "Who is this guy?" I asked my bro and he still kept the CD case with him. "If I show you this CD case, you would know the name of the band as it's now famous already", he said. In the middle of this first dazzling and uplifting track he handed me the CD case. DREAM THEATER - Awake!! Wow! I'm familiar with this name as so many teens use their T shirts in my country. But I never heard their music yet.

At that time I was not so keen with prog music anymore as MARILLION, my hero, went pop / straight rock in early 1990. I was fed up with musical trend at that time. I was so longing for early YES, early GENESIS, PINK FLOYD, ELP .. that sort of bands. But "6:00" of DT blew me! I even failed to identify what sort of music these guys were playing. Frankly, I was not aware what is prog music. But "Awake" changed my perception about DT. Since then I collected almost all official albums of DT.

My visit to my bro's house when he introduced me, again, to the root of modern prog rock music represented my second come back to prog. The kind of music I had been dreaming to enjoy. I also remember that Henky also showed me the other album of DT "A Change of Seasons" that did not attract me first time looking at it because it contained some cover of LED ZEPP, KANSAS, DEEP PURPLE and others. I did not like a cover band actually. Since then I started collecting prog albums again.

What's so great about this album? Two things: musicianship and composition. These blokes are really skillful in their respective field. Other than Portnoy, I was amazed with the bass player John Myung who plays dynamically throughout the whole album (except "Spce-Dye Vest" probably). The other players that I like as well were Moore with his thick sound keyboard, Petrucci with his powerful riff. On composition, all tracks have been beautifully crafted by the band, each track is well positioned to create ultimate satisfaction for listeners. On particular, I want to emphasize the nice position of "Erotomania" - "Voice" - "Silent man". I think these three tracks must be enjoyed as one track as "Erotomania" has successfully created an atmosphere to enter "Voice" which then closed nicely by acoustic based "Silent Man". Really cool!

Having enjoyed the relaxing music of "Silent Man", the band brings us back to a heavy guitar riff (and dazzling bass guitar) kind of music in "The Mirror". I like also the way Moore plays his keyboard. Stunning! LaBrie's voice is powerful. The tone of this track slows down in approx min 5:45 with keyboard taking its part followed by guitar. It then flows smoothly with "Lie". What a wonderful transition!

If my bro at that time played "Lifting Shadows Off a Dream" instead of "6:00" I might probably think that DT is another neo-progressive rock band. Sort of MARILLION, IQ, PALLAS with a different kind of singing style. Definitely, LaBrie's voice is not the kind of voice for neo prog rock. The keyboard melody at the intro of "Lifting Shadows Off a Dream". Excellent track. The next track "Scarred" has a very cool intro of cymbal sounds, followed by stunning lead guitar and drumming. LaBrie's voice enters in "breathing" style. The track is then going into a higher tone with (as usual, DT style) guitar riff "jeg-e-jeg-je-eg" (that's how rock community in my country call the sound of guitar riff). It's a terrific track packed with instrument sounds played skillfully by the boys in the band.

Any human being, be it a pop lover, rock lover, or other music lover will definitely love "Space-Dye Vest". It has a very nice piano intro and touchy melody! Try this track first before you try any other track. You would think that DT is not "metal" influenced band. You might recall PINK FLOYD influence in this track, especially the sound effect of people's voice in the crowd.

Overall, this is a MUST HAVE album in your prog collection. It's a masterpiece! I think.

What do you think? - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by frenchie
4 stars Awake is perhaps an ironic title for Dream Theater's third studio album. The two previous albums flowed like a dream but this album is where the nightmare starts to kick in with its heavy edge and dark lyrics. What is also ironic is that it will be impossible to sleep through the dramatic intensity of this album. Awake follows on well from Images and Words with a darker edge to it. LaBrie's vocals are more confined, sounding drastic and evil. This plays well with The heavier and haunting sound that the band have created for this album. This especially makes the mellower songs "The Silent Man" and "Space-Dye Vest" much more powerful and these two songs deliver a great balance on the album. Overall this album is produced well and is a delight for metal fans of the first two albums yet it continues the brilliant prog sound which follows on from the previous album.

Petrucci never fails to impress on this album and it's nice to see him trying different structres of his guitar work. Mike Portnoy is probably more of a highlight on this album as he offers intense drum work throughout the heavier sections of the album yet manages to keep up the good work for the mellower parts, which is more familiar to Images and Words.

"6:00" automatically draws you into the album with the opening drum solo and furious dark vocals. This track still shows off much progression and it builds up well from the drum solo and "6:00 on a christmas morning" to much more impressive stuff. "Caught in a Web" is a great piece that continues the flow of the album. The bands sound may seem a bit dramatic at times (especially LaBrie's vocals) but it's all good. "Innocence Faded" is one of the more beautiful pieces and somehow reminds me of the "light to dark, dark to light" feel of "Surrounded" on Images & Words. Erotomania is a dark and spellbounding instrumental that reminds me of "The Call of Ktulu" by Metallica. This song always manages to build and fade majestically and is a delight to the ears. The guitar sounds here are pretty manic like the title would suggest. voices adds a slower and paced balance to the album which leads beautifully into "The Silent Man" which is an acoustic ballad, showing off the other side of petrucci and stretching LaBrie's vocals. This song along with "Space-Dye Vest" are really one of kind and sort of show off the heart of the band, offering a "Wish You Were Here" sort of edge to these songs.

"The Mirror" is the centrepiece of the album (reflecting the album cover) offering a more metallic edge to the second half of the album. The album continues smoothly with lengthy "Scarred" and "Lie" which give the latter half the album as much skill as the first. When "Space-Dye Vest" arrives you are no longer awake with the lulling piano piece and experimental voices that are similar to Dark Side of the Moon. Awake starts to turn back into the wonderful dream which is Dream Theater. This is a brilliant album from the band and is just as essential as Images & Words and Scenes from a Memory.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Yet another masterpiece by DT. 'Awake' makes an impressive follow-up to the amazing 'Images & Words', mostly by showing off a different, more metallic approach to their signature prog metal sound. Generally speaking, the 'Awake' repertoire is fiercer and fierier than its predecessor's: the sound is more aggressive, the performances are penetrated by a harder edge, a big deal of the guitar riffs and solos are quite sombre, at times even openly belligerent. The more subdued role of Moore's keys (only two solos in the whole album) helps to decrease the symphonic splendour of 'I&W' in order to emphasize the overall heavy mood here. The first two tracks are clear manifestos of the refurbished thing that's gping on. Other massive examples are the incendiary duet 'The Mirror'/'Lie' and the stormy 'Scarred'. While the instrumentation provided by Petrucci, Myung and Moore is openly dark and heavy, Portnoy manages to create a clever counterbalnce by allowing his drumming to get quite loosened, at times leaning toward the cadence of jazz and funky, without losing a miligram of rock energy. His introductory rolls for '6:00' are simply masterful, and so is the fluid foundation he lays for 'The Mirror' / 'Lie' and 'Scarred' all thorughout its tempo shifts and varying motifs (a special mention for his input in the closing section of 'Scarred'). IMHO, it is the three-part suite 'A Mind Beside Itself' that shines as the most impressive gem in this album - its three successive sections really operate as separate tracks with their own respective artistic structures, yet they also manage to provide an amazing unitary whole. The pyrotechnical instrumental 'Erotomania' is a real disturbing musical journey thorugh an exciting diversity of motifs, which include appropriate anticipations of some lines from the following two sections; 'Voices' is a very inspired ode to the destructive drive of mental-emotional chaos, powerful without getting too speedy most of the time; ultimately, the last section 'The Silent Man' turns out to be a gentle, lyrical acoustic ballad that serves as a final serene relief. There are also softer tracks, such as 'Innocence faded' and 'Lifting Shadows off a Dream', that see DT making a stand between AOR and 90s Rush: these are highly melodic numbers, never getting mellow or "corny". The closure is definitely something to remember (it sounds in my head while I'm writing this) - 'Space-Dye Vest' is an awesome ambient-oriented ballad penned by Moore, in this way anticipating the Chroma Key stuff to some degree. Though it's not built upon a frantic tempo, its lyrics and mood are still emotionally violent: a brilliant ending for a brilliant album.
Review by Tristan Mulders
3 stars Dream Theater - Awake

My first introduction to Dream Theater was the song Metropolis Part 1. After hearing it I became quite curious about their music and when I paid my local record store a visit I noticed that this was the only Dream Theater album they had.

It was not a bad buy I got to say. After repeated listens I discovered that the songs are not all of excellent quality looking at the compositions and the sound of the tracks, but overall it is a good album.

The best songs are definitely the epic tracks Scarred which features technical playing with great atmospheric wallpapers of keyboard sounds and the closing ballad Space Dye Vest which is all about James LaBrie's vocals accompanying piano.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Early risers

Dream Theater are one of those bands I feel have a really great album in them, trying to get out. With most of their albums though, I find that while I enjoy them, they fall short of my expectations, and I am left with a sense of disappointment.

It is hard to say exactly what it is that falls short, but I believe it's mainly down to the guitar work. While it's fast and well performed, the solos seem to be to be rather directionless, and predictable.

With "Awake", Dream Theater created a more diverse collection than on previous albums, and developed some of the tracks well. The opening track "6 o'clock" is quite surprising. It sounds almost like a remix of an original track, with very rough vocals on a heavy background.

Personally, and this probably reflects my tastes more than anything, I really enjoyed the softer tracks. For my money, if Dream Theater created a few more of these, I for one would enjoy them far more. "Innocence faded" and in particular "Space-dye vest" are very affecting ballads, sung surprisingly sensitively.

On the other hand, tracks like "Erotomania" and Scarred" seem over anxious to jump from one theme to another before the previous one has been fully developed.

A good, but ultimately flawed album.

Review by FloydWright
5 stars DREAM THEATER seems to be one of those bands whose works you either love or you hate, and this album I definitely love. Try as I might, I simply cannot find fault with this--not even in JAMES LaBRIE's voice, which many people seem to despise. It's true, his voice may shock the listener at first, especially if all you've ever heard from him is his guest appearance on AYREON's album The Human Equation. It caught me by surprise as well, just what an abrasive, nasal yowling he can summon up when he wants to...and while I don't think I could listen to an entire album of him going on in that tone, the important thing is that LaBRIE seems to know when it's appropriate to sound that way and when it isn't, and he has sufficient versatility as a vocalist to find an appropriate sound for just about any sort of music. Tracks like "Voices" and "The Mirror" do well to show off his many contrasting techniques in the course of a single song.

Another strength of Awake lies in the pacing of the album; each song seems to be placed where it will have the maximum impact, whether that be the sudden explosion of "The Mirror" after the album's acoustic piece, "The Silent Man", or the placement of the subdued but remarkable "Space-Dye Vest" as the closer...this is the kind of track you need to meditate in silence on for a few seconds after listening, and it's built right in. But what I think best serves DREAM THEATER in this album--despite what some have said--is the discipline they show in the construction of their songs. Unlike some of their later works, which, while they sound good, have a tendency to ramble on a bit much and bore the listener, it seems to me that the band has taken care to make its points and explore its sound--but without trying one's patience. Even the instrumental, "Erotomania", runs exactly as long as I think could have feasibly done, and stops just before the point of overdoing it. Don't worry when you see song lengths of 10 and 11 minutes, because the pacing of each song and the length of solos seems to have been controlled as well.

As I listened to the album to make this review, I started coming to a conclusion that...while I may be wrong...perhaps this more disciplined approach is due to the absence ofDREAM THEATER's current keyboardist, JORDAN RUDESS. Instead, this spot is filled by KEVIN MOORE, who seems to hold a different philosophy on how to work his instrument into a song. MOORE's work is perhaps a bit more reminiscent of PINK FLOYD keyboardist RICK WRIGHT's...that is, if you can imagine WRIGHT playing with this sort of band. MOORE tends to stay in the background for most of the album, and while not playing anything very flashy, he seems to know just what tone is needed where, from the captivating, warped-sounding synths in "Caught in a Web" and "Lie", to the subtle pipe organ in the background of "Scarred" in places. One of the best songs of the album, "Space-Dye Vest", is entirely his baby, both lyrically and musically. I have absolutely no idea what that title is intended to mean, but this is where MOORE really shows what he brings to DREAM THEATER. This track has a more atmospheric, brooding feel to it reminiscent of PINK FLOYD songs like "Nobody Home", a resemblance which strengthens all the more when the sound clips come in.

Other favorites besides "Space-Dye Vest" include "6:00", "Caught in a Web", and the vicious one-two punch of "The Mirror" (lyrically among the most interesting), "Voices" and "Scarred" (which probably have the most emotional pull) and "Lie", which almost seem to be like two parts of the same song. Overall, Awake seems to be well balanced between "smart" and "accessible", and seems to be completely without any true flaws. There are a few songs that, if I don't have time for the full album--and I highly recommend listening to this one in a single sitting (preferably on a good stereo system)--that I might jump over, like "The Silent Man" or "Innocence Faded", but they are still solid, enjoyable songs, and I don't think there is any need to drag down an excellent album's rating. Disciplined, and lyrically and musically interesting, of what I've heard so far, Awake seems to be one of the best of DREAM THEATER, and I think anyone even remotely interested in prog metal, even some who might not get near a harder band like SYMPHONY X or OPETH, should make sure to have this one in their collection.

Review by Menswear
5 stars To score a classic album in the rockanthology, is a huge success by itself. In the future, some kids will bring out your album from the dusty shelf, play it, and say: 'Dude, these guys knew what they were doing...' With Rush, Dream Theater is the heavy progressive band with the most classics in their résumé.

Awake is, to me, the peak of their metallic sound and does carry more good stuff than Images and Words. A good 60% of the album is classic stuff. With 6:00, Caught in A Web, Erotomania, Mirror, Lie, Lifting Shadow off a Dream and Space-Dye Vest, Dream Theater's never been this competent in songwriting. This line-up with Kevin Moore as keyboardist made good times of my college years. 10 years ago, this was THE extravanganza, a knid of new era where progressive rock was pulverizing speakers but also got a bit more into marketing approach.

The guys from Dream Theater were, let's be frank, mostly good looking guys (sorry Steve Howe). And they tooked advantage of their youth and their looks. Because DT was POSING like crazy back in 94! They gave themselves a 'darker' look, sporting only black shirts and pants. The big hair with lots of body was a major advantage to pass the test to die-hard metallic afficionados who only sweared by Gun's and Roses or my school though. Anyway, they became a standard quickly, passing from the obscurity of second zone gigs to sold-out concerts in the spotlight.

The thing is with DT is that you REALLY don't need a lot of albums to get the best of what they did. I say with Metropolis, Awake and perhaps Images and Words, you pretty much get what they're about. Awake being shorter songs with great kick and having Kevin Moore in the bunch, this is the best record for the price you'll pay. The near totallity of the songs are to cherish and the amount of solid crunchy riffs will satisfy any metal tooth.

As Homer would resume: "Hmmmm, classy."

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars My first DT album ever!

I remember something like 5 years ago when i didn`t really know Dream Theater, in that time i had listened to a few songs about them, and a couple of friends had recommend them to me, so i was someday in a store and i found it very cheap ( something like 7 dls, very cheap for me) , so i decided to buy it besides a Jane`s Addiction live album which in that time i loved so much.

I put it in my stereo when i got home, and i liked it so much, but that was only the first time, then and nowadays i dont find it so marvelous and enjoyable as the first listens, maybe because i have changed in musical tastes, i dont know, i like DT a lot, not a fan, but i like them, but honestly this album as a whole is not that great, at the point that i dont listen to it very often, just sometimes when i can stand it and i have mood, or maybe i play only a couple of songs and i put it out of my CD player.

I think it has a special powerful sound, also Kevin Moore was here, i still prefer or like a bit more Jordan Rudess, but anyway Moore play very well and he contributed a lot with this album, now that i have a better opinion, and im not a kid, i can tell that i like so much all the band, each guy with it`s instrument is great, and also Labrie`s voice is quite good for me ,so that`s an extra point, despite the music or album could not been that good , and if im not wrong, it lasts more than 70 minutes, which sadly nowadays i cannot stand, but that`s a personal feeling, only if i love the album i can listen to 100 minutes, but for others 70 minutes is very long for me, also it depends of my mood.

Awake offers to us 11 songs, when we can find everything from powerful metal songs to a rockish ballad,and here are my favorite points, only mentioning that the first song 6:00 has always caught my attention because of the keyboard sound at the beginning of it, but actually i dont really like it.

"Caught in a Web", great song , one of them that i alwas remember and am pleased to listen when i can, it has a great sound of guitars and keyboards, also i like to sing it.

"Erotomania" , a pity that i found a couple of songs that i love more than this, but Erotomania makes me going crazy always when i listen to it, in fact that half of the album and part called "A Mind Beside Itself" is my favorite of them all, i can tell that i love that part those 3 songs Erotomania as i said above is the first of them, and it`s instrumental, but it sound oh my god!, great. Then the best of them all, "Voices" when all make their best in composition, music, lyrics and emotion to create this great masterpiece full of a powerful and sentimental sound, then the last of this trilogy is "The Silent Man" showing us that a metal band can also create soft and nice songs, with a religious touch.

And The Mirror which is a classic DT song is the other one that i like so much, overall it`s changes and keyboard , but after it i dont like the other ones, maybe i like the most commercial or succesful, i dont know,m but if i choose them, is because i like them best and the other ones are boring for me. For that im giving 3 stars because i love only the half of the album.

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Dream Theater at their best but sadly Kevin Moore's last and his unique contributions to the music leaves far bigger impression on me than Sherninan or Rudess after this. I normally have troubles with James LaBrie's voice but on this album he is consitensly excellent in his performance, his dynamic peak in my opinion and goes along the music incredibly well here. The compositions are tight and some of their best ever, songs like "Scarred" or "Mind Beside Itself" still remains in my top 10 and they are supported with superb musicianship all the way. Moore made a final contribution to the band with "Space Dye-West" on a dark and highly atmospheric note and it seems to have gained cult status among fans, it's an incredible ballad. Overall the best and most complete Dream Theater release in my ears with great variation in the songs.
Review by Zitro
3 stars 3.5 Stars

This is the follow up to the great 'images and words' and they followed it fine. This is a pretty good album that is less accessible than the other one, making it not the best way to begin the Dream Theater Collection. There is much more music in this album (75 minutes), and it is not easy headbanging music, so it will take a while to digest. The main cricitism in this album is not so great songwriting and the awful vocals.

1. 6:00 6/10 : It is a good start of the album. technically great, it suffers from the voice clips in the song muc, which for me hurt the quality of the song.

2. Caught in a Web 6/10 : This is a heavy song that has a simple structure. the instrumental break is very nice, but the songwriting is nothing to write home about.

3. Innocence Faded 4.5/10 : This is better than the previous two songs, and it sounds like a song that could have been placed in 'Images and Words'. Accessible and catchy, but the vocals are beyond awful. 4. Erotomania 7/10 : This is an instrumental piece in which the band shows their talents with solid riffing.

5. Voices 7/10 : Labrie screaming is interesting. This is a heavy emotional song with time signatures. Somhow I feel like it is a part of Erotamania.

6. The Silent Man 7/10 : A very good acoustic driven song with gorgeous vocal harmonies. The short instrumental break with acoustic guitars is wonderful. 7. The Mirror 7.5/10 : A heavy Metallica-like Guitar riff opens this piece while Moore plays his keyboards and church organ. The angry singing begins and the main riff will appear for the first time which is an electric piano melded beautifully with a heavy guitar riff.

8. Lie 7/10 : For me, this is the second half of The Mirror. It is a heavy and very interesting song with plenty of guitar shows. The keyboards play a similar role to 'Mirror'

9. Lifting Shadows Off a Dream 8/10 : A beautiful ballad with a very 'lifting' guitar line. The Singing here is probably the best in the album (besides Space-dye Vest). The acoustic work is also some of the best delicate playing of Petrucci (especially on the short instrumental break)

10. Scarred 8/10 : The epic of the album, and it does not disappoint at all! It has the feeling of 'Learning to Live' but it is better structured.

11. Space-Dye Vest 10/10 : Easily the best song from the album, and their best ballad. It is dark, haunting, melodic, and highly emotional. It is also dominated by piano melodies. The song interested me enough that I learned to play it in the piano. It starts with a pretty ascending/descending piano melody, it is repeated and then it is followed by the first verse of the song which is very dark and haunting. The vocal melody here is probably the best in all of Dream Theater, following the piano melody while differing from it a little. The chorus is incredibly beautiful with pedal-piano chords and voices that empowers the song. The 2nd verse and chorus are repeated with new musical ideas, and the instrumental break is a piano dominated beauty. After that instrumental part ends, the melody that was heard in the beginning is repeated.

My opinion is that this is a very solid album of consistent quality which is ended in the most beautiful way possible. I recommend any piano players here try to play Space-Dye Vest. It is a rather easy piano piece, and with midi files and a program regarding midis, you can know where the chords are. Metalheads have much to enjoy here.

My Grade : C/B

Review by Tony R
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars What is art? The creation of beautiful and/or thought-provoking works? Well beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this album provokes thoughts in my mind. Deep, dark, ugly thoughts. Dream Theater are a band who seem to always be on the edge of something great but can never quite get it out. Sometimes this reveals itself in the middle of songs when just as you expect the knockout blow they move back into safe ground with a florid swirl of keyboards a drum roll too far or particularly Petrucci who takes 30 notes to say what most decent guitarists can say with a chord.

The musicianship on this album approaches virtuosic levels, but not the composition. There are passages on most tracks that delight and also parts that stink. "Space-Dye Vest" is the best track here by a country mile. Nice jangly piano, emotive vocals, fuzzy restrained guitar- a beautiful, tasteful track which is unusual for this band.

"Erotomania" is an interesting instrumental, but yet again, less would be more because they really overplay. "The Mirror" starts like a death metal track but is not bad and a least has some invention. On every single other track the vocals really irritate me. I mean this guy LaBrie can really sing when he wants to so why does he have to wail and whine so out of tune?

Dream Theater are ideal for those who want more than just plain Heavy Metal, a sort of Young Person's Guide to Prog Music. Not for me though.

Review by richardh
4 stars After the slightly overrated Images And Words comes this very impressive 75 minute slice of prog metal.The sound and playing is spot on.The songs are solid and LaBrie's singing just about manages not to overtake the whole thing.I have to deduct a point because as a matter of taste I prefer Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence,but this is worth checking out for sure.
Review by The Crow
4 stars Maybe not as brilliant as "Images And Words", "Awake" it's still a fantastic album by these great musicians...

"Awake" was the first Dream Theater album I heard, and this album introduced me into the world of progressive, because I started my prog collection with this CD, almost 10 years ago...

This album can be divided in two sections in my opinion:

One: songs in a very much commercial way and with a more conventional composition and instrumental developement than "Images and Words", with a more hard rocking style and with more modern keyboard playing. These songs can be taken like an advance of the very commercial "Falling Into Infinity". The songs included here are: 6:00 (one of the best of the album), Caught In a Web (a classic), Innocence Faded (the most commercial act of the album, but with a grest LaBrie's singing...), The Silent Man (very beautiful acoustic song) and Lifting Shadows Off A Dream (great song, without a doubt).

Two: very much complex songs, in a similar way of "Images And Words", but with a bit more guitar oriented sound and with powerful guitar riffs, sometimes in a clearly thrash influenced style (the beginning of Lie, for example...) The songs included here are: Erotomania (with the best guitar solo of the album), Voices (the best long song of the album), The Mirror (not very catchy song...), Lie (great rythm keyboards here, a good song...), Scarred (this songs makes this album a little repetitive, because it's very similar of all the other long songs...) and Space-Dye Vest (just a little boring song, sung by Kevin Moore, but it's a good closing of the album...)

Excellent work, but it's not a masterpiece in my opinion because it's a little repetitive sometimes (Voices, The Mirror, Lie and Scarred are too much similar songs...) and it has some weak moments (some parts of The Mirror and Scarred...) And the commercial attempt of songs like Caught In A Web and Innocence Faded it's a little questionable, although there are great tracks in my opinion...

Review by AtLossForWords
5 stars Follow-up to the spectacular Images and Words should leave no fan disappointed.

Awake is Dream Theater's third release, but it is quite underrated. The follow-up the very recieved and gold-selling Images and Words, I don't believe this album gets quite the credit it deserves.

The album is quite different from Images and Words. The most noticeable difference is that the atmosphere is much colder. John Petrucci is also more pronounced as a soloist. Kevin Moore's role has diminished a little as he left the band after this album. Moore has some fine spots on this album including the wonderfully arranged Space Dye Vest finale. Awake's emotions are very dark and cold and this song is very representative of that. John Myung first picked up his now trademark Six-String bass, and the difference shows. Myung's lines are definately a step up from Images and Words, much more melodic. LaBrie also changes up the vocals quite a bit adding a bit more variation to his style.

The prime song of this album is the three-track epic, A Mind Besides Itself (Erotomania, Voices, and The Silent Man). The song's concept is one of god and divine prescence and the search for it within oneself. The song has a little of everything, variat moods, technical brilliance, and emotion.

Production on this album is a step up too. Mike Portnoy's drums are much clearer and more powerful. Myung's bass tone is the best it's ever been past or future. The guitars from Petrucci and the keyboards from Moore are just as good if not a litlle better than they were on Images and Words. All in all a very clear and defined production.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After a successful run with Images & Words, Dream Theater returned to the studio and created what is known as Awake. Some revere it as their crowning achievement. Me? I think it's okay, but nowhere near their best. There are some very inventive tracks (A Mind Beside Itself/The Mirror/Space-Dye Vest), but they are marred by some weaker songs (Innocence Faded/6:00/Scarred). Petrucci, Myung, Portnoy, and Moore sound as tight as ever, and the music they created on the album is superb. LaBrie gives this album his all, but during some songs he really lets go and just wails and wails away.

6:00 opens the album, and it is one of the weaker songs on the album. I like the samples and the drum patterns in this song, but the lyrics are a tad too overdone and the vocals are a little too overblown for my taste. Caught in a Web is the first song on a Dream Theater record to feature Petrucci and his 7-string guitar antics. This song is really strong, with some nice keyboard touches by Moore. My only complaint with the song is the section towards the end where LaBrie is just screaming and not trying to sing melodically. The worst song on the album is Innocence Faded, it doesn't even feel like Dream Theater, but more like some 80's hair metal fiasco of a band.

A Mind Beside itself is the first Dream Theater multi-piece epic. The distorted organ intro to Erotomania only gives a warning of whats to come. This is power metal to the max. The reason this song was created was because they wanted to make one of those "instrumentals to end all instrumentals" and pull out all the stops. It segues into Voices, which is one of the strongest tracks on the album. Strong lyrics, strong vocals, and strong musicianship only prove the great things that Dream Theater would create in the future. The Silent Man is the acoustic finale to A Mind Beside Itself. It's a strong acoustic track, but it's better represented on Live Scenes From New York.

The Mirror/Lie is another two parter that show Petrucci's musical prowess on the 7- string. The Mirror is essentially a prequel to the "Glass Prison/This Dying Soul/The Root of All Evil" series with lyrics in regard to Portnoy's problems and struggles with alcohol. It segues into Lie, which is one of the singles on the album. It's has a nice riff and some very cool lyrics from Moore. Lifting Shadows Off a Dream is Myung's lyrical contribution of the album, it's a nice mellow piece that has some soothing vocals from LaBrie. Scarred is the epic of the album, and it's probably the weakest epic Dream Theater has done (next to Honor Thy Father), a pretty bland rhythm and melody is augmented with pretty weak lyrics and vocals. Space-Dye Vest is Moore's final lyrical contribution with Dream Theater, and he really leaves with a high note. This dreary and very industrial sounding song is one of my favorites. Some simple piano followed by a very restrained approach from Petrucci and Portnoy and some more soothing vocal from Labrie finish out this album.

Overall, this is the one of the last Dream Theater albums I recommend you check out. A Change of Seasons is the follower, and it's a tad weaker than this (because I think the song is better represented live). Anyway, I like this album, but not a whole lot, it's one I always listen to reluctantly, but some Dream Theater fans will say otherwise. 3/5.

Review by Marc Baum
5 stars In 1994 the Heavy Metal scene had taken a backseat to more stripped-down, grungy style of music called Alternative Rock or Grunge. Bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, with their politically conscious and sometimes undecipherable lyrics, ruled the radio waves with their muttering angst and 3-chord progressions. Any Heavy Metal that still existed consisted of tuned-down guitars and simplified lyrics and music in order to make the music more readily mainstream. Somewhere, underneath all of noise of Metal bands scrambling to find their new voice and once again hit the top of the charts, a band called Dream Theater would release what is arguably one of the best prog metal albums of all time. And yet only a small, close-knit, underground following of this superbly talented band would be privy to this masterpiece called "Awake". And that’s what makes it even more special.

"Awake" is the critical record from an amazing progressive metal band. In a career full of blindingly bright moments, Awake is the shining crown jewel that rises above them all. Images & Words is more influential, Train of Thought is heavier, Scenes From a Memory is the current cosmopolitan pick for their best, but none of that matters. Simply put, Awake is where Dream Theater moved away from the sometimes sophomoric excess of their first two records into a realm of maturity and glorious yet restrained performances, a realm that is heartbreakingly perfect, a realm that they seldom fully enter anymore, preferring an amalgam of the lyrical darkness of Awake with the absurdly amazing playing on Images & Words. Thus, much as I love the rest of the catalogue, they are virtually incapable of ascending to the absolute pinnacle of excellence that they achieved over a decade ago.

I tremble as I try to express how much this record has meant to me, how these songs are burned into my mind. This is prog-metal gone dark, stripped of it's silly window dressing and it's trademark excess. Awake is song writing over performance, real emotion and ideas over flights of fantasy and overblown "messages". Every performance is sharp, every note planned out and pressed into the service of the song. If you consider the maniac soloing of "Metropolis Part 1" or "This Dying Soul" distracting or overwhelming, take the time to immerse yourself in a work of grand, groundbreaking vision.

The album works on a variety of levels, from the high ground intellectualism of the lyrically challenging "Scarred" and "Voices" to the down and dirty rock'n'roll power at the heart of "6:00" and "Lie". In addition, the use of the famous recurring riff phenomena gives this album a cohesiveness and unity like no other album I can think of, save for overt concept albums like Scenes From a Memory, Operation: Mindcrime and Tommy. It's subtle, requiring many listens to discern, but soon you might find yourself theorizing about the significance of say, the keyboard melody from "Space Dye-Vest" appearing in "The Mirror". Is this symbolic of "The Mirror"'s alcoholic protagonist sliding into the delusional despairing isolation of "Space-Dye Vest", is it simply Kevin Moore sneakily adding another touch of complexity to a frightfully intelligent composition, or is it just your imagination, did you really hear what you thought you did? The recurring riff phenomena gives Awake an amazingly dream-like quality, as if these songs are just being fished out of some sort of collective unconscious, pure emotion manifested as spell-binding music.

This album marks a paradigm shift for the neo-prog movement. I am firm in the belief that without Awake many of the more cerebral modern prog acts wouldn't be around as they are today, many of them probably going in a more Symphony X -type direction. Awake addresses real concerns without being comically topical like Rush, Queensryche, and even later Dream Theater can be (see "The Great Debate"). Every song relates to a feeling or an internal conflict, as if we are being given a chance to sift through the subconscious of the members of the band, who were at a tremendous crossroads in real life too.

Thus, from Kevin Moore we get the desperate cry for freedom of "6:00", a catalytic opener with perhaps Mike Portnoy's most charmingly and jaw-droppingly self-indulgent performance, a perfect counterpoint to Moore's frenetic keyboard squawk. This (along with "Erotomania") is the link to the prog-mania of the "Ytse Jam" and "Learning to Live", a real performance piece that can truly be called energetic like almost nothing else. Despite the very real sense of a creative mind confined to mediocrity in the lyrical narrative, Kevin Moore is writing fun, hummable, almost rapped lyrics that highlight James LaBrie's new found sense of power and aggression. LaBrie chews scenery here, snapping off syllables and giving a biting edge to his high notes that seems to owe more to Sebastian Bach than any classically-inclined operatic style as employed on the previous album. Indeed, this song is the adrenaline on a measured and gloomy record, a track that incites bopping and headbanging from the opening samples, impeccably arranged until they have their own bizarre rhythm and pentameter.

Like Moore, Petrucci gives us a harrowing glimpse into his own mind, fearlessly pounding us with his self-doubt, with his religious conflicts, with the primal screams that we all sometimes would like to get out. "Caught in a Web" provides an interesting counterpoint to Moore's wanderings and desire to escape, almost as if the album mirrors the falling out between Dream Theater and Kevin Moore. On "6:00", Moore tells us that he feels hemmed in. On "Caught in a Web", Petrucci tells us that he cannot escape, as if Dream Theater has become the spiders web and Moore it's helpless prey. Appropriately then, the song is a sledgehammer, with Portnoy and Myung driving the song forward with a single-minded trudge while Petrucci and Moore, if anything, lighten the affair with a hopelessly gloomy yet still anthemic flick of the wrist.

LaBrie and Petrucci continue on in this little analogy I'm playing out in my overly analytical mind with "Innocence Faded", a very Images & Words style song about, obviously, the loss of innocence. Throughout this review you may notice I don't give much in the way of criticism towards the music (because I think most of it is just perfect), but I will say that "Innocence Faded" has a bit of pretty poor chorus. The verses are amazing, great examples of the dark side of I&W, as the keys and guitars sparkle without being uplifting; the chorus however, is simply incongruous with the rest of the song. It's like they grafted the chorus from another song onto an unfinished one. Regardless, the ride-out harmony is amazing, and it's blessed with some truly stand-out performances.

After a frenzied instrumental work-out called "Erotomania", which is incidentally one of the strongest uses of the recurring riff idea as it shares riffs with at least three other songs, Petrucci gives us a superbly poetic lament about how difficult it is to have faith sometimes. "Voices" features some truly amazing lyrics, both effecting and ambiguous while possessing a great flow and cadence (no Anthrax-style line cramming here) that give LaBrie a perfect platform to truly shine on. This is one of the prime examples of where Awake improves on I & W. On the Petrucci-penned "Under a Glass Moon" for example, the poetry is cheesy and depends to heavily on florid description. Here, Petrucci raises important questions that stick with you. "Is there fantasy in refuge/God in politicians/Should I turn on my religion/These voices in my head tell me to..." Musically, the performances are solid as ever, with special mention to Kevin Moore. Appropriate to the theme, Moore turns in a gothic, cathedral like tone that is unique in the DT canon (perhaps the ride out in "Finally Free"). Rather than lose the focus of the story Petrucci is trying to tell with showboating and key'n'strings duels, he adds texture and flavour throughout, adding to the chilly atmosphere permeating the track. "Voices" is an epic that remains committed to song writing, the crazed and eventful break occurring at a logical point in the song and following an amazingly well-chosen cameo by a rap artist who adds an extra degree of credibility as Petrucci gradually ramps up the intensity underneath. Other than "Scarred", I feel "Voices" is James LaBrie’s finest hour, as he displays an incredibly amount of shade in his tonality and impeccably well- chosen phrasing. In fact, the only improvement that could possibly be made to the performance occurs on Once in a LIVEtime, where James actually manages to inject more feeling and emotion into the final charge that leads into "The Silent Man".

Speaking of that very song, "The Silent Man" is a perfect example of how versatile Dream Theater has become. It's inspiring and up-lifting acoustic song-writing, and that nifty little solo towards the end of the song would fit on a far more mainstream record than this. I love this song for it's simplicity, just James and John on the guitar without any accompaniment (there may be a hint of keys towards the end to give that escalating sensation), and the Live Scenes From New York version actually angers me because in adding electricity and making it a full band piece, the subtlety and magic is gone. However, on the album there is nothing but pure perfection, even down to the excellent backing vocals contributed by one of the producers. Lyrically, this song is also about faith and familial relationships, like the calm denouement of an older man looking back at the passion of his confused youth ("Voices"). However, it is only a brief respite.

Mike Portnoy's contribution to Awake is pure sledge, a love letter to Pantera that is earthshakingly heavy. This isn't heavy for prog, this is undeniably heavy. The guitars are a distorted, face-melting, force of nature like virtually nothing else. The pounding rhythm and crushingly heavy guitar give added support to Portnoy's anguished tale of despair and self-loathing, an autobiographical account of an alcoholic trying to drag himself out of the hole that he finds himself in. This song is mean, sullen, uncommunicative and absolutely spine-crushing. I'll never forget watching this song explode live, heavy beyond heavy on a night when the band played the entire Train of Thought album, possibly the heaviest prog album ever made. "The Mirror" stomped all over it. Special mention to the high (but not sweetening) keyboard work that gives what you think is a slight respite from the stomp before you realize that it is subtly warped and disturbing, more of the cathedral-style dramatics that bolden and only add to the seriousness and class of the record. And then, just as the song seems to be grinding to a halt..."LIE"!

I remember listening to this album for the first time and practically jumping at the abrupt change of gears into this loping crunch-fest. This is Moore's second contribution to the album, and it is similar to "6:00" in that it employs a deceptively swinging vocal melody that sheds more light on his disenfranchisement and growing paranoia (at least, as far Awake being a narrative in my own mind). "Lie" just plains rocks, with a hip-shakin' and headbangin' beat that leads to a real crowd pleasing chorus. Plus, "Lie" features by far and away the most badass rendition of a nursery rhyme ever (sorry "Enter Sandman"), James having fun being bad with the effortlessly memorable lyrics. Recurring riff phenom strikes once again, as we suddenly plunge back into a complex and daring reprise of "The Mirror" which allows the band to flex it's considerable musical chops.

After that two song assault on the senses, another breather is needed, which comes in the form of John Myung's spacey and elegant "Lifting Shadows Off a Dream". The bass in this one is terrific, very melodic and mercurial as with other Myung comps like "Trial of Tears" and "Learning to Live", Portnoy doing some nice almost Simon Phillips-like light touch stuff, Petrucci and Moore adding colour, shimmer, and vibrancy wherever their enchanted music works it's way in. This song is very much about transformation and love, perhaps offering a chance at a metamorphosis for Moore (which, leaving and forming ChromaKey, he took). Regardless, LaBrie is heartfelt and moving, and the harmonizing and gradual uplift on this song is sublime. This is the sound of true art, of a genius that few bands truly possess; something that Dream Theater seems content to toss off as if it's no big thing.

The hardworking, kitchen-sink epic of Awake is "Scarred". It is of comparable length and placement (second last rather than last) to the hardworking, kitchen-sink epic on Images & Words, that being of course "Learning to Live". The difference is that on that record there were no less than five hardworking, kitchen-sink epics ("Pull Me Under", "Take the Time", "Metropolis", "Under a Glass Moon", and "Learning to Live"), and just like "Learning to Live" represents Images & Words, with it's over the top chopperiffic craziness, so "Scarred" is an avatar of the Awake record as a whole, a song of considerable heft and density possessed with a steely-eyed drive and an amazing amount of intelligence.

I consider "Scarred" to be John Petrucci's greatest song-writing accomplishment, the lyrics perfectly emoting the mental scars we all carry through our lies, a grating cry for help that goes unanswered. James LaBrie is amazing in his best performance ever and John Petrucci goes beyond the call with several unbelievable solos, the first being a bit of jazzy genre-bending cool, the second being a high-pitched noodler, and then and out and out note-dense shredder over a mid-paced beat. The song is more active and communicative than the unapproachable and majestic "Voices", especially on it's technically astounding break that gives us the only taste of the duelling that dominates Images and SFAM. The chorus is the only commercial part in the song (it's not quite "You Not Me" though), but it fits in perfectly with the rest, as if the verses are his psychotic ramblings and only on the chorus does he manage to clear his head.

Finally, Moore closes the album with a sombre, introspective piano-only piece. It's an intriguing melody, and there's something hypnotic and tragic about the way Moore mingles the two main piano "riffs" throughout the song. It's a song about growing increasingly alienated from the world, a man who has become obsessed with the models in fashion catalogues to the exclusion of having real, meaningful relationships. On another level, it is Moore's greatest expression of creative freedom on Awake, and yet it is strangely burnt out and smothered, as if it is the aural equivalent of his deadened nerves as he grows catatonic. It is dreamy and only half-awake, best enjoyed when in a dark mood or about to head into sleep. Because it is so stark and centered on one instrument, every move counts, the way he pauses before hitting a certain key, or the way he adds in little transitory fills to move into a new vocal melody becomes a captivating experience. James is both worn and fresh in his vocal delivery, and when the whole band comes in to help drive the song to it's inevitable doom it is every bit as fine and grand an ending as any other in the DT catalogue, more so even because it is so antithetical to the huge anthemic closes of "Learning to Live", "A Change of Seasons", "Grand Finale", and "Trial of Tears".

Kevin Moore left Dream Theater because he was bored and frustrated with the way the band was putting performances ahead of song writing. It is odd then that he left after the record that fits that statement the least of any in their discography, the one most obviously bearing the imprint of his unique style.

Do yourself a favour. Buy Awake, and study it hard. It is beside SFAM the most challenging record Dream Theater has released yet. It is also the greatest prog-metal album, prog-rock album even of the mid 90's.

album rating: 10/10 points = 99 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Review by imoeng
4 stars Awake

Dream Theater's third studio album, released in 1994 and is sadly, becomes the last album recorded with an amazing keyboard player, Kevin Moore. Awake is pretty much has the same concept and characteristic with the previous album, Images And Words, very progressive and metal. For me, its not my favorite and I think it is not as great as Images And Words, in terms of musical composition and lyrics.

Now let's take a look at each song.

6.00 This song is not my favorite in this album nor in all Dream Theater songs, because of James LaBrie's vocal and personally I think the song is lack of feeling and technique. This is very important considering 6.00 is an opening song which can determine the rest of the songs in the album, but for me, a true Dream Theater fan, I have listened to the rest of the songs and they are great!

Caught In A Web This song is much better than 6.00, consist of heavy guitar and keyboard riffs creating metal ambiences throughout the song, which is very Dream Theater. Moreover, when it hits the chorus, the ambience changes to rock - pop style, "caught in a web, removed from the world." However, once again, LaBrie's vocal in the second verse is not very good, just like in 6.00.

Innocence Faded This song is more like rock - pop ballad, just by listening to the intro, mellow and beautiful guitar riff. In the first verse, the style is also very rockish rather than metal. Once again, (uhh!!) is its very sad to say that LaBrie sang not very beautifully, except for the chorus, he was like screaming out of his range.

Erotomania Is actually the first part of A Mind Behind Itself, which is an instrumental section. The intro rhythm section was also used in A Change Of Season, added with practice-like guitar riff, and this is the most song played when I practice guitar! Anyway, the song is very great and very progressive metal with odd time signature throughout the song. The guitar solo is more like Yngwie's classical style with truly fast guitar licks, but still, John Petrucci played very cleanly.

Voices The second part of A Mind Behind Itself, Voices has very complicated and mixed style of music. Started with not-so-metal intro and followed by very metal elements of the song. The coolest part is John Petrucci's guitar solo, and just like I said on every Dream Theater's album reviews, John Petrucci always presents technical guitar solo with a deep feeling in it. In this song, James LaBrie still sings not very good.

Silent Man Another mellow song just using guitar rhythm and vocal. At last! James LaBrie sang very beautifully in this song, probably because he didn't need to scream to create metal elements. Its really awesome, how a combination of simple guitar rhythm and low pitches vocal can creates a real beautiful song. Moreover, the solo is really great! Just like Andy Timmon's stuff, clean and acoustic, simple yet profound.

The Mirror A true metal song, just by listen at the intro of the song. Heavy guitar riffs with heavy drums at the back. One thing to notice is that at around the fifth minutes, there are some riffs in Space - Dye Vest, just progressive.

Lie This song is the most popular song in this album, just like Images And Words' Pull Me Under and Train Of Thought's As I Am. The coolest part is there is a video clip of this song! The song is pure metal in every single minute of the song. In the guitar solo, John Petrucci played a riff taken from Pull Me Under, at the last minute in Pull Me Under, to be exact. The song ends with an unfinished guitar solo masterpiece : ), well, he could continued it, if there still time available.

Lifting Shadows Off A Dream For me, this is the most beautiful song in the album, not very metal but has a great feeling just by listening at the music notes. In a part, which I believe is the pre-chorus, there is a cool and nice guitar licks, which is very soft and unique, creates a nice ambience.

Scarred The last metal song before Space - Dye Vest, a nice ending of the album, and once again, not a very good vocal from LaBrie, but has great guitar solo..

Space - Dye Vest was made by Kevin Moore, both the lyric and the music. The song has dark and sad feeling because of the deep keyboard lines and also deep dark guitar and echoes sections. The best part is the change of style in the fifth minute, which increases the energy of the song. Truly Amazing.

I would give for stars for this album, because of the lack quality in LaBrie's vocal, although personally I think the others were doing great. Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

Review by OpethGuitarist
4 stars The best work offered by Dream Theater, the pieces all fit together here, or at least most of them. Caught in a Web and Innocence Faded are laughably bad, but the remaining tracks range from good to outstanding. I see Voices as the defining song of Dream Theater, the one that highlights what they do best.

Kevin Moore's creativity would be lost after this album, as he would depart for other projects. His presence will surely be missed, as Space Dye Vest is basically his song. Scarred is the most moving and best track on the album. This song is perhaps the best that Dream Theater has ever done, critically underrated by fanboys who see Metropolis as the be all end all of progressive metal.

I would love to give this album 5 stars, but I can't. It would probably get it if we took off the two aforementioned horrible songs. Other than that, an outstanding and excellent record that has no problem standing beside the prog giants.

Review by Moatilliatta
4 stars Awake is Kevin Moore's last album with Dream Theater. He did good during his tenure, but I personally think Rudess did even better. Still, Moore's work with the band was very commendable, and the material he helped conceive is surely among the finest of any.

This album is a longer affair than Images and Words. It's got all of the variety from before, only this time the contrast is greater. The heavy parts are heavier, and the soft parts are softer. This album is filled with strong material. My personal favorites are "Caught in a Web," "Innocence Faded," "Erotomania," and "Scarred." Everything is good here, but I have one problem: LaBrie. His range is excersized even more here, which is great, but his metal tone irks the crap out of me. Prime example being "6:00;" fantastic intro, but when we get around to "I may never get over..." I cringe. A lot of people like that kind of voice, but I can't stand it.

Other than that complaint, everything is very good. I personally get less out of this one than the previous, but there are plenty of classics here too.

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After having surprised most of the PA regulars by giving four stars to "Images and Words", notorious DT basher Ghost Rider returns to form on this occasion... I actually bought "Awake" a few months ago on the strength of the numerous rave reviews I'd read both here and on other prog sites, and I've been trying to get into it ever since - unfortunately, to no avail. However, I wil try to make this review as fair and objective as possible, as panning an album just for the sake of it is not really my style.

Released two years after the undeniably ground-breaking I&W, "Awake" is widely considered one of DT's strongest efforts - and possibly the darkest, which I find to be quite true (more like unrelentingly gloomy, in my humble opinion). In fact, the band's many admirers will find a lot to enjoy in this album: dazzling instrumental pyrotechnics, long, intricate compositions - with a single exception, none shorter than 5 minutes (with epic "Scarred" clocking in at 11'), LaBrie trademark vocal theatrics, and a suitably baroque album cover as well. However, as a non-admirer, I found this record did not really succeed in converting either me or other like-minded people.

For one thing, it goes on way too long. After a while, those 75 minutes seem to go on forever, the individual tracks turning into a single, unrelenting, nearly impenetrable wall of sound, punctuated by LaBrie's more-often-than-not annoying wail. While the musical chops of the single members are quite evident, what is much less so is the ability to write actual songs that can fix the attention of those who do not yet worship at the band's altar. What I see in "Awake" is a sort of contemporary application of the Decadent motto of "art for art's sake", but without the social and philosophical implications. DT can certainly play, and no one in their right mind are going to deny this simple fact: but then, why do their records give 'outsiders' (i.e. sceptics or newcomers) the impression of being exercises in narcissism, rather than coherent musical efforts?

Obviously, any track-by-track analysis on my part would be perfectly beside the point. I readily admit to being unable to distinguish between the various tracks, with the possible exception of album closer "Space-Dye Vest" (possibly the record's best composition, with very tasteful piano courtesy of Kevin Moore, whose contribution to the band's sound was sorely missed on later efforts). Opener "6.00" is quite promising, a hard-rocking, energetic song with a distinctive pace - pity that, later on, the songs start blurring into a single unit, and the attention starts to wander in such a way that eventually, halfway through the album, the ear does not perceive anything but the endless noodling of the various instruments. Blessedly LaBrie-free instrumental "Erotomania" is quite good in its own way, but fails to achieve the memorable quality that instrumental tour de forces like, for instance, Rush's "YYZ" seem to do quite effortlessly.

Not even a single comma of this review will convince any dedicated fans of the truth of what I say, and I must admit it's quite OK with me. As a matter of fact, I often find myself on the receiving end when reading less-than-rave reviews of personal favourites such as CTTE or "Thick as a Brick", to name but two. Anyway, this review is not intended as a pointless exercise in bashing a cult album (I take my job as a reviewer far too seriously for that), but as an example of the response of the average DT unbeliever. Sorry guys... I suppose it's just not my cup of tea.

Review by sleeper
4 stars Awake is the third album by Prog-metal leading lights Dream Theater following on from the extremely successful Images and Words. This album is notable for being the final album to feature Kevin Moore on keyboards, who departed immediately after the recording of this album.

The overall impression of Awake is that it has a considerably darker atmosphere from the rather upbeat Images and Words, indeed loss and despair seems to be a common theme throughout the entire album. Its also a slightly patchy album for Dream Theater, indeed this recording has some of the bands best work, both lyrically and musically, as well as some of their worst songs.

Unfortunately, one of the major problems on this album is James LaBrie's vocals, it's here that he started that high pitched wailing that he would tend to use too much until the recording of Scenes From a Memory. Where I can see that the occasional use of this wouldn't be a problem and just another form of expression, here its over done far to much, far to often. The one song that he ruins most this way is Innocence Faded. The third song, Innocence Faded, is a dull song by there standards, and also very much out of place on an album that contains a mostly doom-and-gloom atmosphere, with the music just being to cheerful, plus the aforementioned caterwauling from LaBrie. The album also closes on a low note with Space Dye Vest, a piano led song of Kevin Moore's that is reminiscent of Wait For Sleep from the previous album. Its basically a good song that fits into the album well but its just a bit too long at seven minutes and I start to loose interest in it.

Now that I've moaned about the albums short falls, what's right about it? Well, plenty. As I said earlier, this album contains some of DT's most accomplished songs, most notably The Mirror which segues into the equally impressive Lie. These are two songs that are characterized by a powerful, driving bass line by John Myung, sharp and raucous yet intricate and even flowing guitars by John Petrucci, expressive drumming from Mike Portnoy that allows the rest of the to band perform to their best and deep, dark atmospheric sounds as well as the occasional burst of brilliance from Kevin Moore. The big surprise with these two songs is that LaBrie's vocals is possibly the best he has ever produced, and on Lie in particular the range and diversity he uses is really impressive.

A Mind Beside Itself is the other big highlight of this album, comprised of three tracks (Erotomania, Voices and The Silent Man) it includes one of DT's characteristically impressive instrumental's, Erotomania, as well as the first of the epics, Voices, which is packed with emotion, expressed both through their playing and through the way that LaBrie sings. The Silent Man is a bit of a let down afterwards but does have the novelty of being one of the few acoustic songs performed by DT. The remaining three songs, 6:00, Scarred and Lifting Shadows of a Dream, are good songs but lack the killer edge that some songs have on this album.

Overall this is a slightly patchy album, but the good really does outshine the bad here. Sadly the fact that there is so many flaws leaves the impression that the album is just a bit two long and could have done with a couple of songs being cut, preferably Caught in a Web and Innocence Faded, while having Space Dye Vest shortened slightly. A good album but no masterpiece, 4 stars.

Review by Chicapah
3 stars I feel I must preface this review with a few facts. I'm an older fan of prog that just got into Dream Theater this year when I purchased "Scenes from a Memory" and "Octavarium." I find both to be of the highest quality and they quickly rose into my top ten. I have a lot of respect for this incredible band so I'll highlight the good news about this album first. If you didn't know it already, John Petrucci is a phenomenon on guitar. I played for over 30 years myself and the ability to play that fast and precisely is a God-given talent that only few are given. He makes this album rise high above the rabble and he does things you have to hear to believe. And the progressive music here is great, overall. Very well-thought-out, inventive and complex without getting ridiculously befuddling. Now the bad news. I had wondered why so many reviewers had problems with LaBrie's vocals. What I have heard on the aforementioned cds is terrific to my ears and I continue to enjoy his work immensely. However, I now understand where everyone was coming from. When he goes into what I call his "scary" voice I want to run from the room. For real. But I have to take into considerable consideration that this was recorded over a decade ago in 1993-94 and this is what was happening/selling at the time and maybe he was trying to sound like Dio or something. Whatever. All I can say is that if I'd bought this album before the two I did I may never have purchased another one from Dream Theater and that would have been a shame. I will continue to listen to this cd from time to time because there are still some wonderful songs on here like "The Silent Man," "Space-dye vest," "Innocence Faded" and the marvelous instrumental "Erotomania." Again, the music throughout is top-notch but I find I have to just tune out Labrie's too frequently employed screamy vocals in order to enjoy the songs. To put this all in context I love Genesis and Yes but some of their earlier recordings have to be viewed in context of where they were in terms of their writing and performing experience. I think I'll observe this album in that same light. Well done but they kept getting better and better as they moved forward through the years. 3.4 stars.
Review by Cristi
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover / Prog Metal Teams
5 stars Dream theater's Awake album is my favourite DT album, it's the only DT albumthat i would rate 5 stars. As far as i'm concerned, it doesn't get better than this. I have all Dt's albums, but I return to Awake everytime i want to satisfy my hunger for this band. I could use an excessive amount of superlatives to show my enthusiasm towards this excellent album, but I would still forget something i could have said and did not. So the bottom line is this album is a must have for any prog-rock or prog-metal collection. James LaBrie did his best vocal performance here, Kevin Moore outdid himself here, musically and lyrically, the rhythm section Portnoy/Myung shines at its best and last but not least, Petrucci's performance is outstanding. It seems i've already started with the superlatives...

In my humble opinion Awake is a masterpiece of progressive metal; if you haven't got it yet, then it's high time you did...

Review by 1800iareyay
4 stars Awake is the eagerly awaited follow up to 1992's breakthrough sophomore album Images and Words. Awake brims with a darkness that the band would not come close to again until 2003's Train of Thought.

"6:00" is a great opener that's full of energy. "Caught in a Web" is a strong mid tempo piece, but it tends to be repetitive. "Innocence Faded" is likely James Labrie's strongest vocal performance ever. A beautiful track that's unfortunately all too easy to skip over.

"Erotomania" is a great instrumental that begins the 3 part Mind Beside Itself suite. Fantastic complex drums from Protnoy, Myung's bass is pounding, Petrucci's guitar is great, and Kevin's keyboard is haunting (listen starting around 2:24 to get chills on your spine). Great solo from Petrucci. "Voices" is a mellow juxtaposition to the frantic Erotomania. "The Silent Man" continues the balladry. Overall, the suite is quite good.

"The Mirror" is led by Myung's bass and resumes the power.

"Lie" is a riff monster. Petrucci and Myung pound this song ahead. It is the heaviest song DT had at that time.

"Lifting Shadows Off a Dream" is emotional, though not as good as The Silent Man

"Scarred" is an 11 minute opus that is one of the band's finest tracks. Great vocals, heavy yet melodic sound.

"Space Dye Vest" is an interesting way to close the album. Scarred's excellent outro lures you into thinking the album is over, then comes this little piece. It features a lone piano over James' vocals. It's an astonishingly beautiful track, probably second only to The Spirit Carries On from Scenes From a Memory.

Awake is a worthy successor to Images and Words and prog metal fans would well to own this.

Grade: B

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Brief: It's time to wake up... It's Dream Theater!

Well, it's obvious that I'm starting my reviews with incredibly lame comments, but in this case it's true: I have written so many 2 and 1-start reviews lately that I think it's time to write something about The Dream. After I finish with this, only OCTAVARIUM, TRAIN OF THOUGHT and SCENES FROM A MEMORY will remain unreviewed by me, which is the same as to say "unreviewed by DT's most critical objector". (Insert a blinking face here). No, that's unfair. I know when my boys do something wrong (cough!**The Glass Prison**cough!) or when they write lame songs (did anyone mention "take Away my Pain"?) or when they make bad decisions (recording their best song ever in the same EP as a series of useless live covers?). So, as usual, let's bring fairness to the table and judge AWAKE for what it truly is:

...well, sorry. Another masterpiece.

Actually, if it was posible I would really give this album only 4.75 stars or even 4.5. that's mainly because of four reasons:

1. Coming after ultra-masterpiece and my third favorite album of all time IMAGES AND WORDS it was really hard for any album to measure up. Somehow DT managed to at least reach the very next stair down from that, if not the same exact one. 2. James La Brie's singing: as I mentioned again and again in reviews and in the forum, I'm one of the biggest fans of Mr. Canadian's style of singing. For me he's the perfect vocalist for the New York outfit. but even Maese LaBrie had a moment of weakness, and it arrived in some parts of AWAKE: when he tries to "yell", to sing overly "metallic", his throat sort of gives up and all we hear is a awkward shriek. It doesn't happen too often in the album, but it happens, and that's something I could never say about any other DT release. (Especially after listening him singing "Under a Glass Moon" live in SCORE, I know that was just a bad moment for James, he IS capable of hitting the high notes even in front of a large audience).

3. Again, this has more to do with comparing this release with the preceding history-making one. AWAKE is more metallic, less "progressive" in that there's less long songs, and most of them have a rather normal structure. There are also less soaring solos and blazing rhythms. But that's just a change of style. Once you adapt and understand you won't be hearing to IMAGES AND WORDS II, you will be fine and love AWAKE for what it is.

4. Kevin Moore's lesser contribution and importance in the final mix. In I&W the keyboards were everywhere, a prominent part of the overall picture, whereas in AWAKE the keys sort of get lost in the mix and their contribution to the actual main riffs and section of songs is less evident. It was not a shock when we learned this was Morre's last album with the band.

6:00 (8/10) , after a great drum intro by Portnoy, the songs gets on a groovy, fast tempo with much instrumental value but no great melodies or solos. Good song but nothing magnificent.

Caught in a Web (9/10) Now we start to talk! Not in the same caliber of other masterpieces, but a good song nevertheless. In this one LaBrie's performance is just decent, but on the other hand Moore's is impecable. Good chorus. Innocence Faded (9.5/10) We're getting closer to magnificence here. A very melodic, uplifting track where, curiously, LaBrie renders a fantastic singing performance. The middle part reminds me of Rush-meets-I&W. Great.

Erotomania (9.75/10), an instrumental of great coherence and cohesiveness, this starts the series "A Mind Beside Itself". I have special fond memories of this song as it appeared in a instructional-VHS tape made by Portnoy that I bought to improve my playing. A great piece with variety. It lakcs emotion, but that is solved when we hear the series from beginning to end.

Voices (10/10), masterpiece, superb. After "Erotomania" fades out, it blends perfectly into the odd time signature of the main riff in this song which contains another one of Maestro Petrucci's greatest and most melodic solos ever. Terrific. desperation, melody, heart, feelings. That's what this anthem is about. As opposed to the long songs in IMAGES, this song's structure is rather common, just enlarged. At the end, it blends in with the next track.

The Silent Man (9.5/10), as a stand-alone song is nothing to write home about, just a little mellow acoustic track with another superb performance by LaBrie (when he's not in "metal mood" he sings as always, amazing). But if you listen to it in the right context, after "Erotomania" and "Voices", it works perfectly.

The Mirror (10/10) An outstanding track with a heavy heavy riff and some beautiful if maybe too-far-in-the-mix keyboard work by Moore. This is a pure metallic song with progressive elements, but this one perfectly crafted. The melody at the end will return later as the most sad of all say-goodbye-songs in this album final track.

Lie (7.5/10) this one had a video shoot for it. Ironically, is the weakest song in the album. Simple metal with almost no progressive elements, if maybe with the exception, of course, of musicianship of the highest level by the 5 virtuose at play here. Wait, by four of them, because this is not one of LaBrie's shiniest moments; wait, only by three of them, because we have to guess in order to realize Moore is playing here.

Lifting Shadows Off a Dream (9/10) a great melodic track with good performance by Moore and the rest of the band. The chorus is too-mellow at times for me, but nothing that ultimately damages the song. Scarred (10/10), after a classy, elegant, bass-guitar-and-ride-cymbal-only beginning, LaBrie sings with care, with caution, as if coming from behind trying to awaken us from an illusion. The second section is metallic with great power by the guitar and the keys, then a pre-chorus of question, of doubt, and finally a chorus of re-assurance. Listen: this song has so many sections, all perfectly united to create one song. Other bands have songs with two sections, others play the same three notes for minute after minute over and over again. I prefer music with variety. I prefer something like this.

Space-Dye Vest (10/10). Kevin Moore's last song with Dream Theater, such a beautiful track as the prog-metal and prog and rock world in general has very seldom heard. It's so sad, we could actually cry for whatever reason we could choose: for love, for desperation, for any other cause. When we learned this master of the keys was leaving, we understood what should the tears be about. Fantastic melody. Incredible space atmosphere. Magnificent end to a very productive, if too short, musical relationship.

All in all, a fantastic album, not up to the level of IMAGES AND WORDS, but then again, very few albums are. A 4.5 stars, in my book, is rounded up to 5. And 5 I give to AWAKE.

Recommended for: Dream Theater fans, Prog-Metal fans, Prog-fans, rock-fans, san juanito fans, MUSIC fans.

Not recommended for: People who don't like anything metal-related. And die-hard fans of Kevin Moore who can't take Dream Theater without him. Why? Because after you listen to "Space Dye Vest", you'll miss him even more.

I don't. We lost him, we got Rudess. Now what's to suffer for?

Review by russellk
3 stars The follow-up to the successful 'Images and Words', DREAM THEATER'S 'Awake' finds the band bravely searching for their true voice. This album is much heavier than its predecessor, a bit heavier indeed than some of the band members seem comfortable with. Standards remain high, and real hooks are appearing in some of the songs, but it still falls some way short of the definitive statement the band members were looking for.

'Erotomania', 'Lifting Shadows' and 'Space-Dye Vest' leap at you on first listen, while 'Lie', their heaviest edge thus far, also attracts attention. While nowhere near as progressive as found on albums like 'Six Degrees' and 'Train of Thought', the songs here mark an intermediary step on DREAM THEATER'S interesting and ultimately frustrating journey. I'd recommend many of the other DREAM THEATER albums over this one; though this is certainly listenable, I wouldn't feel the DT canon would miss it greatly had it not been made.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Mike Portnoy dedicates this record to Frank Zappa his biggest inspiration. John Pertucci thanks Steve Morse while the band thanks FATES WARNING (as usual), IRON MAIDEN and PSYCHOTIC WALTZ.These are some amazing bands !

This would be Kevin Moore's last record with the band and the final song "Space Dye Vest" is the only song on here that he wrote both the lyrics and music for. Not surprisingly it's one of the better songs on the album. It's so different then the other songs and immediatley brought to mind CHROMA KEY. This song is an atmospheric, piano driven song with samples that Kevin would become famous for later in his career.

The opening song "6:00" has some great drum and guitar to get the album started. The line "6 o'clock on Christmas morning" is catchy and the background synths are a nice touch, not only here but throughout this record. "Caught In A Web" has a commercial sounding chorus with synths. I like it. The rest of the song is very heavy with killer drumming. "Innocence Faded" reminded me of RUSH as it opens. Vocals are well done and there are background vocals as well. This is a mellower tune with Pertucci letting it rip to end the song. "Erotomania" is an excellent instrumental with lots of tempo changes. Some scorching guitar solos and maniacle drumming makes this a must listen. "Voices" is a song that doesn't do much for me. The vocals are hit and miss and the brief heavy riffs seem out of place. The long extended guitar solo before 8 minutes is great.

"The Silent Man" is another song I do not like very much."The Mirror" is a good one with heavy riffs. The drum / synth melody 6 minutes in is good. "Lie" is another heavy tune that is quite dark. The shredding from Pertucci to end the song is a highlight. "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream" is refreshing. I love the way Pertucci plays over the melody much like The Edge does with U2. This has some atmospheric passages as well. "Scarred" is my favourite song on this album. It has a crunchy sound and LaBrie's vocals are rough sounding at times.

Overall this is an excellent record. Kevin has a lot to do with that as I love synths in the background. These guys play so well together, I love the instrumental work. There are some misses as far as songs go, and as far as James vocals go, but this is one I can highly recommend.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars A strong and more varied follow up to their excellent "Images of Words", "Awake" shows more experimentation within the same metal framework as before, but lacking the memorability or impact of the former.

The band's playing throughout "Awake" is top-notch, with all members expanding their skills nicely; however, there are few amazing moments in this recording, making a few of the songs drag on or even go by without leaving much of an impression. LaBrie's singing is also done in a slightly more angry timbre, using a sort of gravelly inflection which makes "Awake" sound more metal and less progressive.

Fun for fans and a good example of smart metal, but definitely not the highly rated masterpiece it's been scored-- especially when compared to the amazing stuff to follow.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Review by Prog-jester
5 stars This is an ultimate DREAM THEATER album.

Yes, there are best album (SFAM), worst album (FII), debut album etc. But if you never heard “Awake”, you never know what DREAM THEATER really is. All of their hooks are here in their best form: LaBrie sings in his best way, vocals are varied and differ in mood and manner; Petrucci provides excellent solos (neo-classical one in “Erotomania”) and crunchy riffs (“Lie”!!!); Moore is wonderful with his touching piano in “Space-Dye Vest” and heavy church organ in “Scarred”; Portnoy is simply flawless – just listen to “6.00” intro!; and Myung as good as always, providing some stunning backs for guys’ show-ups :) (like in Neo-Prog-like “Lifting Shadows Off A Dream”). “Lie” and “The Silent Man” are hit-singles supplied with nice videos. Band was on their top when Kevin suddenly decided to leave. For hundreds of fans still it means the End of Golden Era, and I’m afraid, I must agree with them here. Despite some tracks I have personal issues with (can’t stand “Innosence Faded”!), “Awake” is a solid record and a Must for any Prog-Metal devotee.

Best tracks: “Voices”, “The Mirror”, “Lie”, “Space-Dye Vest”

Best moments: Petrucci’s neo-classical solo in “Erotomania”, “The Mirror” intro, riff in “Lie”, heavy organ parts in “Scarred”

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's 1994, Prog-Metal vs. Grudge, and progmetal starts to take form with this fantastic album.

Before I start the review, my obtain-tion of this album has an iteresting anecdote to it. The local record store had recently reorganized it's shelves, and the metal section now resided where country had previously been. Used to the change, a friend and I (then a metalhead) searched our usual artists until we noticed a man with an attendant searching what was the old metal section, now electronica, in a quizzative fashion. Noticing that the one man was blind I called them over to what they were apperently looking for. Having money to blow and looking for a new band to get into I asked my friend what he suggested, he haden't a clue. It was then that the blind man spoke up and suggested a band I haden't heard of, Dream Theater. "Awake" was $10, and the blind man said it was "a great album, definately worth the money." Needless to say, I listened to him. That day apperently changed my life, I needed more of this music, more of the music that inspired this Dream Theater, and that's how I would later get to artists like Rush, Yes and so on. But with all that behind me, Awake still remains one of my favorite albums of all time, but I'll give a non Biased review.

And here it is:

While Grudge raged in the early 90s, this band was still trying to revive a fallen genre, and while it eventually would, this remains one of Dream Theater's finest works. Starting wit the heavy 6:00, the album moves on, twisting and turning between a nice mix of metal and Progressive. Songs like CAUGHT IN A WEB and INNOCENCE FADED reveal a band in the metal-turned-gurdge world, while other such as the fantastic SCARRED and SPACED DYE VEST reveal a more progressive side. More interesting yet, the band manages to combine the two aforementioned styles in a few of the songs, with great results. LIE and THE MIRROR are a few tracks that would truely define the genre of Progressive metal.

Likely the best secton of this album is (albiet split) epic A MIND BESIDE ITSELF. Divided into 3 tracks, this is a song thatonly Dream Theater could pull off. Starting with the instmental EROTOMANIA, reminicent of their inspirers: Rush, this is a track that's hard to beat, and easily flow into the next part, VOICES. This is a fantasic track, complete with all the harsh, sreaming vocals, soft part vocals, heavy drums, shredding riffs and stunning bass that DT is capable of, and remains one of their crowning glories. Coming to a close the song ends wit the peaceful THE SILENT MAN, which is a nice mellow track with some hauting vocals and lyrics that I've always found to be a great part of the album.

Although the band would go through a variety of changes that would wield harsh critisism from fans and critics alike, this is a great, timeless album that should go down as one of the genre's best. This is an effort that deserves no less than 5 stars. But the moral of the story mentioned above is: "Always listen to blind people, they know music." I know I will.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I like "Dream Theater" when they mix metal music with prog elements. But, let's be honest, the first two numbers "6:00" and "Caught In A Web" are pure heavy rock. Even if Labrie will deliver some (short) melodic moments during the latter one.

Almost logically, the rock ballad "Innocence Faded" is more appealing to me. Nice acoustic guitar and high pitched vocals. It is of course more than just a rock ballad; but this is typical for DT. A "classic rock" piece of music actually. Very good guitar work from Petrucci. He will also have the opportunity to demonstrate his skills in the instrumental "Erotomania". Heavy and soft will live together here; and the mix works pretty well.

This will also be the recipe for one of the longest song of the album : "Voices". Another very pleasant hard-rock song which should please lots of fans of this genre (hard-rock, I mean). Complex rhythms at times, enjoyable vocals partition, powerful keyboards prolonged with a great guitar solo. It constrats nicely with the acoustic ballad "The Silent Man". I am not too keen on acoustic pieces, so I won't be over-enthusiastic about this one.

The intro of "The Mirror" reminds me in a way of "Kashmir". But very soon it will get crazier and then totally wild (the best moments) just before LaBrie enters the scene. It is the parts of the song I like the least. Instrumental sections are fine but these vocals here are rather annoying. The last section though is pure heavy-style and less interesting. It goes on with "Lie" without that the listener can notice the transition. Noy any better. "Dream Theater" reverts into the softer territories with "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream". More keyboards oriented than usual but not essential.

The longest number "Scarred" almost starts with a space-rock feeling. But shortly after, the listener is brought back into DT 's universe. From ballad to rock to metal for the last four minutes or so. One of the best track of this album. A tranquil "Space Dye Vest" will close this quite well balanced album: some heavy ones, a hard-rock one, a good rock "ballad", an acoustic track... Here and there some weaker numbers as well.

These could have been avoided if only the album would have been shorter (by fifteen minutes or so). Still, even if it is a very long album (almost the maximum CD lenght available is used) it is never boring. Three stars.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Dream Theater, this band never was or is one of my fav bands, but some albums i find it better than others. From albums that i find good, excellent and even essential is Awake. This is the third release and a change of sound, darker and it's evident on entire album. There is complex structure of the pieces that for sure pleases every prog metal fan not only DT fans. Some very strong pieces are first 4+ Voices. Not forget, this is the last album with Kevin Moore on keys, he left not long after to pursue other musical directions. All in all a 4 star album and one their best so far, maybe to others is not as good as i rate here, because of the dark/heavy sound, but for sure we can't deny the the musical ability's of this band.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I Remember waiting for this album outside the recordstore on the day of itīs release. The album was highly anticipated and I ditched school that day to sit down and listen to the new Dream Theater album Awake. I was very surprised as it didnīt sound much like Images and Words. But after continued listens it ended up being a classic album for me.

I just love the drums that start the album off. They always make me feel good. And this is exactly what the rest of the album also does to me. It makes me feel good. This is not particularly happy music, but itīs just so cool.

The production is godly and Kevin Moore gets to use more keyboard sound on Awake than he did on Images and Words which makes this album a little more diverse. The same can be said about John Petrucci. He uses so many different guirar sounds on Awake that I canīt count them. Especially in a song like Erotomania which is an instrumental tour de force. John P also introduced his 7 string guitar on this album, which means that some of the songs are played in a very low key which sounds really heavy: Mirror and Lie.

The album is a masterpiece and Dream Theater proved that they could still evolve their style without losing melody. I love this album and always will.

Review by MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is my favorite DT album. Images & Words and Scenes are equally perfect from an objective standpoint (if I had to recommend one I wouldn't know which to choose) but this one is best balanced IMO. Scenes has that Rudess influence which moved DT a tiny bit closer to ELP, Images & Words is a tiny bit less "metal" than Awake. On Awake you have it all ... and I really like Kevin Moore's contribution, which adds an - if even only on the subconscious level - experimental and slightly avant-garde feeling, not only on Space-Dye Vest.

In a nutshell this album has all which makes Prog Metal the wonderful genre which it is - if you're into this sort of thing. Of course there are many reasons to dislike it ... outstanding musicianship, crystal clear production, amazing bandwidth of musical styles from soft/acoustic to heavy/thrash, you name it.

The only problems I have with the album are a few passages where LaBrie sings in registers which are on the fringes of what he's capable of - it's a bit better than on I&W though - and the track Lifting Shadows Off a Dream, which is perhaps the earliest example of DT honoring U2 and is simply not a particularly noteworthy song IMO.

But that still leaves us with over an hour of pure masterpiece.

6:00: What an amazing way to start an album. A perfect track.

Caught In A Web: A very well rounded track ... and it starts with a wonderful rhythmic pattern (3/4 in 16th feel).

Innocence Faded: A really nice track, but the last minute is nothing short of amazing!

Erotomania: This would later be one of the key points of the "Instrumedley". Is it overplayed? Yeah, maybe. But that's the point! It's way over the top, but at the same time they play it so effortlessly ... especially live it always has that "jar-dropping" effect on people who witness it for the first time. And I dare to say that even with all this virtuosity they play it with feeling.

Voices: A very beautiful track, and a perfect counterpart to the very dense Erotomania. It's simply awesome to listen through Erotomania and then there's this spacey, atmospheric with the effects-ladden keyboards and guitars ... eerie, surreal are attributes which begin to describe it.

And then comes ... the second half. "This isn't reality" ... quite true, this is indeed a Dream Theater.

The Silent Man: A very nice acoustic piece, together with the previous two tracks it forms an epic of sorts called "A Mind Beside Itself".

The Mirror: The heaviest track on the album - and the intro is just ... cool, with the drums changing the rhythm while the underlying guitar riff remains unchanged. The only thing that tops this is how the song segues into then next track.

Lie: Simply gorgeous how the track slowly chugs on in a "verbose" 16th rhythm while Moore's distorted keyboards play slow bends in the background. The song is very heavy, but also very cool and laid back ... especially in the middle part (I guess you could call it a bridge) where the drums suddenly change the grouping (from 4-4-4-4 they change to 6-6, from binary to ternary). Then a short quirky interlude, solo and back to the original track.

Lifting Shadows Off a Dream: I don't like U2 too much ... and this song owes a lot to them (Where the Streets Have No Name/I Still Haven't Found ..., anyone?). Add to that LaBrie's struggle with the high register notes ... my least favorite track.

Scarred: Petrucci plays the Blues ... I like it very much. The licks he plays in the intro are *very* tasty, very melodic. Then of course the main verse kicks in and the Blues is gone. Still, an unusual DT track, the riffing reminds me a bit of what they later did on Falling Into Infinity. The only problem is that it's a tiny bit too long, which is due to the repetitive outro.

Space-Dye Vest: Pure Brilliance. Dream Theater goes Depeche Mode / Experimental Dark Wave. Many people would have liked to hear more Kevin Moore influenced work with DT, but it wasn't meant to be. Of course quite some years later Portnoy and Moore would get together again for a very nice project (OSI) which really reminds me of Space-Dye Vest a lot - not so much the actual music but the slightly subversive and dark mood of the piece.

Review by progrules
4 stars At one point in my prog history this was my all time favourite album but that was at least a decade ago and I have much more material now to choose from and also my taste has changed slightly and not in favour of this album. I mean I still think Awake is really great but I'm not thrilled about it anymore. The great strength was (and is) the overall performance, all songs are very good and some outstanding but even my favourite track of the album by far (Voices) doesn't give me the same feeling as ten years ago.

About the album: it's more or less a concept album about a psychological (and social) disorientated person very well expressed in the lyrics in each song. It's a very emotional album and it has always struck me that amongst DT fans that either you are extremely fond of this album or you hardly like it at all. This is also noticeable in the ratings above with lots of 5 and quite some 1 star reviews.

It's a pity it has faded on me because I would have liked to give it the full 5 but I would be a liar if I did that so I can only give 4.

Review by ProgBagel
5 stars Dream Theater - Awake 5.0 stars.

Dream Theater embarked on a venture into even more exploration after their wonderful album 'Images and Words'. The line-up hasn't changed since the previous album, which ensures that it emanated a good feeling. Unfortunately this is last album to feature the brilliant Kevin Moore on keyboard as well as the driven lyrics he contributed. This is Dream Theater's most diverse album aside from possibly 'Octavarium'. This album contains the best guitar work yet from Petrucci, Portnoy's most powerful drumming and LaBrie's vocal performance was probably his best on this record. All of the tracks on this album were very progressive.all over the place, but you can sense there was structure in the songs, a reason behind the madness.

'6:00' starts off with crazy drum-work from Portnoy.probably my favorite of all his stuff. The track is very dark in atmosphere with the keyboard sound is haunting and the guitar work is heavy. The vocals of the song are low for LaBrie, but are well suited when pared with the excellent keyboard and guitar solos are included in the equation. One of my favorite DT tracks.

'Caught in a Web' is my least favorite on the album. The music is still very good; it just leaves you a little unsatisfied after the wonderful '6:00'. Again the vocal work is quite exceptional and it has a powerful intro.

'Innocence Faded' is a very pleasant song. There are a lot of great melodies in this track and it there are tons of mood changes in the piece. The track culminates with an awesome guitar solo.

'A Mind Beside Itself' (Erotomania, Voices, The Silent Man) is one track divided into three parts and is done wonderfully. 'Erotomania' is an awesome instrumental to check out. 'Voices' is a powerful track that starts out very haunting; the song is very melancholic from a lyrical perspective with the instruments only enhancing this effect. The piece ends with 'The Silent Man' which features wonderful acoustic work as well as passages from the prior to songs brought back in which really puts the grand track to a close.excellent work.

'The Mirror' and 'Lie' also mesh right into one another. 'The Mirror' starts with an intense guitar riff, quite possible the heaviest Petrucci riff of the first three albums. The keyboard work is very imposing and yet again haunting, fitting perfectly with the heavy guitar tone and LaBrie's harsh vocals. At about the 3:30 mark the track drastically changes to a very uplifting tone.but the lyrics stay dark and the vocals remain still harsh and you are brought right back into the chaos. At 5:15 contains my favorite Dream Theater melody.its great yet tragic as it is entirely too short. Then slowly the song builds up, becoming gradually louder and louder with a crunchy guitar riff repeated but the dynamics and harmonics are added to it to spice it up, only leading right into 'Lie', which is freaking awesome. The song has catchy vocal work and an awesome guitar riff that repeats throughout. These two make up my favorite on the album.

'Lifting Shadows off a Dream' is a powerful ballad. This is a stand out song in their discography and rightfully so as within it is great guitar, drum and vocal work. The song is very peaceful and the instruments convey it nicely.

'Scarred' is the most underrated song in Dream Theater's repertoire, as you never hear anything about this track compared to pieces of the same nature like 'Metropolis', 'Learning to Live', 'Beyond this Life', 'Home', etc. This track to me shows their songwriting potential fulfilled. The song just keeps progressing further and further; to hell with structure and in came adventurous, true prog. The keyboard and guitar solos were just kick ass and then cut right back to the chorus. The outro to the song was long and wonderful and probably one of their best.

'Space-Dye Vest' is Kevin Moore's swansong. I find it hilarious that Portnoy said that he and the band hated the song and regret ever releasing it, in his forums. The song is the most unique piece in the Dream Theater collection. This extremely dark song is made up of acoustic piano and voice. Once in a while Petrucci fades in and Portnoy might come in on a beat but that's about it till the end of the song. This is the only song where there is a prominent use of samples besides 'The Great Debate' and 'Sacrificed Sons' although they're to a lesser extent and in the end the whole band comes together for the finale with Petrucci plays the piano melody and Portnoy does simple drum-work while the chorus is repeated. This was a very tight song and wonderful way to end the album.

'Awake' is an extremely well thought-out album for Dream Theater. This goes right under 'Images and Words' in my book. I'd have to say this was their most diverse effort while maintaining integrity by not trying to make each track sound different like on some other albums. This album would be a high recommendation if you want to hear Dream Theater present a good job on their heavy side.

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars Dream Theater is a band that, at best, I've only had a passive interest in. On AWAKE, Dream Theater makes an interesting move by shortening their songs (for the most part) and getting heavier with the metal. ''The Mirror'' and ''Lie'' are amongst the heaviest songs I've ever heard from them and I'm familiar with some Rudess-era material (of which I think takes a deeper dive into metal).

The metal songs here are done well and make a lasting impression. Songs like ''6:00'', ''Erotomania'' and ''Scarred'' have as much fist-pumping power as they do complexity. John Petrucci is at a playing apex here as many heavy guitar riffs and flashy solos dominate AWAKE in a good way. Surprisingly, the keyboards mix very well into the songs.

However, when the band goes astray from the metal, it isn't all worth looking at. ''The Silent Man'' is nothing more than a short acoustic piece that doesn't sound right coming after the powerful ''Voices''. ''Innocence Faded'' and ''Lifting Shadows'' are two subpar pop-metal songs that aren't really worth discovering. ''Space Dye Vest'' is at best okay, but it's too sleepy for me; poignancy is good in music, but this is almost too much.

Even if songs like ''Voices'' and ''Scarred'' are really good, I get impatient as both last too long for my comfort zone. It's pretty uneven of an album for me, so let's try three stars as a warning rating.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
2 stars The album is little bit longer,than it should be! The songs are longer than they should,too! It's full of repetitions. The album is good in terms of technical abilities, but most if the songs are boring and the problem is the lack of melody in there. There are a few instruments and vocals, but I would like to ask where is the melody? That make all of the songs boring and the album boring as whole. Here in Awake we can find one of the best Dream Theater's songs - Erotomania - it's just great and it's one of the most progressive songs I've ever heard.6:00,Caught in a Web and Voices are somewhat good songs,but everything else is boring. The length of the album is negative for its overall quality. Probably the reason for the success of the album is the success of the previous one,which is quite better, but very overrated, too! Decent album with one special hint!
Review by LiquidEternity
4 stars This is Dream Theater's masterpiece, in my opinion, though it took me a long while to come to this conclusion.

First, you have to understand that the vibrant styles and colors of Images and Words have been turned into a dark aggression for this album. Now, me not being as much of a metal fan as I am of good old melody and fun, this initially turned me off. But as I started to actually delve into this less accessible work, I began to notice some things. First off, a lot of the darkness of the album comes from some creepy keys. Kevin Moore didn't seem to be very happy with the band, and his personal gloom somehow seems to show up in the music. The guitars and bass are really heavy here, and won't hit this kind of aggression again until Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. Mike Portnoy really finds some places to unleash some of his favorite balls and chunk drumming, which suits the music style well. The only factor left is James LaBrie, who sings like a rottweiler in heat some of the time. At first, I really disliked his growly take on his normal hair metal voice, but after a while, I realized that his voice perfectly suits exactly what the band was going for musically. Angst and anger pour out of him in a very unique way that he will never replicate.

Also, there is an underlying binary nature to this album, I believe. There are two halves to this release, the second one beginning with The Mirror. The first half revolves around the overture of sorts Erotomania. Already known to be a piece with collected music from other songs on the album, I looked into it, and as far as I've figured out, it only corresponds with the first six tracks. The last five tracks all bear connection to the closing track, Space-Dye Vest. So, in essence, there are two halves of this album that are musically linked within themselves, but not as much together. The first half then ends up feeling more aggressive, more short tempered and energetic, while the second half seems to continue to fall back into reflection and a kind of soothing heaviness. Of course, that entire theory may be a load of bull. It's hard to tell from here, but examining the album from that perspective has made it more fun for me, anyways.

As far as individual tracks go, the album openers 6:00 and Caught in a Web are fairly similar, being both metal songs with keyboards running over the top. The drumming in the former and the guitar in the latter make both tracks unique and impressive. Innocence Faded is an often-slighted song with some cheesy high pitched singing and an outro that can make you wet your pants if you aren't watching carefully. Erotomania then jumps in, being seven vocal-less minutes mostly dedicated to John Petrucci's wild guitar. Indeed, some of his fastest and most highly-regarded shredding bits take place here. I'm glad they get the shredding out of their system on this song, where it fits just fine, and don't bother filling the rest of their songs with noodling. Voices continues from Erotomania, opening with a catchy bass riff in 9/something. James really lets fly with his voice in this track (and consequently becomes even harder to understand). The side, if you will, closes with the unfortunately short acoustic number, The Silent Man.

After a brief silence, The Mirror kicks in with shifting rhythms of some really heavy chugging on the 7-string's bass string. This part also is fairly famous, for some reason showing up in a number of WWE and similar sorts of professional wrestling environments. The music stays pretty heavy and unhappy for most of its length, before dissolving into our first taste of the Space-Dye Vest melody. An interesting little ending bit then segues into a double time version for the intro of Lie. This song is even more grouchy, and it also features not one but two tearing guitar solos (okay, yes, so the band breaks out the noodling here, too). Lifting Shadows off a Dream comes next, sounding kind of like a U2 song with heavy instruments. The album's longest track, Scarred, opens with a jazzy bass riff and a building guitar solo, breaking out in heavy moments when appropriate. The instrumental section towards the end is full of tasty solos and unisons, though the noodling does get distracting here, too. Finally, after a catchy fading outro, Space-Dye Vest wanders in, gentle pianos and building structure. It's a different song from most of Dream Theater's catalog, mostly because it was more or less written solely by Moore before he left. The band doesn't like it much, but it's an emotional and well-atmosphered track that offsets the random wildness throughout the album and ends it in a very unexpected way.

So in the end, we have an album that seems a bit more one-sided than its predecessor. However, the music turns darker and more complex. A very good album for Dream Theater fans to consider, and not too bad of a place to start, either, though most seem to have more luck with Images and Words or Scenes from a Memory first, as both are more accessible.

Review by crimson87
5 stars The ultimate Dreamtheater Album!

After the success of Images and Words , Dreamtheather made a sudden change and created a much darker record. This album is not easy to get into mainly because of it's length. 75 minutes high quality progressive metal. However after the fifth or sixth listen it becomes a very rewarding experience , the band made eleven songs ranging from ballads , instrumentals , pure metal songs (with a twist) and potential hit singles.

The mucisianship is flawless , and what I like the most about this record is that every single second seems to have a purpose. You know , lots of times DreamTheather is criticized by being show offs and overdoing it( i include myself on this one) . But in Awake , they seemed to restrain themselves a bit in favour of music and composition , which was a great decision.Another particular aspect of the record is that , although is not a full blown concept album like SFAM it seems to drag a concept musically speaking , probably this is due to the middle part of the record which includes the 18 min suite A man beside itself and the duet Lie/The Mirror , the first part seems to concentrate on the subject of solitude and the second one on deception.

The dark , haunting athmosphere of the record was mainly created by Kevin Moore's keyboards. I will dedicate a couple of sentences to this mucisian and his performance in my review as he is , in my opinion the most talented and underapreciated mucisian the band ever had. His keyboard playing is so different from Rudess's. While the second one seems to carry a marathon of endless soloing with Petrucci , Moore was focused in adding the textures and little details to the record , the ones you keep on discovering after several listens ; much like Richard Wright or Chick Corea. As an example you may try the last three songs on the album

Of course , Kevin Moore can't make a DreamTheather album on himself. All the others members of the band were at the top of their game too with a slight emphasis on James La Brie , he really changed his singing from one album to another using different vocal tricks. Petrucci's guitar seems to have been downtoned a bit to help to enhance the heavier mood this album has. While Portnoy's drumming is solid throughout the record and lives up to his expectations especially on an all time favourite like Erotomania. Myung's bass... though I can hear him more than on Images and Words and the few I hear is exellent I would like to hear a remastered version of Awake to concentrate on his skills.

Suming up , I think it's a shame that DreamTheater did not follow this path but we always will be expecting for an album like this to come in the future.

The best progressive metal album I have ever heard. Masterpiece status.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Awake' - Dream Theater (5/10)

No matter how much I've listened to this album, I've never really been able to appreciate it all that much. Yes, there are some great moments in it, and 'Space-Dye Vest' is one of the best progressive ballads ever written, but the fact remains that much of the album is half-baked, and a steep dive from the awesome music found in 'When Dream And Day Unite' and 'Images And Words.'

That's not to say that this is a completely bad album. It's alright, but alot of the music on it is subpar. It really doesn't sound like a Dream Theater album. Songs like 'Lie' are just heavy, noisy messes and don't deserve too much listening time. There are only 3 or 4 songs on this album I really like... '6:00' for example is a very funky sounding track, and while it's not gold, it's still very enjoyable to listen to.

The true power of this album lies in 'Space-Dye Vest.' It's certainly one of the greatest songs Dream Theater ever made, simply because theres no pretension in it. It's an emotionally based song, and theres no flaunting of musical virtuosity in it. It makes me sad that Kevin Moore is no longer in Dream Theater. There would have been alot more amazing songs like that in Dream Theater's repetoire if he had stayed.

In conclusion, not a great album, and alot of it is very disposable, but it has just enough worthy points in it to be worth checking out.

Review by jampa17
5 stars Well... I really have this one album on a special place 'cause it was my first view of the band and I fell in love in first sight really. It's wierd, but back then I was really a dummy about music and this was a shock for me. How a band could be so good? So tight and complex, keeping sense on each song...? I heard 6:00 and I was insane, I'm a keyboard player so, for me to hear the quality of sound and performance of Kevin Moore was unbelievable. Then I didn't know that it wasn't his best album... that was insane.

The voice of Labrie at it's best... maybe until the Black Clouds & Silver Linnings album. Everything sounds simply great. Portnoy drums have never sounded like in this album, Petrucci is accurate and acrobatic as always, Myung takes a different approach, less moody and sad and more basic and his contribution in this album is vital to the sound and Kevin More was just excellent by the developing of great soundscapes and layering more than acrobatic solos and show off. This was the last album of Moore in the band and for many of their fans, the shadow that his compositions have thrown over the rest of their catalogue is impressive. Even Jordan Rudess has problems to shine over the mastermind of Moore. He leave us a wonderful sad goodbye song: Space Dye Vest. "And I have no more dreams to defend" he said near to the end, weather it was a hidden code or not, it's one of the most impressive songs of DT.

They share impressive heavy rock riffing, great lead vocals and melodies, many ambience moody keyboards, impressive solos, fresh and innovative drumming and depth original bass lines. The sound is maybe their most professional and great mixed. This is the album to check for sure. Just hear Scarred, 6:00, Space dye vest, The Mirror and Lifting Shadows, but I can't point at one single "weak" song on here.

They become more metal and this one is their first "more metal than prog" album. For me it's a masterpiece, very accessible to any metalhead and one my favorites albums of all time. 5 stars.

Review by The Quiet One
4 stars Darker and Heavier than Images & Words

Awake is Dream Theater's third album, and second with James LaBrie on board. His debut with the band, Images & Words, was indeed very promising for metal and future Prog Metal fans, featuring pretty complex passages with a very balanced band, each member giving their maximun rendition and never overshadowing the other; also some some classic metal influences were heard like Metallica, however the heavy riffing was balanced with atmospheric keyboards led by Kevin Moore as well as with some tremendous melodic bass playing. However, I&W also featured some notable cons, like the extremely high pitched vocals from James which are hard to digest, some pretty ''cheap/crappy'' keyboard sounds, and a lot of un-professional double-bass drumming, reminiscent of Power Metal, if you allow me to say.

However, with Awake they seemed to have matured and perfectioned those cons; Mike Portnoy's work on the drums has really improved without featuring the annoyance of the excessive double-bass, James on the other hand while not leaving completely his high-pitched vocals, he balances them pretty well with some in-your-face metal-esque vocals which work fantastic for the 'new' mood this album presents(darker and heavier), while Kevin Moore's keyboard sound selection is back to normal, not that he was bad on I&W, but some stuff really sounded like crap, now he delivers some better atmospheres and nice piano pieces. Myung's and Petrucci's renditions on here are the only ones that seem to be less greater compared to the previous album; Myung while still fairly audible like in Images & Words, he doesn't seem to add much to the band, while Petrucci on here doesn't seem to be very inspired for heavy riffs, yet there are some of his best solos.

Anyways, even if the cons from Images & Words are perfectioned as I stated, I can't say it's a better album from the composition side neither from the ''technical'' side. For example the long pieces, Scarred and Voices, while of course being well composed songs and the musicianship is top-notch, I don't think there's anything really exciting or new or that makes me raise up the volume; the riffs overall, are mediocre metal riffs, despite how technical they may be, the drums like I said before are definitely improved but nothing really to praise of, James vocals are also improved, but there's still something not working as a whole.

So, the long, thought-promising, songs are nowhere near the long songs from I&W, what has the album left to offer? Well, the opener, 6:00, is one of them, with Portnoy shining on the drum-case, while the rest of band is making a really good heavy riff. The chorus is pretty heavy and catchy, so that's a bonus. And well, finally Moore and Petrucci deliver some kick-ass solos. Might not be as elaborated as the two long songs, yet this takes my attention much more than the other two.

Erotomania is the other highly acclaimed tune other than the two longest songs from Awake. The musicianship is top-notch and the composition is excellent too, delving through soft paces and heavy moods and all this mainly being led by Petrucci's outstanding guitar. Probably one of the best pieces Dream Theater has put together as a band.

Finally there's the highly acclaimed piece, the one written by Kevin Moore called Space-Dye Vest. It's a dark evolving creature led by Kevin's piano. However Space-Dye Vest's magic for me is the dark, semi-spacey, atmosphere which goes evolving and evolving, though never reaching a peak where everything explodes and shines as you would have thought it would do. Yet, it's very tranquil and a incredibly well-done piece, worthy of listening even if you're not a Dream Theater fan.

The rest of the songs are a mixed bag of heavy metal tunes with few prog substance, and some soft ones headed more to the AOR side. The heavy ones are The Mirror, Lie and Caught in a Web, the three of them having very in-your-face metal riffs, as well as the new raging vocals from James, which can also produce annoyance to some, despite being the opposite to his high-pitched performance. On the other hand, the non-heavy tunes which are Lifting Shadows Off a Dream, Innocence Faded and The Silent Man, like I said before they are headed more to AOR grounds in general due to the accessibility and catchiness, however despite all that, I prefer them over the heavy ones. They're definitely more bearable, however the fact that I really like songs of that style from Falling Into Infinity like Hollow Years and Anna Lee and Surrounded from Images & Words, is an obvious reason why I enjoy them and the fact that I'm not a metal fan is also an obvious reason why I don't enjoy much of the straight-forward metal material from Awake.

Reaching to the conclusion of this review, I can't seem to add anything else other than re-stating that while Awake is played better than Images & Words, the compositions in here are not exactly in the heights Dream Theater reached with Images & Words, just with few exceptions like the already stated Space-Dye Vest and Erotomania. So 3.5 stars it is, meaning it's a very good and progressive follow-up to Images & Words but doesn't quite manage to surpass it. Nonetheless it's a highly recommended Prog Metal album.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars When I first heard this album, shortly before it was released, I liked it a lot more than I do these days. Mostly because back then, when new prog was all but impossible to locate in the U.S., Dream Theater was possibly the only prog on a major label that wasn't just released as a loss leader. Echolyn and Altered State were both in the latter category.

Listening to Awake now, it's still good. There are quite a few proggy moments, even a couple of pure prog songs, but not enough to completely satisfy me. This band has done much better albums since.

And poor John Myung. He is an excellent bassist, certainly up to par with the skills of the other band members. Yet he is consistently mixed down, buried under the barrage of sound created by Portnoy and Petrucci.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Dream Theatre absolved!

As you guessed from my Images and Words review, this kind of progressive metal isn't really my kind of thing. But before you think I'm a Dream Theatre hater you should know that I am a very relentless music pit-bull and that I won't condemn or give up on a band just because they disappointed me once.

I've always thought Dream Theatre found their true voice on Awake. The playing is tight and functional, the production is excellent, the song writing is consistently strong. Ok, there still are cheesy moment as on Innocence Faded and Lifting Shadows, but it are exceptions. The music is cleared of its excesses; it's harder edged, with Metallica as a dominant inspiration.

For me, the most surprising element is Labrie. As much as he got on my nerves on Images and Words, as much he is in control of his voice here. Ok, he's still the type of vocalist that confuses hitting high notes with emotion, but his melodies are strong now and there is true passion and bite in his delivery.

If it wasn't for the occasional moments where they still remind me of the melodrama of the previous album, I might rate this with 5 stars.

Review by TGM: Orb
4 stars Awake, Dream Theater, 1994

Extremely energetic third album from one of the (like it or not) leading lights of modern prog rock and their only album I've yet heard deserving all the accolades the band gets. Aside from a slightly deeper and significantly better-delivered set of lyrics, this album has melody, contrast, structure and ideas to go with the complexity and technicality that DT's previous and later offerings provide. Start to finish, it's one hell of a trip; no bad songs, and only a couple of slips in its 75 minute duration. Two criticisms only: 1) the album ends twice - this is confusing and perhaps indicative of the confusion we see in the lyrics which waver endlessly between two opposites. 2) Caught In A Web and Innocence Faded are very strong, but at times not a match for the rest of the record.

6.00 has all the reasons I love this album... killer metal vocals, a couple of great riffs, scything organ with a delicious metallic tang from Moore, one hell of a guitar solo substantiated by the rest of music, breaks that relate to the main music, entertaining use of the (slightly trite, we confess) sound effects.

Caught In A Web is somewhat clunkier and heavier with one rather odd vocal delivery ('does this voice the wounds of your soul') but still basically solid; Portnoy's drumming in the extremely cool instrumental bit in the middle shows an appreciation of punctuation (and Myung's bass tone is superbly dark).

Innocence Faded is, strangely enough, rather brighter than either of the above. Sounds great, with some intimate vocals from Labrie and killer classic rock guitar riff from Petrucci; explodes appropriately at the right moments and the vocal harmonies are just fine. For some reason, Labrie's precocious high bit comes off very well.

The 20-minute A Mind Beside Itself suite is where the album really takes off. We're first treated to a rare effective prog metal instrumental with a consistent sense of direction and mood, killer soloing and a dirty organ. The guitar/drums duel around 4.30 is inspired. I take the conclusion/segue as rare evidence that the band are capable of delicate emotive interplay. Voices has powerful dynamic contrasts everywhere, more of Labrie being both powerfully metallic and sensitive but not sappy, complete with a surprisingly passable set of lyrics. Trite film quote included with some coolness, moving shred solo, number of superb melodies. Damn fine work. The Silent Man is a simple-yet-effective ballad-based contrasting closer with a little more in the background. More fine vibrato singing from Labrie and some subtle self-harmonies. Well-arranged, accomplished, emotional 'epic', featuring a seminal instrumental.

The Mirror is very heavy indeed, with a sort of claustrophobic Gothic symph-metal vibe to the overture followed by some visceral vocal parts and nicely stabbing bass. Moore's hybrid keyboard tone is great at times but a bit too wimpy at others. Quality metal, in this reviewer's humble opinion; the segue at the end is particularly powerful and crunchy. Lie has Labrie sounding more casually unlike himself, which is interesting for all involved, and more of the solid, heavy metal with great riffs that characterised the previous piece. Some of Moore's lyrics are terrible, but at least so bad they're hilarious, and the overall idea is fine. Petrucci on incredible form here (as is everyone else, actually), and more of the contrasts of dynamic and intensity, vocal and instrumental turn this into a sort of mini-epic within its suite. Lifting Shadows restores some of the symphonic feel to this suite with Myung's imagery-based lyrics and Moore's keyboard choices. The drumming is great, Labrie's vocal is great and the cool contrast of the pessimistic verse and the uplifting chorus is one of the simple-yet-effective choices that can make a decent album into a great one.

Concluding this series of linked songs is Scarred, a more rock-based piece with a neat bass riff from Myung and some rock-solid work from Portnoy. Labrie's vocal is immensely musical, and often has an emotional grip and the lyrics... well, they actually resonate with me (a one-off from Dream Theater).

And how come you don't understand me? And how come I don't understand you?

Not complex stuff, but it works. Myung pulls out some fantastic bass parts for those of us who listen closely, and despite one slightly misplaced guitar solo, it's a musical triumph from a band that have never sounded better.

I could've stopped it on the fade there, but the piano-based (and the part here sounds so much richer than any Rudess has pulled out) closer Space Dye Vest is all but tacked on at the end. Aside from the slight lapse in ordering here (the album basically ends twice), I've no complaints about Moore's writing or lyrics (well, the quotes... are they really necessary?) and the atmosphere is deliciously dark.

Stunning contemporary album with a couple of ordering issues and the very occasional small mi[&*!#] over an enormous running time, which I'm giving the same sort of mild indulgence I'd give the occasional mneh moment on Third or The White Album. My personal favourite prog metal album. Even if you're not a fan of the rest of Dream Theater's discography (I'm not), don't miss this one. A (very slightly) forgiving five stars here.

Rating: Five Stars, 13/15 Favourite Track: 6:00 or Voices,

Edit: I cut to a four after feeling slightly uncomfortable about a five for an album with a weaker bit and a few minor slips. In the context that I'm still waiting to hear a clear-cut five star Prog Metal album, that's not a bad rating at all.

Review by Negoba
5 stars Simply My Favorite DT Album

While I had listened with keen interest to Dream Theater during the Images and Words period, it was not until joining a band of Dream Theater maniacs that I became immersed in their sound. Awake was released soon thereafter, and some of my greatest memories of being in a band are connected to that album. Our whole group took a several hour road trip to Chicago to catch DT on this tour. It was a great show, with Metropolis as a great climax. But the entire Mirror Besides Itself was also played. (I was lucky enough to see a recent tour which included this as well.) All that is just to say I'm a little biased.

Awake, of course, is the album after the breakthrough. The band had some money in their pockets and the pressure of not falling back into obscurity. Luckily for all of us, they chose to cater to their deeper fan base rather than make a popularity grab. Awake is heavier, more chops-heavy, and more complex overall than Images and Words. There are less pop / glam elements, which is the main reason I prefer this album to the predecessor.

Awake also still has Kevin Moore, the best songwriter to have ever been in the band. Moore is nowhere near the speed demon that current keymeister Jordan Rudess is, but his attraction to moody textures adds a layer to the music that the band never really has regained. Moore's parting treat is "Space Dye Vest," one of the most melodic and compelling DT songs. To be certain, he's no slouch on chops, and the interplay between Moore and Petrucci is still very good.

Petrucci is very good on this album as well. Though his sound is very grounded in the shredder movement of the late-80's and early 90's (most notably Steve Vai), he integrates the chops into a band context better than anyone had before. His unison bend opening to the solo on "Erotomania" is great, as is the wah solo on "Voices." Of course, his chops are fiery and precise, perfectly shown in the solo section of "Scarred," but it is his riffing on Awake that really makes the album. The added heaviness is what fans either love or hate, and I for one love it.

Drummer Mike Portnoy already was on the way up when this album came out, but after this one, he was firmly established as the new leader of metal drumming. I remember our drummer watching aghast and later remarking "That dude can COUNT." I had never heard a drummer so seamlessly change time signature and shift the accents so perfectly. Portnoy of course has gone on to be the definition of prog metal drumming.

James Labrie is what he is. He's a good glam metal vocalist without anything especially distinctive about his tone. The simple fact that he still keeps up with the others musically was probably his biggest qualification. His pipes are still in full form here, and a vocal chord problem would set him back after this tour. Labrie's voice was always the biggest obstacle for me to get over listening to this band, but as this style has become the standard for a certain subset of power metal, I'm used to it now.

There are no weak songs on this album, though as has been noted it's a little long. The suite of "Erotomania," "Voices," and "The Silent Man" is a great centerpiece, but "Caught in a Web," "Lie," and "Space Dye Vest" are equally as great.

I feel almost obligated to give one DT album a five star, and if any deserve it it's this one. Their importance in the prog metal genre simply cannot be understated. Probably somewhere between 4 and 5 is more accurate.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
5 stars Dream Theater's third album, after the badly seen debut "When Day And Dream Unite", and the masterpiece "Images And Words", seems to go further the way that the second album opened: indeed, "Awake" is another wonderful, enigmatic masterpiece, much more complex and dark than I&W.

Musically speaking, it is a little different than the previous album: it is more progressive in many ways, starting from the structure: eleven songs, but very well distributed, since two songs are ten minutes long. Also the technical virtuosity is much more highlighted; I&W was more concentrated on the melodies than the arrangements, solos, and musical flamboyance.

"6.00 A.M." starts the album. Boy, this song rocks. Great drum intro by Portnoy, the best Progressive Metal drummer ever, very good verse, excellent chorus, brilliant solos, beautiful bridge, where everything is calmer, great comeback, where Petrucci uses the wah wah guitar pedal, while playing the theme. Great song.

"Caught In A Web" is another awesome tune. Very catchy verse, great musicianship by all artists, an even better chorus, many awesome moments in this song, certainly a DT classic.

"Innocence Faded" is the least good song of the album. It is a semi ballad, with a weak chorus, but some moments are enjoyable. Now, the trilogy, the center of the album: A mind Beside Itself.

"Erotomania" is an awesome, mind blowing, and extremely technical instrumental song, which takes , in 6 minutes, many shapes, and has many time changes. Although it doesn't quite reach the level as "The Dance Of Eternity", DT's best instrumental song ever, from the "Scenes From A Memory" album, it is still an awesome song.

"Voices" is one of the two ten minute songs of the album. Many memorable moments, mainly it is quite a mysterious song, or at least the melodies themselves are mysterious, but the arrangements make them more desperate. The chorus is nice, but all the rest is what really makes the song. I can't say I love Labrie's work in this song, frankly.

"The Silent Man" is one the band's best ballads. Beautiful melody, played only with an acoustic guitar. The chorus is one of the most beautiful choruses DT has written, In which even Portnoy gives a nice contribute with his backing vocals. Wonderful.

"The Mirror" harshly ends the trilogy, with a heavy, but exquisite riff played with one note. This is another favorite DT song. Heavy, a little mysterious, great guitars, keyboards. The chorus is also great. Absolutely fantastic.

"Lie" for some reason I didn't like for a while. I now love it. A really cool verse, a great chorus. The guitar, like in "Caught In A Web" and "The Mirror" are very heavy, but amazing. Around four minutes is my favorite, where band gets more technical than ever. A mind blowing part indeed. Fabulous song, even though I needed some listens to acquire the taste of it.

"Lifting Shadows Off A Dream", is, somehow, the song that people consider the worst of the album. I think it's one of the best. Very nostalgic and mysterious melody, beautiful verse, haunting chorus, great arrangements. A very emotional song, if you ask me.

"Scarred" is the other ten minute song, even better than "Voices"; it is in fact, in my opinion, better structured. Psych like beginning, but then it gets more "wild". A complex song, one of the best of DT generally speaking. I love it.

"Space Dye Vest" is another mysterious and melancholic ballad, but there are no cheerful moments here. Indeed, a very grim piece, but still beautiful. I bet it doesn't get as much credit as it should, since it closes one of the greatest prog metal albums ever. "Awake" leaves me speechless every time I listen to it: so beautiful, complex, and a little tormented. 5 stars.

Review by JJLehto
4 stars This is a more "metal" release for Dream Theater. So of course I'm loving it. This is a good album. Let's get right into it.

6:00. Starts with some AWESOME Portnoy drumming. Then some sweet keyboard riffing. There is a lot of heaviness in this song, complemented with great keyboard work. A technical song from all musicians involved this is one great piece of prog metal. Perfect vocals to boot, and some great guitar solos! Runs the gambit of prog-metal in this song and does it all well.

Caught in a Web. Very interesting and cool intro. The keyboard on this album can not be over hyped! Not that Rudess is a slouch of course, but this song has great stuff. This song has all that you'd want.

Innocence Faded. Ew is the only way to describe the intro. So generic and happy! But really, very mediocre intro...this is overall a slower, more melodic, more synth driven song. But don't worry, that technical guitar work is in there, wonderfully intertwined with the keyboard. In the middle section LaBrie's vocals go to that place that I hate oh so much. Pretty good song though! Nice change up.

Erotomania. Crazy synth intro! An instrumental song it is well constructed, and of course as an instrumental there is plenty of showing off by each of the musicians. But hey, I would if I was as good as them! Melodic solos, shred solos, technicality, you'll hear everything from Petrucci here. I almost never use such specific times, but 1:21 to 1:30 as well as 4:35 to 5:30 are my favorite parts. The latter being a shred fest that sounds like something Jason Becker! Great drumming as well. Awesome song.

Voices. Very good intro, (again!). Gives way to a pretty synth section. However, there is an ominous guitar tone growing in the background...sadly it gives way to something bad. Upcoming is one of those famous DT sections filled with enough cheese to make a pizza. There is some good music for a while but AHH! LaBrie's vocals! The soothing section is welcome, song picks up though and ends going out well.

The Silent Man. Acoustic song, very melodic and so wonderful. Thankfully the vocals are pretty fitting. Mellow song. Very nice.

The Mirror. WOO! That starts off heavy. A nice heavy, staccato riff over some sweet drumming and haunting synth. This continues as the song just keeps picking up, eventually giving way to shred and thrash! Love it! Lots of deep LaBries vocals, that are really just awesome. All the heaviness gives way to a more melodic rest of the song. Good solos, and I love the keyboard over the last part.

Lie. Heavy, complex and cool riffing. Backed up, as with the rest of the album, by chilling keyboard with some awesome songs. Some of LaBrie's best work on the album. One of the best solos on the album in later, middle half of this song!

Lifting Shadows Off a Dream. A ballad, starts off with great bass, guitar, and keyboard work, with some simple, yet effective drumming under it all. Very powerful song, with good dynamic shifts and great work from every member.

Scarred. How can you not love that jazzy intro!? I kind of hate to keep repeating, but the contributions from all band members are superb. Well built song that really feels like it moves.

Space-Dye Vest. A pretty synth driven piece, it gives me a very space rock feel to it. Dark and heavy at times, always with a chilling keyboard riff playing, there are those audio clips that seem to creep into DT songs to often. Real killer in my book. It picks up later with some simple, heavy guitar playing, as the song continues to be pushed by the keys. Ends on a great note.

Wow. What an album. Some of Dream Theater's finest work. Fresh, has metal, has prog, great composition and musical skills saturate the album. Also LaBrie's vocals, (NEVER a strong point with me) are overall pretty good. There are some times when I went to rip my ears off, but that's what we get with LaBrie. I keep talking about the great musicianship, because besides that, it's a shame Moore left after this album. His playing was second to none on this album. Overall, superb album with all the DT classics, including some bad vocals, audio clips, and moments that drag. This album is probably a bit too long.

A really tough choice. This album really deserves a 4.5 but since I can't do that...wait, this is my review! (Just do know I can't give an album that falls in between a five star rating...)


Review by Andy Webb
4 stars What a spectacular record. Its hard to say more than that. Every track has such a magnificent progression, all the way from the awesome drum intro on 6:00 to the haunting beauty of Space Dye Vest . The instrumental track Erotomania has that awesome keyboard intro, and then Voices has those magnificent lyrics, and the oddly catchy 9/8 into groove. The Silent Man finishes that trio with a wonderful acoustic track. The Mirror and Lie are a wonderful duo, flowing into each other with great ease. Innocence Faded is a good track, albeit more of a pop based sound. The classic Lifting Shadows off a Dream is also wonderful. To end my horribly unchronological approach to reviewing the album, Scarred is also such a great track.
Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After being disappointed by what I heard on Images And Words it took me another 7 years to regain my courage and give Awake a proper shot. Incidentally, the music video I saw for Lie didn't impress me that much to begin with, which is why I decided to take things slow and borrow this title from a friend before purchasing a copy of my own.

Luckily I was very positively surprised by my first experience and the material continued to grow with repeated listens. To me, this is the first consistent Dream Theater release that fills in the gap between the 80's sound of Images And Words and what we experienced on Scenes From A Memory. Kevin Moore's work really shines through on Awake and gives me a glimpse of what could have been if he would have decided to maintain his position in the band. We also get an unexpected song contribution from John Myung which might give a better understanding of his style, something we don't get to hear enough on the other Dream Theater albums.

The highlight of the album for me is the three song trilogy called A Mind Beside Itself which I immediately recognized from the album Live Scenes From New York. Even though this studio take is much more polished, I actually happen to prefer the live energy that oozes from Dream Theater whenever they perform on stage. This is something that the band definitely got better at with time and could therefore explain why Awake and the other early albums just don't do as much for me as their later releases.

With Awake Dream Theater showed that they were anything but a one trick pony of a collective and depicted the first signs of the things to come. It's not the most polished of their releases but I can definitely recommend it to anyone who still haven't heard the band's early '90s material.

***** star songs: Voices (9:53)

**** star songs: 6:00 (5:31) Caught In A Web (5:28) Innocence Faded (5:43) Erotomania (6:45) The Silent Man (3:48) The Mirror (6:45) Lie (6:34) Scarred (11:00) Space-Dye Vest (7:29)

*** star songs: Lifting Shadows Off A Dream (6:05)

Review by baz91
4 stars When I think of this album, I think about Kevin Moore leaving directly afterwards. To me, this relatively dark album reflects Moore's dark period before abandoning Dream Theater to pursue his own interests, which can be seen in documentaries about the Awake album. I think Dream Theater lost something truly special with Kevin Moore, with one important aspect being his lyrics. While Jordan Rudess is rightly lauded as a wizard on the keyboards, and is far more technically capable than Moore, he hasn't written any lyrics for the group to date, and I can't help feeling like Rudess is just an addition to the group rather than an integral member. The number of classic songs have been few and further between as well since Moore left, leading to my love of Moore-era Dream Theater.

'Images And Words' was a relatively light album, especially for a metal band. 'Awake' is a lot heavier, which is reflected by the darker colours used in the album cover. It's significantly more difficult to get into this album, but there are many treats here to be discovered.

Treat #1 appears at the very beginning of the album. 6:00 sports phenomenal drumming, and fantastic lyrics. This track isn't particularly memorable, but it's still an interesting item indeed.

Caught In A Web isn't instantly likeable, but it has grown on me. It's quite easy to describe this song as 'ugly', and that's how I see it, with the heavy guitar sound, and crunchy drumming. However, the instrumental here really captivates me. The unison part between keys and guitar is brilliant, and there are some odd time signatures thrown in for good measure. What really gets me is the drumming at around 3:33; while not technically brilliant, it just sounds really cool.

Innocence very out of place on this album. With a much lighter feel than the songs surrounding it, this track loses you very quickly. Some of LaBrie's weirdest singing is here, and probably sports the most 'misheard lyrics' of any Dream Theater track. Also peculiar, is the 1:26 outro instrumental, which repeats itself in a really confusing way until the end. A very bizarre song, with only a few good moments.

The next three tracks make up Petrucci's 20-minute epic A Mind Beside Itself, the subject matter of which is still in debate. When listened to as an epic, this track does not in any way rival other great prog epics, but each part is interesting in its own right. Erotomania is a fine instrumental with many gorgeous passages, including one that was deleted from Pull Me Under. Voices is a strange, cold track with haunting lyrics. The guitar solo definitely makes this track very worthwhile! The epic ends on a light note with The Silent Man, an acoustic track which was subsequently released as a single, which reuses a theme from Erotomania. Many people don't see these tracks as one epic, but since they are listed that way in the liner notes, I tend to listen to all three at once.

The Mirror is a great heavy track, with lyrics describing Portnoy's struggle with alcoholism, and is often seen as a prelude to the Twelve-Step Suite. Starting with the instrumental Puppies on Acid, which had already been played in concerts by that point, this track continues to be heavy for the entire duration. The highlight is definitely the 90-second outro, which includes a theme from Space-Dye Vest, and has a very heavy but laid-back sound.

This segues straight into Lie which I have never been able to enjoy. This track was released in an edited form as a single, and it's too simplistic for my tastes. The only part of this song I enjoy is the outro, which is actually a continuation of the outro to The Mirror. It feels like Lie has just interrupted the song! The guitar solo in this outro is one of Petrucci's best in my opinion.

Lifting Shadows Off A Dream is another lighter song, but this one doesn't stand out as much as Innocence Faded, and so fits better into the album. This is a very beautiful track, with a great dynamic range that varies as the song progresses. Mike Portnoy uses a drum pattern in the second verse that he used in both Another Day and Eve. The instrumental is sufficiently complicated to be interesting, and this track is surprisingly memorable, and I particularly like this track.

The epic Scarred is the highlight of the album though. This song starts with a very laid-back, almost jazzy entrance, which soon turns to the heavy metal Dream Theater sound we are all used to. This song is quite long, but it is mostly dominated by vocals, and the first chorus only appears at 4:35! Throughout the vocal part there are different moods, from angry to desperate, and there is a sense of urgency to this piece. The instrumental is one of Dream Theater's finest (though not coming close to the Metropolis instrumental). There is a heavy complex section followed by my favourite Moore keyboard solo, and my second favourite Dream Theater guitar solo (with first place being reserved for Take The Time). A time signature heavy outro concludes this epic piece.

Closing the album, however, is Moore's emotional piece Space-Dye Vest. This, of course, was his way of saying goodbye to the band, and indeed to progressive metal as a whole. Composed solely by Moore, this track sounds very different to anything Dream Theater have done before or since. The music is lead mainly by Moore on the piano, but the rest of the band come in towards the end to play the outro. The lyrics are cryptic, but LaBrie delivers them brilliantly and with emotion. Interestingly his pitch seems lower than on most of the other tracks from this period, as if he is talking and being more serious than with other tracks. Some of the effects, like little fizzes and pops throughout, tend to detract from this moving piece, but the sound clips from TV are fascinating, and I have spent a lot of time trying to find their meaning. It's a shame Moore had to leave Dream Theater, but by leaving us this track, we at least get some reward. Dream Theater have yet to play this song live, as it would be wrong to play it without him.

'Awake' is not the follow-up to 'Images And Words' you may have expected. While 'Images And Words' is a cleaned, polished and bright gem of an album, 'Awake' is rather gritty and dark. There is a lot more emotion and slightly less virtuosity on this album. It's a harder album to get into, and there are some weak points, but there are some songs on this record that you really should hear.

Review by Wicket
5 stars Ahh, the wonderful feeling of experiencing what was taken away form you.

Power's back on, the hurricane's history and my ever-expanding music library is back in business again. It's funny how I listened to this album more than anything during the actual hurricane.

This along with "Systematic Chaos" is one of the outfit's darker albums. Yes, there are some heavy riffs (in 90's standards), but these two albums are, indeed, the most haunting and riveting of DT releases. While "Train Of Thought" went straight for the heavy metal approach, these two records differed greatly in their similar approach, and "Awake" would further develop on the blueprint established by "Metropolis" and "Learning To Live" amongst others on "Images & Words".

"6:00" is an interesting track simply because "Images & Words" still lingers in the band's sound, but the heavier aspect in the band's future sound is coming, almost like the "somewhat-calm-before-the-storm" feeling. There's still a "pop" aspect in this album, the same one that would carry with the band until "Metropolis, Pt. 2" (despite ballads like "The Spirit Carries On").

"Caught In A Web" was almost to seem like the next "Pull Me Under", another progressive track with hooking lyrics and a catchy chorus,, but yet there's that slumbering beast known as "metal". It begins to emerge here. It breaks out unprenounced behinds LaBrie's soaring vocals, but you still don't really see the metal aspect in the band's music yet, especially with "Innocence Faded" next, which is almost entirely their version of the pop song.

"A Mind Beside Itself" is quite an interesting suite. This was just one in a line of songs (or tracks) that DT would release on their albums. There was always that one song (or group of tracks) that the band would use to try and push the boundries on the limits of music. "Metropolis, Pt. 1" was that very track on "Images & Words", followed by "A Mind Beside Itself" on "Awake" and "Burning My Soul > Hell's Kitchen > Lines In The Sand" on "Falling Into Infinity."

"Erotomania" was the outfit's time to shine. This instrumental section focused on Petrucci's chops, Portnoy's blistering speed, Moore's haunting qualities and Myung's.... eh... bass.... skills (the guy doesn't get enough love for the the awesome things he does to support this band). "Voices" continues behind Petrucci's guitar, although you can still hear the metal coming in, especially after 50 seconds, where Petrucci drops the octave and shatters the subwoofers, followed by LaBrie's tantalizing "every Sunday Morning" line, "the spider in the window, the angel in the pool, the old man takes the poison..." The entire suite is gold, and it's construction is wonderful, except....

"The Silent Man". Eh... The sudden interruption into this acoustic guitar-laden track just breaks the magic made before in the previous two tracks. This song just doesn't feel like a part of the suite. It's....missing a conclusion, this suite. It doesn't end. At least, not properly. The song itself is wonderful, by itself, but as a part of the suite.... It kills it, I'm sorry. It doesn't work.

And then, like a flip of the switch, the inner beast is unleashed...

"The Mirror > Lie" is the perfect evidence that Dream Theater had planted their left foot firmly in the world of heavy metal. The beginning riff just screams "face-crushing". The first and a half instrumental minutes would be played at live shows before and after this album's release called "Puppies On Acid", which makes sense, I guess... These two songs are the true manifestation of Dream Theater's dark side, one that would be explored, extracted and expedited in future releases like ToT and SC, which is perfectly reasonable. The sound bites and clips used extensively throughout "Images & Words" and "Awake" were mainly the work of horror soundtrack-specialist Kevin Moore. "The Mirror" is a reflection on Mike Portnoy's alcoholism, another blueprint that would later be developed by Mike Portnoy's Twelve-Step Suite.

"Lifting Shadows Off A Dream" is one of the few tracks where John Myung can start off to shine. It's a very subtle track, backed by Moore's haunting and chilling chords that really set the atmosphere of this song. Coupled with LaBrie's soaring voice turns this track from another chilling horror movie into a bright, uplifting song about hopes and dreams. This is another one of Dream Theater's magical qualities, and one that would continue to define their music for years to come.

"Scarred" almost seems like "Shadows, Pt. 2". Again, it starts with Myung on the bass backed by Portnoy's cymbal taps. It starts off in a similar quiet, sleepy fashion, only this time the tempo picks up and the energy increases. That progressive metal begins to rear its ugly (and awesome) head again, and it becomes another fantastic epic, wrapped together by Moore's haunting organ sounds. But if you thought he was creepy before? You'd need to hear the most underrated Dream Theater song in existence.

"Space-Dye Vest" is not exactly the type of song you'd dance to, or get married to, or drive in the car to or....pretty much do anything to. It's a scary song, really. It's all Moore in the beginning, and then the slow electronic beat kicks in and LaBrie sings in to lull you to sleep, a deep, dreadful, eternal sleep, that is. The sound clips from movies and tv shows once again bring in that second element, that atmosphere of the outside world. It's just another majestic element of Dream Theater's music, and the true reason why Moore was brought aboard to Dream Theater to begin with.

Now I'll probably get complaints that "Oh, Space-Dye Vest is not metal! It's not DT at all! It's just their attempt to sound like Coldplay or Radiohead or Muse!" First, you're wrong. None of these bands were in existance when this song was recorded. Second, none of these band's are talented in depth. Towards the end of the song, Petrucci lights up the electric guitar and the metal aspect comes in. Yes, it's another haunting, dreary song, but it's all Dream Theater here.This is not them imitating someone else. This is 100% authentic through and through and by far one of the bands most underrated songs.

Positives: The quality, the structures, the atmospheres this outfit creates throughout this entire record. It literally sound like you're listening to a soundtrack of a movie. There's really nothing quite like it anywhere else. The instrumental talent is there, the songwriting talent is there, the complexity is there, the pop elements are there, the metal aspect is emerging there. It's a fantastic album as a whole.

Negatives: "The Silent Man" should not be a part of the suite. Great song by itself. Not in that suite.

Overall: This is a crucial release from this band. "Images & Words" laid down the blueprints of the future. "Awake" continued by laying down the foundation to cement this band in place and to develop their sound further. Sort of similar to the construction of the Washington Monument, the development slowed to a crawl, if not completely halted during "Falling Into Infinity" before continuing the construction on "Metropolis, Pt. 2". This is an important release for any Dream Theater fan. It contains everything that DT fans are familiar with. It's a great release for any fan of progressive metal.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars My first introduction to this incredible band began right here. A friend said you have to hear this and I had no idea what to expect. When I heard that choppy off sync riff of 6:00 I was hooked immediately; "6:00 on a Christmas morning, 6:00 on a Christmas morning". The amazing dexterity of the group, the skills of Petrucci, Portnoy and LaBrie are unsurpassed. I knew this was a super group and of course they are still churning out one excellent album after another. Back in 1994 Awake was flooring the critics, they were hailing Dream Theater as master musicians, and they have improved since then. Rudess replacing Moore was one way, although Moore is an accomplished keyboardist on this album. Myung is a fantastic bassist and shines on Awake.

Best songs are 6:00 which begins with Portnoy's drums and a crunching memorable riff. I love the chorus with LaBrie powering out an amazing performance; "Melody walks through the door and Memory flies out the window, nobody knows what they want til they finally let it all go".

Caught in a Web is truly a masterful track that sounds awesome here. LaBrie is fantastic on vocals, his high register is faultless. Moore is a virtuoso on this too, and since I have heard Rudess on this and both sound amazing in the solo section.

Erotomania is an instrumental that is tight, taut and terrific. Lots of fast paced lead work makes this one of the great showpieces of the album.

Voices is one of the all time greatest DT tracks with a strange time sig and massive lead break. It became a fan favourite live for good reason. LaBrie is powerful and retains a complex melody blending perfectly with the instruments.

The Mirror is another of the highlights with monster riffing guitars and keyboards to accompany. This one should have been played live more often, but it is great to return to on this album.

Lifting Shadows Off a Dream features very melodic verses and once again Moore is able to fly into a wonderful keyboard solo.

Scarred is awesome due to Myung's contribution along with Portnoy. They are an indelible rhythm machine. It builds into a full blown metal passage, and detours into many time sig changes.

Space-Dye Vest is a classic DT song and the last time Moore would play on an album before being replaced. There is a melancholy feel as though saying farewell to a friend. The spacey atmospherics are wondrous and it is a perfect way to end an excellent prog metal album.

So overall I was blown away by Awake and of course ended up getting hold of everything the band would produce. I can comfortably award this 4 stars as it is one of the best DT albums and one of the best of 1994.

Review by Warthur
4 stars I can't blame Dream Theater for taking their time about crafting a followup for Images and Words - after all, that album was such a huge hit they must have felt a huge pressure to produce an album worthy of that illustrious predecessor.

In one sense, I'm not sure they succeeded. I was initially impressed by Awake, then I cooled off on it, but I've found myself warming to it again. It's certainly less immediately hooky and gripping than Images and Words, starting off as it does with songs which go for a somewhat darker and more aggressive tone than that album (perhaps reacting to the shifts in metal and rock music in the early 1990s). It's certainly the case that in terms of the more popular-leaning numbers, the album didn't yield another Pull Me Under, though I think by this point we all realise that another Pull Me Under isn't going to happen (and the band themselves have made their peace with that).

However, once you hit Erotomania - the first part of the A Mind Beside Itself suite - things perk up as far as I am concerned, with the rest of the album delving into impressively proggy territory whilst purging some of the cheese from the band's sound.

I've previously said I found James LaBrie's vocals on this album a bit too polished, without much emotion; it is possible I was reacting here to some of the angst on the first three numbers, which felt slightly affected. However, I've warmed to that now - he might not persuade me that he himself is feeling these emotions, but I find myself seeing him as a narrator telling me a story through song, which perhaps helps with the sense of distance.

Technically, the performances on here are highly accomplished, but it took me a while to really get an ear for this one, to see how everything fitted together and look past the impression of flashy prog showboating I initially had. It took me a while to wake up to Awake, but I don't regret doing so, even though I don't think it'll knock Images and Words off its perch for me.

Review by Modrigue
2 stars When Dream and Technique disunite

After the unexpected success of the enchanting "Images and Words", and especially the hit-single "Pull Me Under", DREAM THEATER were urged by their music label to release a new album, more aggressive, certainly because of the recent grunge explosion. And that's exactly the main issue with "Awake": under pressure, the musicians didn't have the required latitude to fully imagine and develop their compositions. So the tracks are cold, darker, complex, maybe more modern, but without a proper soul. Those expecting the magic and fantasy of their two first albums may be disappointed. No problem with that, every band can - and must - evolve, but this time the virtuosity nearly fails at serving a real cause or crafting a captivating atmosphere. As you understand, I was mostly deceived by this third studio album.

However, there are some titles that caught my attention. "Erotomania" is easily one of DT's most breathtaking instrumentals. The musicianship is unbelievable, and this track features an incalculable number changes and ambiances! Great! My favorite song of the record is the multi-faces "Voices", alternating calm, floating and raging passages with cool sound effects. The middle part is an iced beauty... Concerning the average titles, "Caught in a Web" and "Scarred" reminds me, at times, the vanished magic of the former discs. "Space-Dye Vest" has also touching moments.

The rest of the disc fails at catching my attention and at really transporting me to another world. Furthermore, the somber and modern musical direction of "Awake" does unfortunately not spare us a few moments of soapiness: "Innocence Faded", "The Silent Man", "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream"...

"Awake" is definitely not my DREAM THEATER favorite, but will allow the band to confirm its leadership in the progressive metal sphere. Too long, too complex, too cold, lacking memorable melodies, this opus is an example where the means - the virtuosity of the musicians - is used as an end, and not to an end. Nonetheless, the band members shouldn't be blamed, they were pressurized by their record label, which is in complete opposition to their style of music, requiring to "Take The Time" to give birth to. As a result, internal dissensions will appear within the group, and keyboardist Kevin Moore will left the ship. Therefore, "Awake" marks the end of the first era of DREAM THEATER.

"Awake" still remains a technical demonstration and a mandatory listen for fans. The newcomers won't find it very accessible, although there are a few interesting tracks that shouldn't be missed. Not the DT album to start with.

Review by Kempokid
4 stars Right after 2 albums that were really enjoyable and fun for the most part, Dream Theater went and released one of their moodiest, proggiest, and best works in their career. The overall sound lacked all of the saccharine, poppy tones of the keyboards, synths, and production, instead having a much colder, emphatic feel to it, which is especially noticeable in the much thinner sound of it. The akbum is also far more unified and cohesive in sound, each track feeling like an important eleent to the album, along with small melodic moments that end up developing in later tracks. This creates a more complete experience that ebbs and flows throughout, with some increibly heavy moments throughout, really emphasising the metal aspect of them.

I personally find the weakest section of the album to be the opening three tracks, as while they aren't bad. they do pale in comparison to the more intense, complex songs later on. This said, I do quite enjoy them all, with 6:00 being a groovy song with some fun sampling and great drumming, Caught In A Web being quite intense and having cool layering of vocals, and Innocence Faded being a somewhat competant, albeit dull ballad. This is really the only song on the album that does absolutely nothing for me. The album then picks up dramatically past this point, starting off with one of DT's better instrumental tracks, which has awesmoe riffs, a short middle section which is then later expanded in The Silent Man, and an awesome neo-classical guitar solo, which is one of the greatest parts of the entire album. I really love how this is a pseudo suite, while each song also stands on its own excaptionally well, yet working perfectly fine all as one. Voices is one of the most dramatic, powerful songs on the album, especially during the chorus, where Labrie is at his peak in the album, all before shifting its intensity into The Silent Man, a beatutiful acoustic ballad. After this is one of my all time favourite songs by the band, The Mirror, which the intro alone is enough to have caused me to adore the song, being wonderfully heavy, aggressive, poewrful, and definitely worthy of being a precursor to the excellent 12 step suite. Lie is a great continuation of the previous song, but with an even more aggressive tone. At this point, the single flaw with the album shows itself, each song feels slightly too long and drawn out, and while it really doesn't mean too much to me when it's only a couple of songs, but when it's a massive portion of the album, it does start wearing me down. I personally believe that this album could have been quite a bit shorter, but that said the songs are still mostly great. Scarred is one of the more strange epics by the band, with more off kilter, strange transitions that don't quite explode in the same way that many of them do, but the song still works amazingly due to the passionate delivery and raw emotion put into it. I definitely think that the album ends on one of the greatest songs that Dream Theater have ever written, being extremely subtle in its progression, having what seems like a haze over everything, with the vocals sounding slightly distorted. The melody is nothing short of perfection, and the way the isolated piano slowly has more elements added to it until it almost forces me to just lie down and take in all the utter beauty presented to me.

Overall, This is one of my favourite Dream Theater albums, as while it can be quite tiresome to listen to if not in the right mood, almost every song here is extremely well crafted, along with being one of the more unique albums by the band thanks to the spacey feel it has. This would definitely be a pretty poor starting point into the band, as it did take a few listens to properly grow on me, and I feel like other albums could be easier to start off with. All in all, I really feel that if they trimmed the fat on this album, this would be an easy 5 stars for me, but unfortunately, it is held back a bit due to this.

Best songs: Erotomania, The Mirror, Space Dye Vest

Weakest songs: Innocence Faded

Verdict: A colder, modier album by the band that also enploys a lot of aggression. I definitely find it to be one of DT's more difficult albums to get into, but do think that it's more than worth checking out once you've familiarised yourself with the band, with Space Dye Vest being one of my favourite songs by them, full stop.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With this album, the band's third, a very promising young band finally begins to break out into their own sound and style.

1. "6:00" (5:31) what feels like a modern band attempting to play some of the harder rockin' prog of the early 1970s (like ELP or BÖC). The vocals are especially reminiscent of some of those master of the 1960s and 70s. (8.667/10)

2. "Caught In A Web" (5:28) (8.667/10)

3. "Innocence Faded" (5:43) (8.667/10)

- "A Mind Beside Itself": 4. I-Erotomania" (6:45) an instrumental intro section to the suite in which the band is, yes, still regurgitating borrowed ideas and sounds from their predecessors but are finally splicing it all together in ways that are refreshing and sounding very much their own. The absence of singer James La Brie is quite revelatory: in my opinion, they will never move forward, into their own sound, until they release themselves from James' obsession with the music of the 1980s. (13.5/15) 5. II-Voices" (9:53) a very dynamic song that fully demonstrates the band's ability to create something new and fresh, it also demonstrates how beautiful James LaBrie's voice is when he isn't belting out the power metal vocals. Unfortunately, there is some of those (in the choruses), otherwise this song would earn much higher marks. (18.5/20) 6. III-The Silent Man" (3:48) like an old hairband acoustic guitar ballad. It's okay. (8.667/10) - 7. "The Mirror" (6:45) engaging chug-metal countered with power metal vocals. I like the egalitarian mix of all four instrumentalists on this one (neither Petrucci or Portnoy going bonzo thus giving Myung and Moore the chance to be heard). (13.25/15)

8. "Lie" (6:34) a cool metal ride for the first two verses, it's when the scratchy metal screaming vocals begin that the song diminishes. The musicianship is solid, interesting, and engaging throughout--and I actually like the parts in which James is singing in an almost-white rapper style. Musically, this is a very cool song. (8.875/10)

9. "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream" (6:05) nice soundscape until 60s Hammond and 90s synth chords take their turns. James' vocal is quite nice until 2:39 when he soars into the 1980s stratosphere (though it sounds more like an impassioned GEORGE MICHAEL here than anyone else). The switch at 3:45 is odd, interesting, and, thankfully, only temporary. By 4:05 we've returned to a more dramatic theme (briefly) before we move back into a happy 1980s motif for the chorus. Lots of weird, even incongruous themes spliced into this one. I don't think it really works that well. (8.75/10)

10. "Scarred" (11:00) a very well-constructed metal epic with less-80s vocals (until the chorus). This one feels like a true prog song. (18.75/20)

11. "Space-Dye Vest" (7:29) computer-generated solo piano opens this one for the first 45 seconds. Then percussive bass and bass drums with picked acoustic guitars join in to provide full support to James' gentle vocal. Then there is a pause while piano supports the full clip of Julian Sands' love speech from his character George Emerson to Helena Bonham Carter's Lucy in the 1985 film, A Room with a View. At 2:40 we return to the vocal motif in which James sings with such great sensitivity. Then there is another couple of samples from other film speeches. Kevin Moore at his core--the way he would present music in his solo CHROMA KEY project as well as with the O.S.I. supergroup. Great song, if not your run-of-the-mill DT song. (14/15)

Total Time: 75:01

Though the members of this young band of enthusiastic and highly-skilled musicians are still collecting and regurgitating styles, riffs, and sounds from previous masters of rock, hard rock, 80s hairbands, and predecessor metal bands they are finally coming a bit into their own. What is really weighing them down, in my opinion, is the lead vocalist James LaBrie: the dude is definitely stuck in the 1980s--especially in imitation of the great lead singers of the so-called "hair bands."

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of skillful metal-oriented progressive rock music and a wonderful and rewarding addition to any prog lover's music collection.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nš 566

"Awake" is the third studio album of Dream Theater and was released in 1994. Much of the material for the album was written by Dream Theater under pressure from their record label to produce an album as successful as their previous studio album "Images And Words". The record label wanted the band produced a more metal oriented album. It was the last Dream Theater's album to feature their former keyboardist Kevin Moore, who announced his decision to leave the band during the recording sessions of the album, to pursue a solo career. He was substituted by Derek Sherinian to perform with the band during the live tour of the album. Sherinian stayed with in the band only on "Falling Into Infinity".

So, the line up on the album is James LaBrie (lead vocals), John Petrucci (backing vocals and guitars), Kevin Moore (vocals and keyboards), John Myung (bass) and Mike Portnoy (backing vocals, drums and percussion).

"Awake" has eleven tracks. All music was written by Dream Theater except "A Mind Beside Itself: III. The Silent" written by Petrucci and "Space-Dye Vest" written by Moore. The first track "6.00", with lyrics by Moore, shows the more technical side of the band, with plenty of strange and syncopated rhythms. It's aggressive, musically and lyrically, with LaBrie's high notes. It's warning us this isn't another "Images And Words". The second track "Caught In A Web", with lyrics by LaBrie and Petrucci, is much like its predecessor but it features very interesting keyboard effects over a nice rhythm. Probably, this is one of the most keyboard oriented songs on the album. It's another excellent song with intricate parts. The third track "Innocence Faded", with lyrics by Petrucci, is more radio friendly than the first two tracks and is almost a throwback to "Images And Words". The voice of LaBrie is more melodic and it has also a less aggressive guitar work. However, it maintains the great darker aura of "Awake". The fourth track "A Mind Beside Itself: I. Erotomania" is an instrumental track and represents the first part of a suite. This is a complex track, even by the standards of Dream Theater. It's a track with many musical changes and passages that shows perfectly well the high quality of these musicians. The fifth track "A Mind Beside Itself: II. Voices", with lyrics by Petrucci, is the part two of the suite and is one of the two epics on the album. It's another track full of changes and passages where each member shines through it. The chorus is incredible with an epic feel and the solo sections are excellent, which are probably the best on the album. The sixth track "A Mind Beside Itself: III. The Silent Man", with lyrics by Petrucci, is the last section of the suite and is the shortest track on the album. Musically it's a different song because it's all acoustic. But, it actually follows the standard's song structures. It's also a great song, but it doesn't stand out much after the epic. The seventh track "The Mirror", with lyrics by Portnoy, is about his alcoholic problems. It's one of the heaviest songs on the album. It starts with an aggressive guitar work followed by drums. What impresses me most on this song are Moore's keyboard lines, added to the hostile attitude of LaBrie when he delivers Portnoy's story of his losing battle against alcoholism. The eighth track "Lie", with lyrics by Moore, seems like a counterpoint, more melodic and technical, but still heavy and similar in tone to the previous track. The lyrics are also a counterpoint, expressing Moore's anger at being continually deceived by lovers, friends and possibly, even by his fellows of the group. The ninth track "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream", with lyrics by Myung, is a song built on bass guitar, with the other instruments providing the support. It's a sort of a break from the two last heavy songs. It's a pretty and simple ballad with an incredible atmosphere and with a phenomenal keyboard work. The tenth track "Scarred", with lyrics by Portnoy, is the album's second epic. It seems to be the most experimental song on the album and it has even more changes and passages, that are used here, than on "A Mind Beside Itself". This is one of the best tracks on the album and it became a classic track, really. The eleventh and last track "Space-Dye Vest", with lyrics by Moore, is a simple but hunting beautiful piano piece with some drumming and guitars in the back. This track is simply amazing and represents the culmination of everything that made Moore's keyboard work so great. This is a perfect closer for the album and a great farewell of Moore from the band.

Conclusion: "Awake" is a complex, experimental and varied album, with a permanent gloomy feeling to it. "Awake" is definitely another masterpiece of Dream Theater and represents really a very impressive follow up to the great previous album "Images And Words". It shows a different musical approach to a more progressive metal sound. Comparing to its predecessor "Awake" has a heavier and aggressive sound and the lyrics are more dark and impenetrable. In my humble opinion, "Awake" is probably a better album than "Images And Words" is. It hasn't any weak points and it's more expressive, inspired, honest and fresh. Sincerely, I think "Awake" is simply brilliant and a very unique album in Dream Theater's career. It's one of their best releases that will take some time to grow on you. It's highly recommended.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars I have always enjoyed the album. I'd call it ONE of my favorite DT albums, but, not my #1 DT album. So, here we go?. Track 1 - 6:00 One of my faves from the album, I often get it stuck in my head randomly. ("6:00 on a Christmas Morning?) I love the underlying rhythm of Portnoy's dr ... (read more)

Report this review (#2960728) | Posted by yarstruly | Thursday, October 12, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Dream Theater's "Awake" is an exceptional album that showcases the band's incredible musicianship and songwriting abilities. The album features complex time signatures, intricate guitar work, and powerful vocals from James LaBrie. The tracks "6:00," "Caught in a Web," "The Mirror," and "Lie" are par ... (read more)

Report this review (#2906163) | Posted by VanDerProg | Monday, April 10, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An album that's definitely one of their most inaccessible efforts. At the same time, it's classic Dream Theater. It should be worth saying that this would be the last Dream Theater album with the classic Line-Up. After Images And Words, which gave the band some serious recognition in the prog sce ... (read more)

Report this review (#2601688) | Posted by Gorgut Muncher | Monday, October 11, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An amazing record that showed that after Images & Words, Dream Theater still had much more to show. This record is very inaccessible, however, once you manage to get into it, it's a true gold mine. The album really doesn't have any weak tracks. There's some classic Dream Theater tracks like 6:00, ... (read more)

Report this review (#2599368) | Posted by Ian McGregor | Tuesday, October 5, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Dream Theater - Awake How do you follow up an album as important and essential as Images And Words, which redefined the sound of progressive metal for eternity? Dream Theater knew that making a record exactly like Images And Words would not be good, so they grabbed Images And Words and gave it a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2597606) | Posted by Maw The Void | Tuesday, September 28, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For my Dream Theater album ratings I will discuss each of my favorite and least favorite songs on the album and any other aspects of the album that either increases or decreases the final rating I have given the album. "Awake" followed up the legendary "Images and Words", and wow! This is an (alm ... (read more)

Report this review (#2587422) | Posted by Sheep | Thursday, August 19, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars - Review #8 - Awake can be perfectly described as the dark side of Images And Words. It's not as commercial or poppy as I&W but it maintains its heaviness (and even amplifies it) while making constant use of moody, mellow and melancholic melodies. Honestly? I like it much more than Images And ... (read more)

Report this review (#2539609) | Posted by King Brimstone | Saturday, May 1, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An album that truly surprised me when I first listened it. It's like a sort of evil version of Images And Words, by that I mean that The riffs are much darker and the whole record is much more mellow. The album features multiple tracks that remain as classics of progressive metal, like the groovy 6: ... (read more)

Report this review (#2526090) | Posted by Isaac Peretz | Wednesday, March 17, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I'm going to be one of those who goes against the grain here. I don't like this album very much. For me, it feels a little dull. Perhaps it's James' effort on this. He was experiencing voice issues around this time and thus wasn't up to his effort on "Images and Words". The riffs and melodi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1529811) | Posted by RainingStigmata | Tuesday, February 16, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The departure of Keyboardist Kevin Moore shortly after the release of this album brought an end to what many Dream Theater fans consider to be their greatest era. Though maybe not as technically sound as Jordan Rudess, or as flamboyant as Derek Sherinian, Moore's contributions had a great sense ... (read more)

Report this review (#1476911) | Posted by martindavey87 | Sunday, October 18, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Awake is one of the albums with the biggest number of changes of the rating I have ever handed out. I bought it shortly after its release and liked it quite well, especially the one six star song. The problem was, however, that I slipped into my "folky" phase when I preferred artists like Runrig, U2 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1353200) | Posted by Losimba | Sunday, January 25, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This five-piece from Boston consists of some of the most influential musicians in their respective instruments. With twelve albums released, Dream Theater has sold millions of albums over their lifetime. Varying in styles from progressive rock, to progressive metal, to even glam rock, each alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#1227384) | Posted by k3no444 | Thursday, July 31, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I agree with the general population that Awake is one of Dream Theater's best efforts. It belongs in the top five, and deserves at least four stars. "Erotomania" is the first Dream Theater song I ever heard, and I was hooked. It was also the first video I watched on Prog Archives, shortly aft ... (read more)

Report this review (#1207159) | Posted by thwok | Wednesday, July 9, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After the incredibly successful "Images & Words", the band where on a pedestal. The problem with releasing a masterpiece is that you have to follow it up with another masterpiece. Now, this album was met with a tiny bit of confusion when released, but I do believe that out of all their albums, th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1197260) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Monday, June 23, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Dream Theater is a group I respect. I don't consider myself very knowledgeable about them, as I've only heard three of their albums in their entirety (this one, I&W, and SFAM), but what I've heard I've liked. This one is definitely no exception. It took me a while to get into it, but once I d ... (read more)

Report this review (#1111649) | Posted by Neo-Romantic | Friday, January 10, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is such a grower! I remember when I used to dislike the opening track. The album as a whole is...weird! They start off with a full fledged jazz/hard rock song followed by a metallic Caught in a Web. The next song starts off with a really amazing melody! However Innocence Faded was one of ... (read more)

Report this review (#933382) | Posted by ataraxis | Wednesday, March 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Awake is Dream Theater's 3rd studio album, which has more of a grungy sound than any other of their albums. I guess it's just Dream Theater's spin on the grunge rock music that was popular at the time. It's also the last with keyboardist Kevin Moore. As with all other Dream Theater albums, the ex ... (read more)

Report this review (#823846) | Posted by zeqexes | Wednesday, September 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In Awake, Dream Theater shows a much darker and more metal approach to their music. The spectacular songwriting from Images & Words is still there, as is the technical proficiency of all the members. I believe this is Myung and LaBrie at their finest, and the other members are able to find a unique ... (read more)

Report this review (#771375) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Dream Theater's Awake is a masterpiece. There are many different music styles here but I don't think this takes away from the CD. It just shows that DT is a very talented band. The first three songs, 6 Oclock, Caught in a Web, and Innocence Faded, are shorter and hard rocking. They are good ... (read more)

Report this review (#746932) | Posted by stefano | Monday, April 30, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The best album of Dream Theater, and the maximum they can achieve with its mix of metal with progressive rock. There's an emotional charge in the disk generated by the large tour for Images & Words. Seriously, everytime that happens a bad thing in any band I hope that something good is released la ... (read more)

Report this review (#613163) | Posted by AdrianoR. | Thursday, January 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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