Dream Theater - Octavarium
7 June 2005

01. The Root Of All Evil
    1 - VI. Ready
    2 - VII. Remove
02. The Answer Lies Within
03. These Walls
04. I Walk Beside You
05. Panic Attack
06. Never Enough
07. Sacrificed Sons
08. Octavarium
    1 - Someone Like Him
    2 - Medicate (Awakening)
    3 - Full Circle
    4 - Intervals
    5 - Razor's Edge

Octavarium, one of year 2005's big happenings in the world of progressive metal and probably metal in general. This band has tried a whole lot of different styles throughout their career and won over a lot of fans. The really introvert Awake, the concept album Scenes from a Memory, the symphonic Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and the heavier Train of Thought are all examples of their versatility and you could see their latest studio-album as a clash of all these different styles. The album consists of 8 tracks but still plays for well over an hour, mostly due to the massive title-song which is 24 minutes in length.

Octavarium opens with The Root of All Evil and it's the obvious choice for an opener with its cool intro, great guitar-riffs and really driving song writing which leaves you hopeful for the rest of the album. After the great opener a lot of different songs follow; from the ballad-like The Answer Lies Within to the radio-friendly I Walk Beside You and the riff-heavy Panic-Attack. As I pointed out in the beginning of the review this album really is a mix of styles and personally I've got a pretty varied musical-taste; if you were hoping for something similar to Train of Thought you might have a problem dealing with the softer material on this album. I've heard people comment on the many tribute-moments on the album and it might be worth pointing out that Octavarium features some obvious and some less obvious similarities to other bands. I know fully well that artists have the right to draw inspiration from each other and whether or not these similarities were intentional it surely doesn't hurt the music in any way.

As the closer of the album we find the title-song which is a 24-minute masterpiece and one of the band's best performances in their entire career. It's a great mix of heavy, clean, slow parts and instrumental beauty and you really get a lot of conceptual vibes from the lyrics. From Jordan Rudess's Pink-Floyd-inspired continuum and lap-steel intro to the extremely well executed scream by Labrie at the song's climax you really feel the band is on fire.

If you've heard any of the band's later releases you know what to expect production-wise. It's a joy to listen to as the sound quality beats most other bands on the market. They play a lot with sound effects and samples hidden in the mix; it might be a good idea to try listening to the album when you've got some time and can really focus on the music and the well-written lyrics as this might enhance your listening-experience and your impression of the album. This is absolutely not a must as the record plays well anywhere and probably anytime.

It's often a good idea to compare albums but I'm not sure what to compare with except preceding Dream Theater albums. It's better than a lot of high rated albums I've come across yet as a whole it's not quite as strikingly good as for example Scenes From a Memory or Train of Thought. Octavarium features a lot of varied song writing, originality and most of all good songs but after owning the album for a while you might find some songs don't find their way to your playlist quite as often and whether or not this is because you're more into the metal side, the melodic side or the complex side of the band this will lower the final impression of the album.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 10

Band profile: Dream Theater
Album: Octavarium


written by Storchillarn | 10.04.2007

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
Arian Totalis

Octavarium, being one of their more commercial albums (as a matter of fact I would say THE most commercial) it is possibly their worst release to date. However, even if it is their worst release, it is still a very respectable and enjoyable listen. As the name implies, Octavarium is their eighth studio release, and is just chalked full of radio friendly atmosphere. This doesn't stop it from being fun though, after all, these are the masters of Progressive Metal we're dealing with here.

published 03.10.2007 | Comments (17)


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Katatronik - 10.04.2007 at 19:17  
This album is more "linear" than the other ones, and melodic, except some passages. My impression is that here DT have been influenced by some Muse stuff, especially for some vocal lines... I like 3-4 songs (the title track is great) but it's not an impressive work IMO...
Storchillarn - 10.04.2007 at 19:51  
When I first heard Octavarium I was only aware of the U2-similarities in I Walk Beside You and the Pink-Floydish intro to Octavarium but sure, they were probably influenced by Muse too. I still love the album though and strangely it has grown on me more than say Six Degrees which is strange because SD isn't as easy-listened as this. Anyway.. felt nice to review something by DT before Systematic Chaos. =)
Pianoman - 29.04.2007 at 07:33  
Great album one of them best I most say. Yes they have some influence in this disc but I think in every disc there are influences. What about the Metallica/Megadeth influence in ToT. The title song is one of my favourite DT songs with a great performance of Jordan Rudess. Muse influence? Wtf they sound like in their very first albums (Images and Words, Scenes From A Memory). They recovered the ability to make 4 and 5 minutes songs.
BloodTears - 28.07.2007 at 21:14  
I totally agree with the reference to the Muse influence, specially on Labrie's vocals and even in some structures of the songs that build up the voice. They experimented, thats fine.

Its probably my favourite album after my top 3 (images and words; awake; metropolis II) and that says a lot. Mostly because I feel connected to the songs. The heavy passages are of high quality here I think. I love them and I love this album.
Spyroid - 25.12.2007 at 01:47  
Very good review and ideed a great album! Nothing more to add
IronBlackZepp - 28.09.2008 at 21:49  
Good album all around, but the title track is one of the best songs I have ever heard.
Uirapuru - 03.05.2009 at 01:12  
Great review man. This is one of the best works from Dream Theatar.

''metallurgist'' refered to this album as some kind of ''pop-prog'', the Muse stuff are perfecly notable, and also a bit addicting. Some moments in ''Panic Attack'' reminded me of ''Stockholm Syndrome'', but ''Never Enough'' is the song where we can notice this influence better. And I don't know what's everyone's problem with ''I walk beside you'', its a nice ballad (very U2 that's true), but not a disaster, just unexpected.

People who dislike this album for its supposed commercial only intentions should also not like ''Images and Words'' and the disc2 of ''Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence'', for the number of easy-going ballads they are the same.
freetrader0000 - 28.07.2010 at 08:45  
I love this album, it's a great album to bring non Dream Theater fans into Dream Theater. The title track is by far my favorite song ever.
BlankFile - 26.08.2016 at 20:16  
"Octavarium"... what a song.

Pure magic.

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