Dream Theater - Octavarium review
|Release date:||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
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.
|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.
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