Released: Jun 7, 2005
Styles: Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal, Neo-Prog
Number Of Tracks: 8
The band once again confirms its status as progressive hard rock's standard-bearers on their latest studio epic, Octavarium.
unregistered, on june 10, 2005 9 of 10 people found this review helpful
Sound: How I'm still mesmerized by the "metallic" grandeur of Train Of Thought and then Dream Theater comes back with something that might depress their Metalhead fanbase, but their Progger fanbase will listen to the album with an almost orgasmic feeling. TOT was a kick in the face of every Dream Theater fan, with its dark and heavy feeling. As such, Train is my favorite Dream Theater album. But Octavarium is really different of its predecessor.
Funny fact: maybe you didn't realize, but every DT album since "Scenes..." are inter-connected. They start like the album before finished. The last, deep piano note at the end of "In The Name Of God" opens up the album on the 3rd part of Mike Portnoy's "A. A" saga, "The Root Of All Evil," which is a heavy hard-rocking song like DT does 'em. Sound-wise, it could be seen as a good mix of "New Millenium" and "As I Am."
"The Answer Lies Within" first seconds remind me somehow of Evanescence's "My Immortal," depressive feeling not-included. It's a really laid-back song that contrasts deeply with "The Root..." Again, in order to compare with previous DT compositions, we hear a lot of "Hollow Years" in this song. Beautiful melodies, and a richer feeling than many Dream Theater ballads though.
Every Dream Theater album has to have its keyboard-driven track. On Octavarium, "These Walls" is a playground for the Keyboard Wizard that is Jordan Rudess. The keys are all over the place in this "aerial" piece. Amazing drum work courtesy of MP, who really kicks it out in this song. Unique in sound this one, maybe mixing a bit of "Home" with the basswork and "Misunderstood" for the overall feeling and vocals.
A good way to see that Dream Theater wanted to build something completely different than "Train Of Thought" is the fourth track of the album "I Walk Beside You." DT goes U2. And it's seriously amazing how "Mainstream Rock" the track is. It's quite the first time the boys compose something like this, a novelty for them in a way. But on a personal note, it's really not my style. Could be seen like a bit of filler, but it's not like DT to produce filler.
"Panic Attack" fills the hole that "I Walk Beside You" punched in my Metalhead heart. Great bass intro (we like John Myung), and some big heavy riffage from Petrucci. The "impossible-to-do-solos" track of the album obviously. Magnificent vocals harmonies too. LaBrie really shines on this track. Can't wait to see it live. Very much like "Honor Thy Father" in sound.
"Never Enough" is a great track but again, it's a territory that Dream Theater obviously didn't explore very much in the past. There are some stellar keyboards in there. The Exaggerator also shines, providing some great riffage.
Every US band those last years had to pay homage to the 9/11 tragedy by composing a song about it. For Dream Theater it's "Sacrificed Sons." It's introduced with an eerie mix of news clips. Then comes in the atmospheric piano intro and James' soothing, smooth vocals. A nice song, very laid-back in the beginning, rocks the hell out of everything afterwards. I like it.
The title track, "Octavarium" reminded me of one band Ayreon. If you guys reading don't know this project, please try to find some quick. "Octavarium" sounds exactly like a shortened Ayreon album. Proggy at the beginning, builds up to a climax and ends with a delicious flow of notes. The whole song is a real puzzle you have to assemble as each of the four parts of the song flow into each other. The instrumentalists are shining on this track. And you ever wanted to hear how Dream Theater would sound with an orchestra backing them, "Octavarium" is the track. "Sacrificed Sons" featured a four-piece, but "Octavarium" has the whole package.
A strong 4 only because I didn't like "The Answer Lies Within" and "I Walk Beside You.". See it as a 4.7. // 8
Lyrics: I've always seen Dream Theater lyrics like a three-faced figure. There are Petrucci's lyrics: deep, personal and thoughtful. Portnoy's lyrics: more harsh, direct, crazy. And then there are the lyrics that Myung and LaBrie compose, which are sometimes literary and very professional. On "Octavarium" It really belongs to Petrucci. He wrote the most interesting lyrics of the bunch, as Portnoy wrote the most agressive ones (as always). Vocals are amazing. LaBrie is really all over the place with his superb voice. He is mellow and soft on "The Answer Lies Within," melodic on "I Walk Beside You," harmonic on "These Walls" but on "Octavarium", the man shows that he is one of the best singers of the metal/rock business. He does whatever he wants with his voice. He even screams at some point in the song! And you can also see that Petrucci and Portnoy are doing a great job at backing James. I like their back vocals, as they perfectly fit into the picture that James creates. Another strong 4 again the note is darkened by my personal taste and by the fact that sometimes, the lyrics can be seen as a bit cheesy. // 8
Overall Impression: Really, like each Dream Theater album, Octavarium is unique. Instead of trying to keep a sound that fans like, Dream Theater will always try to evolve and push forward. That can obviously be seen with the title track, which I predict will become a classic in the vein of "A Change Of Seasons." If you have a 30 dollars to invest on something, maybe you should try to put it on this album. But be warned though hardcore-fans will like it, metalhead fans won't like the whole piece, and Prog fans just found their ProgMetal ration for another two years. // 8
Acϵ♠, on may 13, 2006 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Here we are back to the coveted and idolized band that is Dream Theater, progressive metal's bastion of light (and in ToT's case, dark) and preservers of the genre. On to the songs:
01. The Root Of All Evil - a great metalish song with a catchy hook and some great guitarwork by Sir Petrucci. It starts with the piano note played at the end of Train of Thought, and then proceeds into a very Pink Floyd-ish synth bit, but when the song picks up, it's pure Dream Theater and there's no mistaking it. This song continues with Portnoy's mini-saga involving his alcohol abuse, started with The Glass Prison and This Dying Soul, and features some nifty keyboard work by Rudess.
02. The Answer Lies Within - personally, I love this song. It showcases Labrie's excellent vocal talent and the band's music-writing abilities, plus the lyrics are great too. I enjoy it a lot when DT does these kinds of songs, I always have and always have. A great slow song, what more can I say?
03. These Walls - another brilliant metal song that starts with Petrucci playing his trusty 7-string guitar with Rudess providing some fill parts. Very nice sounding, and has a great chorus melody. Another good song on this album.
04. I Walk Beside You - within the first 20 seconds of this song I thought to myself, "wow, they're starting to copy other bands' styles." Coldplay and U2 come immediately to mind, while Delirious is another band that this song sounds identical to. Probably the least-good song on the album.
05. Panic Attack - hooray for Johnny Myung and his bass intro! This is the 3rd-best song on the album for me, featuring complex riffs on all instruments, some strange but fascinating vocal effects from Labrie and Petrucci. Has all the traditional Dream Theater musical mastery you would expect of the virtuosos and doesn't disappoint.
06. Never Enough - I know it's been mentioned already, but this is definitely a Muse-y sounding song. This isnt a problem however, since Muse is one of the best bands on the planet! It also continues with Portnoy's alcohol abuse story, and is the second least-good song on the album, whatever that meant.
07. Sacrificed Sons - first of all, let me say wow to this song. I love it. I love it so much. It's great music, plus it adds something for me to think about, which I absolutely LOVE in any music. It's about the whole 9/11 / terrorism issue that the world is dealing with today, and starts with some nifty voice clips from various news networks that covered the 911 tragedy and sounds absolutely pro! However, it simply doesn't match up to the awesomeness that is.
08. Octavarium - the incredible title track. This is the first song, along with Sacrificed Sons, in DT history to have a full orchestra backing the band up so it sounds stunning. All of the 24 minutes of it is pure excellence--it really couldnt be better. A perfect way to end an album. It's such a great intro, with the slide guitar. It's trippy as anything (which is a plus, teehee) you've ever heard, and the whole song is so pro it's not even funny. They do neat things in this song too, like having bits and pieces from other songs playing underneath the main song and having lyrics from other songs and even movies in it. It finally ends with an amazing solo from Petrucci with the orchestra in full swing. Simply incredible.
While all the songs are good, and some great, it's definitely not DT's best work so it only gets an 8. By any other standards, its one of the best albums of the year that I've heard, but by DT standards it's, well, there's better. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics were well-done, particularly in Sacrificed Sons and Octavarium. While nothing overly impressive by the group, they still do match nicely with all the music itself and is appropriate where it should be. Very well done, and credit John Petrucci for not only playing some outstanding guitar but also writing most of the lyrics to the songs. // 8
Overall Impression: Debuting in late 2005, Octavarium is the band's 8th studio release, and they cleverly play on the whole theme of the number Eight; for example, there is a similarity to the musical Octave: Root, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, Octave - and the title of the first track is "The Root of All Evil", and the 8th track goes by the name of "Octavarium". Some people theorized that the title came from Latin words meaning "Various Eight", since it has eight tracks and the band has said that the eight songs on the record are all of different styles. Every song of the album is in a different minor key, starting with F, then G, A, B, C, D, E, and returning to F--one whole scale of music. Other people have made observations about the recurrances of 5's and 8's in the album art. The name Octavarium itself has 5 syllables, while connotating 8. The use of 5's and 8's stems from the number of natural notes (white keys on a piano) and accidentals (sharp/flat keys) in an octave. On the cover, there are eight pendulums which have five birds in between them, and the birds are arranged in the same pattern as piano keys (with the black birds representing flats and sharps and the balls of the pendulum representing the natural notes), on the spine of the album there are piano keys in an octave, the dominoes add up to five and eight, the octopus has eight legs and there are five fish around it, the stop sign has eight sides, the spider has eight legs and is inside an octagon which has eight sides and five "layers." Also, the maze itself has 8 doorways amongst the layers. All in all, whoever designed the album art is a friggin genius, and the music isn't too bad either. I like all the songs on the album, and I absolutely love the last two songs. I love that it's different, I love that nothing on it sounds the same, I love that it's just plain Dream theater! Overall, the music is excellent, the album art is excellenter, and the album as an album is excellentest. I would buy this album again and again if I lost it, and I recommend you should too! // 10
unregistered, on june 08, 2005 2 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Here it is. The long awaited Octavarium. And it's good! It hits of with a part of the Glass Prison/This Dying Soul saga called The Root Of All Evil. An awesome song with nice riffage and sweet chorus. The next song is The Answer Liew Within, and what can I say, it's a ballad, it's ok and that's about it! It needs something. We move on to These Walls, this is a kickass song with some nice Rudess-magic. Then the album kinda drops again, with a U2 rip-off called I Walk Beside You, it's good, but not what I want on this album. I want more progression and you know, more different stuff. Then we speed up again with Panic Attack, which might be the best song on the album! It's really rockin and LaBrie is impressive. Now to the Muse rip-off. Muse is one of Petrucci's favourite bands, and we see that in the song "Never Enough." I like it and LaBrie seems to like it to, with all the things he does with his voice. Last but definitely not least, the title track! I haven't listened to this enough to really make a fair judgement, but the start is kinda boring, but it builds up! // 8
Lyrics: Mister James LaBrie surpirsed me. I have been a bit negative about him lately, with the Live At Budokan performance and all. He sings over his own level, so he struggles live. And on this album he is brilliant, I only hope he can match it on the tour. The lyrics are as always high class, some cheese involved maybe, but who cares. Sacrificed Sons is an all-american song about 9/11 and we all know what The Root Of All Evil is about. I was surpriesd by Labries voice, so I am giving this a 5, dont know if it deserves it though. // 10
Overall Impression: Overall impression of Octavarium is good, solid, cool but far form their best. They have kicked it up a notch seens Six Degrees and Train Of Thought but their not close to Scenes From A Memory level. A nice and good album, but don't focus on this, there are so many other amazing albums this year! My favourite song right now must be Panic Attack or The Root Of All Evil. I don't think the ballads fit that much. I am really digging these catchy abit heavy songs and then I Walk beside You comes on, then I just change track. It's a good song, but it doesn't fit! Maybe they should fix the tracklist? // 8
unregistered, on june 09, 2005 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: The much anticipated new album opens with what I consider to be one of the best Dream Theater songs since 1999's Scenes From A Memory. At first it didn't seem to be much of a venture from the last album, but that changes quickly. The riffs are still heavy and Petrucci's solo in "The Root Of All Evil" is excellent, but the album settles down a bit after that with a ballad ("The Answer Lies Within") and the so-called "U2 influenced" "I Walk Beside You." Both are very good songs, but it's songs like "Panic Attack" that hit hard and make an impression. Each member is up to their best on this album, especially keyboardist Jordan Rudess, who is brillaint throughout the album. // 10
Lyrics: Many people have grown quite skeptical of LaBrie's vocal performances lately, but the truth is that he is one of the most gifted singers in music. He proves that beyond doubt on this album, giving some amazing performances on each song. The lyrics are good, but as with most Dream Theater, you wouldn't listen to them for the poetry. // 8
Overall Impression: While this album continues Dream Theater's tendancy to find new styles and themes within each new album, I find this album to be somewhat of a combination between "Train Of Thought" and "Falling Into Infinity." It certainly is unique and captures your attention, never letting go until the mind-blowing title track's twenty-four minutes have finally faded away. It's hard to pick a better song than the title track, but other favorites of mine include "Never Enough," "The Root Of All Evil" and "Sacrificed Sons." I had some high expectations for this album and I was not let down. I would consider this album to be a great introduction into Dream Theater if you have not already heard the magic that they can create! If it was stolen, I'd buy it again without a second thought. // 10
Ishagu, on june 10, 2005 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: This is an interesting album to say the least. Sound wise, the first song reminds me greatly of the way that the album "Train Of Thought" took off. The song itself is actually yet another follow up to the epic track "The Glass Prison" which appeared on "Six Degrees." Some songs on this album have a strong influence from the likes of U2; I can actually picture Bono singing one of the sections on the 4th track, "Walk Beside You." Other tracks are more "Muse" inspired, and he does a fair imitation of Matt from "Muse," whether or not that's a good thing. Overall it isn't as heavy as the previous album, and they appear to have lost some of their progressive edge, although arguably it can be said that the songs have simply become more refined. Petrucci once again delivers some incredible guitar work. // 10
Lyrics: LaBrie is a great singer and song writer. Every person in Dream Theatre is extremely talented. I've been hearing that his voice has been slipping, but in my opinion he sounds better than he has in a while on this album. Lyrics are as always quite poetical and clever: "Sailing on the seven seize the Day!" Dream Theatre songs tend to be focused around the human mind or emotions, but on this CD they deliver one of their few political tracks, "Sacrificed Sons," which brings in to question people who take their lives because of their religious beliefs. It's interesting, and is one of the highlights of the CD. // 10
Overall Impression: It is overall a very good album, but I can't say that I consider it to be one of their best. In comparison to other albums the progressive element which makes Dream Theatre who they are has faded away even more, aside from the title track, "Octavarium." The most impressive songs on the album are: "The Root Of All Evil," "These Walls," "Sacrificed Sons," "Panic Attack" and the title track itself. It is easy to appreciate just how well refined this latest album is. Dream Theatre have never been what anyone would consider a mainstream band, but I feel that through this album they are trying to change that. A lot of the songs are shorter and more accessible to people who haven't listened to them before. That isn't a bad thing, because it would be great if more people appreciated this truly amazing band, however I feel that it shouldn't come at a cost of their musical expression. As I am a huge DT fan, I would buy this album again straight away if it was stolen. It is an exceptional album by anyone's standards, and is possibly one of the best releases of this year so far. // 8
Finalshok, on june 24, 2005 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: A fantastic mixture of technical Dream Theater feeling songs and softer ballads allow the album to flow. Following through from Train Of Thought, this album mixes some of that feeling so that the momentum of the albums continue (because in a way they all seem linked) but a newer side to Dream Theater is also shown. We still see some signature DT rock outs (and will no doubt see even more when they tour) and John Petrucci, John Myung, Jordan Rudess and Mike Portnoy perform excellently. There are still some fantastic solos, but this album seems much more focused on the actual song writing. // 10
Lyrics: Once again, James LaBrie delivers the lyrics fantastically - his vocal talents only seem to expand and advance with the years. The lyrics also fit perfectly with the direction of the music. The themes and motifs are truly revealed through the lyrics and ties can be made between songs on Train Of Thought, Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence and Scenes From A Memory along with references to Pink Floyd and The Beatles. // 10
Overall Impression: Just like their last four albums (Train Of Thought, Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, Scenes From A Memory and Falling Into Infinity) this album shows an advancement in both the bands skills as song writers and musicians. Although this album doesn't contain the absolute balls-to-the-wall progressive rock feels that were created on Scenes, Six Degrees and Train Of Thought it does make a thoroughly enjoyable album that is another part in the epic tale that Dream Theater are weaving. // 10
unregistered, on june 27, 2005 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Well, after waiting anxiously (but quietly) for months for the album release date to arrive. I must say I was surprised as hell to see it in a music store in Australia all but a week later. Well, honestly after the first listen thru the album, I gotta say, after expecting a personal best from the lads (which is still either Scenes' or Six Degrees, personally), I was a touch disappointed but upon two or three more listens, I can say that this is a great album! It's not their best in my eyes, but it's something different; the band does manage to keep their progressive heart (all be it tamed somewhat). They've just headed in a few different directions, and all hardcore fans will appreciate this, no doubt.
The intro. To the intro track of the album, 'The Root Of All Evil' (think 'This Dying Soul', Pt. 2, OR 'The Glass Prison', Pt. 3) is one of the best moments on the album for me, just with the eery, spooky keyboard effects and then Portnoy's drums exploding in the distance, gradually resonating into a derivative of one of the intro sections from This Dying Soul repeat four times, and now begins Octavarium, and one of the better tracks off the album, too! (I cannot wait to hear the follow up to 'The Root...' on the next album).
Track 2. I'd have to agree with others comments that this track, although there are some nice harmonies and vocals from James Labrie, doesn't really fit, considering the track title prior was 'The Root Of All Evil' myself? I would have loved to hear track three, 'These Walls', one of the best tracks off the album, become track 2. Simply, its of a heavier nature, so IMO it would not only flow on from 'The Root' a bit better, but would also flow into 'The Answer Lies Within' more appropriately, with the nice happy sounds/piano opening. Then again, I'm 19, work in a warehouse, and only recently took up an instrument. I'd probably go with the guys that know what they're doing, too. 'The Answer...' is a nice song,nothing more from me on this one. Anyway, yes,'These Walls' is a solid track. Not so much progressive or technical, it's the most clear-cut track on the CD, o 'insanity' from Petrucci or Rudess, or from anyone really, it's just a well-rounded song that sounds solid. Top stuff.
Many have tagged 'I Walk Beside You' as a U2 rip-off/tribute, it's not what we're used to from them. It's something new, maybe a bit of an experiment. Me? Yes, I can picture Bono from U2 singing most of it, but it's a Dream Theater song, perhaps inspired by U2, yes. I like it. It's OK. I wouldn't skip track every time. I'll say that much!
Track 5. 'Panic Attack', is classic Dream Theater prog-metal. Awesome bass intro from Myung, and then yeah, everyone jumps in and carnage ensues! First listen through, this was my favourite song. It sounds, musically and lyrically, like someone having a panic attack! Classic Dream Theater, 'balls-to-the-wall' solo's and riffs. One of the few songs where I'd say that Petrucci's 'big' solo beats Rudesses. If you could compare them, I guess the pick of his solo's off the album I'd say. Also the drum track off the album, I might add! Like I said carnage.
Next up, 'Never Enough'. Supposedly inspired by the band, 'Muse' (ok, I read that off another review. I don't really know, or care, actually). While, this too may be labelled as a rip-off/tribute, it's just a 'different' Dream Theater song. Actually, I'd say the music without the singing or 'Muse' guitar sound, is actually very interesting, and, in amongst those things, this song houses some awesome Petrucci/Rudess harmony in the mid-section. Actually, the start of this song up until the first verse, for me, sounds very Matrix-esque during the intro riff, I can just picture Neo and Trinity, both weilding dual weapons, leaping from wall to wall, blowing away agents amongst a cloud of bullets, used ammo-cases, and fragments of marble pillar. All at 10% real-life speed. But, yeah, not a bad song. It has it's moments! Don't skip track.
'Sacrificed Sons' follows, a song which explores the "reasons" behind the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers. Musically, it is more of a mini-'In The Name Of God', IMO, just not as heavy. It paints various pictures: the news clips that open the track bring back the hysteria and panic first felt as the world watched on, still sounds very evil on the whole. For most of the song you can picture planes flying through buildings (not that you'd want to), and the chorus sounds uplifting, even though the lyrics are otherwise. A well composed piece. Definitely up there with the best on the album.
Well, the intro may get a touch boring (3 and a half minutes of airy guitar and keyboard sounds cool, but does drag on a bit), but it gives you plenty of time to prepare yourself (even though you can't really prepare yourself) for the last three parts of the song. It really takes off about half way thru the song, and like every 24 minute song in history (that I know of), it's a journey. With music! Takes a while to get going, but when it does, it reminds you of why you really like Dream Theater. It's different in certain places, but it's still a Dream Theater album. // 10
Lyrics: Lyrics, always written second to the music, (as has always been the DT way) are different in places also, because the sound is different. Lyrics are darker for the most part (as usual), and thats a good thing! Always thought-provoking, and blends well with it's relative place in whatever song it be. Portnoy does excellently to retrace certain parts from 'The Glass Prison' and 'This Dying Soul' in 'The Root...' 'These Walls' is solid. 'I Walk Beside You' is an uplifting, happier (U2) song. The lyrics suit it perfectly. 'Panic Attack' is all about just that. James' voice is still good, but I don't listen to DT for him necessarily, but in this song his voice in every part is spot-on and really suits the music. 'Sacrificed Sons' is cleverly written, however James could probably lay off God a bit more, and pay out the dero's who actually co-ordinated the attacks. People who fly planes into buildings are not listening to God, I can say that much. God doesn't say, "fly planes into buildings, my children!" Not their best ever, IMO, but still a lot of ground covered through-out the songs. Still interesting and makes you think (and wonder how the hell they could write some of it). // 8
Overall Impression: This album, I'd say would be a mix between 'Falling Into Infinity' and the 'Change Of Seasons' album (which I do not possess). Like 'Infinity', it's different and some of it sounds a bit more 'mainstream', but it's still, at the end of the day (and Octavarium, the song), a Dream Theater album. Fav. tracks: 1, 3, 5, 7 and the second half of Octavarium (I do love the flute solo toward the start, reminds me of moments from the computer game 'Diablo', classic). Love all of it, cause it's Dream Theater, but some parts I imagined and hoped for more until next time! Octavarium would be joint with Train of Thought, but thats just me! If I lost it, or had it stolen, I would get it again. It's good stuff! Expect better next time around! // 8
ivan_2894, on december 08, 2006 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Dream Theater's new album's got something that at least I rarely saw in other albums; Different types of music. It was released in June 7th, 2005. Dream theater came with metal, progressive rock, alternative and slow rock in this creation. Everywere in the album there are clues related with both number 5 and 8. And there is repeated the same musical phrase in all 8 songs and in different speed, instruments, etc. I see all the songs as technical music and I think that it is well seen in the duration of the songs, the lenght of the compasses. // 9
Lyrics: Lyrics in the record are very good to my impression and James Labrie has managed very well to sing them though there are very complex singing parts. I found no much important relationship between the lyrics of each song. Lyrics in general are better than any commercial music there is now-a-days. // 8
Overall Impression: The album itself is great.All of The songs are great.Due to it's unusual name, many Dream Theater fans speculated on what they believe to be the meaning of the album's title. At first the band was going to name the album just Octave. But when prog rock band Spock's Beard released their (also eighth) album Octane earlier in 2005, Dream Theater decided to differentiate it's name a bit more from that. Some thought that the title referred to Octavarium Romanum, which was a book of Catholic liturgy referring to a period known as the Octave. There is also a similarity to the musical Octave: Root, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, Octave, and the title of the first track is "The Root of All Evil". Others theorized that the title came from Latin words meaning "Various Eight", since it has eight tracks and the band has said that the eight songs on the record are all of different styles. However, this is incorrect Latin; the Latin word for eight is "octo," not "octa," and "varium" is singular when it would need to be plural. This theory may have come from the fact that Octavarium is the band's eighth album, since "octavus" is Latin for "eighth". In cnclution, I strongly recommend you to buy it. // 10
petrucci_owns86, on november 22, 2007 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Wow, this album is amazing! This is obviously Dream Theater's most progressive and experimental album yet, and is the follow-up to their heaviest album to date. The title track is one of the best songs ever recorded by the band, and is one of my top three personal favorites. For the first four tracks, the album alternates between heavy and light songs. The final two tracks take up about 35 minutes of this album. In my opinion, this is also James LaBrie at his finest. His voice is the most understandable here. If you want someone who's never heard of DT before to have a listen, play them this album. They will probably like the instrumentalist's skills, and they won't be turned off by the vocalist's voice. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics are pretty well written. The lyrics flow fairly well with the songs. On the title track there are a few spots where they don't, but it's no big deal. James LaBrie is pretty much at his finest on this album. Here's the tracklisting, with a short explanation of each song:
01. The Root Of All Evil - very cool album opener, starts with the same note that "In the Name of God" ended with on the previous album, Train of Thought. The intro is sort of ominous, and then kicks into an awesome riff. Some great solos and unisons by Jordan Rudess and John Petrucci. Part III of Mike Portnoy's Alcoholics Anonymous Suite. It's a fun song to actually learn and play on guitar, also.
02. The Answer Lies Within - I'm not sure why people don't really like this song, I think it's pretty good. It's pretty mellow, and doesn't really have a guitar solo. It's a pretty song nonetheless.
03. These Walls - this awesome song has some beyond heavy riffs in it. The guitar solo is kind of a letdown, though.
04. I Walk Beside You - this song is kind of a U2-style song. No real guitar solo here, mostly just riffs. It's nothing special.
05. Panic Attack - godly heaviness, amazing solos. All I can say is that this song is awesome!
06. Never Enough - another freaking heavy song, great solos again.
07. Sacrificed Sons - an awesome political song, talks about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some great solos by John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess. One of my favorites from this album. Almost eleven minutes long. DT is accompanied by an orchestra here.
8. Octavarium: One of my top three favorite DT songs of all time. Twenty-four minutes long exactly. Incredible solos and unisons by John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess. The final note of Petrucci's ending solo will give any DT fan goosebumps. DT gets accompanied by an orchestra on this song. Best song on the album, in my opinion. Ends with the same note that "The Root of All Evil" began with. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall, this is one of DT's top albums (in my opinion). "The Root of All Evil", "Panic Attack", "Sacrificed Sons", and the title track are the most impressive songs from this album. I like how DT employs an orchestra for the final two songs from this album. If it were to be stolen, I would immediately buy it again. This is an absolute must-have for any DT fan. // 10
unregistered, on february 10, 2006 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: My first impression of this album is that it differs considerably from 'Train Of Thought' and 'Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence', the sound on the albums amazing, John Petrucci's skill is still by far the best I've ever heard, along with his sound. John Myung is still amazing as ever, as are Jordan Rudess & Mike Portnoy. I must be honest James LaBrie's performance in 'Live At Budokan' wasn't as good as I'd first thought having watched it a few times, but it was made up for on 'Octavarium'. For real Dream Theater fans, they will notice 'this story ends where it began' so to speak, with the first notes being the last. This album is very deep, like theres a story at hand. 'Octavarium' is about many things, the first part 'Someone Like Him' is about Petrucci's choice of career when he decided whether he wanted to be a musician or not, other parts relate to other things, but people might notice in 'ii. Medicate Me' that the theme throughout that part of the song is the same as the verse to 'Anna Lee'. Finally another fact, if listened to carefully, you can hear Mike Portnoy speaking under James Labrie when the song comes 'Full Circle', where a small part of each song is brought in, and a line or two relating to it is brought in. I'd overall give this a 9 because its amazing, very gripping. // 9
Lyrics: My Impression of the 'Octavarium' albums lyrics is mixed, I think certain songs make sense to me where as others dont. 'The Root of All Evil' is a great song, don't get me wrong, it just doesnt appeal to me lyrically. 'The Answer Lies Within' is my favourite song off the album. The lyrics are amazing, to me this song is a message: Live life to the fullest and don't regret your decisions, never be clouded about anything, or doubt yourself' For me it has to be the best song on the album, if not close to one of them. 'These Walls' is a interesting song, as far as the instrumentation goes its a work of art, but the lyrics don't appeal. 'I Walk Beside You' is deffinetly one of the best songs from this album, despite whats been said about it, to back Portnoy up this would really make a great single id they decided to bring one out. The lyrical content is as great as can be. 'Panic Attack' is an amazing song. The lyrics really appeal to me, it really digs into this persons problems and how the cope with/feel about it. 'Never Enough' is about die hard Dream Theater fans and how they choose to hassle Mike Portnoy for more from him after he's given everything, 'Sacrifice my life, neglect my kids & wife, all for you to be happy', that line in the song says it all to a tee, next to the chorus. 'Sacrificed Sons' was my least favourite off of this album, I know what it's based on, but it really bores me, not to be offensive to any americans that may read this, but I think this song could of been made alot better. 'Octavarium' 24 minutes of pure lyrical genius. LaBrie for me really brings this song to life, its one of the best songs he's ever sung with Dream Theater. It's very rare to hear him scream and shout, as he does at the end 'Trapped inside This Octavarium!' for me that line made the song complete, and told the story. Overall considering only 2 songs off of this album didnt tickle my fancy, so I'll give this a 9. // 9
Overall Impression: This is one of if not Dream Theaters best album to date. When compared to such albums as 'Images & Words' & 'Falling Into Infinity' I don't think these two albums can be as complex and as epic as this album. I think their sound has matured as a whole since 'Train Of Thought', by such a long way, instrumental wise its epic, lyrically it seems more thought out, and more planned to make the album the masterpiece it is. To add to a point, if my 'Octavarium' album was stolen, I'd find the kid who stole it & kill him, but otherwise I'd buy it again, I have every studio album to date, all of the live DVD's, Live CD's and I'm currently collecting the bootlegs, so to loose anything would be a big thing to me. But overall, I give this album a 10 for pure brilliance. Nothing more than that can be said about this band. // 10
unregistered, on may 15, 2006 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: In every album, Dream Theater presents different style and genre. As for example, in Images and Words, they made a very progressive album, odd time signature, long composition songs and so on. While in Train of Thought, the style of the album is very heavy metal, although there is also some progressive element in the album. In this 8th studio album, Octavarium, Dream Theater brings more Dream Theater sound, progressive, metal and some pop rock songs. If you notice, Octavarium comes from the word, Octave, which is 8, and you will see many 8 numbers in this album, whether its on the cover or in the songs itself. In every song lyrics, there is a time signature on top of it. These time signatures represent the time signature in the song below it. For instance, The Root of all evil, has F time signature, therefore it played in F time signature. Moreover, these 8 songs will create an octave. From track 1 to 8, the octave notations are F G A B C D E F. This is one of the things that made Dream Theater is a true progressive band, although they can produce many different styles of music. // 10
Lyrics: For the lyrics, Dream Theater and the members in it always be consistent of what they are producing. The lyrics are varies from sad lyrics, happiness and things that happen in our life, for example, in Sacrified Sons, tells the story about the tragedy 9/11. One song that I would like to talk about more is Octavarium. This song was divided into 5, Someone Like Him, Medicate, Full Circle, Intervals and Razor's Edge, and I would like to talk more about Razor's Edge. As I mentioned above, the album is about an Octave, about being circle, endless, repeated. In Razor's Edge, exactly in the last sentence/lyric, it read like this, "This story ends where it began". So its really about progressive album, where virtuosity is needed. // 9
Overall Impression: My overall impression is very great. In this album, Dream Theater was possible influenced by Muse, The Beatles, Frank Zappa, Rush and many other progressive bands. Many nuggets in this album, honestly, to many that I cannot mention those here. For me, the most impressive song is Octavarium. It is 23.59 minutes in time and divided into 5 sections. In this song, you could find the name of the albums and lyrics from Dream Theater influences. // 10
unregistered, on august 07, 2006 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Well, as anything from Dream Theater is bound to be, the sound is great! Good, intelligent production (things like the whole album progressing in minor keys in the scale of F) make it an interesting listen! It's a major step away from their previous effort, Train of Thought, which delved (perhaps a little overexcessively at times) into a more straightforward metal sound than their traditional prog elements.This album is nicely varied; here is a rundown of each of the songs.
01. The Root Of All Evil - The third part in Pornoy's A. A recovery programme is still quite a heavy affair but not as intense as the first two installments (Glass Prison, This Dying Soul) which is actually a perfect fit as it shows the recovery beginning to take shape and by ending on a delicate piano riff reminiscent of the themes presented originally on guitar, it shows a great progression in Portnoy's recovery. The opening drum fill is the same rhythm as the end of This Dying Soul and lyrically and musically there are references to the first two parts of the series. Not as many intensely amazing solos here and Portnoy's drumming could've been more inventive but maybe that's all the song called for.
02. The Answer Lies Within - the structure of this album is similar to their 1992 epic-Images And Words, in that the album opens with a heavy number before slowing down for the ballad that is the 2nd number. The Answer Lies Within is nice, maybe slightly corny, but it works. However, I can see Portnoy falling asleep behind his kit on this one!
03. These Walls - a solid upbeat song with a great keyboard riff by keyboard whizzkid Jordan Rudess. Maybe not the most origianl in terms of chord progressions etc. But it works wonderfully nevertheless. Nice time variations too with intricately technical drumming by Portnoy.If they had the backing of bands like Linkin Park and all the rubbish mainstream rock/metal out there, this could've easily been a number 1 hit on rock charts. Awesome guitar solo too by Petrucci, simple, but completely effective!
04. I Walk Beside You - the song, lyrics and practically everything about this piece is completely corny and mainstream-sounding, which is exactly why I think it's a fantastic addition to the album! Why should Dream Theater always try to please their fans by churning out intense songs all the time-this song proves they can do the simple ones effectively too. It won't be welcomed by most but to me I don't think it hinders the album at all.
05. Panic Attack - all the hardcore metal fans are going: thank God! When they hear this one after the poppy previous number.It's Dream Theater once again at their most intense, starting with a great bass riff by Myung and then becoming a crunchy, speedy, progmetal song that only Dream Theater could pull off so effectively. Big time solos here, cool strange timing, and great singing by Labrie.
06. Never Enough - and so Portnoy finally makes an official lashing out at his fan base lyrically; whether this is sensible or not is yet to be determined, but that doesn't stop this being a very interesting song in vein of Muse. Great guitar-keyboard harmony solo (apparently the guitar solo is done on one string-crazy). It's not the best off the album, slightly cocky by Portnoy but hey, he can be.
07. Sacrificed Sons - Dream Theater's 9/11 contribution is a very good one; it's long, deep and intense. Labrie lyrical ability ain't the best and it shows; but it doesn't really hinder the song. Great drum solo towards the end by Mike; another good DT song.
08. Octavarium - I wanted to get to this one. Three simple words describe it: epic, epic, epic. It is just amazing from start to finish and reminds me why Dream Theater are the most creative, innovative and amazing band around today. Starts with a Pink Floyd-ish approach with whining synths, and pads all over the show, a great build up to the massive opening at 3:30 mins. Then the orchestra takes over and the mellowness continues for a good 8 minutes or so. The song starts building up with interesting Lyrics by Portnoy encompassing all his influences (including DT's very own opposite Nightmare Cinema) into one big shmoogle of words that all interlock cleverly. Then, it's solo time and man it's good. They all go crazy as we know Dream Theater can, even managing to throw in a Jingle Bells theme in along the way! Weird as heck timing, and great musicianship as normal. Then the final build up, made even more amazing by the background inclusion of each song off the album behing the main song, finally explodes with Labrie screaming his lungs out before the orchestra explodes again and the song comes to an epic closing-ending where it began. // 9
Lyrics: The title track's lyrics are mindblowing, intelligent and meaningful but the rest of the tracks kinda lack that depth. Petrucci, who is usually really introspective and deep in thought, seems a bit shallow here "I walk beside you, wherever you are, whatever it takes, no matter how far" is that really him? Oh, well. Not his best but still not bad at all. Portnoy is good on tracks 1 and 8 but on Never Enough, though very good, is a bit cocky. Labrie should not write cos he ain't deep enough to but hey, he makes a better effort than most mainstream crap out there so I'll let it slide. // 8
Overall Impression: Another great DT album, not as intense as some of their previous works, and solos aren't as virtuistic as they have been but that's not to say they aren't there. This album, at the end of the day, is really all about the epic title track and that's good enough for me. Very clever production make it a great purchase too! Worth every penny! // 9
gambrinus89, on december 18, 2006 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Every album by Dream Theater has it's own unique style and sound. This album certainly had many drastic changes coming from their previous album Train Of Though. After coming from a heavier and darker album, Octavarium took a big step into a more progressive style. The musicianship these guys have is what makes them, in my opinion, the greatest band. Each song had a unique style to it, and there are obviously a lot of influences. Unlike other albums, the first several tracks weren't so technical. There weren't as many riffs and changes that you'd normally expect from Dream Theater. But the song Octavarium made up for all that. // 9
Lyrics: These aren't my favorite lyrics by Dream Theater. Although like all their albums it makes me want to read about what the song is about and the whole album. There is some kind of story that is suppose to link all the songs together. For example the song Octavarium's lyrics have subtle hints of lyrics from other tracks on the album. LeBrie's singing has got to be at his highest point. Even though in the past he has had some difficulty singing some of their songs. When I saw them live in Denver he hit every note perfect, and it blew my mind away. // 8
Overall Impression: This album is definitely different from their other albums. I couldn't decide on which track was my favorite, but I'd have to say Octavarium because it was so instrumental, and there were so many influences that I could hear and that I love. I wasn't so fond of "I Walk Beside You", "These Walls", and "The Answer Lies Within". But none the less it's still a great album. Go buy it! It's probably their best album, and if I lost it, I would search for days for another copy! // 9
tryhonesty, on july 07, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Octavarium has a couple tracks with a mainstream-ish tune, like the album "Falling Into Infinity". However, I find the tracks are a little more well done here. "Root Of All Evil" is one of the heavier songs on the album and contains some pretty good lyrics and a catchy main riff. "The Answer Lies Within" is a very simple piano ballad. "These Walls" shows our first shred of mainstream in this album, but I find is a very good track with a memorable chorus. "I Walk Beside You" is also a mainstream track, however it's not nearly as well done as "These Walls" and has an enormous amount of U2 influence."Panic Attack" contains some Muse influence on vocals and is the heaviest track. A not-so-good track that gets a little repetitive and has a pretty bland instrumental section. "Never Enough" sounds so much like "Stockholm Syndrome" by Muse that I think they shouldn't have bothered putting this on the album. "Sacrificed Sons" has some sub-par lyrics, but has an amazing instrumental section and at the end of the instrumental section (and also at the end of the song) is a very memorable riff. The title track is a 24 minute epic with a "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" influenced intro and should cater to many fans. It's one of their best songs and will be explained further later. // 7
Lyrics: Lyrics on this album are godly compared to the ones on Train of Thought. The lyrics here actually took some time to be written and it shows. "Octavarium" lyrics are amazing, even with the screaming in the " Intervals" section. The Root of all Evil has great lyrics, and just like the other songs in the AA suite" (The Glass Prison, This Dying Soul, Repentence&The Shattered Fortress) this talks about Mike Portnoy's issues with alcohol. The rest of the songs generally have good lyrics, with not too much to say about them. // 8
Overall Impression: This album is definately a step up from Train of Thought. Better lyrics, more musical songs. One of the cons, that is also a pro, on this album is that John Petrucci does considerably less shred. Personally, this is a con for me but to many others it is a pro. If this album was taken from me or lost, I'd definately get it again. The best song on the album arguably is the title track. It's just amazing, in almost every sense. // 6
socks777, on july 07, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: I'll start off by saying that this is my first experience with a Dream Theater album and i'm very impressed. All 4 instrumentalists show their amazing technical abilities and LaBrie's voice can fit perfectly into the heaviest and lightest songs on the album. Actually, from what i've heard, this album is much lighter than most dream theater albums but for me, the classically trained pianist, that's just fine :). So let's go through the songs, shall we?
01. The Root Of All Evil: amazing opening song. Begins sort of like Speak to Me by Pink Floyd with white noise and sound effects which are joined by pounding drums and a dissonant guitar chord repeated until it all drops out and the song breaks into a fast, thrashing riff which just kicks ass. The song keeps driving onward with a keyboard break and a guitar solo in the middle right until the final chord which fades out over a piano playing this melody and chord progression which you hear later in Answer Lies Within and Octavarium. Amazing song, amazing opener. Period.
02. The Answer Lies Within: probably the lightest and most normal song on the album. I love it and frankly, it's beautiful with some great piano work from Rudess and AMAZING singing by LaBrie. If any song were to showcase the singer on this album, it's this one. Metalheads who get this album probably won't like this song and, in a way it doesn't fit with the rest of the songs which at least have some heavy parts and jump all over the place with time signatures; this song never gets heavy and I'm pretty sure it's in 4/4 the whole time. Awesome, beautiful, next.
03. These Walls: this is a good song, not as good as the last 2 but still okay. It's primarily in 6/8 but there's one jarring bar of 5/8 thrown in every 4 bars. It's still a great song but I'm pretty ambivalent about it. There are some great drum fills by Portnoy. There's a so-so guitar solo by Petrucci. He's a speed wizard but this is more of a slow, soulful solo yet he's no David Gilmour so it's not very impressive. But whatever. It's okay. Moving on.
04. I Walk Beside You: the other sort of "light, normal" song on the album except a bit heavier than Answer Lies Within but just as good. There's not much to say, it's just your sort of basic love song about being there for your special someone. Actually, this sort of seems like DT's tribute to U2. Mostly because of the chorus, it sounds almost exactly like U2. I don't really know how to describe it, you gotta hear it and you should cause it's pretty good actually. Next, oh boy!
05. Panic Attack: let me be totally honest: I LOVE THIS SONG. it's the heaviest song on the album and it's 8 minutes of pure awesome. This song begins with an amazing bass intro by Myung and then he's joined by the rest of the band who continue the bass riff at breakneck speed. The song shifts into 5/8 and moves through infinite time signatures and riffs and finally makes it back to the first riff getting more and more frantic until the final chord, repeating and fading into white noise as the tension is finally released. In short, this song kicks ass. If it wasn't for the title track this would easily be the best song because shows all the band member's skills especially Portnoy as he effortlessly switches meters and Petrucci who gives a great speedy solo and Myung with the great opening. F--king Awesome! next...
06. Never Enough: I've never really cared for this song. It's one of the heavier songs on the album. It just sort of drags on like panic attack would if panic didn't have the intensity. It simply doesn't interest me at all. It's not a horrible song, it just can't compare to everything else. I usually just wait through it until the next two songs...
07. Sacrificed Sons: I love this song. Definitely one of the best on the album, it's written about the 9/11 terrorist attacks so the lyrics can be very powerful and suit the bombast of the music perfectly. It begins in 6/8 with a lone piano and the instrumentation builds up until there's an orchestra and the full band joining in. After this beautiful, sad orchestral section, it segues into a very heavy middle part in 4/4 and in total contrast with the first section. This includes a guitar solo and eventually moves back into 6/8 with some melodic guitar lines and finally returns to the main theme and ends with a final crashing chord. Great song but it will always sit in the shadow of...
08. Octavarium: THE BEST song on the album by far and the most interesting 24 minute song I've ever heard. It begins with an obvious tribute to Shine on You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd with the droning synth opening and the continuum and lap steel guitars. Out of the delayed, distorted salad comes this ripping synth note which leads into the bombastic orchestral opening fading away into the first section about a man who declares that he will "live each day like it's my last" but ends up bored with his new life (or something like that). This section and section two are the most conventional sections of this song. Section two is similar to section 1 and talks about a man who awakes out of a coma that he's been in for 30 years and he realizes that he's missed most of his life. Great lyrics and music in the first two sections. Section 3 begins with an amazing synthesizer solo over various time signatures which the band moves effortlessly through until they finally settle on 7/8 for the best lyrical section in this album which combines various pop culture references into one long running sentence switching between 7/8, 6/8 and 5/8 and various times. We leave this section into more synthesizer craziness and random time signatures (which are all awesome). Then the band takes it down and then the lyrics reflect each of the songs as a degree in the scale and give a little stanza about each of them until the song reaches it's climax with James LaBrie screaming his hardest in the whole album. I love it. The song quiets down into a nice safe, slow 4/4 and presses onward right to the end with chord after chord, multiple guitar runs until finally the building tension is released and that same theme heard at the end of root of all evil is heard again with full orchestra and band and that final chord finally resolves with a fatal roar from a french horn and then dies away into silences. I could literally write a whole review about how awesome this song is but this is probably the greatest prog song i've ever heard and shows all band members at their finest.
Except for a few songs, this album kicks ass and amazes at every turn. // 9
Lyrics: Although this is a concept album there isn't really any unifying theme in the lyrics. Despite that, the lyrics fit each individual song very well; the lighter songs have lighter, simpler lyrics, the heavier songs have more disturbing, dark lyrics and the bombastic songs have important "chord-srtiking" lyrics. My favourite lyrical section is probably the "full circle" section of Octavarium where all the pop culture references are strung together into one continuous train of thought. It's just awesome and extremely creative. James LaBrie is an excellent singer as well, with his tender melodic voice shining most in The Answer Lies Within. That, of course does not disregard his heavier voice which conveys the heaviness of the instrumentation around it but remains melodic. Also his frantic screams at the climax of Octavarium really add power to that whole section. Overall, both the singer and the lyrics suit the music to a T, especially in an album where a few songs could likely be just as amazing without lyrics. // 10
Overall Impression: My overall impression of the album was how amazing and complex the music was yet how emotional and powerful it can be at the same time on the same album and this is obviously enough to make an excellent album. Then, I did some reading about the actual concept of the album which is sort of about full circles using a musical scale as a metaphor. The "intervals" section of Octavarium shows this best by describing each of the 8 songs as a degree of the scale. This is interesting enough that they intentionally put 8 songs on the album for this to work but each song is written in the key that represents it's place on the album. For example: The root of all evil is written in f minor, answer is written in g minor, these walls is in a minor and so on until we go full circle and get to octavarium which is written in f minor. There are also innumerable examples of a 5:8 relationship on the album cover (the number of black keys:the number of white keys in an octave on a keyboard). It's also a time signature that shows up quite a bit in this album This concept was very creative and well planned and gives meaning to the whole thing. Also, each member is an extremely talented musician. Petrucci is a flawless guitar player, as is Myung on bass. Portnoy is a beast on drums, giving sensitive fills at the right times but pounding on them at other times and it's all flawless. He is easily one of the best drummers of all time. Rudess is also an amazing keyboardist and his atmospheric additions and amazing synth solos make many songs what they are. And LaBrie's vocals are definitely the icing on the cake with his ability to switch styles in a heartbeat. I love everything about this album (well, maybe except for never enough) and I would definitely buy it again if it were stolen. // 10
bevski208, on may 12, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: This album has a fantastic sound. A concept album based around the diatonic scale (and in particular the number 8), the album is full of clever relation to these subjects. The two Johns aren't at their best in this album (in my opinion) but only because the riffs aren't as awesome as some of their others (see "Train Of Thought"...) That said, every song on this album is fantastic, and I love it to pieces. // 9
Lyrics: Keving James LaBrie is one of the best, if not THE best metal singer in the world. As for the lyrics themselves, they are generally meaningful and always relevant to the subject of the song. The only thing wrong with this is the long instrumental sections of the songs (especially in "Octavarium" and "Sacrificed Sons") which, while fantastic, take a lot of the attention off LaBrie, who deserves more credit for the amazing vocals he does. // 9
Overall Impression: It doesn't compare to other artists. Dream Theater are in a league of their own, because they are such incredibly talented performers and writers. Every song is amazing, although I think that "Panic Attack" and "Octavarium" stand out. In a way, I don't like it; because the songs are longer (I think that they average at about 9 and a half minutes because of the title track) there are less songs, and although if there were more songs the concept wouldn't work, why not make an album about the chromatic scale? Then you could have 12 songs. Overall though, it is an unbelievable album. It it were stolen, I wouldn't buy it again, I'd find the person who stole it and beat them to death. It's that awesome. // 10