Sound — 9
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.
Lyrics — 9
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.
Overall Impression — 10
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.