Sound — 7
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.
Lyrics — 8
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.
Overall Impression — 6
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.