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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Awesome
It seems like only 5 minutes ago that Train of Thought was released when, in actuality, it was two years past - where does the time go? That was a very angry album. Scratch that, it was a furious album, both lyrically and musically, outdoing Metallica at their own game, and yet somehow it seemed to have lost some of that Dream Theater essence, some of its soul. It wasn't...
Published on 7 Jun 2005 by Steve D

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Tribute Album
I was really looking forward to the new Dream Theater album, having been a fan for quite a long time. So when the new shiny CD arrived I was very excited. However that didn't last for long.
'Root of All Evil' is a great track and really true to DT, I love 'These Walls' (what an awesome riff). But to be honest the rest I am either indifferent to or dislike.
'The...
Published on 25 July 2005 by lukeavery


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece in more ways than one, 14 Aug 2005
By 
Garry Richards "Garry-R" (Pontypridd,) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Dream Theater are a band that have changed hugely over the last 10 years. The prog veterans have moved away from their seemingly inaccessible cryptic songs and have now developed a much more pronounced and memorable style. Where as "Images and Words" requires thorough listening to appreciate fully "Octavarium" grabs you from the first track and refuses to let go.
DT are a band of many faces - Petrucci, Portnoy and others can adapt themselves to almost any style of rock. Some fans sing the praises of the slower, haunting ballads while others lean towards the epic, heavy songs that punctuate almost every album. After "Train of Thought" showed the darker side of Dream Theater "Octavarium" has included something to please everyone. The opener "The Root of All Evil" sets the tone in a distinctly heavy manner but is followed by the soothing "The Answer Lies Within" - within the first two tracks the opposites of Dream Theater are expertly drawn out.
The album continues in a similar vein. Each track adopts a new vision. "Panic Attack" assaults you from the go and doesn't slow down, if anything it speeds up. "Never Enough" could practically be straight out of Muse album, but obviously, that isn't a bad thing. "I Walk Beside You", however, sounds far too radio-ready. It's catchy chorus and accessible riffs don't do the album any favours, even if it reasonably well composed.
In "Sacrificed Sons" Dream Theater continue the theme of religious fanaticism that they touched on in their previous album. At times it's haunting, poignant, but it is cleanly transformed into an instrumental firework show that doesn't feel out of place or forced. The epic orchestra melodies bursting through the guitars are surprising and ultimately welcome. One of the strongest tracks.
But of course the reason many will buy this album, Dream Theater zealot or not, is the 24-minute long epic "Octavarium". It has completely everything you could want from a Dream Theater track, it's slow start builds into a huge finale that could just about be one of the best pieces of music you've ever heard. It even has instrumental areas that are reminiscent of Dream Theater's earlier work - the quirky guitar effects hark back to 92's "Images and Words". You could easily listen to this track repeatedly and each time find something new to appreciate, it's a masterpiece in song writing and performing.
Like I mentioned, this is a far more accessible album than many Dream Theater fans are used too. But that is by no means a bad thing, there truly is something for everyone. I was quite surprised to find that Mike Portnoy's drumming seems quietly laid back this time around though. While it remains to be as flawless as ever is misses some of it's complex inventiveness of his previous work. As a drummer myself I find it doesn't have the "wow" factor that he is usually associated with. It's just not as daring.
If you're a DT fan you've probably made up your mind to buy this album already; if not (and if you even remotely like rock) you should pick this up immediately. It's addictive stuff, and should go down as one of Dream Theater's finest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, Very Nice!!!!!, 6 Jun 2005
I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets a bit obsessed about new releases by favourite bands. Well, this was one of those cases - couldn't wait to hear this CD, even booked myself late into work so I could listen as soon as I received it.
The first thing I should say to other fans (as I said in my review of previous album "Train of Thought") - this is not "Images and Words" part two!! "I & W" is a favourite of many Dream Theater followers, but the band has moved on. Whilst this album features less chunky riffs than "ToT", it's still miles away from "I&W".
There's a great mix of sounds on "Octovarium" - aside from the guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums you'd expect (all played to the very high standard we have come to expect from DT), there are lush strings on a couple of tracks (first time on a DT album?) and Eastern sounding instruments on "Sacrificed Sons".
Stand out tracks for me are "Panic Attack", with it's crunching riffs and angst-filled vocals, and the afore-mentioned "Sacrificed Sons", which starts slow and just builds and builds to a stunning John Petrucci solo (this one is gonna be great live!!). The only low point - "I Walk Beside You", which sounds too much like U2 for my liking.
All in all, a top album - well worth the wait!! Now bring on those live shows, lads.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where do they go from here?, 15 July 2005
By 
David Teague (Peterborough, UK) - See all my reviews
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"Octavarium" is to Dream Theater what "Marbles" is to Marillion. You just wonder what there can possibly be left in the tank. A set of 8 songs which individually display the full range of musical styles and technical virtuosity which you expect from the band, including a 24 minute prog-rock epic to close; but as with all the best albums, the whole is bigger than the sum of it's constituent parts, and quite simply, this one just oozes class from the first note to the last. In addition, the album is brought to you by the number 8, with some clever circular references and excellent booklet design.
So. If you "get" Dream Theater, you will probably put this offering right up there with "Scenes From A Memory" and "Images And Words"; if you hate the band and all they stand for, forget it, there is nothing new here for you. If you have never heard the band, this album encompasses everything they have to offer. Keep an open mind and prepare for 75 minutes of pure musical mayhem from a group of 5 musicians who are at the peak of their profession.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars awsome band, awsome album, 11 Jun 2006
not their best work (a title I reserve for 1999's Scenes From A Memory), but a very fresh and eclectic sound nonetheless, considing they span the best part of 20 yrs on the trot!!! Buy this like any other DT purchase, you will not be disapointed. If you want to get into the band... Get this, Scenes From...., and Live At Budokan
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally on vinyl, 30 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Octavarium [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Been hoping this would be released on vinyl for a long time.. had the CD version for years. One of my favourite Dream Theater albums, mainly because of the amazing epic title track, a 24 minute masterpiece.

Being a fairly long album it comes on 2 LPs in a gatefold sleeve.

Side 1 = The Root of all evil, The Answer Lies Within, These Walls
Side 2 = I walk beside you, Panic Attack
Side 3 = Never Enough, Sacrificed Sons
Side 4 = Octavarium

Sounds fantastic on vinyl... Definitely worth the wait.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real prog masterpiece, 16 July 2008
Octavarium entails a much needed return to the more mature, delicate and considered styles of 'Images and Words' and Dream Theaters more progressive projects over the distinctly brutal and angst-filled 'Train of Thought'. A truly masterful prog album, Octavarium will please fans of metal and prog rock alike, while songs such as 'The Answer Lies Within' will appeal to those in search of sensitivity amongst the pounding riffery and intensity Dream Theater have made signature through their career. A perfect partner to 'Images and Words', both albums are landmarks in the field of progressive metal at its most imaginative and diverse.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A musical masterpiece!, 12 Jun 2005
By 
Gavin Jones - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
(root) Dark, heavy, powerful introduction (2nd) Beautiful ballad. (3rd) Very catchy chorus, beautful clean guitar tone in verses (4th) stunning vocals from James LaBrie, beautiful lyrics, gorgeous middle 8 (5th) Very heavy riff, awesome power (6th) very cool intro, fantastic lyrics and chorus (7th) very poignant verses and chorus, inspired by the world trade centre attacks in America. Awesome Passages by John M, John P and Jordan. (Octave) A musical masterpiece, The finest 24 minute composition you will probably ever hear! ....dont forget to pick your jaw up off the floor, when you get to the end (of where it began!)
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4.0 out of 5 stars 8th time's (mostly) the charm, 28 Jun 2007
By 
I. Lehnert (Derby/Blackburn, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It's been two years now since 'Octavarium' came out, and a fair bit has happened since then in Dream Theater world; another world tour has come and gone, another dvd, 'Score' was released to a great reception and another album, 'Systematic Chaos' has been released on a brand new label. The band themselves have described 'Octavarium' as a way of summing up the first 20 years of their career, and in some ways that's a fair appraisal, but not for the entire album.

It all starts off promisingly enough, with 'The Root Of All Evil', and metal-influenced rock groover which gets things off to an energetic start. As usual each band member is firing on all cylinders, with keyboardist Jordan Ruddess and guitarist John Petrucci confidently trading solos, as always, and Mike Portnoy making everything sound easy from behind his monster drum kit as usual. However, the mood instantly softens with next song, 'The Answer Lies Within', the album's lightest moment, led by a very gentle piano refrain. Not a bad song by any means, just a surprising one. 'These Walls' follows, which trundles along its mid paced business with suprisingly dull results. But what follows this are 3 songs even more baffling to the Dream Theater-trained ear.

Simply put, 'I Walk Beside You' sounds like another plodding U2 power-ballad, 'Never Enough' almost sounds like a carbon copy of Muse's 'Stockholm Syndrome', and 'Panic Attack' instantly brings System Of A Down to mind with a familiarly chaotic intro passage. Whilst these songs are by no means bad, they're 3 glaring moments where the band have revealed a few more modern influences to an almost glaring extent.

Which is even more baffling considering that the final two songs on the album are absolutely stunning. 'Sacrificed Sons' is an epic, questioning perspectives and actions of violence, using 9/11 news quotes as its basis. With James LaBrie asking 'Who would wish this on our people?', it's one of the most highly emotional and attention-grabing songs of the band's career. It'd take something truly stunning to top it, so what about a 25-minute album title-track? After 7 tracks of varying quality, 'Octavarium' ends with this, a monumental song with so many mood and tempo changes its like a musical technicolour dreamcoat. It varies from ambient, to acoustic, to psychadelic to progressive and its even accompanied by an orchestra. This is a song that simply has to be heard to be believed, and perhaps the best of the band's career.

The easiest way to think of 'Octavarium' is as a transitional album for the band. Whilst there was more evidence of the band's traditional roots, there were also knowing glances towards more modern influences, and whilst this proves to be the album's biggest draw back, there is more than enough quality here to make it another great Dream Theater album. And if you dont like the first 6 or 7 songs, just pop the title track on; it's almost an album by itself!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dream Theater has come full circle..., 6 Jun 2005
Dream Theater is back.
Back from the nebulous wastelands of conflicting musical identity that were Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and Train of Thought. Neither of these two were bad albums, per se, each having their moments of brilliance, but neither matched up to the impossibly high standards the band set for themselves with Images and Words, their second album, and Awake, the third. But Octavarium is lightyears ahead of their last few mixed-bag releases, taking the best elements of their evolution in style and musical ability, with an infusion of a new passion, and doing away with the rest: the wastefulness, the questionable songwriting, and (critics of ToT, breathe a heavy sigh) the rap. Even the album's one reference to Train of Thought, the chorus to "Dying Soul" played during "Root of All Evil", sounds better in the new context of Octavarium.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed both of Dream Theater's previous albums, having never been one of DT's "disenchanted fans", but they lacked the magic that was strongest with IaW and was never seen to such a degree again. Until now. Octavarium has the magic again. It is brilliant. It is a masterpiece.
A part of the problem with the previous few albums was their emphasis on the album as a whole rather than the songs, and as a result some of the songs are rather weak. Octavarium shifts this focus onto the invidual songs, tightening up the lyrics, doing away with needless instrumentation, and bringing a diversity unseen since IaW. The songs flow better internally, and thus the album flows better as a whole. A new addition is the few seconds of "soundscaping" between each track that ties them all together, and interesting concept that makes everything flow together despite unrelated subject material.
The new album kicks off with "Root of All Evil", the continuation of the Alcoholics Anonymous saga begun on SDOIT, and is probably the strongest of the three. It makes an awesome album openener, with an awesome drumline leading into a doubly awesome riff that holds the song together without ever getting old. The song is a real rocker that holds your attention from start to finish, unified and cohesive. Labrie's singing is tighter and better than on any previous album and shows just how much he has improved as a singer. The next two heaviest songs on the album, "Panic Attack" and "Never Enough", are both excellent. "Panic Attack" opens with possibly the catchiest riff on the album, if not in DT's entire discography, and tears into a blazing fast cacophony that perfectly invokes the emotions of its lyrics and title. Once again we find very nice vocal work by Labrie, especially during a little falsetto bit on the bridge that reminds me in all the best ways of Queen. "Never Enough" is an odd song stylistically for Dream Theater, with some definite Muse influence there, but not a bad thing.
"The Answer Lies Within" is the album's ballad, a strangely uplifting acoustic song that makes a perfect break after the rockin' intensity of "Root of All Evil". Rudess and Labrie dominate this one, and it's one of their best soft songs, up there with Silent Man and Disappear (although lyrically and thematically the opposite of the latter). It features some very nice violin work and heartening lyrics such as 'You've got the future on your side'. It transitions into "These Walls", the catchiest song ever written in a major key, and a huge radio hit if they do it right. Radio hits? An oddity for Dream Theater, but one that reminds me of Images and Words, and that's a good thing. "Walls" has an awesome chorus and some sweet key harmonies, and despite being an extremely simple song for Dream Theater it is excellent nonetheless. The final of the album's lighter songs is "I Walk Beside You", a song that could only be a tribute to U2, and just as good as any of the best that they have written. Catchy, poppy, but I love it nonetheless.
But just for those who would complain about Octavarium's not being "proggy" enough, DT threw in the final two, beastly tracks: "Sacrificed Sons" and the title track. "Sons" starts out slow and sad, building up through a heavy instrumental section into an awesomely heartbreaking melody and a haunting orchestrated outtro. It has lyrical ties to "In the Name of God", featuring themes from 9-11-the title is about partly about the reverence for fanatical suicide in terrorist culture, and partly about the war in Iraq-- and has some of the best vocal and guitar work on the album.
Finally is the album's beast, "Octavarium", a track that picks up slowly but surely builds intensity throughout multiple musical landscapes until the chilling ending, a lyrical summary of the album that ties everything together. The lyrics are bit out, the rhythm frantic; this is Dream Theater at their most intense and emotional, and every time James Labrie bites out the words "TRAPPED-IN-SIDE-THIS-OC-TA-VAR-I-UM" in a half-scream, it sends chills down my spine. The song then closes with a melodic outtro that reminds me of some of the best work Kansas has done. Throughout the song, there are references to classic rock and Dream Theater's own work; the reference to Nightmare Cinema (DT's "alter ego" band from the FII era) was especially subtle and amusing. Dream Theater fans have asked since 1995 if they could manage an epic that would compare to Change of Seasons. They have, and while Octavarium is a different song, it is just as surely a prog masterpiece.
Is it Images and Words? Musically, no- it reflects every stage of Dream Theater's evolution since then. But it features everything that made IaW an amazing album: great songwriting, varied music, technical ability, melodic playing ranging from beautiful to haunting to rocking-and blends in everything Dream Theater has learned since then. It is easily one of their best albums, and a classic for the ages.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's Dream Theater Allright, 7 Jun 2005
By A Customer
Before I've completely listened this album to pieces I would just to give my first impression of it.
I would say it's a mixture of the bands latest development but also a step backwards through previous albums, some songs keep reappearing, and have done for the last 3 albums. But I don't consider this a bad thing, more of reappearing "mantras" within the lyrics and moods and themes.
I was surprised to see that Petrucci has written most of the lyrics, feels like his album, lyrically.
Musically I think Portnoy has truly tuned down his characteristic playing to more solid patterns-both for good and bad in my opinion. (This seem to lead to him doing more of his hi hat/splashes/cups/chimes-stickchops, wich you cant get enough of!)
IF this would be the last studio album by DT, I consider it a worthy grand finale- just listen to the theme track Octavarium, another Change Of Seasons!
It all ends with a low piano key fading out, and it starts with one, so they've broken the tradition of starting the album with the last sound of the previous album. also, the last line reads "this story ends were it began". Wonder if that means something..?
All in all, a blasting album;
ballads, furious guitar picks, insane keyboard harmonies and unisons, epic parts...
Yup, it RULES
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