Monday, March 27, 2006

Dream Theater-Octavarium, 2005

I happened to be in the record store the week this album came out and I considered getting it but passed out of fear of being disappointed. It wasn't until the last week of 2005 that I bought a used copy of it and decided to give it a try. The thing was that when I first bought it, I couldn't make it through the whole album and I had so may other new CD's to listen to that I just moved on to something else. A few weeks ago I vowed I that would listen to this whole album and try to figure out if I liked it or not. I started listening to it and tracks 1-3 just came across as the band being a shell of their former selves. I know that may not be completely fair, but that is exactly how it sounds to me. Not a more mature effort, not a progression in musical style but a shell of their former selves. However, this is Dream Theater and they were great at what time so being a little less then that still makes them pretty good. Track four is 'I walk beside you' comes on and it's the first song on the album that really connects for me. It's slow, but really beautiful and just flows very well. Then Panic Attack rolls on and it's a heavier track and Dream Theater always pull one or two of those on the album. It kept my attention well enough, but they didn't quite open on this track like I thought they would. In looking at the case I realized the last two tracks were going to account for a combined 34 minute, that's a whole Roth era Van Halen album. This is a band that has pulled off epic songs before yet they've also lumbered through some as well. I think the last two songs are good, but not spectacular and the title track is just a bit long for what's really being done within the confines of the track. Maybe it will grow on me with repeated listenings, but I wasn't the kind of epic I was hoping for.
Ultimately it's a good album, but far from great. The talent is there and there are a few moments where they almost verge on being great. Yet it's a little cold and sterile and that is a problem I have had with every album they have done since Change of seasons. And although it might be their best album since the Change of seasons, it's still a long ways from their peak between 92-95. Much of this album tries to be melodic, but really lacks enough hooks to make it interesting. The sad part for me is that the band has not had a great album in over ten years and at this point in their career I doubt it's forthcoming. Dream Theater were one of the few metal bands who were really doing something exciting in the early to mid 90's, but unfortunately their peak ended earlier then I thought it would and since then they have always been a notch below that peak.


Blogger Jay Noel said...

I remember DT in high school...all the metalheads loved it. I had no idea they were still making albums.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Phoenix-They still have a following and they do an album say every 2-3 years.

9:12 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

I think I have a better impression of this album than you do, but I agree that it's less than the boys are capable of putting together (a la Rush).

Maybe they are wearing themselves too thin with all of their side projects.

-- david

4:25 AM  

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