I finally listened to Octavarium [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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06-18-2005, 09:16 AM
I'm breathless. I can't really see a DT album ever knocking Scenes From A Memory out of the top spot, you just don't come across albums like that everyday, but I can definitely see Octavarium landing in the number two spot.

What a trip this CD is. No wanking, no overshadowing, just good solid music from start to finish.

Where Train of Though was very dark and heavy, DT has lightened up quite a bit with Octavarium. The music on this disk has a lighter, more positive feel to me. This CD IS Dream Theater. They've come together as a band with each member getting equal time and sharing in the experience. Unlike TOT which was, essentially, the Portnoy/Petrucci experience.

Some of the lyrics at the beginning of the disk I thought were weak, but it was made up for with other brilliant lyrics later on. The weak lyrics are not problem since Dream Theater is about the music, never about the lyrics. However, it was nice to see them show their humourous side.

Sailing over the seven seize the day tripper diem's ready
jack the ripper owens wilson phillips and my supper's ready
lucy in the sky with diamond dave's not here I come to save the
day for nightmare cinema show me the way to get back home again

Another bright lyrical spot was Sacrificed Sons. The lyrics are simple but hit their mark in such a way that sent shivers down my spine.

Walls are closing
Channel Surfing

Burning City
Smoke and fire
Planes we're certain
Faith inspired

No clues
A complete surprise
Who'll be
Coming home tonight

Heads all turning
Towards the sky
Towers crumble
Heroes die

Who would wish this On our people
And proclaim that His will be done
Scriptures they heed have misled them
All praise their Sacrificed sons

Teach them
What to think and feel
Your ways
So enlightening

Words they preach
I can't relate
If God's true Love
Are acts of Hate

God on high
Our mistake
Will Mankind be extinct?
There's no time to waste
Who serves the truth
For Heavens' sake

On to the 24 minute epic, Octavarium. A true treat. Beginning reminiscent of early Floyd al la Meddle or WYWH, the only way to listen to this was loud and with my eyes closed. Beautiful. What's that? Acoustic guitar? Flute? Nice. Not something you hear on every DT album. Ending with a flair that reminded me of Kansas' The Wall (from Leftoverture). A great way to end this disk.

This CD is one that will require several more detailed listens to really take it all in. But on first spin, this is a keeper. The best I've heard from them in years.

On first spin, definitely 5 out of 5 smilies!!!

:D :D :D :D :D

Dusty Chalk
06-18-2005, 02:48 PM
Thanks for the review, FA. Wow! I thought I was done with DT, but I guess I need to pick this one up.

06-18-2005, 09:45 PM
I have mixed emotions about DT, but I never seem to play them much. Pottnoy is so fun to listen to, and Petrucci is great, but it is sometimes not an easy listen for a full CD for some reason. I have always had a problem with LaBrie (is that spelled right?), so much so that he is the real reason I don't listen much.

I tend to like the solo or super group stuff the members of DT are involved in better - such as Liquid Tension Experiment, Myung as part of Jelly Jam and Platypus, and Transatlantic with Portnoy, although they were a bit too dominated by Neal Morse at times.

I think I prolly oughta try Octavarium based on your response.


06-19-2005, 03:44 AM
I'm still loving this CD too...this is a solid album from start to finish, and better than ToT IMO (which was better than Six Degrees).
DT isn't for everyone, but I personally only listen to them when I can listen to a complete album. A few songs here and there don't cut it for me I guess...weird

I love the lyrical reference to "Nightmare Cinema". For those that don't know, this is Dream Theater's (evil) alter-ego, where members change roles - John Petrucci on drums, John Myung on keys, Mike Portnoy on bass, Derek Sherinian on guitar, and James LaBrie on vocals.

I guess once Derek Sherinian left the band they didn't do it anymore, I was priviledged to see them play in Chicago about 8 years ago or so. Kind of neat.

I wish they'd do it again...

FA: Are you going to see them in September when they play TO or Montreal?

06-19-2005, 06:36 AM
C-Z., if you're not a fan of LaBrie's voice, you may not enjoy this disk. One of the things that I didn't mention in my review is that this CD is pretty heavy lyrically. There are not a lot of long instrumentals sans vocals. So LaBrie has a lot of time on the disk.

KEX, I was on the DT site yesterday looking for a tour date and their North American tour is part of a larger metal festival where they are sharing the headline with Megadeth. I don't really enjoy the whole festival atmosphere anymore. And I don't enjoy the festival atmosphere at all at the venue where it is being held in Toronto. You can't bring any food or drink in with you. And you can't leave the venue once in it. This means paying $3.50 for a bottle of water; $6 or $7 for a beer; $4 for a crappy overcooked, cold hotdog; etc. I think I'll wait and see if they return with their "evening with DT" show which they are playing on their European tour. As much as I would like to see them on this tour. I have caught their last two shows in town, so I don't feel like I'd be missing too much if I take a chance and wait.

06-19-2005, 06:01 PM
I'm breathless. What a trip this CD is. No wanking, no overshadowing, just good solid music from start to finish.

On first spin, definitely 5 out of 5 smilies!!!

:D :D :D :D :D

Hey, FA.

Full props for the insightful review!!

I'm going to have to dig out my Dream Theatre comp that some RR soul mailed me, a while back & truly listen to this band, again.

Thanks for nudging me forward with this one.


Finch Platte
06-20-2005, 05:21 AM
I'm breathless. On first spin, definitely 5 out of 5 smilies!!!

:D :D :D :D :D

Dude, STFU. Does LaBrie mean The Cheese in French?

Girl, you sold me. I went out & bought it yesterday, based on your review. Sticker price, $18.99. :eek: On sale, $15.99. :eek: I thought, this had better be good- I had to work an hour & a half to earn this. :rolleyes:

Several cursory listens later, I'm not completely won over. I do know that I really like track 4, I Walk Beside You, altho it's a pretty basic song- not much prog-wanking ("Pranking"? Wogging?) going on there, and there's a modicum of vocal histrionics.

The sound is all scrunched together, it doesn't seem to "breathe". Does that mean compressed? Not a lot of low bass coming from Myung. I wish he were up in the mix a bit more.

Track 8 bites. Too bad, because it's 24 minutes long. So far, it's been slow and boring, with a lot of vocals and purty keyboards. Ahhh, here we go- 13 minutes have passed, LaBrie has left the stage, and a keyboard solo has taken over. Oops, here comes The Cheese again. What an annoying singing style. Guess he didn't take any lessons while DT was on hiatus. I'm liking the end of this track, too bad you have to wade through so much BS to get to it.

I dunno. I'm not sold, but like I said, it's a cursory listen. You don't owe me $16. Yet.


06-20-2005, 05:51 AM
Your review is spot on for my ears. I also like "These Walls" a great deal. This CD slots right in at #2 befind SFAM. Especially as that DVD is my all time favorite.

06-20-2005, 07:05 AM
I'm breathless.

On first spin, definitely 5 out of 5 smilies!!!

:D :D :D :D :D

Maybe you're breathless from seeing the Falls?

I also listened on the weekend and have mixed impressions. First, on each listen I never got to the 24 minute Octavion, so I can't comment on that. I enjoyed the first four songs, but really didn't like the track you quote at length above. I'm glad that this album is much more song focused, but having got that, I wish they would have cut loose and did more wanking. So I'm caught in the middle.

DT is living in interesting times. They are recognized as being leaders in their fields, but they've never quite broken big, which has a lot to do with their integrity to do it their way. But it also has a lot to do with LaBrie's singing. I think they've cut a nice compromise here, with songs that will be concert favorites and may even get some radio play on alternative stations.

I like the album. It is very accessible on first listen.

Next listen I'll start with Octovarian.