Dream Theater: "Octavarium"

Discussion in 'Music' started by Brian Perry, Jun 9, 2005.

  1. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    I thought I'd start a dedicated thread to this new album, even though we've started discussing it in the WDADU thread.

    I'm on about my 10th listen, and each time I'm finding more to appreciate. The thing most fans will notice, even upon first listen, is the number of references (both lyrically and musically) to other bands and even DT's earlier albums. My latest find -- an unmistakable yet subtle tribute to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody at around 6:32 of the title track. It may sound as though DT is lacking creativity by needing to re-use bits from their past, but I don't think that's the case.

    The general theme of the album is "coming full circle." Each song is different (even to the point of each song being in a different key -- eight songs, eight notes in an octave).

    Orchestral instruments are used frequently in the album, including flutes in the title track. Instrumentally, everyone is on their game, with Myung's bass spotlighted more than on previous albums. LaBrie's voice hasn't sounded better.

    Overall, this is a must buy for any DT or prog-metal fan. It's got something for everyone: a couple of pop-oriented songs, beautiful and haunting melodies, and plenty of the hard-driving, kick-ass, balls-out, melt-your-mind kind of stuff DT is known for.
     
  2. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    This CD for me is a perfect example of why I should wait to get the CD before forming my opinions. I heard the album from mp3's about a week or so ago which I rarely do, but I was anxious to hear the record. I liked it, but wasn't crazy about the sound. I know mp3 has lower resolution, but it shouldn't affect the mix sound, or so I thought.

    Anyway, I picked up the CD Tuesday, and it sounds so much better. On my first listen to the tunes I wasn't sure about it, but on my fourth listen and I'm realizing a lot more has stuck with me than I thought. While I like it ToT a lot, I probably have to it as my least favorite DT full-length, or at least tie it with Falling Into Infinity. Ocatavarium will probably be a 3-way tie with those for a while. Still great stuff. I actually find I like 6DOIT the most out of any of their post Awake stuff, although it's a close tie with SFAM.
     
  3. Rich Romero

    Rich Romero Supporting Actor

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    Terrible album. DT is capable of 100 times better if they'd focus less on ripping off other bands and more on writing good songs.
     
  4. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Agreed. Very cohesive. A little muddy and compressed in the mix, but everything is so solidly constructed. This is a dramatic departure from Train of Thought. Actually, it sounds most similar to Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence to me, but with tighter compositions.

    I also agree with the above re: hearing more of Myung and LaBrie's performance. He has a great voice so long as he stays within his range. Apparently he is working with a new vocal coach. Portnoy's hands are amazing - serious stick work on this disc. Rudess is truly gifted but he kind of stuck out on the previous albums. He seems better integrated now (a lot has to do with his sound choices that work with rather than against the overall sound of the band). And Petrucci is still my favorite guitar player out there. Much more restrained on this disc. He doesn't really let 'er rip until Panic Attack. The interplay between him and Rudess is stunning.
     
  5. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

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    I'm having a real hard time getting into this album.
    As others have mentioned DT took a new direction with Octavarium which is fine, they are a progressive band after all. It just doesn't grab me. It seems more like one of the James LaBrie projects than a Dream Theater record.

    I really don't have anything negative to say because I respect these guys so much and truly appreciate all of the great music they have given us over the years. I'll continue to buy their records and see them live, but I'm not enjoying this one liked I hope I would. Yes there are some great moments (Panic Attack, Never Enough, the second half of the title track) but overall I feel it's a bit weak.

    I don't know maybe I've gotten spoiled with all of the great technical wizardry of their past albums and I guess I was looking for more of the same. The songs (and parts of songs) that others call "wankery", "excess" and "musical masturbation" are my favorite moments in DT history. I like technically challenging pieces. I love it when I'm listening to a song like "The Dance of Eternity" and shaking my head with a grin saying "holy shit, what are they doing there??" I love that stuff. And on Octavarium I don't hear a whole lot of that, particularly with Portnoy. I feel as though his playing on this record was predictable and not very Portnoy-ish.

    Hey, whatever, I'm sure DT is proud of this album and I'm sure they worked hard writing and recording it. And as I said they will always have my full support but for right now Octavarium is coming out of my car and onto my CD rack. I'm sure down the road I'll give it another few listens and maybe I can appreciate it more then, but right now I'm liking "Deadwing" a whole lot more than "Octavrium".

    Just my .02

    JB
     
  6. Chris Stainton

    Chris Stainton Second Unit

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    Dream Theater is one of those bands that with each new album since Scenes From A Memory, I swore I would not buy their next release. Everything that John describes above that he loved about them, I did not. When Six Degrees was released I would read what an awesome album it was so I picked it up and was disappointed. Then Train was released and again it was said to be their best yet from several sources. Again, a huge waste of time for me. I figured it was just my changing tastes. But more, it was for me what I consider to be just huge amounts of soulless robotic playing by Rudess and especially Petrucci.

    After sampling this new one at the store, and then going ahead and buying it, this is their strongest effort since FII. I like Rudess' playing overall here quite a bit more than past albums, although I still miss Kevin Moore's playing. Never Enough and the title track are by far my favorites. The only song I just flat out do not like is Panic Attack, although the final minute or so is interesting. Sacrificed Sons too is not one of my favorites.

    I will need to give it a few more spins to get a better overall feel for it.

    After listening to it two times, I would give it a B+.
     
  7. FredK

    FredK Second Unit

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    Scarificed Sons is the only week track, suffers from DTitis (~3 minutes too long). 1-6 are standouts, with These Walls the king. Octavarium is nice but could have been 7-8 minutes shorter (even with a substantial intro).

    As I said in the last thread, after hearing this i now believe they could go back to any one of their previous sounds, they just choose to sample instead of fully revisit.

    A-... I do miss some of the older sound of Moore and James really letting go - even beyond his range as long as he's trying. If Sons was replaced with a studio outtake from the early days then it would've been A+.
     
  8. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    Last week I saw DT in Budapest, and they were outstanding. They played four songs from Octavarium -- (Sacrificed Sons, Panic Attack, The Root of All Evil, Never Enough).

    While I really like the new album, I understand the criticism that too much of it is inspired by (or stolen from?) other albums and songs, both DT's and those of other bands. I guess the most blatant examples are the first four minutes of the title track, which is basically a rephrasing of Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond and the song I Walk Beside You, which sounds more like U2 than DT. I think that's why my favorite songs right now are Never Enough and Sacrificed Sons (minus the newsreel intro). They seem to be the most original and don't contain any obvious references -- at least to me -- to other songs or groups.
     
  9. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    So far as individual solos are concerned it's definitely more in check then Train of Thought. But there is a lot of tandem work being done that is mind-blowing.
     
  10. Chris Stainton

    Chris Stainton Second Unit

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    This album is really growing on me. In fact I think it is my 2nd favorite of theirs after Awake. "These Walls" is fast becoming my favorite song on this one.
     
  11. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Finally got it and the more I listen to it the more I like it. The potential I had thought would lead to a really nice sound when Rudess joined the band is finally realised here. He is as ingrained in the music's soul and composition as Moore was but with a much wider sonic palette.

    If I never hear another extended Petrucci solo again I won't mind so I'm very happy with how restrained it is here compared to Train of Thought (but without it being to non-metally like 6 Degrees).
     
  12. Steve_Wingman

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    Being a long time fan of DT, I had to listen to this cd several times before it grew on me. BUT, James Labrie released his solo cd Elements of Persuasion a few weeks later (I think) and in my opinion, it's his best work ever and far better than Octavarium! Back to Octavarium though,
    I also noticed the influence of several other bands. Most noticable; Genesis, U2, Floyd & a hint of Iron Maiden.
    A good cd over all.
    Don't skip over Labrie's album if you prefer TOT's harder sound because James delivered!
    -Steve
     
  13. FeisalK

    FeisalK Screenwriter

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    ok, I came late to the DT party... got and love Octavarium, which album is best bet for next?

    is Scenes From A Memory an actual album? its not listed as such in progarchives.com
     
  14. nickGreenwood

    nickGreenwood Second Unit

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  15. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    Start with Images and Words, move to Awake, then get Scenes from a memory.
     
  16. FeisalK

    FeisalK Screenwriter

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    great, thanks guys [​IMG]
     
  17. dan-0

    dan-0 Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm jealous. I wish I were hearing Images and Words for the first time.

    This album remains one of my top five to this day.
     
  18. ChrisDixon

    ChrisDixon Second Unit

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    Images and Words was certainly the one that won me over. I have a grat memory of the show from that tour too (last one with Kevin). They were really hungry then! Scenes has surpassed it as number one for me with Awake in third.

    Chris
     
  19. FeisalK

    FeisalK Screenwriter

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    I just saw Live at Budokan, the music and playing is just stunning ... only marred by the number of times the singer had to come out and er, shout.

    I'm fairly forgiving of singers - I'm a Rush fan after all [​IMG] but James LaBrie on Budokan got on my nerves for some reason.

    I'm just glad I heard Octavarium before Budokan
     
  20. Ryan L. Bisasky

    Ryan L. Bisasky Second Unit

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    5 of the tracks from Budukon are from "train of thought" and if you want a heavier sound with 5 songs over 10 minutes, thats the next album to go to.
     

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