First of all, I have been a die-hard Dream Theater fanatic since 1989 so my reviews might be considered “Biased” but I will try to be as objective as possible.
For the first time in a long time, the first 2 tracks off the new DT CD didn’t impress me. I am not saying that they are bad but I just feel that they were somewhat “Stale” and regurgitated, reminding me of tracks from “Train of Thought” and “Anna Lee” from Falling Into Infinity”.
Things got better with “These Walls” and the VERY U2 sounding “I Walk Beside You” but then came “Panic Attack” and I got those old goosebumps that DT has given me over the past 16 years. This song just rocks your sock off and could have easily been on Train of Thought. “Never Enough” is a good song but the CD really get exciting and worth the money when you get to the last 2 songs, especially the title track “Octavarium”. This is what Dream Theater is about…it’s hard, it’s mellow, it’s both. it’s complex, it’s ORCHESTRA!!…It’s AWESOME! Can you say another epic in the mold of “Change of Seasons”??
I CANNOT WAIT to see some of these songs live, especially “Octavarium”. Like any Dream Theater CD, this CD will (and is) get better with every listen because it is just impossible to absorb the complexity and beauty with one or two listens. That is why I love these guys so much…their CDs don’t get old fast and they give you a LOT of good music to digest.
It is unfair to rate this CD to other Dream Theater CDs because I need to listen to it about another 300 times! However, as far as first impressions go, I would rate it over “Train of Thought” (mainly due to the versatility of this CD…not just “Heavy”) but definitely lower than “Scenes From a Memory”, which I consider the best CD ever, PERIOD!.
Bottom line, if you are an old time Dream Theater fan like me, you will love this CD because it contains all the elements of “Classic DT”. However, if you came onboard the “Train of Thought” CD, this CD might shock you because only 2 of the songs (“Panic Attack” and “The Root of all Evil”) are heavy enough to qualify. Still, if you are a musician or just appreciate beautiful, complex music by the greatest ensemble of musicians in one band on the planet…BUY THIS CD NOW!