Trapped Inside This Perfection
Dream Theater are probably the most technically excellent band on Room Thirteen at the moment. Their back catalouge spans seven albums, each one dynamic and different from the next. Their "Scenes From A Memory" album has become probably the greatest concept album of all time, and "Train Of Thought" was the most successful album tour in Japan. Ever.
So, what could album number eight, Octavarium, possibly offer us that the other seven albums haven't? Well, for one thing, vocalist James Labrie has excelled himself. His powerful vocals on "The Root Of All Evil" offer a ferocious side to his vocals only seen on the harder tracks on Train of Thought, yet his more haunting, softer vocals on "Sacrificed Sons" and "The Answer Lies Within" are much more remeniscent of "Scenes From A Memory" or "Falling Into Infinity".
Aside from Labrie, it's time for Keyboardist Jordan Rudess to shine. The biggest gripe with the last album Train of Thought was the poor MIDI keyboard patches. Well, Octavarium showcases an excellent new set of keyboard sounds that soar the album to dizzying heights.
Furthermore, the band have taken on board a lot of new influences. It's clear on tracks such as "Panic Attack" and "Never Enough" that Dream Theater have taken a leaf out of Muse's distorted keyboards book, whilst "I walk beside you" has a nod to Yes and U2, offering a very fresh and unique sound.
However, it is the last track, the 24 minute long epic "Octavarium", that really makes this album shine. Showcasing some excellent ideas, this song is an incredibly complex song, yet even on first listen it's very enjoyable. Dream Theater fans will notice tiny things like keyboard parts from other albums, such as "Anna Lee" from the Falling Into Infinity, whilst new fans will enjoy the biggest build up of all time.
Overall, you have an expertly written, brilliantly produced and genrally classic album. Even if you hate everything Dream Theater have done so far, check out this album before you write them off.