The eighth full-length studio album by legendary American Progressive Metal/Rock band.
This band has tried a whole lot of different styles throughout their career and won over a lot of fans. "Octavarium" is the band's final release for Atlantic Records. Recorded between September 2004 and February 2005, the album holds the distinction of being the last album ever recorded at The Hit Factory in New York City. With "Octavarium", the band decided to create "a classic Dream Theater album", drawing upon their various stylistic influences while trying to make the music less complex. The album takes its creative concept from the musical octave. Billboard considered the results of the band's attempt to write shorter songs and use warmer instrumental textures to be "excellent", particularly praising "The Root of All Evil", "These Walls" and "I Walk Beside You".
The album consists of 8 tracks but still plays for well over an hour, mostly due to the massive title-song which is 24 minutes in length.
"Octavarium" opens with "The Root of All Evil" and it's the obvious choice for an opener with its cool intro, great guitar-riffs and really driving song writing which leaves you hopeful for the rest of the album. After the great opener a lot of different songs follow; from the ballad-like "The Answer Lies Within" to the radio-friendly "I Walk Beside You" and the riff-heavy "Panic-Attack". It is a mix of styles; if you were hoping for something similar to "Train Of Thought" you might have a problem dealing with the softer material on this album. As the closer of the album we find the title-song which is a 24-minute masterpiece and one of the band's best performances in their entire career. It's a great mix of heavy, clean, slow parts and instrumental beauty and you really get a lot of conceptual vibes from the lyrics. From Jordan Rudess's Pink-Floyd-inspired continuum and lap-steel intro to the extremely well executed scream by Labrie at the song's climax you really feel the band is on fire.
If you've heard any of the band's later releases you know what to expect production-wise. It's a joy to listen to as the sound quality beats most other bands on the market. They play a lot with sound effects and samples hidden in the mix; it might be a good idea to try listening to the album when you've got some time and can really focus on the music and the well-written lyrics as this might enhance your listening-experience and your impression of the album. This is absolutely not a must as the record plays well anywhere and probably anytime.
"Octavarium" features a lot of varied song writing, originality and most of all good songs but after owning the album for a while you might find some songs don't find their way to your playlist quite as often and whether or not this is because you're more into the Metal side, the melodic side or the complex side of the band this will lower the final impression of the album.
In any case, "Octavarium" is an excellent effort. Dream Theater have taken their dozens of influences and crafted something that some may see as pompous. Definitely worth checking out and not an album to be dismissed.
"Octavarium" peaked in the top 5 in the Finnish, Italian, and Swedish charts, and in the top ten in the Dutch, Japanese, and Norwegian charts.
Atlantic Recording Corp./Warner Music, 2005 (7567-83793-2). Made in Germany. First press.
1. The Root Of All Evil 08:07
2. The Answer Lies Within 05:26
3. These Walls 06:59
4. I Walk Beside You 04:29
5. Panic Attack 07:16
6. Never Enough 06:33
7. Sacrificed Sons 10:42
8. Octavarium 24:00
Total playing time: 73:32