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Wow... Disappointing - 60%

westknife, August 22nd, 2005

I’ll say it right off the bat: Octavarium is Dream Theater’s weakest album since Falling into Infinity. The instrumentalism that we Dream Theater fans have come to love over the years is almost absent from the album. “The Answer Lies Within” and “I Walk Beside You” are embarrassingly bad pop attempts, the latter sounding kind of like U2 and the former containing some of the worst lyrics I have ever heard outside of emo. “The Root of All Evil” and “These Walls” are boring rehashings of the quote-unquote Dream Theater sound, and they don’t really take hold as memorable songs. Also, there is almost nothing there in the way of instrumental sections – “Root” has a short guitar solo and a short synth solo, and “Walls” has nothing. “Panic Attack” is okay, but again never really picks up into a monstrosity like it could. The only songs with real developed instrumental parts in them are “Never Enough,” “Sacrificed Sons,” and the title track “Octavarium.” Of these, “Never” has probably the worst chorus of any DT song, and “Sons” is just pretty boring. The only approximation of something worth listening to on this whole album is the 24-minute title track. It’s decent, with somewhat of a retro-prog feel to it. It’s no “A Change of Seasons,” but it at least holds interest throughout the whole thing. So basically, I recommend you download the title track, and don’t pay any attention to the rest. Dream Theater fans will probably be disappointed (I was), and if you’re not a fan then don’t touch this with a ten-foot pole. So I’m giving it a 60, or barely passing – for the title track if nothing else.