Dream Theater

Saapanael

A Citizen of the Republic of Geniuses
Black Clouds has its problems but for me it encompasses many great things about DT. It's a huge-sounding record with very high peaks such as the clean part in A Nightmare to Remember and the solo in The Best of Times. I used to be in love with The Count of Tuscany for a period and I'm a huge fan of some of the guitar sounds Petrucci has on this album, especially the cleans. To top it off, the album cover of Black Clouds is one of the earliest visual memories I have of the band and that has stuck with me as the quintessential image of the band.

 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
Awake is my favorite album cover as well. After that I like Falling Into Infinity and Octavarium with their simplicity and natural look.
 

Collin

Chasing Ponce De Leon's Phantoms
Gotta say I really like ADTOE's cover. Somehow I think it fits the album. Don't know how to explain it, but it makes sense with the music.
 

MW564

Ancient Mariner
Love Metropolis part 2 cover personally, as well as Six Degrees and BC&SL. Not a big fan of the first 3.
 

MW564

Ancient Mariner
The BC&SL part of my post was admittedly very open for debate and I do get where everyone is coming from. For once I don't actually think it's too bloated, compared to TOT, ADTOE and the first disk of SDOIT. It does probably help that A Nightmare to remember and The Best of Times have always been in my top 5 DT songs though.
It's like these people want the band to fail so they can say "I told you so". They know who they are.
I will never understand the people who make their mind up before an album is released, that they are going to hate it. Of course you will if you go into it with that attitude, because you'll hear what you want to hear. This is very apparent with DT and probably even worse with Maiden.

Take Muse as an example. I've not liked a lot of their recent work, but I'm still hoping their next album is good. So I'll listen to it. And if it is good, I will be glad, because that's another great Muse album for me to enjoy, I won't desperately will it to be bad so I can wistfully drone on about "back in 2003".
 

Spambot

Educated Fool
If you haven't yet heard Images and Words, it is absolutely essential. Otherwise I'd suggest Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, and, my personal favorite, Train of Thought. I'm also a big fan of A Dramatic Turn of Events.

Just do yourself a favor and hold off on The Astonishing until very last. Or better yet, never. :p
Spambot - I think it was Mosh many years ago who recommended me Awake and Six Degrees after listening to Scenes, and I will now pass this recommendation onto you.
So that's two votes for Six Degrees... I gave it a spin last weekend and I've like what I've heard. It's not like anything stuck to my ear yet, but there's a lot going on there.
@Lampwick 43 Interestingly, I did listen The Astonishing when it came out but I doubt I've managed to listen the whole album.

We'll I hope you guys get to see them soon. I reckon they will be back in Europe for a proper arena/theatre tour so maybe they'll visit Tallinn.
Elaborate!
You've really got my hopes up now! This EU tour that is currently scheduled (Jun/Jul) is mostly festivals, not a single date close to me and I wasn't planning to go on single gig this year but... BUT!!! They do keep saying they'll play Metropolis pt. 2 in its eternity - which is really something I would like to see/hear. Now, I doubt they'll do that on festivals close to me considering they don't even have headliner status on some of those, but it also seems less like they will continue with this Metropolis based setlist next year. But if you say they'll come again, I have something to hope for.

Considering album covers, 90's are too cluttered. Something like Octavarium is more my taste. A but Rush-y, grandiose yet simplistic, portraying only part of picture and let your mind draw the rest.
 

LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Seems the forum ate my half-complete review of Awake that I was working on. Great.

tl;dr - not as good as I was hoping, but some pretty good songs (Erotomania, Voices, The Mirror).

Starting to think I just don't like DT that much compared to some people. I find them to be, well, a little boring.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
My appreciation for Awake has increased recently. I was always fond of it, but had it in a lower tier than I did Scenes from a Memory and Images and Words. May not be the case anymore.

It has that something special to it. The production, the rougher sounds, LaBrie's vocals, and it being Moore's finest hour.
 

LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Awake is my favorite DT album. Scarred is possibly my favorite DT song.
I've listened to Awake six times in the last five days, and I couldn't tell you what any individual song sounded like to save my life, except Erotomania.
 

Stardust

A Blue Sector Mirage
Awake (1994)

It took me a LONG time to get into this album, because it’s dense, layered, dark and just a tinge of edge to it all - nothing like Images and Words which I had just heard previously as my first DT album. For my second DT album, it was a stark contrast to what came before and I wasn’t quite a fan of it. I can only imagine what it must have been like for the DT fans at the time. So after hearing it, I just let it fall to the wayside and went on to Scenes from a Memory which I then proceeded to absolutely adore on first listen. It wasn’t until much later, after going through several other DT albums that got progressively (heh) heavier and heavier, that I started thinking about Awake again. Did I not give it its proper due? ...I’m sure you know the answer from the way I’ve been writing this so far, but yes, Awake suddenly exploded in my rankings until this point in time where I can safely say that Awake is my favourite DT album, just edging out I&W for me. There’s just something about the production which I think is the best production on any DT album, the fantastic vocals of James LaBrie which take on a whole new level on this one and the darker atmosphere. It’s very reflective (heh x2) of the band’s current state back then. Awake keeps me coming back for more and more listens and I still find something new to enjoy about it each and every time.

So, with that said and done, let’s get to those songs, shall we?

1. 6:00

Immediately, we’re struck by a drum intro that’s sure to remind at least someone of the way their debut album started. But there’s no bombastic riff to follow, instead a weirdly hypnotic arpeggio. It captures your attention just like those other two opening songs did, albeit in a different way. This isn’t A Fortune in Lies and it’s not Pull Me Under. 6:00 signifies in an instant that this album isn’t quite like what we might have expected. The song itself is great, with Moore leading the proceedings with his twisted organ riffs and solos that seem darkly imbued with his emotions during the making of this album. Petrucci pretty much plays second fiddle to Moore here, a given considering this is Moore’s baby, through and through. As for the other members, Portnoy and Myung give in predictably stellar performances, although they’re certainly not the main attraction, even less so than Petrucci. Well, Portnoy gets in his flashy little drum intro, I suppose. But then there’s LaBrie who may not be able to fully steal Moore’s thunder here, but he sure does a fine job with that - his vocal performance on this song is incredible and shows a level of rasp, raw energy and anger mostly absent from I&W. It’s not something that could ever be replicated live, however, and live versions of 6:00 always turn out disappointing in my book. Never mind that, though, this studio version is great and I’ll happily give it a 9/10.

2. Caught in a Web

Not a moment after 6:00 finishes, we’re struck hard by a fierce barrage of angry synths and heavy guitars which is where the superior production of Awake compared to its two predecessors truly begins showing itself. This was a sound we definitely didn’t have on those two albums and I love it. Anyway, this was the song that probably took me the longest to really appreciate. For the longest time, this was the Glass Moon of this album for me. But in much more recent listens, it started to grow and grow on me and eventually it dawned on me that this is a great song on the same level as 6:00. The crazy spider solo from Petrucci is the highlight but LaBrie’s insane howls during the two bridges are out of this world as well. The chorus isn’t the most melodic thing ever but it’s also one of the highlights of the song for me. And, uhhh, I pretty much already spelled out the rating but it’s another 9/10.

3. Innocence Faded

Wow, that intro sure is a mood whiplash given the previous song. Anyway, this is one of the two songs on this album that I think could be feasibly put on I&W. So, naturally, this was my favourite on this album after that first experience I had with the album. As should be expected, it’s not my favourite anymore. Okay, so LaBrie remains his I&W self here, with soaring vocals with almost zero rasp, except for two small parts during the supreme highlight of the song; the “Callow and vain” section. I love this part so much it unfortunately overshadows everything else in the song, especially the fairly mediocre chorus. The outro is cool too, but it feels more like they were jamming trying to find a good way to end it on some kind of bang but kinda went on a bit longer than needed. Whatever, I like it a lot anyways. So, this song isn’t quite on the same level as the first two but it’s still a 8/10 for me. That middle LaBrie extravaganza is beyond this life.

4. Erotomania

The second instrumental is here. And y’know...I think it’s a whole lot better than Ytse Jam. While that one meandered a lot in the second half, this one has a perfect flow to it. Maybe it sticks too much to that central riff, but I loved that riff so I don’t care about that. I’ll say it right now, this is Moore’s best work on the entire album and while he’s generally above excellent on the whole of Awake, Erotomania is where he absolutely shines the most. Even so, he shares that spotlight with Petrucci who fully lets go of his restraint from the three preceding songs and gives us one of his most memorable solos to date with Moore perfectly supplementing it with some heavenly synths that work wonders. There’s two such incredible moments here, that one and an earlier bridge that hints at two following songs, that break away from the rest of the instrumental piece and stand out immensely. Might be jarring to some, but I find the dynamic contrast fantastic. Erotomania probably has dipped in some fans’ rankings across the years, but for me, it’s a very high 9/10.

5. Voices

Yeah, Erotomania was not just a instrumental; it’s the first of a three-song-suite. This is the Mind Beside Itself suite and it’s the centerpoint of the album. The album title is given full context within this unsettling world that this suite creates for itself and when it’s on, it’s amazing. So, Erotomania was the overture that foretold of both sides of the conflict at play in the suite but Voices is the real deal alright. This is a frightening song with vivid imagery in the lyrics and sheer atmosphere that almost overwhelms the listener completely. Everyone in the band is on top form as well, Petrucci has a solo which utilizes the wah-pedal better than Kirk Hammett ever could, Moore provides us most of the atmosphere while Portnoy and Myung hold the fort nicely. But there’s a clear leader here. The one who dominates this song is LaBrie. It’s an absolutely astounding vocal performance and surely in the top five for LaBrie performances. The lyrics, while great on their own, are brought to life by LaBrie here and I have to give him truly major kudos here. That alone earns this song its 10/10 rating, but the song is just amazing on the whole. There’s nothing more I can really say.

6. The Silent Man

Voices showed us one side of the conflict, so this is the other side; the decidedly lighter side, although there’s a constant melancholy throughout despite the happy chorus and peppy acoustic guitars. Even when things are better, there’s no such thing as a paradise. We should probably be thankful for that - it would get pretty boring otherwise. Anyway, I can’t say this song is on the same level as the other two parts of the suite but it’s pleasant and it’s more than welcome after the nightmarish themes of Voices. We all need a happy ending, even if it may just be a little more bittersweet than at first glance. So, with that, this is a 8/10 for me.

7. The Mirror

And so we enter the second half of Awake with what is definitely one of the heaviest DT songs ever. Portnoy finally makes himself important and his drumming here is pretty fantastic as a result, while Petrucci overthrows Moore. LaBrie remains the same here as previously on the album which is to say, he’s pretty darn amazing. And uhhh, I wish I could say more about this one, but I can’t come up with anything in particular besides mentioning that the lyrics are a prologue to something much bigger in the future. It’s just a solid song overall and earns itself a 9/10.

8. Lie

The Mirror then instantly transitions into Lie. Don’t worry, this is not another suite, these two songs aren’t actually related besides sharing a section musically. It’s more a medley. In any case, I don’t think Lie is as good as The Mirror, but it’s still a very good song. The vocal melody in particular is really catchy yet somewhat unmemorable at the same time - which then explains why it was the lead single. It didn’t quite live up to the success of Pull Me Under, however. So, what else is there to this one? Well, Petrucci is truly on top form here as well as Portnoy. Strangely enough, Moore, despite writing it, doesn’t really have much presence. Oh, and Myung, he’s Myung...uhm, well...yeah, this song gets a 8/10.

9. Lifting Shadows off a Dream

Myung has his moment here - he wrote the lyrics and his bass is hugely prominent in the mix. Anyway, this song is the other song I could see feasibly fit on I&W. And uhh, this one I don’t know how to describe other than saying it’s a pretty great song. Some call it a ballad yet it doesn’t really feel like a ballad. It’s similar to Surrounded in that way, but the song plays out considerably differently to that one and it’s not nearly as memorable...well at least in my opinion. In fact, this is probably the least memorable song for me on this album. So, it’s basically the Glass Moon of Awake, I suppose. I gave that one a 7/10 but I like this one more. I’m not sure this rating is totally warranted but a low, low 8/10 for this one. This is a song I still haven’t come to terms with completely so this rating will likely change sometime.

10. Scarred

And here’s the reason I don’t pay a lot of attention to the previous song. This one right here has had THE most substantial jump in my rankings out of any DT song. While I’ve always liked this song a lot, it would have made my top 30 at the most if you asked me a year ago. Now, it’s jumped up to #2. Yes, indeed. And you want to know why? Well, there’s the amazing Petrucci solo which is easily one of his all-time greatest, there’s Moore doing excellent work once again, Portnoy and Myung shine more here than most of the album and of course, LaBrie’s exceptional performance which I think is a better performance than Voices. Oh, and the lyrics are pretty damn great as well. So, considering that, well, this IS my #2 DT song...what other rating could I possibly give it other than a 10/10?

11. Space-Dye Vest

Oh, boy, this song. Taking it in context of the album, it’s a very moody closer which fits the themes the album has presented thus far. But out of context, as just a DT song on its own, well...it’s not much of a DT song, is it? No, this is a Kevin Moore solo song through and through which only has the DT name attached to it. Actually, Moore’s vocal demo is layered under LaBrie’s vocals, giving the vocals a vibe that is...well, spacey in a way. But obviously the vocals aren’t the main deal here. It’s the piano and those freaking samples. Half this song is only listening to samples over Moore’s piano playing. It works for what the song is going for, I suppose, but it’s not something I particularly enjoy when listening to it on its own. The song is only seven minutes yet feels much longer. Somehow, I get the impression that it’s unfinished. So, despite the tense atmosphere which lingers across the entire song and can give me legitimate goosebumps sometimes, I can’t give it any higher than a 6/10. Plus, the lyrics aren’t even that good, shame on you, Moore. And so Awake ends. Things get bumpy from here.

The Final Score: 8.6/10

The same score as Images and Words? Huh.
 

Lampwick 43

Barstool Warrior
The tour is only a few days away, so here's my big prediction: The second set will end with Nicholas being killed and the sound of static ... and the static will continue into the first song of the encore, The Glass Prison! :edmetal:

It just makes too much sense, anything else would almost be a disappointment.
 

Collin

Chasing Ponce De Leon's Phantoms
The tour is only a few days away, so here's my big prediction: The second set will end with Nicholas being killed and the sound of static ... and the static will continue into the first song of the encore, The Glass Prison! :edmetal:

It just makes too much sense, anything else would almost be a disappointment.
That would be cool. I was kind of figuring they might go for something like Octavarium but this makes more sense. I've been reading some of the rumors on the DT forum, it looks like they might only play the three singles and maybe two songs from the new album.
 
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