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Dream Theater - Octavarium

Discussion in 'Symphony X (Unofficial)' started by Yngtchie Blacksteen, May 26, 2005.

  1. Barking Pumpkin

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    Well....it should be obvious what I meant if you heard the album....but I'll expand.

    Downtuning in itself isn't a bad thing. Lots of bands, including probably the best prog band, Pain Of Salvation, use downtuning. However, downtuning is also what I would call an "easy way out." It requires no thought or creativity to downtune to C or whatever, chug out generic power chords, and make it sound "cool." This is what it sounds like John Petrucci is doing a whole lot on this album. As I said, on other things, 'Awake' for example, he made great songs with a low tuning. Two other things with this album.....production is very muddy and has that nasty "pop" production on guitars. I haven't liked John Petrucci's album tone much at all ever since he got the Music Man, but it's gone down farther on this one. Also, James LaBrie's vocals are mostly awful. They paint him into places where he's doing "dark" vocals, which he can't make sound good. That's where there's a bit of a conflict on some parts, because it's a great vocal moment, but the music isn't all that amazing.

    Downtuning can be good if you're doing something with it....but they're not. So basically, this isn't a great prog album, and on the other hand it's not a great "metally" album either. So it doesn't even win if you don't call it a proggy album, which, by the way, is what they said it was going to be. Octavarium is the high point, and it gets all the way down to "These Walls," which just sounding disgusting when I first heard that opening nu-metal riff.

    Continued:

    Oh....and this little bit about Octavarium makes some good points, although not quite as harshly as I would put it.

    And really....this made me think about the solos on the album. They really do sound like......"oh yeah.....we probably need a solo here," and then Petrucci just improvises some random guitar excercises. Especially the solos on "Panic Attack," what kind of sick joke are those? It's like they're just such an afterthought, not even written out or thought about. The dual run towards the end of "Octavarium" is really the only interesting solo on the album, where I see the "signature" Dream Theater style come through.

    Just picking out a few things I haven't gotten to yet.....what about the keyboard playing? On the ballad parts with the piano effect, what happened to Jordan Rudess' interesting piano fills? He's just basically playing chords, or boring, repeated patterns as in "The Answer Lies Within."

    So if this was from some other band, maybe it would get a 70% or something. It has some nice moments, Octavarium is a nice track. "Sacrificed Sons" is the next best in terms of "prog," although it's also pretty generic, but it's the Dream Theater sound. But coming from Dream Theater, this album sounds like the dying breath of a great band. It really sounds like they're not even trying. What, did they write this over a couple of days or something? Their talent shows in that it sounds like they didn't even try and they made a decent album. But it's not a decent album for a Dream Theater album. And you have to remember that.....that's the name attached to this, and that's the standard you should hold it to.


    On a side note, Dream Theater need to be taking lessons from Pain Of Salvation in making good music. Here's a band that started out somewhere around perfection and gets better. They know how to work as a band, with all the band members playing off each other. On the piano aspect, listen to "This Heart Of Mine" from the live acoustic album 12:5....that's what good accompaniment piano work is supposed to sound like, not just hammering out chords or some lame melody.
     
  2. Barking Pumpkin

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    Okay....so now that I've done plenty of talking about the bad parts of the album (and just to point out....they built themselves up to this level of critique, so they're letting themselves down), let me talk about what's good on this album. This will actually be a bit of a song by song review, and I've listened to the album enough now to post my numbering rating of the songs, so I'll do that now...but I'll try to focus on what's good.

    First.....the title track, "Octavarium." Not an instant classic, but it's a good long song. Also notice there are no "dark" vocals from LaBrie, making it automatically better. Nice guitar work. This has an interesting "signature" Dream Theater keyboard/guitar harmony run. The song builds up to a point, then concludes, very nice. The strings also add a nice touch. Great track.

    "Never Enough." This sounds like a missing track from Scenes From A Memory. Starts out slowly and softly, then builds up to a heavy section. Typical Scenes From A Memory-esque cut into a solo section, with very Petrucci-type solos. Another great song, if not as "progressive" as the title track. It is in the signature Dream Theater style, though.

    I Walk Besides You is a good song. The U2 chorus adds an interesting touch, although the rest of the song is pretty original.

    The Answer Lies Within is good for a ballad.

    I Walk Besides You is a good song. The U2 chorus adds an interesting touch, although the rest of the song is pretty original.

    Never Enough would have been a pretty good track if it wasn't a complete and total ripoff of Muse, as I have been alerted, and it's not the only part on the album either.

    Okay, I'll stop now, because after this point, the album degrades to "good moments." A few cool vocal melodies here and there, but nothing that stays great for long.

    1. Octavarium
    2. Sacrificed Sons
    3. I Walk Beside You
    4. The Answer Lies Within
    ----mediocrity line
    5. Never Enough
    6. Panic Attack
    7. The Root Of All Evil
    8. These Walls

    So, I'm glad I've broken it down now. About half really good songs, and half mediocre to bad songs. I know I've talked a lot about the bad things, but as I've seen here, there are some really cool things on the album. It's a "buy" album. But as I've said many times, it's not great for a "Dream Theater album."

    So it evens out.....because the best four songs include the two longest songs on the album and the two shortest songs on the album......but the four worst songs average around 7:30 each, so they balance each other out somewhat.
     
  3. wayne the goblin/robot

    wayne the goblin/robot Im done with this *****

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    hey trickster g guy, tell rose immortal how awesome arcturus is.
     
  4. Moonchild141

    Moonchild141 Member

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    i still disagree with jsut about everything the last few people have said. first of all the production unless you have thje actual cd and i know u dont. you cant comment on. if you have what i have 192 kbit m4u files. i think there is some compression issues but other then that ill wait to comment on that with the real disk. second of all, back to downtuning, what does it matter what key you are in, you can still chug out generic power chords in any key. downtuning has no bearing on that. as far as JP's solos. there is like 3 solos on the whole cd. and they are short and contrite. i think they meant to not overplay on this cd, and i dont see this as a bad thing, as we all have heard plenty of DT's overplaying. and who cares if stylistically they sound similar to this or that band. you can say that about any band, there are NO original sounding bands anymore. you think symphony X is original? ya i guess they invented that neoclassical thing. so they "ripped off" muse, while i never heard muse, its no diff then the great debate on 6doit that "ripped off" tool and i loved that song. its like a new take on someone elses invention. i think people just look to rip apart this band to make who ever their favorite band is seem more relevent.
     
  5. Jeremy Krull

    Jeremy Krull Destroyer of the C-List

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    I absolutely can comment on the production, I have 245-256kbps VBR .m4a files btw...not that that matters. The version of the record that was leaked was "unmastered" as I was told. That doesn't excuse shit. The mix is TERRIBLE, especially considering how some of their releases have sounded in the past. And even though there is a decent bit of compression coming from a direct SDII, AIFF, or WAV master down to an mp3/m4a, a shit mix is a shit mix. I've said this before, and I'll say it again, if they worked with a real producer (other than Kevin Shirley who is ass) then their records would at least sound good. I mean for fuck's sake they recorded at the Hit Factory, and the quality of this recording is subpar to even the stuff from IAW and Awake, and that technology is not even around anymore.

    Fucking Symphony X holed up in Mike's basement with some PC's and Nuendo, and sound replaced/triggered Jason's drums, and still came out with a cleaner more professional sounding disc (The Odyssey). The problem with Dream Theater is that they are disregarding outside input and opinions to such an extent that no matter how ridiculous, over indulgent, and delusional their ideas are getting, they still think it's brilliant. They need a reality check, maybe everyone but John Myung.

    And you can make the "Symphony X isn't original either" argument too, that's fine. You know why? Because they're doing it better. And that, is not an opinion. That's my opinion a lot of the time, but it's also been 100% proven.

    DT fagged themselves two albums in a row after Scenes From A Memory, and this was supposed to be "THE COMEBACK", the one where they redeem themselves. Talk about backpedaling about 4 miles.
     
  6. sknight

    sknight Are You Morbid?

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    Well, DT self produces, but they let Kevin Shirley mix. And I agree, he's a piece of shit and I don't know why people laude his work. He made Iron Maiden sound bland, too.

    He wasn't so bad on SDoIT. The production was as least clear. ToT was muddy and SFAM sounds like a transistor radio.
     
  7. Jeremy Krull

    Jeremy Krull Destroyer of the C-List

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    Yea...someone actually sent me the alternate mix of SFAM with all of the tracks mixed by Dave Bottrill instead of just the last few...sooo much better.

    And yea I know DT self produces, and that is a big mistake.
     
  8. Barking Pumpkin

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    Ok.......hold on......let me spell it out for you really simply.

    John Petrucci plays really blandly whenever he downtunes on the album.

    I'm pointing out the anti-proginess this represents.....because "hay guys let's d0wntune and play powerchords" is the most cliche thing in modern rock, so I don't see why Dream Theater need to go to that level, ala "These Walls." And also, I have the same quality files as you do........so I can comment on the production.
     
  9. Barking Pumpkin

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    Exactly. The band, especially Portnoy since I've seen his comments the most.....seem to just have this attitude that everything they put out is the best prog album out there, and anyone who has any critique of it "isn't being open minded." The most obnoxious part of this, however, is that all of their fanboys adapt this exact same attitude. Maybe I'm completely wrong on this, but that's just the vibe I get from them, that they're popular enough now that they're just like "screw you" to the people who aren't completely their fanboys.

    The comments I'm seeing now.....since everyone is saying "Where are the solos," all their fans are saying "in your face, they're not wanking anymore." Well, the thing is, that now they have four 7:30 songs on the album that just don't have too much content for the length of song that it is. And the solos in them are really generic. I pointed out earlier where the best solos were.
     
  10. Jeremy Krull

    Jeremy Krull Destroyer of the C-List

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    It's mostly Portnoy's fault too.

    it's unfortunate because that kind of attitude is just so detrimental to the band's growth. That is, if they are able to grow anymore.

    it would be cool if Muse, Tool, Yes, Genesis, Rush, and even Ayreon (especially on Octavarium's title track), just sued the shit out of them.
     
  11. DoktorShred

    DoktorShred Member

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    My current opinions. (Please bare in mind that DT albums usually take me a long time to like. I didn't like awake for about 2 months after buying it and its now my second favourite album by any band)

    awesome songs:
    *title track (most of it)
    *Root of all evil
    *The answer lies within
    *I walk beside you

    Really good songs
    *These walls
    *Panic attack
    *Sacrificed sons (Haven't listened to this one much yet)

    Songs yet to grow on me
    *Never enough

    I think the only things i particularly dislike on the album so far is james's muse impression on never enough and jordans extra-horrific solos. The rest is looking good
     
  12. MorphineChild205

    MorphineChild205 Lt. Horatio Caine

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    The whole band doesn't feel that way. I agree that Portnoy (and even Petrucci) can be somewhat arrogant at times, but the other three don't give me that impression. Especially Myung -- I have a feeling that he too thinks the band is regressing. I personally would like to hear more crazy lead basslines from him. Sure, he's been loud on the last few albums, but most of his cool-sounding parts just double what Petrucci and Rudess are playing.

    I've given Octavarium a few good listens, and I feel that it is a more balanced album than ToT. I loved ToT, but it was 90% metal with not much diversity.

    Here's what I think of Octavarium so far:

    The Root of all Evil
    ---
    Good solid song, but a lot of the riffs aren't too original for DT. It's definitely not up to par with The Glass Prison and This Dying Soul (which this song is a sequel to).

    The Answer Lies Within
    ---
    This song really hits me in a beautiful way. Sure, it's a bit repetitive, but so was Hollow Years, The Silent Man, and Another Day. I wish Jordan played more "outside the box," though.

    These Walls
    ---
    I like this song, but it's not too original for DT. Nice melody, though.

    I Walk Beside You
    ---
    It's not my favorite song on the album, but it's growing on me.

    Panic Attack
    ---
    I like this song, but the wank section is a bit overdone (there's a surprise). It's cool that it starts with Myung, though.

    Never Enough
    ---
    So far, this is my least favorite. It just doesn't do much for me. Perhaps it will in time.

    Sacrificed Sons
    ---
    This is just a damn good song. The jam section is really cool, and it's not total wank like Panic Attack.

    Octavarium
    ---
    I understand what they were trying to do with the intro, but I don't like it. Too boring for me. In fact, the song doesn't really pick up for me until LaBrie starts singing "Now I've gone full circle!" It's good up until then, but not really dynamic enough. From this point on, though, the song is golden.
     
  13. Dark Lucidity

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    just listened to it.. im a muse fan.. not hearing much muse here :/ thats a good thing by the way.

    only a small verse in panic attack and a Tiny part in never enough.

    distorted voice dont automatically mean muse btw.
     
  14. kosh

    kosh ;,.-/=´"

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    I think I really like this new album. It is far more intersting and diverse than ToT and even if some parts are influenced by other bands, no one can make music without being influenced by other stuff. Sometimes we can identify the source, most of the times we can't. Most metal bands are influenced by bands like Metallica and Slayer, which still doesn't give reason to point out to them and say they were just ripping off.
    I don't want to go deeply into that awful prog discussion, for I prefer to use this term as liberally as possible, even if some bands don't match the original meaning of that anymore, I still call them prog. Its just a word, not a religion.

    I definitely will buy this CD, seems to be a real summer album with a bit of everything. Also it shortenes the waiting time for the next SyX album.
     
  15. SymphonyOfDreams

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    I think that most of you should stop overanalizing things get over your hatred for post Awake or SFAM DT and just listen to the music. Because really... I see a bunch of you ripping the album apart but when you breakdown your review in song by song or more details there's actually a lot of stuff you like.

    So really, it's just an album and not the discovery of other intelligent life in the universe. Listen to it, and let it take it where ever it takes you.

    Remember... DT did the 'definite sound' thing in 1992 and 94, and since then they have been doing 'their' thing, notice how non of the albums sound like each other? THAT'S progressing, and not only progressing, but using your technical skills and musical knowledge to have fun an explore sounds. It's more than understandable that some people will just not like it... but it's their thing, it doesn't mean they are worse now than in 94, it just means they evolved differently than you.

    In my case, save for ToT, DT has evolved very nicely with me. When I was into technical madness they came with SFAM, when I was getting into prog-rock they brought 6DoIT, and now that I'm really starting to dislike unnecesary wanking, they come out with Octavarium. So far so good...

    And comparing DT to PoS is just stupid, they have two completely different styles and aproach music from very different stand points, so really... it's useless.
     
  16. sknight

    sknight Are You Morbid?

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    I wonder if Mike Portnoy is going to try and get this baord shut down, too.
     
  17. SymphonyOfDreams

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    Nah, he just closes boards wich he pays for... no need to be an ass.
     
  18. Rose Immortal

    Rose Immortal Spirit of Hope

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    From a legal standpoint, how much of a similarity does it actually take in order to sue somebody over music? Seriously, I'm curious to know.
     
  19. wayne the goblin/robot

    wayne the goblin/robot Im done with this *****

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    JORDAN RUDESS IS GOD
     
  20. Jeremy Krull

    Jeremy Krull Destroyer of the C-List

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    Rose: Unfortunately more than what Dream Theater did, but let's not kid ourselves, everyone can blatantly hear it.

    and just as I thought there are the typical "holier than thou" and "dream theater is evolving and you're just not getting it", save it. There are so many different attempts people can make to rationalize what's happening to Dream Theater, save it.

    and another thing, the whole patented DT formula of "write songs for the sake of length and fans will enjoy because they are long" has gotta go, especially when they decided to release this album, in which it sounds like they spread themselves as thin as a string of drool.

    You can't honestly tell me that if you listened to IAW or Awake that it would sound even remotely as predictable or corny as the new stuff, there is absolutely no way. The Dream Theater sound was fresh then, and it has since lost it's soul, it's power, and above all, it's interest.

    It's disgraceful how much they take their fans for granted.
     

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