(All Album Reviews by Lieto)
I can sum up this album in one word, and that word is Wow! This stands as my favorite DT album thus far (although Images and Words and Systematic Chaos come close). James LaBrie's vocal performances stand out and he delivers strongly and securely (save for “Never Enough”). Portnoy, Petrucci, and Myung are superb as always, but Rudess shines a lot on this album, especially in “Octavarium”, with an amazing solo and playing the Continuum. There is a lot of controversy behind this album because of all the hidden meanings within the album. For a full explanation, go to this website: < HREF=' http://dt.spatang.com/octavarium.php'TARGET='_blank'> http://dt.spatang.com/octavarium.php www.prog4you.com.
"The Root of All Evil" starts off the album and rocks hard, with some sound effects and a low piano note starting it off. Then drums kick in, guitar following, then the main line enters. Superb. This song is a continuation of Portnoy's take on the 12 steps of the AA. "The Answer Lies Within" is so serene, with a positive message. I think this may be DTs most beautiful song ever. "These Walls" is another highlight that starts off with shred guitar, then kicks in to gear. This is a song about not being able to speak because of shyness and the author's mind and conscious telling him not to speak. It's very evident in the 2nd verse/chorus:
“ach time I try to speak
There's a voice I'm hearing
And it changes everything
Of my silence
Tear down these walls for me
Stop me from going under
You are the only one who knows
I'm holding back”
Next is "I Walk Beside You" which is the most mainstream DT has ever sounded, sounding like a poppy love song. "Panic Attack" is the complete opposite of the previous track. It's pretty much a heavy metal onslaught. "Never Enough" is a song written by Portnoy that explains that for a while, no matter what he would do, some fans were never satisfied.
Then, the highlights of the album kick in. "Sacrificed Sons" starts off with voices talking about 9/11, in similar fashion to "The Great Debate" form SDoIT. Then the words kick in, and is a song protesting the war in Iraq and mourning 9/11. A superb instrumental section follows, then the chorus closes the song. The title track is the best DT song ever, just amazing throughout. It opens with Rudess on Continuum, then 12 string acoustic guitar breaks in, leading into the 1st 2 beautiful sections. Then an outstanding keyboard solo segues into “Full Circle”, which is Portnoy's ode to his favorite songs, featuring artists like Genesis, Pink Floyd, and The Who, mentioned in 1 word fashion. “Intervals” is the ultimate building tension section that reaches a high with LaBrie screaming "Trapped inside this Octavarium" several times. The amazing song ends with the concluding “Razor's edge”, with orchestra ending the song. But wait, at the very end, you will hear the beginning of "The Root of All Evil" again!
Overall, this is a must have for fans of prog. It'd been said this is a concept album of continuation, and I agree. The title track is DT's magnum opus, plus every track is good.
9.6/10-Buy this now, you'll thank me later.