DREAM THEATER — Awake (review)

DREAM THEATER — Awake album cover Album · 1994 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
My first introduction to this incredible band began right here.

A friend said you have to hear this and I had no idea what to expect. When I heard that choppy off sync riff of 6:00 I was hooked immediately; "6:00 on a Christmas morning, 6:00 on a Christmas morning". The amazing dexterity of the group, the skills of Petrucci, Portnoy and LaBrie are unsurpassed. I knew this was a super group and of course they are still churning out one excellent album after another. Back in 1994 Awake was flooring the critics, they were hailing Dream Theater as master musicians, and they have improved since then. Rudess replacing Moore was one way, although Moore is an accomplished keyboardist on this album. Myung is a fantastic bassist and shines on Awake. Best songs are 6:00 which begins with Portnoy's drums and a crunching memorable riff. I love the chorus with LaBrie powering out an amazing performance; "Melody walks through the door and Memory flies out the window, nobody knows what they want til they finally let it all go".

Caught in a Web is truly a masterful track that sounds awesome here. LaBrie is fantastic on vocals, his high register is faultless. Moore is a virtuoso on this too, and since I have heard Rudess on this and both sound amazing in the solo section.

Erotomania is an instrumental that is tight, taut and terrific. Lots of fast paced lead work makes this one of the great showpieces of the album.

Voices is one of the all time greatest DT tracks with a strange time sig and massive lead break. It became a fan favourite live for good reason. LaBrie is powerful and retains a complex melody blending perfectly with the instruments.

The Mirror is another of the highlights with monster riffing guitars and keyboards to accompany. This one should have been played live more often, but it is great to return to on this album.

Lifting Shadows Off a Dream features very melodic verses and once again Moore is able to fly into a wonderful keyboard solo.

Scarred is awesome due to Myung's contribution along with Portnoy. They are an indelible rhythm machine. It builds into a full blown metal passage, and detours into many time sig changes.

Space-Dye Vest is a classic DT song and the last time Moore would play on an album before being replaced. There is a melancholy feel as though saying farewell to a friend. The spacey atmospherics are wondrous and it is a perfect way to end an excellent prog metal album.

So overall I was blown away by Awake and of course ended up getting hold of everything the band would produce. I can comfortably award this 4 stars as it is one of the best DT albums and one of the best of 1994.

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