Octavarium sounds so over-produced and clean that I wouldn’t be surprised if it had been soaked in Fairy Liquid during the months prior to its release. Now, this may not be a problem for some people, but I want by Rock music dirty & raw, and my Prog-Rock made by a bunch of unkempt intellectuals, talking long into the night about String Theory and the meaning of life. The vision I get of this album’s recording process is of a bunch of wealthy, middle-aged, slightly flabby men, sitting in their 1,000 track digital studio in Hollywood, supping Cappucinos. And that doesn’t do it for me, I’m afraid.
The songs aren’t bad, and their playing can’t be faulted (technically they are so bloomin’ perfect that they sound like those annoying people in instrument shops that shred guitars and pound drums so brilliantly that I am forced to leave through abject jealousy), but this is paint-by-numbers music, probably read from scores rested elegantly on music stands, and the passion is turned down to absolute zero as a result.
Dream Theater don’t do themselves any favours lyrically, either, with lines like Octavarium Part IV‘s: ‘Our deadly sins feel his mortal wrath/Remove all obstacles from his path’, and The Answer Lies Within‘s: ‘Life is short/ So learn from your mistakes/ And stand behind/ The choices that you make’.
I’ve leaned from my mistakes: never again will I buy an album based on the ratings of Play.com reviewers.
I don’t normally shelve an album after only one listen, but this just isn’t going to get any better. If you’re going to have songs that are 24 minutes long on an album, you’d better either be Pink Floyd, or have something interesting to say.