Dream Theater - Awake

Dream Theater – Awake

85 / 100

Time for personal bias: ‘Awake’ is my absolute favorite Dream Theater album of all time, probably one of the rare albums I would describe in superlatives.

Written by: Milena G

ARTIST: Dream Theater
ALBUM: Awake
LABEL: East West
SERIAL: 90126-2
YEAR: 1994
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: James LaBrie – vocals * John Petrucci – guitars * Kevin Moore – keyboards * Mike Portnoy – drums * John Myung – bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 6.00 * 02 Caught In A Web * 03 Innocence Faded * 04 Erotomania * 05 Voices * 06 The Silent Man * 07 The Mirror * 08 Lie * 09 Lifting Shadows Off A Dream * 10 Scarred * 11 Space-Dye Vest

RATING: 100/100



Time for personal bias: ‘Awake’ is my absolute favorite Dream Theater album of all time, probably one of the rare albums I would describe in superlatives. But there is objective reasoning behind those superlatives – let’s dive into it.

The Songs

Dream Theater kicks things off with ‘6:00’, the most infectious drum pattern ever, becoming a roller coaster ride of samples, dirty keyboard noises and danceable prog deliciousness, and ‘Caught In A Web’ continues in a similar, encouraging manner.

‘Innocence Faded’ is a whole different animal, almost completely carried by James LaBrie’s monstrous vocals and dizzy verses – placing a great instrumental section in the end seems to me like Dream Theater’s way of saying ‘here’s all the awesome music we came up with that you wouldn’t have been listening to if we put it underneath those killer vocal melodies.’

Coming right after it is a huge (faux) suite, containing of a ‘cheesy’ instrumental called ‘Erotomania’ (well, apparently the band thought neo-classically-influenced metal was cheesy, as they always referred to it as such, but it was very much in vogue in recent years), an epic called ‘Voices’ which has been described as Images And Words in a depressed phase – very deliberately grandiose, complicated, demanding and dark – and a calm, acoustic conclusion ‘The Silent Man’.

After the centerpiece of the album, comes the one-two punch of companion pieces ‘The Mirror’ and ‘Lie’, one resentful and sullen, the other slick and cool, both perfect musical background for fast drives downtown and exercising vigorously. ‘Lifting Shadows Of A Dream’ is a silvery spiderweb of a song, made of delicacy and gentleness appropriate to the subject matter, with wintery keyboards and effective alternate picking by Petrucci.

‘Scarred’ is another epic, one that is much underrated with the fans, presumably because of its disjointedness, but I cannot help but absolutely adore it for the passion and fire that went into it. ‘Space-Dye Vest’ is probably unique in the band’s catalog for the feelings and the atmosphere it evokes; not surprisingly, considering it came after a big rift in Kevin Moore’s personal life and was his swan-song.

In Summary

As probably the best offering by a legendary band, this album is a must-have in the Dream Theater back catalogue.


Entire Album (Select Tracks)


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