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249 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 4, 1994
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$13.37 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 7 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

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Awake + Images & Words + Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Some rock & roll purists consider the term "progressive rock" an oxymoron. After all, rock & roll is supposed to be about feeling, not thinking. Prog rock bands miss the point by taking the soul out of a musical form that's purposely crass and anti-intellectual. All the precise, long-winded arrangements, keyboard flourishes, wailing vocals, and overorchestration of groups like Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and, to a degree, Rush suck the soul out of something that should be less head and more body. Dream Theater, though they possess many of the same characteristics as these bands, still manage to maintain a human element in their music. Awake is at times self-indulgent and pompous, but songs like "Lie," a passionate crusher that finds guitarist John Petrucci launching riff after thunderous riff in a cacophonous volley of crunch, ring true with real passion and base emotion. It's the depth and tonality his guitar brings to the music that keeps Dream Theater from falling into the Styx-isms they often veer dangerously close to. A very solid record for those who don't mind thinking while rocking. --Adem Tepedelen

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 4, 1994)
  • Original Release Date: October 4, 1994
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000002JKA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (249 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,644 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Barry Lee Dejasu on December 9, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This Dream Theater album was my first from them, and it was enough to get me hooked. As time progressed, however, I realized that this was not exactly the right album for a beginner such as myself to get into this fabulous band. It is far darker and heavier than most of their other albums (except for SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE and TRAIN OF THOUGHT, which are exceptionally heavy). James LaBrie's voice is a rather vicious snarl on many of the songs (namely "6:00," "Caught in a Web," and "The Mirror" and "Lie"), and while he frequently has sung this tone before, it is not his usual, marvelous singing that has become his trademark. John Petrucci's guitars chug with a well-performed metal sense, and holy COW, Mike Portnoy's drumming is insanely complex, but with frequent bouts of crashing and booming like thunder. John Myung's bass keeps a steady rumble throughout, and Kevin Moore (on his last DT recording) has rather icy (but frequently warm and beautiful) keyboarding.
Songs such as the aforementioned four are especially heavy, and somewhat short by DT's standards. As well, the first song in the A Mind Beside Itself trilogy, "Erotomania," makes an extremely heavy prologue to the other two songs, the far quieter "Voices," and the acoustic "The Silent Man." Other songs, such as "Innocence Faded" and "Space-Dye Vest" have more of a "traditional" DT sound (but there really can't be such a thing, because this IS progressive music, after all), and this makes for a very eclectic, but well-organized, album.
Lyrically, some of the songs are almost frightening in their contrast to Dream Theater's normally more mystical (but not exactly "cheerful") writing.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 1999
Format: Audio CD
If you're new to Dream Theater and reading these reviews, you're probably getting more than a little confused by the rankings and comments they receive. From my experience, a person's reaction to Dream Theater can be easily predicted based on their other musical interests. 1) Pop rock fans: You won't like DT unless you tend towards complex melodies and harmonies. DT are not terribly accessible. The only truly accessible song on this album is "Space-Dye Vest", written by then keyboardist Kevin Moore. Other than that, you might find the whole album incomprehensible. This isn't the album to start with, however. Try Images and Words or Falling into Infinity first. 2) MetalHeads: You may like DT if you don't mind keyboards with your metal. DT has all the elements of a good metal band, but for purists, the keyboards ruin it all. If you're not a purist, and you aren't into the predictable three-chord school, DT is right up your alley, and this is the album you should start with. 3) Fans of Rush, and progressive bands: If you think Metallica is decent but too repetitive, give DT a listen. If you think Metallica are the antichrist, don't bother. Start with a different album, however. Either you'll love this group, or you'll hate them. There isn't a whole lot of middle ground, but they're worth a shot. You might just wind up with a new favorite band. I did.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Diane J. Trautweiler on February 20, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Upon hearing Dream Theater's 1994 release, Awake for the first time, one word came to mind: Bizarre. Yes, Awake, was my first "taste" of Dream Theater, and I was hit with something that I had not come across in my musical journey prior to discovering them. It was indeed a bizarre trip, but bizarre in the most intriguing way.

I must admit, until recently, I was not familiar with Dream Theater. Me being a lover of music, however, and always being on the "look-out" for a new band to "obsess" over, I decided to do my research. After hearing this band's name roll off the tongues of a few, I decided to scope the vast world of the internet to find out some information. What I found were several web sites devoted to the band and a huge cult following. It was then and there that I decided to see for myself what all of fuss was about. I decided to start with Awake, the highly acclaimed disc that was considered by many to be their "breakthrough" album.

Dream Theater was born sometime around 1985 with guitarist John Petrucci, bassist John Myung and drummer Mike Portnoy forming the nucleus of the band. They were later joined by keyboardist Kevin Moore (who would later be replaced by Derek Sherinian after this recording), and then connected with vocalist James LaBrie (after a revolving door of vocalists had breezed through prior to his entrance).

Awake is Dream Theater's third release, following 1992's Images and Words and 1989's When Dream and Day Unite (with a Mr. Charlie Dominici being responsible for the vocal duties during that time). Regardless of my ignorance regarding Dream Theater's two previous efforts, I thought it was never too late to give a band a go -- especially one that had as much talent and uniqueness as Dream Theater possessed.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By The Wickerman on June 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Sorry, I've had to keep re-reviewing this album. It's a bit hard to pin down, it would seem. This album did not grab me as quickly as "Images and Words" or "Scenes from a Memory", but I've stuck with it, and though I still prefer those two albums (and I think the "sellout" album, "Falling into Infinity", may be a bit better as well), this is an excellent piece of music.
There is generally a much darker theme about this album. Lyrics deal with addiction, betrayal, love, hate, a veritable collage of human emotions. This album has some of their heaviest riffs, and some of their most beautiful melodies. "6:00", while not their best song, is one of their most aggressive, and indeed a great way to start off an album like this. "The Mirror" and "Lie" are a great one-two punch of crunchy riffs, and great lyrics and vocals. "Voices" is, I think, somewhat overrated, in that it doesn't hold a great deal of variety for such a long song, but the great lyrics make up for it. John Petrucci is undoubtedly one of the top songwriters. I think my favorite has to be "Lifting Shadows off a Dream". Amazing ballad, with a lot of atmosphere, and a slight U2 vibe (in a good way). "The Silent Man" is a great acoustic song, and "Space Dye Vest" is a delightfully creepy closer (BTW, Houston is definitely not a dry heat, believe you me:).
All in all, this is an excellent album. My only real complaint (other than that it's a bit harder to get into than the rest) is that Mike's drumming doesn't stand out as much as on other albums, but that's a minor complaint for sure. If you like Dream Theater, buy this, it's a thing of beauty.
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