- Released: October 1, 1994
- Label: Atlantic
Q - 12/94, p.1303 Stars
- Good - "...melodramatic New Jersey outfit who marry metal with what used to be called progressive rock. All the trademarks of the latter are here: the cryptic voiceovers...the epic scale...and, amid madly frenetic melodies, mellow, reflective passages..."
- 2.Caught in a Web
- 3.Innocence Faded
- 4.Erotomania - (TRUE instrumental)
- 6.The Silent Man
- 7.The Mirror
- 9.Lifting Shadows off a Dream
- 11.Space-Dye Vest
Dream Theater: James LaBrie (vocals), John Petrucci (guitar), Kevin Moore (keyboards), John Myung (bass), Mike Portnoy (drums, percussion).
Recorded at One On One Studios and Devonshire Studios, North Hollywood, California between May & July 1994.
Personnel: John Petrucci (guitar); Kevin Moore (keyboards); Mike Portnoy (drums, percussion); Rich Kern (programming).
Audio Mixers: Duane Baron; Ed Miller ; Ryan Arnold; John Purdell.
Recording information: Devonshire Studios, North Hollywood, CA (05/1994-07/1994); One On One Studios, North Hollywood, CA (05/1994-07/1994).
Photographer: Dennis Keeley.
Dream Theater's web of metal and progressive elements comes roaring out of the speakers at full throttle like some manic coupling of Frank Zappa, Guns & Roses and Yes, a garish torrent of virtuoso chopsmanship, classical flourishes and good old fashioned nosebleed metal.
With his snaking, syncopated lines, complicated rhythmic variations and crunching tone, Dream Theater's John Petrucci is a guitar hero for the '90s, and string slingers who admire the likes of Alan Holdsworth and Steve Vai will find much to admire in his unhinged extended flights on "Voices" and "Erotomania." And singer James LaBrie possesses the kind of classic tenor pipes that distinguish singers like Robert Plant, Steve Perry, Geddy Lee and Axl Rose from the rest of the pack: the kind of powerhouse squawk that can push through the guitars and keyboards--hey, you can hear him in Antarctica.
The songs on AWAKE constitute a richly orchestrated suite of moods, and tend towards the kind of mystic parables and epic gestures that used to so fascinate Jimmy Page. It's a nightmare world of spiritual crisis, lost innocence, fractured identity, fatal temptation and stifling paranoia. The music reflects this tension in its grand gestures and intricate ensemble passages, to particular effect when the lyrics tend more towards personal rites of passage, as on "Scarred" and "The Silent Man."