|Song by Dream Theater from the album Octavarium|
|Genre||Progressive rock, progressive metal, symphonic metal|
|Writer||James LaBrie, John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy|
|Octavarium track listing|
The song starts with Jordan Rudess using his Haken Continuum and his lap steel guitar, drawing references from Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", Tangerine Dream, Marty Friedman's Scenes, and Queen's "Bijou".
Octavarium has five parts, and starts out an octave higher than The Root Of All Evil, though in the same key.
I. Someone Like Him
- 0:00 - 8:47 (8:47)
- Lyrics by John Petrucci
Beginning with a lengthy Continuum / lap steel guitar solo by Jordan Rudess, this section is told from a first-person perspective. It portrays the thoughts of a person as he decides on what to do in the course of his lifetime, as well as his wish to never become an ordinary person. This seems to draw from the "Carpe Diem" theme that influences the EP "A Change of Seasons" heavily.
He succeeds in living an extraordinary life, but reflects upon it, and ends up wishing he had become an ordinary person, 'Someone like Him'. This is also in line with the 'Full Circle' theme of Octavarium: "this story ends where it began".
Another theory about this section is that it talks about John Petrucci's music career, first admiring his idols but not wanting to become a musician, and eventually changing his mind and realizing what he wanted all along.
In the live performances of the complete version of Octavarium, John Petrucci uses his custom-made "Blue Sparkle" twelve-string/six-string double-neck guitar for this section of the song. The only other songs he uses this particular guitar on are the live performances of Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence's "Solitary Shell" and "Regression" from Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory.
II. Medicate (Awakening)
- 8:48 - 13:49 (5:01)
- Lyrics by James LaBrie
A person wakes up to discover a doctor sitting at his bedside. The doctor informs him that he has been in catatonic sleep for 30 years, but he believes he has finally cured him. Suddenly, the patient is in dire need of help as he feels his consciousness fading. The doctor prescribes a higher dosage of medicine, but it doesn't seem to help. Despite the doctor's failure in assisting him, the patient tells the doctor that he's not at fault, and that he shouldn't feel ashamed. Eventually, the patient slips back into unconsciousness. This is in line with the events of the movie Awakenings.
Again, this also reflects the theme of 'Everything ends where it began.'
III. Full Circle
- 13:50 - 18:27 (4:37)
- Lyrics by Mike Portnoy
Full Circle is Mike Portnoy's ode to progressive rock, shown in the lyrics by several underlying references to his favorite songs, bands and more. This kind of composition is called Cento. Once again a reference is made to the unifying theme of the song ('Everything ends where it begins'). The enumeration using the last syllable/word as the beginning of the next reference enhances the message that everything is linked, a common theme throughout Dream Theater's albums. (i.e. Day for Night, mare Cinema, Show). There is also another subtle nod to the theme in the references themselves; the section begins and ends with a Pink Floyd reference.
- 18:28 - 19:51 (1:23)
- Lyrics by Mike Portnoy
- Mike Portnoy says "Root"
- "Take all of me" (from 3:03 in The Root Of All Evil) plays in the background
- Mike Portnoy says "Second"
- "Don't let the day go by" (from 4:21 in The Answers lies Within) plays in the background
- Mike Portnoy says "Third"
- A clip from These Walls plays in the background
- Mike Portnoy says "Fourth"
- "I walk beside you" (from 1:06 in I Walk Beside You) plays in the background
- Mike Portnoy says "Fifth"
- "Hysteria" (from 3:55 in Panic Attack) plays in the background
- Mike Portnoy says "Sixth"
- "What would you say" (from 3:03 in Never Enough) plays in the background
- Mike Portnoy says "Seventh"
- A clip from Sacrificed Sons plays in the background
- Mike Portnoy says "Octave"
- "Side effects appear" (from 11:52 in Octavarium part II) plays in the background
|Root||Our deadly sins fill his mortal wrath
Remove all obstacles from our path
|Fifth||Tortured insanity, a smothering hell
Try to escape but to no avail
|The Root of All Evil||Panic Attack|
|Second||Asking questions, search for clues
The answer's been right in front of you
|Sixth||The calls of admirers who claim they adore
Drain all your lifeblood while begging for more
|The Answer Lies Within||Never Enough|
|Third||Try to break through, long to connect
Fall on deaf ears with failed muted breath
|Seventh||Innocent victims of merciless crimes
Fall prey to some madmen's impulsive designs
|These Walls||Sacrificed Sons|
|Fourth||Loyalty, trust, faith and desire
Carries love through each darkest fire
|Octave||Step after step, we try controlling our fate
When we finally start living it's become too late
|I Walk Beside You||Octavarium|
To finish the Octave, LaBrie repeats the line "Trapped inside this Octavarium", meaning that the speaker is trapped in the Octavarium's full circle, which begins and ends the same. To enunciate the intensity of this statement, LaBrie screams the line, straining his voice more than he had done for over a decade. By the time the song reaches the fourth repeat of the line, his voice has reached as high as G5, the highest note heard on a Dream Theater studio song from vocals, beating the famous F# in "Learning to Live" (this was later superseded by the chorus of "Build Me Up, Break Me Down" from A Dramatic Turn of Events). During live performances, LaBrie usually sings the first three lines with the same notes, then jumps to the note on the last two syllables of the word "Octavarium", sometimes going as high as A5, holding the note and doing trills downwards on the last.
V. Razor's Edge
- 19:52 - 24:00 (4:08)
- Lyrics by John Petrucci
This movement simply emphasizes the cyclical nature of all things, as well as the album, as it begins where it ends, using the same melody as the end to the first track, it also ends with the same note that The Root of All Evil begins with. There is also an alternative ending where the main flute theme is reprised and faded at the end of the song.
This movement also serves as the capstone for the song and the album which shares its name, being the fifth movement in the eighth song on the album. In this way, it continues the 5:8 theme. When performed live as part of "Schmedley Wilcox" on Chaos in Motion, Mike Portnoy adds in additional vocal emphasis to portions of this movement.
Also the name of the section is a reference to the Iron Maiden Song "The evil That Men Do" Another way in which this part ties in to the cyclical nature of the album is that it is part five of Octavarium. The first song on the album, The Root of All Evil, begins with part six (as it is continuing the Twelve-Step Suite).
This movements lyrics also references Rush's Progressive epic Hemispheres, by mirroring the "Perfect Sphere Theme".
Hemispheres - "...With the heart and mind united in a single perfect sphere."
Octavarium - "A Perfect Sphere, colliding with our fate..."
Also, the first movement and the last movement were written by the same person, again referring to the theme "Everything ends where it began"
5 and 8 Theme
The song also uses the theme that things revolve around the numbers of 5 and 8 (this theme is used as the unifying theme of the album). "Octavarium" is the eighth song on the album (the prefix "octa" in the title also refers to the number eight) and it has five different sections. This could also be a reference to the album itself being the eighth studio album released by Dream Theater (formed in '85) with five current members in the band. The same theme occurs during "Panic Attack" being the fifth song on an album of eight songs. The Root Of All Evil starts with part 6 and Octavarium ends with part 5. While The Root Of All Evil starts at 6 because it's part of Portnoy's Twelve Step Suite, it also creates a logical sequence between the beginning and ending of the album due to the fact that Octavarium ends with the same note and sound effects which start The Root Of All Evil. Note that Octavarium has 5 parts. It also has 3 instrumental sections, for a total of 8 sections. Octavarium also has 5 syllables. Octavarium is exactly 24 minutes long (3 times 8 equals 24, and 8 minus 3 equals 5. Also the numbers 3, 5, 8 and 24 are part of a natural sequence called the Golden Ratio which associates with connection of all design and things, alike their common theme of 'all things being interconnected'. The symbol for '8' represents infinity, this is seen as an endless line looping to 'end where it began' alike the song theme.
- James LaBrie - lead vocals
- John Petrucci - guitar
- John Myung - bass
- Jordan Rudess - keyboards, continuum, lap steel
- Mike Portnoy - drums, backing vocals