Dream Theater's third studio release, Awake, marks a definite change in the band's tone. From the moment the guitars enter on "6:00," the first track, a darker sound is immediately evident, and it continues through the entire 75 minutes of the disc. The complex song structures, marked by arrangements that would give many good players fits, are very impressive. Drummer Mike Portnoy and guitarist John Petrucci, in particular, reach new heights with their instruments, but keyboardist Kevin Moore and bassist John Myung hold up quite well, adding to the prog metal sound with their own contributions. There are several good tracks here, but the best are the crunch-heavy "Lie," the 11-minute "Scarred," the thought-provoking "Caught in a Web," and the deeply personal, moving "Space-Dye Vest." This disc also marks keyboardist Moore's last recording with the band; he left not long after to pursue other musical directions. The heavy guitar sound may turn some off, but Dream Theater's musical ability can't be denied.
AllMusic Review by Phil Carter