Dream Theater decided to follow up one of their masterpieces with Awake-a disc that comes up a little more metal and a little less proggy than their previous work. Lots of Angry James voice and drums. Though there are some songs that come out of left field, like Innocence Faded, that sound nothing at all like the rest of the album.
The album features A Mind Beside Itself, which was the band's first foray into the suite format. Erotomania is pretty cool, Voices not so much... definitely sounds like Suite Sister Mary on the intro, and The silent Man finishes it with a poppy ballad (though the acoustic solo is pretty neat even if its super short). The Mirror and Lie come up next which takes it right back to Angry James singing... and we know Angry James is the best James. Though I almost wish The Mirror was the only song Mike wrote about alcoholism.
I think the last few songs on the album really showcase the split between Kevmo and the rest of the band. Lifting Shadows of a Dream and Scarred are both super wanky, the latter being about four minutes too long, but I guess it was supposed to be somewhat of the closer, and DT notoriously ends their albums with 10+ minute songs.
Tacked on to the end of the album is a completely Kevin Moore song called Space-Dye Vest a.k.a. the best post break up song ever. Space-Dye Vest not really a song, its more of a weird performance art. The lyrics come off as detached from the music, the samples are super random--even Conan O'Brian makes an appearance, and theres a huge crescendo to nothing. In other words, this song perfectly represents what someone with a broken heart feels. Then there is the fact that Space-Dye Vest has never been performed live (is the only DT song never to be performed), and when DT did their big anniversary symphonic shindig, it was expected Kevmo would make a one shot return to perform it, but he turned down the offer, cementing Space-Dye Vest as the perfect ode to bleakness and that empty feeling of something that you want but can never have.