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Octavarium Analysis

Introduction

Dream Theater's eighth studio album, Octavarium, is their most complex, reference and nugget-ridden album yet. In a radio interview, Mike Portnoy admitted that the album is basically one giant nugget.

This is my attempt to gather everything known about Octavarium into one long page. I'd like to thank the folks at the MikePortnoy.com forums for finding most of this stuff. They have way too much time on their hands ;)

Overview

The overlying them of Octavarium is the idea of things going in cycles, repeating themselves, and ending in the same place they begin. An octave in music (which the word Octavarium is likely based on) starts and ends on the same note. Octavarium also provides a logical continuation from Train of Thought, as it starts on the same note (F) that the song In the Name of God ends with. This continuation pattern has been going on since the album Scenes From a Memory.

A symbol you might see quite a bit in the Octavarium artwork is an octagon circumscribed around a 5-pointed star. These numbers, 8 and 5, figure prominently in Octavarium and Dream Theater in general, and are littered everywhere throughout this album.

Looking at the history of the word Octavarium reveals very little. The only historical record of it is a historical book in the Vatican called the Octavarium Romanum. It consists mainly of lessons regarding various Catholic feasts. Notable in its history, however, is many 5's and 8's. The book was first mentioned underthe pontification of Sixtus V (1585-1590) (Sixtus the FIFTH in FIFTEEN EIGHTY FIVE) and then was not mentioned again until it was brought up under Clement VIII (1592-1605) (that's Clement the EIGHTH).

Anyways, on to the main symbolism for the numbers 5 and 8.
- Octavarium - 5 syllables, consonants, and vowels, DT's 8th studio album
- 5 current members of Dream Theater
- 8 total members in the band's history (this does not include Chris Collins as he was only a part of Majesty)
- DT has 5 official live albums (at the point of Octavarium's release)
- DT formed in 1985
- The Octavarium World Tour began with a European Festival series, which appeared in eight countries (Sweden, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Italy, France, and Belgium)
- 5 of the 8 songs on this album were recorded with Mike "Hammer of the Gods" kit, the 8th drum kit he has used in his career

Artwork

The most obvious nugget here is that the album jacket contains 8 pages. The front of the jacket (also the front of the case when folded out revealses a full Newton's Cradle with 8 balls. This physics toy always repeats the same motion over and over again, emphasizing this album's theme. There are also 5 birds in the picture, forming a piano octave - the balls being the white keys and the birds being the black keys. This theme of octaves is continued throughout the entire album.




On the insides of the the front and back covers of the jacket, there is a boy with a can attached to a string. The idea is that the beginning and end are connected--everything ending where it begins. On one side the boy is speaking into the can and on the other side he is listening. Perhaps the boy can tell information he has gained by the end to the boy at the beginning. Even when you have learned a lot through a journey, you are still stuck in the Octavarium, the endless cycle. Note that three fingers are visible in one picture and five in the other.





Behind the lyrics to The Answer Lies Within is a depiction of two dominoes. One totals 5 and the other 8. There are three birds that perhaps represent the three former members of Dream Theater, Charlie Dominici, Kevin Moore, and Derek Sherinian, the flying two being the keyboardists, and the one and the domino being the singer.


Opposite the lyrics to These Walls is a spider (8-legged creature) inside an 8-sided maze. The maze has five layers and although there are 8 doorways in the maze, there are also 8 dead ends and there is no way for the spider to escape the maze, thus the spider is trapped within "these walls."







Opposite the lyrics to Never Enough and Sacrificed Sons is an octopus (8 tentacles this time) with 5 fish, and a stop sign (8 sides) with the Majesty symbol.








The next illustration is a peculiar blueprint of a star inside of an octagon. There are many more references to 5's and 8's here, many of them more subtle. One that is not subtle, is the scale (5:8), and the fact that it is labelled as figure 8. The dimensions are 29' 6.75" square, with right triangles with legs of 8' 8" cut out. There are spaces in each wall 5' 8" wide. The F Lydian scale is spelled out starting at the leftmost side and going clockwise. One can also find the chromatic scale with accidentals inserted in the proper places. There are doors on four sides of the object, with only the south door open. This possibly symbolizes that you can enter the room, go around it, but the exit is the same as the entrance.

On the next page, the boy is seen again, and then the members of Dream Theater as the black keys of a piano.

Finally, on the inside of the case behind the CD is a pool 8 ball with the Majesty symbol on it.

On the back of the jacket, you'll see part of a piano. Note that each octave on a piano has 8 white keys and 5 black keys. Each white key represents a song off the album - in order, starting with F. In fact, these notes are the minors of the key the song is in.

But where the the black keys, the accidentals fit in? Well if you look carefully you'll see that the track times on the back of the CD appear to be incorrect. They only add up to 73:26, when any CD player will tell you that the CD is 75:55. Interestingly enough, 5 of the tracks have negative time that makes up the missing 2:18. Not only do each of these negative time tracks represent the accidental, but they are also in the key of the relative minor of the accidental.

Jos Durkstra has written an interesting analysis of the numbers in the Octavarium theme, available here.

TrackTime SegmentSongPiano Key
(and minor key of song)
10:00 - 8:07The Root Of All EvilF
18:08 - 8:25Nature Sounds (Negative Time)F#
20:00 - 5:20The Answer Lies WithinG
25:21 - 5:33Pitch Bend (Negative Time)G#
30:00 - 6:59These WallsA
37:00 - 7:36Wind / Heartbeat / Chimes (Negative Time)A#
40:00 - 4:29I Walk Beside YouB
50:00 - 7:16Panic AttackC
57:17 - 8:13Synth Solo (Negative Time)C#
60:00 - 6:33Never EnoughD
66:34 - 6:46Voices Begin (Negative Time)D#
70:00 - 10:42Sacrificed SonsE
80:00 - 24:00OctavariumF


Octavarium starts out an octave higher than The Root Of All Evil, though in the same key.

Lyrics

What follows is a song-by-song list of references, nuggets, and analytical comments. Most of the meat lies in the song Octavarium.

Lyrics

The Root Of All Evil

[VI. READY]

Proud enough for you to call me arrogant
Greedy enough for you to be labeled a theif
Angry enough for me to go and hurt a man
Cruel enough for me to feel no grief

Never could have just a part of it
I always need more to get by
Getting right down to the heart of it
The root of all evil has been running my whole life

Dirty enough for me to lust
Leaving nothing left to trust
Jealous enough to still feel envious
Lazy enough to sleep all day
And let my life just waste away
Selfish enough to make you wait for me

Driven blindly by our sins
Misled so easily
Entirely ready to leave it behind
I'm begging to break free

Take all of me
The desires that keep burning deep inside
Cast them all away
And help to give me strength to face another day
I am ready
Help me be what I can be

[VII. REMOVE]

Self-centered fear has got a hold on me
Clutching my thoat
Self righteous anger running all through me
Ready to explode

Procrastination paralyzing me
Wanting me dead
These obsessions that keep haunting me
Won't leave my head

Help to do for me what I can't do myself
Take this fear and pain
I can't break out of this prison all alone
Help me break these chains

Humility now my only hope
Won't you take all of me
Heal this dying soul

I can feel my body breaking
I can feel my body breaking
I'm ready to let it all go
I can feel my body shaking
Right down to the foundation
The root of it all

Take all of me
And the drive that keep burning deep inside
Cast it all away
And help to give me strength to face another day
I am ready
Help me be what I can be
I am ready
Come to me
Take me away


The Answer Lies Within

Look around
Where do you belong
Don't be afraid
You're not the only one

Don't let the day go by
Don't let it end
Don't let a day go by in doubt
The answer lies within

Life is short
So learn from your mistakes
And stand behind
The choices that you make

Face each day
With both eyes open wide
And try to give
Don't keep it all inside

Don't let the day go by
Don't let it end
Don't let a day go by in doubt
The answer lies within

You've got the future on your side
You're gonna be fine now
I know whatever you decide
You're gonna shine

Don't let the day go by
Don't let it end
Don't let a day go by in doubt
You're ready to begin
Don't let a day go by in doubt
The answer lies within


These Walls

This is so hard for me
To find the words to say
My thoughts are standing still

Captive inside of me
All emotions start to hide
And nothing's getting through

Watch me
Fading
I'm losing
All my instincts
Falling into darkness

Tear down these walls for me
Stop me from going under
You are the only one who knows
I'm holding back

It's not too late for me
To keep from sinking further
I'm trying to find my way out
Tear down these walls for me now

So much uncertainty
I don't like this feeling
I'm sinking like a stone

Each time I try to speak
There's a voice I'm hearing
And it changes everything

Watch me
Crawl from
The wreckage
Of my silence
Conversation
Failing

Tear down these walls for me
Stop me from going under
You are the only one who knows
I'm holding back

It's not too late for me
To keep from sinking further
I'm trying to find my way out
Tear down these walls

Every time you choose to run away
Is it worth the price you pay
Is there someone who will wait for you
One more time
One more time

Watch me
Fading
I'm losing
All my instincts
Falling into darkness

Tear down these walls for me
Stop me from going under
You are the only one who knows
I'm holding back

It's not too late for me
To keep from sinking further
I'm trying to find my way out
Tear down these walls for me now

Tear down these walls for me
It's not too late for me
Tear down these walls for me


I Walk Beside You

There's a story in your eyes
I can see the hurt behind your smile
For every sign I recognize
Another one escapes me

Let me know what plagues your mind
Let me be the one to know you best
Be the one to hold you up
When you feel like you're sinking

Tell me once again
What's beneath the pain you're feeling
Don't abandon me
Or think you can't be saved

I walk beside you
Wherever you are
Whatever it takes
No matter how far

Through all that may come
And all that may go
I walk beside you
I walk beside you

Summon up your ghosts for me
Rest your tired thoughts upon my hands
Step inside this sacred place
When all your dreams seem broken

Resonate inside this temple
Let me be the one who understands
Be the one to carry you
When you can walk no further

Tell me once again
What's below the surface bleeding
If you've lost your way
I will take you in

I walk beside you
Wherever you are
Whatever it takes
No matter how far

Through all that may come
And all that may go
I walk beside you
I walk beside you

Oh when everything is wrong
Oh when hopelessness surrounds you
Oh the sun will rise again
The tide you swim against will carry you back home
So don't give up
Don't give in

I walk beside you
Wherever you are
Whatever it takes
No matter how far

Through all that may come
And all that may go
I walk beside you
I walk beside you


Panic Attack

All wound up
On the edge
Terrified

Sleep disturbed
Restless mind
Petrified

Bouts of fear
Permeate
All I see

Heightening
Nervousness
Threatens me

I am paralyzed
So afraid to die

Caught off guard
Warning signs
Never show

Tension strikes
Choking me
Worries grow

Why do I feel so numb
Is it something to do with where I come from
Should this be fight or flight
I don't know why I'm constantly so uptight

Rapid heartbeat pounding through my chest
Agitated body in distress
I feel like I'm in danger
Daily life is strangled by my stress

A stifling surge
Shooting through all my veins
Extreme apprehension
Suddenly I'm insane

Lost all hope for redemption
A grave situation desperate at best

Why do I feel so numb
Is it something to do with where I come from
Should this be fight or flight
I don't know why I'm constantly reeling

Helpless hysteria
A false sense of urgency
Trapped in by my phobia
Possessed by anxiety

Run
Try to hide
Overwhelmed by this complex delirium


Never Enough

Cut myself open wide
Reach inside
Help yourself
To all I have to give
And then you help yourself again
And then complain that
You didn't like the way
I put the knife in wrong
You didn't like the way
My blood spilled on your brand new floor

What would you say
If I walked away
Would you appreciate
But then it'd be too late
Because I can only take so much of your ungrateful ways
Everything is never enough

Sacrifice my life
Neglect my kids and wife
All for you to be happy
All those sleepless nights
And countless fights to give you more
And then you say how dare that
I didn't write you back
I must be too good for you
I only care about myself

What would you say
If I walked away
Would you appreciate
But then it'd be too late
Because I can only take so much of your ungrateful ways
Everything is never enough


Sacrificed Sons

Walls are closing
Anxiously
Channel surfing
Frantically

Burning City
Smoke and fire
Plane's we're certain
Faith inspired

No clues
A complete suprise
Who'll be
Coming home tonight

Heads all turning
Towards teh sky
Towers crumble
Heroes die

Who would wish this on
On our people
And proclaim
That His will be done
Scriptures they heed have misled them
All praise their Sacrificed sons
All praise their Sacrificed sons

Teach them
What to think and feel
Your ways
So enlightening

Words they preach
I can't relate
If God's true Love
Are acts of Hate

Who would wish this on
On our people
And proclaim
That His will be done
Scriptures they heed have misled them
All praise their Sacrificed sons
All praise their Sacrificed sons

God on High
Our mistake
Will mankind be extinct?
there's no time to waste
Who serves the truth
For Heavens' sake


Octavarium

[I. SOMEONE LIKE HIM]

I never wanted to become someone like him so secure
Content to live each day just like the last
I was sure I knew that
This was not for me
And I wanted so much more
Far beyond what I could see
So I swore that I'd
Never be someone like him

So many years have passed
Since I proclaimed
My independence
My mission
My aim
And my vision
So secure
Content to live each day like it's my last
It's wonderful to know
That I could be
Something more than what I dreamed
Far beyond what I could see
Still I swear that I'm
Missing out this time

As far as I could tell
There's nothing more I need
But still I ask myself
Could this be everything
Then all I swore
That I would never be was now
So suddenly
The only thing
I wanted
To become
To be someone just like him

[II. MEDICATE (AWAKENING)]

A Doctor sitting next to me
He asks me how I feel
Not sure I understand his questioning
He says I've been away awhile
But thinks he has cured me
From a state of catatonic sleep

For 30 years
Where have I been
Eyes open
But not getting through to me

Medicate me
Infiltrate me
Side effects appear
As my conscience slips away

Medicate me
Science failing
Conscience fading fast
Can't you stop what's happening

A higher dosage he prescribes
But there's no guarentee
I feel it starting to take over me
I tell him not to be ashamed
There's no one who's to blame
A second shot
A brief awakening

I feel the relapse
Can't break free
Eyes open
But not getting through to me

[III. FULL CIRCLE]

sailing on the seven seize the day tripper diem's ready
jack the ripper owens wilson phillips and my supper's ready
lucy in the sky with diamond dave's not here I come to save the
day for nightmare cinema show me the way to get back home
again

Running forward
Falling back
Spinning round and round
Looking outward
Reaching in
Scream without a sound

Leaning over
Crawling up
Stumbling all around
Losing my place
Only to find I've come full circle

flying off the handle with careful with
that axe eugene gene the dance machine
messiah light my fire gabba gabba
hey hey my my generation's home again

Running forward
Falling back
Spinning round and round
Looking outward
Reaching in
Scream without a sound

Leaning over
Crawling up
Stumbling all around
Losing my place
Only to find I've come full circle

[IV. INTERVALS]

Our deadly sins feel his mortal wrath
Remove all obstacles from our path

Asking questions
Search for clues
The answer's been right in front of you

Try to break through
Long to connect
Fall on deaf ears and failed muted breath

Loyalty, trust, faith and desire
Carries love through each darkest fire

Tortured Insanity
A smothering hell
Try to escape but to no avail

The calls of admirers
Who claim they adore
Drain all your lifeblood while begging for more

Innocent victims of merciless crimes
Fall prey to some madmen's impulsive designs

Step after step
We try controlling our fate
When we finally start living it has become too late

Trapped inside this Octavarium
Trapped inside this Octavarium
Trapped inside this Octavarium
Trapped inside this Octavarium

[V. RAZOR'S EDGE]

We move in circles
Balanced all the while
On a gleaming razor's edge

A perfect sphere
Colliding with our fate
This story ends where it began
Analysis

The Root Of All Evil

Musical References:
- The footsteps are a possible reference to Scenes From A Memory
- The intro with the toms is a reference to This Dying Sould 0:25 - 1:00
- The intro is reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine"
- The first guitar chord during the intro before the drums is the same chord played during the When Dream and Day Unite concert intros in 1989. This can also be heard on the menu screen for the WD&DR DVD
- Vocals from 4:55 to 5:16 closely mirror those from This Dying Soul
- Solo break at 5:18 is very similar to the one from The Glass Prison
- Octavarium melody variation appears at 7:33 - 8:02

Nuggets:
- The piano starts with F, the same note that In The Name Of God ended with on Train of Thought


The Root Of All Evil discusses steps six and seven of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program.





















































The Answer Lies Within

Musical References:
- At 2:36 a violin in the background plays a variation on the Octavarium theme
- Octavarium vocal melody at 2:42 - 2:48
- During the hidden accidental section at the end of this track there is a pitch bend that sounds very similar to an unexplained pitch bend at the end of Pink Floyd's "Great Gig in the Sky"

Nuggets:
- Bell at the beginning tolls 8 times (this is the same note as The Glass Prison bell)



























These Walls

Nuggets:
- The heartbeat at the end is beating at 58 bpm










































































I Walk Beside You

Musical References:
- The clock ticking is a possible reference to Scenes From A Memory
- The guitar during the chorus sounds a bit like Lifting Shadows off a Dream
- The entire song sounds very much like U2


I Walk Beside You might refer to Jesus helping someone through all aspects of life.





























































Panic Attack

Musical References:
- Tourniquette “Skeezix Delima” riff at 0:15
- Iron Maiden dual guitar line at 5:43
- Piano part at 1:27 - 1:43 sounds very much like Fatal Tragedy
- The final riff sounds in each speaker 5 times (includes the first time the riff is played as well as the very faint one at the end)
- The hidden accidental section is slighly similar to Pink Floyd's "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In a Cave and Grooving With a Pict"



















































Never Enough

Musical References:
- The entire song sounds very much like Muse
- The melody of the chorus is reminiscent of one of Gilmour's solos from the Live at Pompeii version of Pink Floyd's "Echoes"

This song is Mike Portnoy's rant on particularly ungrateful fans who are always wanting more no matter what MP gives them in his musical career.































Sacrificed Sons

Musical References:
- Beatle's "She's So Heavy" outro feel at 3:35
- 4:41 draws from A Change of Seasons, Peruvian Skies, Fatal Tragedy, and Rush's "Natural Science"
- 7:02 - 7:32 is the melody of "Teddy Bear's Picnic," a kid's nursery rhyme
- Similar riff to main theme in "Ants Invasion" by "Adam and the Ants"

There are eight different voice clips played at the beginning of this song.
Sacrificed Sons discusses the effects and motivations of 9/11.













































Octavarium

Musical References:
- 0:00 - 3:48 draws from Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," Tangerine Dream, Marty Friedman's "Scenes," and Queen's "Bijou"
- 3:49 - Spock's Beard theme
- 4:33 - Änglagård flute “Godfather” theme similarities
- 6:33 - Bohemian Rhapsody piano theme
- 9:00 - During the bass groove the guitar arpeggio plays Anna Lee's verse vocal melody, this bass groove is also similar to the one in Yes's "Heart of the Sunrise"
- 12:15 - Marillion keyboards with Wakeman flourish
- 12:17 - Styx's Sequential Circuites Prophet 5 synth part
- 17:47 - Jingle Bells on keyboards
- 17:55 - Spock's Beard / Neal Morse acoustic guitar break
- 18:43 - Dave Mustaine vocal style with "Forgotten Sons" prayer feel
- 19:55 - Godfather theme reprise
- 21:30 - Guitar tone is very Brian May AC30ish and the phrasing is very similar to his
- A vocal harmony is Razor's Edge is also used in "Get Back" by The Beatles (which interestingly enough is referenced in Full Circle)

Nuggets:
- 14:03 - A sample of someone saying "This is where we came in" plays. This sample is most likely referencing Pink Floyd's "The Wall." At the end of The Wall someone says "So this is where..." and at the beginning some says "...we came in." This is probably emphasis of Octavarium's focus on how things go in cycles and repeat, the end is the beginning. This also is a reference to their influences growing up as the coming lyrics signify.
- 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 24 minutes long (3*8), this also references the number of hours in a day, another cycle.

SOMEONE LIKE HIM seems to draw from the Carpe Diem theme that A Change of Seasons made so famous. The narrator wants to make the most of every day, unlike the unknown "him" who seems to be living a boring, routined life. At the end, it is possible that the change in viewpoint is due to an illness taking over him, which is described in the next section of the song.

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.

MEDICATE (AWAKENING) tells a story similar to the movie Awakenings from Robert Deniro's point of view.

This section draws on the Full Circle theme, starting with a catatonic sleep and ending with it.

Another theory is that this section is that it discusses James LaBrie's dealings with his mental and physical health, as well as the vocal surgery he had to have before the Waking Up The World tour.

Yet another theory proposes that this section is connected to the songs Disappear and Vacant. In Disappear, someone is going into a coma. In Vacant, another person is speaking about the victim, and in Medicate, the victim is waking up again. I find this theory unlikely since I'm pretty sure Disappear is more about death than going into a coma, but it is fascinating that whether or not Dream Theater intended it, you can find other meanings and links between many of their songs.


FULL CIRCLE is where Octavarium's cycles theme really shows up. Perhaps the band is suggesting that they have taken the place of their idols in the music world or industry.

Stanzas 1 and 4 of part III are entirely made up of musical and other references.
Sailing on the Seven Seas - OMD (song)
    also possibly Seven Seas of Rhye - Queen (song)
Seize the Day - Theme of A Change of Seasons and the movie Dead Poet's Society
Day Tripper - The Beatles (song)
Per Diem - Latin phrase and business term meaning "each day"
    Carpe Diem is Latin for "Seize the Day"
Jack the Ripper - Morrissey (song)
The Ripper - Judas Priest (song)
Ripper Owens - Vocalist of Iced Earth (ex-Judas Priest)
Owen Wilson - Actor
Wilson Phillips - Band
Supper's Ready - Genesis (song)
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds - The Beatles (song)
Diamond Dave - David Lee Roth (album)
Dave's Not Here - Cheech & Chong routine
Here I Come to Save the Day - Mighty Mouse quote
Day for Night - Spock's Beard (album and song)
Nightmare Cinema - Dream Theater’s opposite in 1995, where they would switch instruments and play a cover, usually of Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers"
Cinema Show - Genesis (song)
Show Me the Way - Styx (song)
Get Back - The Beatles (song)
Flying off the Handle - quote
Handle with Care - Travelling Wilburys (song)
Careful with that Axe, Eugene - Pink Floyd (song)
Gene, Gene the Dance Machine - Memorable act on The Gong Show
Machine Messiah - Yes (song)
Light My Fire - The Doors (song)
Gabba Gabba Hey Hey - The Ramones (lyrics)
Hey Hey, My My - Neil Young (song)
My Generation - The Who (song)
Home Again - from "Breathe" reprise and "Time" on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon

The alternate theory suggests that this is about Mike Portnoy dealing with his mental health on the road.

In INTERVALS you can hear Mike Portnoy say a scale degree before each stanza. Each stanza references a song on Octavarium and a clip of that song is played in the background. The titling of this section, Intervals, ties in with MP saying scale degrees and the layouts of the songs with negative time sections and such, corresponding to a progression through the notes in an octave (the term 'interval' in music theory refers to the difference between two notes or pitches). Intervals are often referred to in numbers of steps. This section of the song ends with "Step after step, we try controlling our fate" just after MP says "octave." This could have a double meaning, referring to trying to control one's life or fate through steps, meaning either plans and actions, or musical notes - the latter expressing Dream Theater trying to control their lives through the notes of the music they make. This phrase could also have a third meaning, referring to MP tring to control his life through the twelve "steps" of the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

MP says "Root"
"Take all of me" (from 3:03 in The Root Of All Evil) plays in the background

MP says "Second"
"Don't let the day go by" (from 4:21 in The Answers lies Within) plays in the background

MP says "Third"
A clip from These Walls plays in the background


MP says "Fourth"
"I walk beside you" (from 1:06 in I Walk Beside You) plays in the background

MP says "Fifth"
"Hysteria" (from 3:55 in Panic Attack) plays in the background


MP says "Sixth"
"What would you say" (from 3:03 in Never Enough) plays in the background


MP says "Seventh"
A clip from Sacrificed Sons plays in the background

MP says "Octave"
"Side effects appear" (from 11:52 in Octavarium part II) plays in the background


These lyrics express how this cycle of the ending being the beginning goes on forever and there is no escaping it. It's possible that DT is talking about the fact that their career has come full circle, and now, after eight studio albums, they are without a record label again, their lives as musicians are repeating themselves.

The song ends with the same piano note the album began with, emphasizing the story ending where it began.

The Root Of All Evil starts with part 6 and Octavarium ends with part 5. While TROAE starts at 6 because it's part of MP's Alcoholic's Anonymous series, it also creates a logical sequence between the beginning and ending of the album.

Many people have guessed that because of the way this album ends, it signifies an end to Dream Theater's music writing career. As evidenced by continued releases, this is not the case. What this in fact likely signified was the end of Dream Theater's contract with their record company. Since Octavarium, Dream Theater has joined Roadrunner Records.

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