I don't know what is wrong with me but I don't understand or share the hype about this album. I really liked the very diversified first strike "When Dream And Day Unite" and the magic moments on the Progressive Rock revival masterpiece "Images And Words" but "Awake" is mostly boring, complicated and dull to me.
Just to give you an example, the epic song "Scarred" is very diversified but not catchy or addicting for a single second. It lacks the hectic genius of "Metropolis" or the touching and profound melodies of "Surrounded" or the freshness of "Only a matter of time". This track is just long and boring, it has no magic tranquility and no guts either. The often cited "Space-Dye West" shows us that Kevin Moore has some skills but the intro already rather reminds me of a boring evening in a high society restaurant for rich couples and this track never has the same magic as the harmonies he created on "Surrounded" or "The Killing Hand". The song is very relaxed and chilling and surely has a special atmosphere and is a good choice to close an album on a calm note but to me this song is mostly boring and overrated. "Lifting shadows off a dream" makes me even faster fall asleep. Normally, I like silent Progressive tracks as I am a huge fan of KING CRIMSON but this Pop ballad is simply dumb.
Those relaxed songs do not fit with the rather modern and rocking songs like "Lie" where James LaBrie sounds like if a disco Pop vocalist would try out to do some hard rock or the very rhythm orientated opener "Six O'clock" that is one of the rare songs that I really like on this album because every instrument shows its forces in this surprising and very Progressive track that unites everything about the band.
But a part of the diversified and still somewhat straight "Six O'clock" and the beautiful "Innocence Faded" that convinces me with a catchy chorus and beautiful guitar leads that could have been on "Images and words", there is no third song on the record which I really adore and that's why I really feel disappointed about this so well received record.
I would even go as far and say that this album is probably the weakest and most boring one in the band's very strong and stunning discography. I would rather listen to the first two albums and recommend those than this overrated boredom in aesthetic perfection.
(Online February 18, 2012)