Sound — 9
The sound for this album is dark overall, even though it has a few patches of light. Songs like "Caught in a Web," "The Mirror," and "Lie" show the band's dark, metal side. "The Mirror," particularily, is a precursor to Mike Portnoy's AA suites ("The Glass Prison," "This Dying Soul," and others) and the music shows; heavy, dark, down-tuned riffs all the way. However, songs like "Innocence Faded" show an 80's-esque pop rock, "The Silent Man" is an all acoustic ballad, and "Lifting Shadows off a Dream" shows U2-like influences. Overall, a good sound.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are all great. "The Mirror" talks about dealing with alcoholism, which Mike Portnoy did. (He's now been sober for many, many years.) The best lyrics, however, come with a top ten Dream Theater song, "Space-Dye Vest." This is the last thing Kevin Moore did for Dream Theater, and boy did he leave an amazing mark behind. One of the darkest things they have ever done, this song talks about lost love. The song also includes sound bites from TV shows and the news that mix with the theme of the song. Brilliant. The only true flaw of the album is Labrie's oversinging; on songs like "Voices," his attempts to go all out are just flat out terrible. His voice is good overall, but he shouldn't try to push the limit.
Overall Impression — 9
A good album; did much better than "Images and Words," in my opinion. Suffered from only three weak tracks and a bit of oversinging, but all of the rest are good enough to give this album a 9.