Sound — 10
The much anticipated new album opens with what I consider to be one of the best Dream Theater songs since 1999's Scenes From A Memory. At first it didn't seem to be much of a venture from the last album, but that changes quickly. The riffs are still heavy and Petrucci's solo in "The Root Of All Evil" is excellent, but the album settles down a bit after that with a ballad ("The Answer Lies Within") and the so-called "U2 influenced" "I Walk Beside You." Both are very good songs, but it's songs like "Panic Attack" that hit hard and make an impression. Each member is up to their best on this album, especially keyboardist Jordan Rudess, who is brillaint throughout the album.
Lyrics — 8
Many people have grown quite skeptical of LaBrie's vocal performances lately, but the truth is that he is one of the most gifted singers in music. He proves that beyond doubt on this album, giving some amazing performances on each song. The lyrics are good, but as with most Dream Theater, you wouldn't listen to them for the poetry.
Overall Impression — 10
While this album continues Dream Theater's tendancy to find new styles and themes within each new album, I find this album to be somewhat of a combination between "Train Of Thought" and "Falling Into Infinity." It certainly is unique and captures your attention, never letting go until the mind-blowing title track's twenty-four minutes have finally faded away. It's hard to pick a better song than the title track, but other favorites of mine include "Never Enough," "The Root Of All Evil" and "Sacrificed Sons." I had some high expectations for this album and I was not let down. I would consider this album to be a great introduction into Dream Theater if you have not already heard the magic that they can create! If it was stolen, I'd buy it again without a second thought.