Sound — 9
This album has a fantastic sound. A concept album based around the diatonic scale (and in particular the number 8), the album is full of clever relation to these subjects. The two Johns aren't at their best in this album (in my opinion) but only because the riffs aren't as awesome as some of their others (see "Train Of Thought"...) That said, every song on this album is fantastic, and I love it to pieces.
Lyrics — 9
Keving James LaBrie is one of the best, if not THE best metal singer in the world. As for the lyrics themselves, they are generally meaningful and always relevant to the subject of the song. The only thing wrong with this is the long instrumental sections of the songs (especially in "Octavarium" and "Sacrificed Sons") which, while fantastic, take a lot of the attention off LaBrie, who deserves more credit for the amazing vocals he does.
Overall Impression — 10
It doesn't compare to other artists. Dream Theater are in a league of their own, because they are such incredibly talented performers and writers. Every song is amazing, although I think that "Panic Attack" and "Octavarium" stand out. In a way, I don't like it; because the songs are longer (I think that they average at about 9 and a half minutes because of the title track) there are less songs, and although if there were more songs the concept wouldn't work, why not make an album about the chromatic scale? Then you could have 12 songs. Overall though, it is an unbelievable album. It it were stolen, I wouldn't buy it again, I'd find the person who stole it and beat them to death. It's that awesome.