Sound — 10
This is Dream Theater so everyone should already be able to guess what the sound rating is going to be. The musicianship of Dream Theater is frankly incredible!
The first song of CD1 is like no other song they've ever done. The Glass Prison is very heavy metal with pounding tunes but still has a very thick texture and complexity. I have to mention Petrucci's sound here because his distortion on this song is fantastic! Other songs on the album are very diverse. From heavy metal in the opening track to core DT in Blind Faith and sad almost strange mood changes of Disappear. This album is incredible.
Then there's CD2. The epic of epics. This 42m journey through Six Degrees of Mind Madness has so much different sound that Petrucci and Rudess' effects rigs 'should' be as big as Portnoy's drum kit! The song has orchestra, metal, madness, love, happiness, sorrow and a fitting ending that consists of probably the longest final chord ever! Magic.
Lyrics — 6
You always get the impression with Dream Theater that its more about the other musicians than the singer. LaBrie however does a wonderful job but you still get that feeling that this band would still be at the top of the prog rock scene without him.
Overall Impression — 10
Dream Theater's previous album 'Scenes From A Memory' was probably the best prog album ever and my expectations of this were high while I was still wary that it would be near impossible to top 'Scenes'. They've had a pretty good go though. The album has its share of angry heavy metal riffs as well as orchestral overtures. The diversity of sound on this album leaves me with no choice but to give it full marks!