Sound — 10
This album, in my opinion, is Dream Theater really coming together. There isn't really a story incorporated into the first 5 songs, but the final song does. It's the 42 minute title track "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence", and it discusses 6 different types of mental illnesses. To me, it's one of DT's heavier offerings, with the first track, "The Glass Prison" being dominated entirely by seven-string guitar. The title track is DT's longest and arguably best song in their history. Also, "The Glass Prison" is the first song in Mike Portnoy's "Alcoholics Anonymous Suite".
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are very intelligible, and some of the deepest lyrics are found on this album, right up there with Awake and Scenes From a Memory. James LaBrie really shines here. This and Scenes From a Memory are the two albums that you can understand the singing the most on. James LaBrie doesn't use the operatic side of his voice as much on this album, which I think is a good thing. Mike Portnoy, the drummer, also sings backup vocals on some tracks, and trades off lead vocals with LaBrie on "The Glass Prison". Now I'll briefly explain each song on the album: 01. The Glass Prison - great way to kick off the album. It's the ballsiest way I've ever heard an album get started, clocking in at almost 14 minutes. Lyrics written entirely by Portnoy. Starts the "Alcoholics Anonymous Suite". Completely dominated by seven-string guitar. Amazing solos from the keyboards (Jordan Rudess) and guitar (John Petrucci). All the riffs really kick your ass, also. 02. Blind Faith - another great song, lyrics courtesy of James LaBrie. Cool instrumental section. This one also runs over 10 minutes. 03. Misunderstood - this is an awesome song. It takes a while for the guitar to kick in with distortion, but when it does, it's phenomenal. Cool guitar solo, sounds like Mr. Petrucci is using a reverse guitar effect. Lyrics were also written by JP. 04. The Great Debate - again, this one takes a while to get started, but when it does, it's great. At the beginning, there's a cool buildup of drums, bass, and clean guitar, with many different samples of news programs in the background. The news programs are discussing stem cell research, and the bulk of the song discusses stem cells also. Great instrumental section, lyrics written by Petrucci. 05. Disappear - not much to say about this song. It's kinda trippy, with an interesting keyboard/guitar duet at the beginning and end. No solos on this one. Lyrics by LaBrie. 06. Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence - discribes 6 different mental illnesses. Some of the best solos by Rudess and Petrucci in DT history on this song. 42 minutes long. I. Overture - Instrumental. II. About To Crash - about a girl with bipolar disorder. III. War Inside My Head - about a Vietnam war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder. IV. The Test That Stumped Them All - a patient suffering from schizophrenia. V. Goodnight Kiss - about a mother who has lost her child, and therefore suffers with post-partum depression. VI. Solitary Shell - about a man with autism. VII. About to Crash (Reprise) - picks up where About to Crash left off, tells the story from the girl's perspective this time. VIII. Losing Time/Grand Finale - talks about a girl with dissociative identity disorder, meaning she has multiple personalities. In the Grand Finale, you, the listener, should learn to understand and accept people with the aforementioned mental illnesses. The six different degrees are more or less summed up in six lines: Deception of fame Degree 3: The Test That Stumped Them All Vengeance of war Degree 2: War Inside My Head Lives torn apart Degree 4: Goodnight Kiss Losing oneself Degree 6: Losing Time Spiraling down Degree 1: About To Crash/About to Crash (Reprise) Feeling the walls closing in Degree 5: Solitary Shell The final chord of "Grand Finale" lasts about a minute and forty-five seconds. The same chord fades into "As I am", the first track from their next album, Train of Thought. This explores the subject of the continuity between DT's albums. Another example of this is the fact that the final note of "In the Name of God" from Train of Thought opens "The Root of All Evil" from the next album, Octavarium.
Overall Impression — 10
This pretty much tops anything from any artist, in my opinion. The most impressive songs are all of them, excluding "Disappear". The latter just isn't that intriguing. I love everything about it. If it were stolen, I would buy it again. If you want to hear DT at their finest, buy this or Scenes From a Memory.