Sound — 8
As always, Dream Theater presents a great, and epic sound. Track 1 In The Presence of Enemies Pt 1 has the nice progressive rock sound that they have presented in songs such as raise the knife, metropolis, the great debate, etc. While adding new elements to their sound. Track 4 The Dark Eternal Night has a very heavy metal sound to it. Great use of all the instruments as always, with amazing guitar and keyboard parts. Track 5 Repentance of course continues Mike Portnoy's series of alcoholism, repeating some sounds heard in This Dying Soul, but keeping to a more slow and emotional sound. The general consensus I give is that they keep good contrast throughout the album, changing things up a bit. Having softer songs and some heavy ones, while providing the virtuoso sound that they always have.
Lyrics — 8
As always, I am in awe by the lyrics. John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy are terrific writers. The lyrics are extremely deep and meaningful. The lyrics provide an epic feel to many of the songs, and emotion as well. Repentance is a good example of emotion. How Mike has gone through a lot of problems, and is coming to the point of repenting them. Prophets of War seems to be about the conflicts out in the Middle East, and what has come from them. That the U.S. administration has profited greatly from it, over many suffering through this war. James Labrie seems to be sounding better, as he has fully healed or close to it from his incident in late '94. He still adds a great aggressive sound to the heavier songs, and a passionate one to where it is needed.
Overall Impression — 10
This album compares to their other stuff by being a progression in their career. How their skill has grown, and by what their experiences has taught them. They continue to touch on pressing issues through out the world with Prophets of War. Previous examples are The Great Debate (Stem Cell Research) and Sacrificed Sons (9/11). The songs I find the most impressive are In the Presence of Enemies, Forsaken, Constant Motion, The Dark Eternal Night (the keyboards are amazing, I laughed at one part, you'll know which one when you hear it.), and the ministry of lost souls. What I love about this album is that they keep to some tendencies in their music, while adding some new ones. The only thing I do not like, is I wish Repentance was a little heavier. If I lost this album, I'd be mad if the case was gone, but for the music, I could burn it as I rip all my CDs.