Sound — 10
After hearing the official releases of Constant Motion and The Dark Eternal Night, I was expecting Train Of Thought Part 2(not a bad thing imo because TOT got me into Dream Theater). I bought the record at my local record store which releases albums the Friday before release date(which is fine with me) and got something totally different. This album has a little bit of everything. After several concentrate listens, I can say that this is one of their best albums, and has the best production. The only dissapointment is that In The Presence of Enemies was split up(it was written as one song).
Lyrics — 8
Lyrics: The lyrics are different on this one. There are political lyrics (Prophets of War), the next AA saga (Repentence), and fantasy lyrics (TDEN, ITPOE, and Forsaken). James is fantastic! I think his vocal chords have finally recovered, and he is in top form.
Overall Impression — 9
01. In The Presence Of Enemies Pt. 1 - is probably the best nine minutes I've spent in a long time. The entire thing is based on the Korean comic book Priest. It opens with this sick JP riff on flanger, and goes into this riff thats Sacrificed Sons meets The Test That Stumped them all, but better than both of them. Then a crazy unision and a very nice JP melody. Then James comes in for amazing verses and choruses, and it ends with a unision that sends chills down my spine. Shame that they split this song up. 02. Forsaken - I call few songs beautiful, this is one of them. James is sick, the piano intro is awesome, the chorus is beautiful, and the guitar solo is amazing. Its about vampires. Damn good song. 03. Constatnt Motion - the first single. It opens with a sick riff that goes into another sick riff, and is about Portnoy's OCD. This has been described as the Metallica song, but I don't see many similarities. Its a fun song. The instrumental section reminds me of the crazy part in Raise the Knife. The solos are amazing as usual, JP plays the fastest I've ever heard from him and JR owns. 04. The Dark Eternal Night - is the closest DT is coming to death metal. Its about a monster who haunts a town (a little cheesy, but DT are allowed to do that). The instrumental section rivals The Dance of Eternity. It contains two of their heaviest riffs yet, and JR has an awesome continuum solo. 05. Repentance - the mellow moment of the album, and part 4 of Portnoy's AA saga. It is musically based around the first verse of This Dying Soul. One of JP's best solos I think. The second half consists of spoken confessions by many friends of the band, including Steven Wilson and Neal Morse. Some say the end drags on, but if you listen closely, something new is added every repeat. Definitely a highlight. 06. Prophets Of War - the other Muse song (the first is Never Enough on Octavarium). For me, it is the most disappointing track on the album, and the only one that needed to grow on me. The music is excellent, and the lyrics are political. The only qualms I had are that the first verse is strange (but it grew on me), and there is a rap-type section. During recording, 50 fans went to the studio to record chants for this song. These came out great, and this song will be sick live. Not a highlight, but not bad at all. 07. The Ministry Of Lost Souls - this song fights with ITPOE for the favorite spot. I really love this song. I still do not get the lyrics, but that's okay. It starts and ends like a ballad, but goes into instrumental insanity in the middle with one of the best guitar/keyboard unisons I've ever heard, and it ends with a beautiful melody by JP. Great song. 08. In The Presence Of Enemies Pt. 2 - picks up right where Pt. 1 left off. It begins with a quiet and very eerie piano and bass thing, which eventually builds up to a chorus that brings tears to my eyes (Angels Fall/ All For You/ Heretic), and goes into one of the most evil riffs ever. I love it. Then there is a section that is like the middle of The Glass Prison, but I like this more. The instrumental section is insane, and it all rounds off with a reprise of the first guitar solo on the continuum. Outstanding song, the ending is different but an awsome way to end anything. I do not think it is a good starting place for new comers, but it is in my top 3 Dream Theater albums easily. The special edition comes with a DVD with an excellent 90 minute making-of documentary, and the entire album in 5.1. It is very much worth the extra cash. If it were stolen I would buy three other copies and do terrible things to the thief.