Sound — 7
For a typical dreater sound, i'd say this albumn hits it spot on. Unfortunatly, most of the songs carry the same structure as some of their more recent arrangements, intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-pre-chorus-chorus-outro. The three song which amazed me were Prophets of War, Dark Eternal Night and Constant Motion. Contant Motion gave me two impressions: they really were influenced by metallica, and they have progressed to something interestingly mainstream-ish (thanks epic). Prophets of War may have been the most interesting due to the original vocals and bassline, John Myung palys a steady fast paced bassline that reinforces the structure, and the vocals have a sweet slow and catchy rythm. Jamies LaBries falsetto is a nice addition also. Dark Eternal Night gave a strange impression, at first I laughed and skipped the song. Then about an hour later I came back to see how it plays out. To my amazement it is probably my favourite song on the record now. Unfortunatly not a song you'd show your friends in a hurry. Against what others thought, I didn't like In the Presence of Enemies Pt. 1 or Pt. 2. It gave me a headache to be honest! The first time I listened I thought, "ok this is nice", however afterwards the songs seems to drag on, and on. An unfortunate opening song compared to Awake, Six Degrees and Train of Thought. Their seems to be a story with dream theater albumns (Apart from Scenes From A Memory), more recent albumns to be honest. They tend to comment on contempory social and political affairs, which in my case all bands should keep their noses out of.
Lyrics — 7
Labrie is in top form, he explores a different type of singing with Constant motion and Dark Eternal night, which is most welcome. Also notable is Prophets of War, his dream like singing with an added falsetto is quite nice and different for a change. The political issues, as I talked about briefly before, seems to cliche' for any band. I honestly think they should have avioded commenting on these issues. However they made their sniggering at the iraq situation quite interesting in Prophets of War, for that they deserve a high-five. Portnoy's Repentence is quite comfronting, I very subtle contribution to the AA suite. Their isn't much to be said, it is a very strong track, which reminds me of Dream Theater's Awake days.
Overall Impression — 6
Unfortunatly, this albumn really didn't come out and strike me as a classic dream theater example of awesome musical talent. Instead this struck me as a more mainstream albumn, like they wrote these songs to attract a contempory audience, rather than being written for the sake of the music. A very dis-satisfying Dream Theater release.