Sound — 6
I might like this if I had never heard Dream Theater before; however, being a very big fan, I was supremely dissapointed. Just like Octavarium, Systematic Chaos does nothing but detract from the superb musicianship that used to be Dream Theater. They've settled for simpler song structures and all around simpler, and definitely uninteresting music. Save for the instrumental sections. Most of the verses, choruses, bridges, etc, were just bland. The instrumental section of Dark Eternal Night was the only part of the CD that I completely and thoroughly enjoyed.
Lyrics — 3
Dream Theater lyrics used to be interesting and full of symbolism. Most of the songs on the past 3 or 4 albums have been about nothing but "isolation." They are running short on ways to describe the feeling of isolation, and should have stopped that topic after The Glass Prison (awesome song). These lyrics seem totally uninspired, much unlike songs such as "learning to live" "take the time" "voices" and "change of seasons." I really wish they'd quit writing these cliche rock pieces of crap.
Overall Impression — 5
It's just not worth it. Just go get scenes from a memory, awake, images and words, and six degrees. they are all better in every aspect than Systematic Chaos. I come to you as a man who really really wanted dream theater to pull through with this one. I was skeptical after train of thought, but forgave them because it was their heaviest effort and they wrote the entire thing in 2 or 3 weeks. Then Octavarium reared it's ugly head and I got a bit scared. Systematic Chaos may be the nail in the coffin for Petrucci and the boys. They aren't even progressive anymore. It's time to crown new kings of prog.