Sound — 8
This album was good but it was not even close to the incredible "Images and Words" album. As always, Dream Theater once again steps up to the plate and delivers but there isn't much in this album to be really impressed with as far as the music and sound goes. It's still great prog metal but it's nothing compared to the true capabilities of ever member of the band. Petrucci gives a few solos and incredible riffs but when you consider what he has done in the past, this is nothing. Portnoy shows some great drumming in the album but once again he has done better. Rudess doesn't seem to play as big a part on this album as he has in previous albums. Aside from "The Ministry of Lost Souls", there's not really much he does. Myung still seems to have an important bass role. Just as much as any of the other albums as well but I still feel that he has not yet showed us his true potential.
Lyrics — 10
I was impressed with the lyrics. Petrucci wrote a lot of really strange lyrics on this album but he wrote them well. Every line ties to the one before and after it. A lot of people seem to hate James LaBrie's vocals but personally I like his vocals a lot so I suppose it really depends on whether or not you like his voice. If you do then you should be impressed with him on this album but if not then you may be disappointed.
Overall Impression — 10
This is definitely one of Dream Theater's weaker albums but it's not too bad. It doesn't compare to "Images and Words" or "Train of Thought" but it is still quite a good album. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to Dream Theater's next album, which, rumor has it they have already started to work on.