Sound — 10
Dream Theater have always been known to make things extremely complicated for themselves, and this album is no exception. This album is absolutely amazingly intricate and fiddly. The quintet of gifted musicians have pushed the bar out with this album. It is musical masterpiece! The first track is In The Presence of Enemies Pt. 1, The Pt. 2 concluding the album. It starts with a mind-blowing 4 minute instrumental, and the outro with the guitar and keyboard unison solo is a thing to behold. The next track, Forsaken, has great 7/8 keyboard riff to start and finish and is a nice little song, though the texture is a bit thin sometimes. Constant Motion is, in my opinion, the best song on the album. The Verse and Chorus are brilliant, Mike Portnoy's drumming is amazing throughout, and John Petrucci's F sharp phrygian solo is simply amazing. The Dark Eternal Night is perhaps the heaviest song the band has ever done. Needless to say, even though it is a new branch for them, they have pulled it off magnificently. A superb Intro riff, Chorus and Instrumental make a great song, And Jordan Rudess' Continuum Outro is amazing. I'm starting to run out of superlatives. Repentance is the latest part of Mike Portnoy's Alcoholics Anonymous suite, an ongoing set of songs about his experiences with alcohol. A brilliant chord progression at the end does get a little repetive though, and 11 minutes is a bit too long. Prophets of War is a quick fire song with one of the best main riffs on the album. The synthesiser opening works really well. Ministry of Lost Souls is a quarter of an hour long. Some people would not like this song because it is so long, however I think it is a brilliant song. The guitar lead melody is a great creation, though could be a bit shorter. In The Presence Of Enemies Pt. 2. One word: outstanding.
Lyrics — 9
Dream Theater have always had very well thought out lyrics, written by either Labrie, Petrucci or Portnoy. Personally John Petrucci's lyrics are the best for me. Notably the lyrics for Constant Motion, Repentance, Ministryof Lost Souls and In The Presence Of Enemies I think are the best. James Labrie comes in with another strong performance and does really well in getting the message from the lyrics across.
Overall Impression — 10
Out of progressive metal artists, Dream Theater have to be the first and foremost band in that genre you think of. The sheer difficulty of what they play becomes easy, when you watch them. In The Presence Of Enemies, Ministry Of Lost Souls and Constant Motion are definately the best songs on the album. If I lost I would have to buy it again. Definately worth getting.