Sound — 10
This Dream Theater album is a far step from their progressive roots. This album is full blown ballsy metal. Of course, they don't stray from their odd time signatures, chromatic solos, and amazing musicianship. This band is quite possibly the most talented there is, considering they have some of the best musicians out there. They have a perfect sound too, and when you hear them, they're so tight the band is like one instrument. You'll hear a wide variety of music by them on previous records, but this whole record is for the people into cranking their amps to 11, hitting the drums so hard the drumheads shatter, and playing with so much balls you can almost touch the individual instruments.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are way different than any previous Dream Theater albums, and instead of dealing with how to deal with spiritual problems like "Learning to Live", or having lyrics with intense symbolism like in "Under a Glass Moon", they have simple meanings. They all fit with the songs and are hardly ever random. The singer, James LaBrie, has an extremely high range and sings with alot of power. His singing always reminded me of Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden.
Overall Impression — 10
This album is the heaviest I've ever heard. Heavier than any Slayer, Pantera, Opeth, and even Meshuggah album I've heard in the past. I love the fact that John Petrucci has the perfect tone. I believe he uses his signature guitars through a Mesa Boogie Road King on this album (opposed to the Mesa Boogie Mark II C+ heads he usually uses. I've played his signature guitar before, and it has the best feel when it's combined with any rectifier amp. If you love a skillful guitarist, buy this album. If you love a skillful bassist, buy this album. If you love a skillfull anything, buy this album. All the musicians in this band own everyone else. If I lost this album, I'd buy it again for 50 dollars if I had to. I'm actually seeing them this Tuesday for the second time, and I'm very happy about it. So buy this album if you like REAL music.