Sound — 10
I've been listening to dream theater almost exclusively for the past few months.In my opinion, they have the best instrumentals I have ever hear, blending classical routes, with metal influences and my favourite part: vocals that are not primarily screaming. John Petrucci, is unbelievable. I didn't even know it was possible to play as fast as he does. Most of their previous albums are not so much metal oriented, however, this album marked the start of their foray into metal. All their other albums were just progressive rock, which is fun to listen to, but can get a bit sickening after a couple of hours. This album is just awesome in every sense, 7 songs, 70 minutes of hard hitting metal that would have head banging veterans in neck braces is no time. There are guitar solos, drum solos, bass solos, and not the mention the keyboard solos. The best part about the guitar and keyboard is how they manage to pull of a solo together, in unison that is. Must be devilishly difficulty to coordinate as well as they do. The drummer, Mike Portnoy is incredible, the bassist, Myung, is crazy, he plays a 6 string bass! Petrucci plays a 7 string guitar for most of the album, with the occasional 6 string thrown in here and there. The first song 'As I Am' and the last song 'In The Name Of God' are my two favourites, although I do like the others as well. The two songs have insane guitar riffs, solos and stuff.
Lyrics — 9
Most of the songs are primarily instrumental, so lyrics can almost be neglected in my opinion. Anyway, from what I understand, the lyrics are about the world and corruption, and mankind's faults. A bit pessimistic, but who actually listens to a progressive metal band for lyrics anyway?
Overall Impression — 10
I really think this is the most awesome album I've listened to in a long time. Comparable to the greats. If I lost this album, it would only be because someone stole it: I would hunt the person down, throw his innards to the dogs, then buy myself another copy of the album. A must hear for anybody.