Sound — 9
This is pretty heavy. This is the first Dream Theater I have, and I'm more into mainstream heavy metal (In Flames, Mudvayne). It's very good. I've been quite enlightened. It's metal, with synth/piano incorporated into it. The drumming and guitar drives the song along, but when the singing starts it takes center stage (whether you like it or not).
Lyrics — 10
The singing isn't what I'm used too. The lyrics are very serious, and Honor Thy Father is the best song I have ever heard about a stepfather. It's so far above all the crap that bands release now. As I am is good, but it's hard to tell what he's saying. In the Name of God comes across as almost cheesy. The singing on most isn't my favorite, but Honor Thy Father kicks so much ass I'm giving this a ten (he does clean singing for such having such a heavy CD).
Overall Impression — 9
I don't have any other DT albums, however I've listened to some of their other songs, and this is by far the heaviest and most aggresive. If you aren't into their cds it doesn't mean you'll hate this one. If you are a Dream Theater fan, you should like this (with a couple songs you won't like). With all the different songwriters it makes the tone of all the songs so different that it seems like they don't belong on the same cd. But find what floats your boat, all the songs are long enough that you can kill an afternoon on a single song (and their so good you listen and listen again to kill even more time). I would buy this again, easy.