Sound — 10
A prog album of the old days has rarely occured in a long time. Prog albums of the old days had few songs (anywhere from 4-7 songs), and the songs were generally longer. When I looked at the tracklisting for this album, I thought, "This looks a lot like Rush-era prog." After listening to it, I feel the same way. This is probably as pure as prog gets. The sound goes anywhere from rock (title track) to slow ballads (The beautiful "My Ashes" and "Sentimental") to furious, blistering metal ("Anesthetize.") For an album with few songs, you get a wide sonic range. "Way Out of Here" is probably one of the best prog songs in a long time.
Lyrics — 10
This is a concept album based off of the book "Lunar Park," by Bret Easton Ellis. This album is told from the perspective of Ellis' son, who lives in a media-obsessed society that is hooked on prescription drugs, violence, and monotonous focus on Xboxes. This is reflected basically throughout the entire album, as evident through tracks like the title track, "Anesthetize," "Sentimental," and "Way Out of Here." The track "My Ashes" comes from the final part of the book, where the author scatters his father's ashes. Steven Wilson's amazing vocals deliver all of this perfectly.
Overall Impression — 10
While all of the albums in the period of "Stupid Dream" to "Deadwing" are nothing short of amazing, this is truly the best progressive album of the 21st century so far. Each of their previous albums could be easily classified: "Stupid Dream" is pop, "In Absentia" feels a lot like Nine Inch Nails, and "Deadwing" is more alt rock based. This one, while delving into metal territory, is prog in it's purest form, evident by tracks such as "Anesthetize" and "Way Out of Here." "Anesthetize," now my favorite track on the album, is better than most Tool epics and almost as good as some Dream Theater epics. The 17 minute track starts off proggish, but right around 6:15 it turns into a blistering metalfest, at one time reaching a point of insane double-bass drumming, courtesy of Gavin Harrison, who is probably one of the best rock drummers in existence. This is probably the best album of 2007, edging out amazing albums such as Vai's "Sound Theories" and Blackfield's "Blackfield II." This is progressive music, no doubt.