Sound — 6
Symphony X is awesome. I'm going to start with that line. This album is not up to par. Symphony X, known for odd time signatures, dissonance and D standard do just that on this album; play almost only minor 2nds and in time signatures that aren't catchy. I saw them in February, where they played two songs from this album, "Dehumanized" and "End Of Innocence". I liked "Dehumanized" and thought End of Innocence was okay. The album goes downhill from there. Its predecessor, "Paradise Lost", had PLENTY of prog metal riffs that weren't in 4/4 that were catchy as f--k, but this albums just lacks that. None of the riffs stay in your head like they did on "Paradise Lost". To sum it up, they can do a lot better.
Lyrics — 7
According to Russell Allen and Michael Romeo, the album is about the encounter of machine and man, some weird prog crap like that. If you're listening to Symphony X, you probably don't listen to the lyrics (but definitely the singing). I think Russell's addition of swears to this album's lyrics make them seem very forced, like he's really TRYING to seem metal, but it feels out of place on a prog metal record. Russell Allen is still amazing though.
Overall Impression — 6
I think it's one of their worst albums to date. I just don't like it. As soon as I start a song on my iPod, I just feel forced to change to something else, something from the good ol' days of Symphony X, like "Sea Of Lies" or "The Divine Wings Of Tragedy". Oh well, I guess I'll just have to make to with this while I wait for Mike Mangini's band (what are they called again?) to release something awesome.