Being a fan of the group since before “Pull Me Under” broke through, it is sometimes hard to be objective about artists that you have admired for quite some time. But after listening to this latest release from our modern day protagonists of music theory, I can’t imagine any DT fan being disappointed in this.Without getting bogged down in a track by track analysis, Six Degrees contains everything that fans of this band are looking for……and there’s lots of it! Disc one contains 5 tracks, most around the 10 minute mark. Disc two is home to the behemoth title track which is 42 minutes in length and is presented in 8 parts that flow together in an incredibly musical fashion.As previously mentioned, the staples of any Dream Theater recording are here: instrumental performances of the highest caliber, the expressive vocals of James LaBrie, and a production job by Portnoy & Petrucci that is immaculate. The thing that amazes me about these guys after all these years, is how they continue to push the envelope musically as a band. They are always looking to incorporate new influences and ideas into their work. For example, on “The Great Debate”, you will notice one section of the song that has almost a TOOL type of feel to it, vocals included. On the more subtle side, “Goodnight Kiss” has a very atmospheric, almost Floydian soundscape within which the band weaves some incredible textures.Even if you’re not a fan of this type of self-indulgent song writing, you have to respect the fact that these guys love to play music that not only challenges them, but their listeners as well. Buy it, and prepare to be impressed.