Dream Theater’s new album is definitely their heaviest since “Awake”, if not ever. It’s mostly good, and I like it better than their last album, “Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence”. It’s less experimental, and a more straight-forward sounding metal album. Though this does have the odd time signatures and crazy instrumental sections we’ve come to expect from Dream Theater. “As I Am” is a catchy, fairly simple metal song, with a main riff that sounds a bit like Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”. It grew on me, but it’s probably the weakest song on the album, and the solo adds nothing to it really, in my opinion. “This Dying Soul” is much better. Heavy, 7 String guitar riffs drive it, much like it’s predecessor, “The Glass Prison”. “Endless Sacrifice” has some beautiful melodies in the verse, and a loud, Pantera-esque chorus. The instrumental section is also the best on the album, reminding me of “Awake” and “Change of Seasons” (That’s a good thing, as I prefer the older albums by far to the newer ones.) “Honor Thy Father” isn’t bad, the chorus has a badass, Black Label Society-ish metal riff that I like. “Vacant” is beautiful, and it leads into the instrumental “Stream of Conciousness”, which is pretty awesome as well. The main riff somewhat brings to mind “Orion” by Metallica. This is the longest and one of the more complex DT instrumentals, featuring loads of time changes and key changes, and lots of soloing. “In The Name of God” is the 14 minute epic that closes the album, and it’s a great song. There’s a good mix of good melodies and heavy riffs, and the instrumental section has some pretty sick playing by everyone. The piano outro is pretty nice too.There’s pros and cons to the heavier, more aggressive sound on this album. There’s definitely a lack of great melodies, especially during the instrumental sections, which instead of interesting melodic lines, they are pretty much just going up and down scales. At ridiculous speeds, no doubt, but it’s just not as interesting, at least not to me. Also, John Petrucci used to be able to balance shredding with great melodies and compose some amazing solos (“Under a Glass Moon” for example, or “Scarred”.) Here, he mainly just shreds, which is cool, but limiting. On the other hand, the aggressive sound is pretty cool. A lot of the riffs are quite awesome. “This Dying Soul”, “Honor Thy Father” and “In The Name of God” all have some ass-kicking heavy riffs, reminiscent of Pantera or early Metallica…A cool thing, in my book.The only lyrics that really impressed me on here were John Petrucci’s “Endless Sacrifice”, which describes well the pain of a rockstar living away from his family. Along with the nice melody in the verse and the cool Maiden-esque part at the end, it’s very touching. “Vacant” is also moving put together with the music.So, it’s not nearly my favorite DT album (that would be “Images and Words” and “Awake”), but it’s definitely worth buying if you’re a fan. I wouldn’t really recommend starting with this album though, check out the aforementioned two first.