The ninth studio album in more than 20 years of band history with a new label promises chaos, but I assume that even free improvisations by Dream Theater sound like well-planned masterpieces.
The successful line-up ... offers here almost 1,5 hours (!) Progressive Rock/Metal and luckily have not forgotten the songs about it... and those continue what “When Dream and Day Unite” and “Images and Words” had started. But a warning, this is no album for just one listening session.
Dream Theater include here influences from 70s Rock (Pink Floyd) and Thrash Metal, the “Constand Motion” riffs could be by Metallica, the first part of “Prophets Of War” by Coldplay. This text has a very real background, blaming the Iraq war; the calm “Repentance” reflects Mike Portnoy´s experience with the AA-12-steps. “Forsaken”, a midtempo Hardrock hit, and “The Dark Eternal Night” - my fave on this album, Thrash-ear candy with some freaky parts – rather deal with fantasy topics.
“In The Presence of Enemies” Part 1 and Part 2 lead into and out of the album, part 1 has rather DT typical Jazz rhythms and structures, whereas part 2 is a bombastic epic Metal anthem, that in my opinion needs too much time for “lift-off”. And after this for me way too lengthy ballad “The Ministry of Lost Souls” those three minutes of intro to a 16 min-song drag on a bit. Still this CD is a must for all Dream Theater fans and for all who want to become it...