I have heard a large amount of Dream Theater, and this album was never really mentioned by those friends of mine who introduced me to this band to crown all bands. I really can't see why. I think that, as an album, this is thier best. A better collection of songs can maybe be found in Images and Words, but this I think works better as an album, and the generall feel with this Dream Theater style is I think superior to all other albums. DT still manage to cover a variety of tonal colours, but the general feel is soft relaxing ballads that soothe and lift the spirit. I think this is the only DT CD I will still be listening to in 40 years. Unlike all other DT I have heard, it does not beg to be listened to actively, and can be appreciated well as background music, and, in that setting, it really does give a room a feel of sensual bliss. I don't think a better CD exists really. Change of Seasons is still I think the band's best work, but that must be listened to and appreciated like a peice of beautiful scenery you see from the top of a mountain. Falling into Infinity can be walked through and marvelled at. Such feelgood factor was never found. The softer songs especially are just so good you just want to curl up in them forever.
1 - New Millenium - Heaviest and most progressive track, more like I&W fodder really, a great feeling of expectation.
2 - You not Me - Most unprogressive DT track ever, good feelgood factor but not I think I high point of the album.
3 - Peruvian Skies - A dark and brooding epic, is contained on the Dark Side CD of the best ever compilation, builds and builds from a soft ballad to a metal masterpiece, but still completely nonoffensive as well as beautiful to the extreme.
4 - Hollow Years - The best single song ever (CofS is more of a suite,) soft rock ballad to rule all, live version on Once in a LIVEtime is even better, beats the single edit and LP edits into a cocked hat.
5 - Burning my Soul - Unfortunate inclusion I think, probably the weakest song on the album, seems to drag a little, the closest DT have ever come to a poor song, brutal but not heavy, and hence very edgy and unsure. Only DT song I've ever heard with an expletive.
6 - Hell's Kitchen - Superior Instrumental, really licked, quite progressive, better than any other DT instrumental I think.
7 - Lines in the Sand - Lovely song, but a little too long I think, beautiful guitar and keyboard solo.
8 - Take Away my Pain - nearly as good as Hollow Years, beautiful ballad, Once in a LIVEtime version is again better though as it has saxaphone from Jay Beckenstien.
9 - Just let me Breathe - A bit more intense, very nice driving song, everything Burning my Soul might have been.
10 - Anna Lee - Why does LaBrie not write more songs? This is another absolute cracker, beautiful piano ballad.
11 - Trial of Tears - Lovely suite of three songs (It's Raining, Deep in Heaven, The Wasteland.) Soft and technical, uplifing and beautiful, especially the first part.
In all, such a good album you'd be crazy not to buy it at twice the price.