Is this really the same band that crapped out Train of Thought? Right from the start this album is about 600x better. Root of All Evil is probably the best, if not tied for best with TGP of Mike's Binge Drinking Extravaganza.
Im not particularly enamored with The Answer Lies Within, but I do think its at least produced well, and like the way it builds throughout the song.
These Walls is equally un-unique, but at least it shows off Portnoy without really trying. Its a good example of sneaking in talent without resorting to the wankery that was so present on the past two DT albums. I really dont like the chorus at all
I Walk Beside You definately has that Edge guitar feel to it, and does sound like DT tried to make a commercial song. Not that commercial necessarily equals bad, as one of my better liked DT songs, Just Let Me Breathe is about the most commercial song they put out (not counting absolute crap like You Not Me). Even with the mega Jesus vibe, this is probably one of the best 3 songs on the album.
Panic Attack brings me again to the question of why DT even bothered to put out ToT in the first place under the idea that they were going to make a "classic" metal album. This metalled up song is way catchier than anything on ToT. It doesnt have the hook that their most catchy harder song has (Pull Me Under) but at least its not 10 minutes of lets see how much wanking we can squeeze into a song.
I really like Never Enough... if only it wasnt for the trite lyrics. The vocal effects fit the song, and i think its about damn time they turned up the bass on the mix. I also like the keyboard riff for some reason--it has sort of a Nick Rhodes feel to it.
Sacrificed Sons is alright. The vocal melody is a little too detatched and whiney for my tastes, and it feels a little long. Not something to write home about. The song would be infinitely better if they just chopped off the first three minutes and made an instrumental track out of it.
Octavarium..... wow.... This song proves that the band can still make a really good long song without resorting to the filler and gimmicks as seen on the last two albums. This song holds your attention the whole way through, from the mechaproggy intro, to the Stygian keyboard riff before Full Circle. As my main beef with the band since SFAM has been Jordan's OMG KURZWEIL!! attitude. Its nice to see that he can actually not give in to wankery. The keyboard parts of Octavarium actually fit the feel of the song, not like, say Endless Sacrifice. The song has some excellent building-- The whole "root, first, second" thing fits really well too--culminating with Screamin' James. Its just a pity my CD is scratched and it really starts skipping right before the end.
In summation i can tell you why i like this album in one word: Piano. Ive felt for a long time that the one thing DT has lacked has been piano driven songs. You know what makes their cover of Love Lies Bleeding great? the piano. You know when Savatage started getting great? When Jon Oliva put down the guitar and sat down at the piano. You know what makes The House Is a Rockin a great boogie, its not SRV's picking.