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The band didn't want to follow up their great conceptual opus with merely another run of the mill (for DT anyway) studio. They felt the need to do something more and I'm glad they felt that way.
Some long time hard core DT fans don't like the new direction this album took. Bands change with time and so does their sound. If you can't deal with that then you should just shut up and listen to the old releases you do like.
The first disc would make a great album all on its own. "The Glass Prison" epitomizes the new, more aggressive direction the band is taking. "Blind Faith" is so-so, but nothing to scoff at. "Misunderstood" is good except for the last three minutes or so. All the electronics and weird effects really aren't necesary. "The Great Debate" is simply superb. Musically it is awesome, but I think the lyrical accomplishment is even more impressive. Both sides of the stem cell argument are presented without actually stating which they as a band or as an individual song writer stand on the issue. If an opinion would have been stated it would perhaps alienate people of opposing views from enjoying the song. "Disappear" is a very nice slower song reminiscient of "Space-Dye Vest."
The second disc doesn't appeal to me as much as the first, but a 42 minute long composition is impressive nonetheless. The high points for me are "About to Crash" and the reprise. I also greatly enjoy the juxtapostion of the light-hearted sound of the acoustic guitar as compared to the dark lyrics of "Solitary Shell."
. . . and why a gong? I suppose it is probably a "why not have a gong?" sort of thing, but it works no matter how unexpected it might be.