OK, folks... As a new DT fan, I don't have the history of following the band through all of their ups and downs, micro-analyzing every note, kick-drum and power chord. In fact, I just, in the past 2 weeks have become keenly aware of DT and I really like what I hear! However, these are musicians, not gods. And, as musicans, it's their job to tell it like it is for us, their audience. On ToT, DT does that, in spades. I own IAW and SFAM and now ToT, and very MUCH like the musical maturity that DT is displaying here. Let's be honest... IAW, while a very laudable first "major" release, was basically Queensryche and Slaughter done VERY well! It rocked! SFAM was absolutely BRILLIANT!! Prog metal at it's finest! Now, ToT explores a leaner, meaner sound. I, too, wondered where the keys went to, but, they're there, adding just the right touch to temper the buzz-saw of the guitars. Drums... well, I think are a tad over-played, but not to distraction. Bass, John keeps the low end just right, holding it all together. Now, that's the music. Here's the message: pain, loss, grief, disappointment, addiction. Anybody get that, but me? This is a very angry and hurt album. Typical prog doesn't work with this message. I think that the "uber-heaviness" is appropriate for dealing with these topics. Look below the surface, folks. This isn't a nice tidy concept album. This is, as I agree that one reviewer posted, what Metallica's "St. Anger" should have been but WAY wasn't. I'm not going to nit-pick the songs. It's been done here.But, suffice it to say, that DT has grown up, are now facing their own demons and letting us in on the process. That's what we pay them for. If you want to hear IAW or SFAM, get out those discs and play them. But, this is a terrific album.