- Awesome Music: It is a Dream Theater album after all! In particular, "A New Beginning", near the end of the first act, is often cited as a highlight.
- Critical Dissonance: The biggest within the band's catalog. Critics happily praised it and garnered it for it's music elements and story line...but a huge amount of fans were incredibly disappointed due to the lack of usage of the ARG the band set up, the lack of Epic Rocking and of course, the heavy Author Tract, even for Dream Theater standards.
- Broken Base: The lack of Epic Rocking and the focus on ballads is this for some fans, even more so the fact that it's 2 hours of music.
- Narm: Gabriel's blood-curling scream at the end of "My Last Farewell" comes off as this, as it doesn't sound as impressive as it's built up to be. Even worse in that, one song earlier ("The Walking Shadow"), James Labrie pulls off really well Xander screaming at Daryus.
- Nightmare Fuel: The NOMAC tracks are so unnerving.
- The NOMACS in general. Giant floating spheres creating machine like music, staring at you for all eternity...
- Snark Bait: The album is this for vocal DT fans who are completely disappointed with the album, to the point where the album's plot is mocked.
- Tough Act to Follow: It has some great material and on it's own, and it's very impressive for Dream Theater to tackle another concept album, but many fans feel it can't top Metropolis Part 2.
YMMV / The Astonishing