I have to agree that listening to this album just 2x will not get you to every element of every songs in the album. I have this lukewarm feeling towards the album when they released UDS and EOTB. I remember hating these 2 songs but every time I listen to it, I'm starting to grasp every moments and elements of the song which I didn't hear on the first 2-3 listens.
I have been listening to the whole album for a while now and I must say that it's a brilliant album. I have to agree when someone said that THP is like a sequel of RFTI but with the production and grandeur of TQE. RFTI isn't an accessible album, you really need to listen to it more than 4x to really get through the details. While TQE is more catchy (something in the veins of DYU and CTO), it took me a few more listens to actually like it; and that is the same case for this album. I remember that I almost gave up during my 8th listen because that time I only liked A Phantasmic Parade, Once Upon, and Dancing In A Hurricane. And after a few more listens, I never expected to like The Cosmic Algorithm and Universal Death Squad so muuuuch..
Some rankings based on favorites:
1. The Cosmic Algorithm / The Funky Algorithm (the acoustic version feels like a different song and I like the groovy melodies).
2. Universal Death Squad / Once Upon A Nightmare / Dancing In A Hurricane
3. Edge of the Blade / A Phantasmic Parade / Ascension - I never thought I'd like EOTB but I find it a good opening track. It's not a really good song but I really think that it's the "right" track to next to "EIdola".
4. Beyond the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (I like the acoustic version more than the original one. It sounds more haunting to me and always gives me chills whenever I listen to it).
5. Divide and Conquer
I didn't like Tear Down Your Walls that much. I used to really like it but it started to bore me. LOL.
The title track is also a grower, but I also have to be in the right mood to listen to it in full.
I reaaallly love the intro track. My friend thought it's a soundtrack for a 300-like film. Very cinematic.
Now if I were to rank the albums. My list would go like this..
1. Consign to Oblivion / The Quantum Enigma (YES! They are now tied at my #1)
2. Design Your Universe
3. The Holographic Principle
4. The Divine Conspiracy / Requiem for the Indifferent
5. The Phantom Agony