Mark, you may like Spawn of Possession's Incurso if you come from a classical background. It might be a bit too insane for you if you're new to metal though.
Probably. I remember reading they recorded Train of thought after touring w/ Metallica and wanted to put slightly heavier thrasher elements. I agree the vocals sometimes sound a bit too pop. But, TTrain of Thought is a heavier album for them. I also think it's one of the better I've heard. I'm not a huge fan, but I like TOT from time to time.