Sound — 10
I picked this CD up at a local entertainment store figuring on another good metalcore album, what I got was one of the best metalcore albums I've ever heard and certainly the best one this year. I don't know how it compares to "This Darkened Heart" but I do know that this CD is special. The drumming has some of the quickest double bass beats I've heard and has something other bands should use, blast beats. The guitars are insane as usual for a metalcore/NWAHM album and almost every song has a solo in it, a technically impressive solo at that, not some thrown together crap. The bass playing is hard to hear and that needs to be improved on in later albums. Summed up simply the sound is intense, punishing, and seriously impressive. Plus, they're adding some prog overtones in a couple of songs.
Lyrics — 10
Phil Labonte is a very skilled vocalist and one of the best in metalcore today, period. One thing I apologize for not knowing is if he recorded the melodic parts on the album which are mainly choruses. These are possibly the hookiest and most impressive choruses I've heard in metal. Very similiar to As I Lay Dying and some Killswitch Engage. Lyrics are again something I'm not good at reading into so I'm gonna give him credit for a great delivery and style. Several songs also contain a wide variety of screams, growls, and melodies.
Overall Impression — 10
I purchased this CD and Fear Factory's "Archetype" at the same time, and I've listened to this CD more than FF's by a long shot. It's that impressive. The first track "The Calling" is so far the best song with several others in very close 2nd. I'd definitely buy this again without a second thought if it was lost or stolen.