Sound — 10
The sound and overall level of musicianship on this album is excellent. The Ammot brothers twin guiar attack is simply outstanding, how they manage to play such technical parts in perfect cohesion is a mystery to me, and saniel Erlandson's manic double bass work thunders out with amazing speed and brutality. Tracks such as Ravenous and Shadows And Dust have all the heaviness you want, mixed in with beautiful melodies to create a vibe that is simply amazing. The instrumental Snow Bound is nothing short of breathtaking in it's melodicism. In fact the only track that delves into cliche'd Death Metal riffs is The First Deadly Sin, although this does help even out the overall balance of the disc.
Lyrics — 6
The lyrics on the album mainly fall into the "death and torture" death metal territory. Which is a shame, because these songs deserve more. Although, Angela Gossow's (yes, it IS a woman singing, please get over it) voice eventually becomes just another instrument in the fray, so, such complaints ane only minor.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, this is one of the greatest albums in it's category and is sure to be a future classic, being all the more amazing when you consider that this is frontwoman Angela Gossow's debut album ! Standout tracks are the aforementioned Ravenous, Enemy Within, Burning Angel... ahh, to hell with it, theyr'e all great, apart from Behind The Smile, which opens with a Nu-Metal riff, but later redeems itself with a beautiful harmony section. If the CD was stolen, I'd definitely go out and buy it again. And then seek out and kill the person who stole it! So if you like swedish melodic death metal (or are looking to get into it), there's no better place to start than here. Classic!