Sound — 10
Sounds kickass. The guitars and bass have excellent tone and the drums are mixed fairly well. I'm not a percussion sound guy, so I don't know my nose from my elbow in that department. However, the review of Jupiter mentioned the drum mix being a bit low, and I could hear that, and think this album is better mixed and mastered. Musically, it's brilliant too. Layers of effects and guitars and the overall sound of the songs themselves make this an immersive experience, to be sure. Being in a heavier Prog-Rock band myself, I can say that I resonate with the music Cave In makes. I had been joined my band three months before I even knew this album existed. When I got it and showed the guys, they all agreed it was very similar to our sound, in the sung/screamed dynamics and the level of heaviness and not actually being metal. Also, as our lead guitarist is a sabbath fan, he works in some pentatonic "stoner-rock" riffs, a la Iommi. Overall, a solid, satisfying aural experience.
Lyrics — 10
Lyrically, this is the album Cave In were born to make. All their previous attempts show this. Since guitarist Stephen Brodsky assumed dual guitar and vocal duties, the sound of the band has begun to evolve. Their first two albums, "Beyond Hypothermia" and "Until Your Heart Stops" were brilliant, considered to be seminal '90s metalcore innovators and heavyweights. However, their original singer left the band and Brodsky stepped up to the challenge. Rather than stick to the aging hardcore style they had been known for, they began to experiment and grow as a group. This shows in the refinement of the lyrical content as their albums progress, again showing this to be a high point for them. Vocally, Brodsky has found the holy grail. Jupiter and Creative Eclipses showed their art-rock longings, and Jupiter made for an impressive melange of just enough heavy and just enough soft, and further dynamic as to whether he's screaming or singing. The Screaming on "Trepanning" especially stands out to me, as a fan of another seminal '90s metalcore act, now evolving as well, Coalesce. Brodsky manages to bypass the screech phase of screaming and erupts simply into a roar. This also shows his growth of ability.
Overall Impression — 10
Antenna had excellent imagery and the sound was what I would consider a near-perfect pop-rock record. Here, the album continues lyrically through the anti-consumerist ideals put forth on all Brodsky-era (including Antenna, pop as it may be). Standard for them, but well written in my opinion. Much of the Music on this album is aggressive, but it must be noted that much of the aggression is spread out with dynamic songs throughout, and few just heavy songs. Obviously, the screaming goes with the aggro, and the prety singing goes in the quiet bits. So this album definitely complies, musically and vocally/lyrically. Antenna, to me, always seemed to be the brilliant marketing move to get them money and then keep being the same band. And I believe I turned out to be right. Much the same as Roadrunner Records has Nickelback (ugh) to support the label so good bands like Sepultura and Fear Factory could turn out great records and avoid the mainstream, Cave In made the surprisingly successful move to making what I felt was a brilliant Pop-Rock record, but just a little green yet. As stated earlier, this is the album these guys were put here to make. The musicianship excels, the vocals are clear and beautiful. Brodsky has confidence and a newly solid scream, compared to the howls on Jupiter. When you look up "The Total Package" in an encyclopedia, just under the workout machine will be a picture of this album's cover. Impressionwise, for me at least, "Trepanning" and "Down the Drain" stuck out immediately. A second listen brought "Ataraxia" to my attention. I would have to say that of all the songs on the CD, "Ataraxia" would be my favorite. If it was just twice as long and had lyrics, I would only ever listen to that song. Ever. How do I love this album? Let me count the ways. Yes. All. I love this record. Hate? Hate leads to the dark side. And while this is a pretty dark album, There is honestly nothing to hate, except that it ends so quickly. We who feel this way can only hope that when they get next make an album, it can be at least as good as this. If it were lost, I'd cry. Yeah, I'll admit it. Okay, not really, but I'd be bummed and thankful I ripped the CD as soon as I got it. So also, no I would not buy it again. Unless my hard drive got wiped. I also want to note that if one was in the right frame of mind, I can say to them from experience that this CD takes you on a journey. Also great for driving and listening to (and again, if in the right frame of mind this album makes for a thoroughly enjoyable cruise, not that it doesn't anyway). If you like hard rock and don't have this album, I take pity. Go do yourself a favor. Your ears will love you for the rest of your life.