Sound — 10
I come into this as a huge Coheed fan, with high expectations for everything they do. The album has a few notable departures from the norm, delving into Electro-Acoustic alternative music with Subtraction, and the ambient electronically driven "Evagria The Faithful". No two songs on the album sound the same(to my ears, at least) and that's one of my favorite things about the album. This album also has some of the most diverse range of guitar tones on any Coheed record. It has the punchy distortion tones from the earlier albums like "IKSSE3", and the fat bass-y drive from "YOTBR". This is also the first album with Josh Eppard (the original drummer for the band) since his departure, and it's good to have him back, along with Zach Cooper (new bassist for the band) who fits in very well, and really shows his stuff (especially on "Evagria The Faithful").
Lyrics — 9
This album contains some of the better and some of the worse lyrics I've heard from the band. I can't question why he put them there though seeing as how they all fit into a larger concept (The Amory Wars - a running concept that goes through all Coheed And Cambria albums). My only real complaint to speak of is "Holly Wood The Cracked". The verses aren't bad, but they aren't great. The chorus however is kind of cliched sounding in terms of the lyrics ("Holly Wood Holly Wood, Watch out here she comes. Holly Wood Holly Wood Fu**ing a loaded gun"). There's a lot of repetition of simple lyrics on that one. The rest of the album is pretty interesting lyrically, especially tracks like "Domino The Destitute" (about their former bassist), "Evagria The Faithful", and "The Afterman". The lyrics ALWAYS fit the music though, even "Holly Wood The Cracked". Vocals are often the thing that make or break whether or not someone is a Coheed fan. It's really something you have to love or hate. I've seen few people not take a side. I absolutely LOVE Claudio's voice (he is my favorite singer), and I think this album has some of his best vocal performances to date. "Holly Wood" has some really nice belting in it, and the vocal arrangements on "Domino The Destitute" really showcase his ability as a vocalist and a songwriter.
Overall Impression — 10
This album one hundred percent holds it's own to all other Coheed albums, in my opinion. It is a solid album front to back, and there is not a single track I don't like. The most standout tracks to me have to be "Domino The Destitute", "Evagria The Faithful", "Mothers Of Men" and "Goodnight Fair Lady". Each one is written impeccably well, and holds my attention all the way through. They are simply great songs, performed by a great band. I really love how this album is so diverse. You literally go from an 8 minute heavy rock song to a three minute almost indie tune. And then you go from a poppy and upbeat rock song to a metal song. Then from another metal song to electronica. Each song stands alone well, but also works well paired with the other songs, when I listen to the album front to back. The only thing I hate is that the next album isn't out yet! If this were somehow lost, I would without a doubt buy it again. Definitely worth every cent. I'd buy it direct from the band that time though, instead of through Amazon.