Sound — 9
The sound is brilliant. Everything stands out and sounds professional and polished (not too much though). The guitar tone is especially brilliant. They really pulled the stop[s out for this one. The rhythm section is also good. Although you're usually distracted by the lead guitars, you're aware of the rhythm section driving everything forward. Especially the double bass drum. While it's never ridiculously fast, it's usually laying down a solid, driving rhythm that works perfectly. While the music isn't anything particularly new or original, this is never a problem. Everything is done with such professionalism and the solos are so damn good that you don't care if it's been done before.
Lyrics — 8
I find the lyrics quite hard to fathom on some of the songs. but then I've never been very good with lyrics. Tracks like Stand and recieve your judgement and Full imperial collapse are fairly obvious, but then songs like An ethereal drain and Fire in the skies are fairly abstract. I love the brutal lyrics from Stand and recieve your judgement. And by the time that you realize the damage you've done/you'll be long f--king gone, you coward you puppet. total genious. On to the vocals. I know a lot of people have some issues with John Henry's voice, but I think it fits the music brilliantly. And then there's the clean vocals introduced on this album. A lot of people hate them. I'm not a huge fan, but I respect the guy for experimenting and trying to grow. One track that's drawn a lot of flame is sanctuary. I agree that the clean vocals there don't sound great, but if you listen to it then growls wouldn't really work in tahat section. Overall, I applaud John Henry for some great (if sometimes unfathomable) lyrics, and for giving a solid vocal performance.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, this album is stunning. A huge improvement from their last release (which was damn good as well). The most impressive songs for me are: Doomsayer. I love the verse riff and the 'frantic' drums, and the solo is brilliant. Demon(s). A few people don't like this because of the clean vocals, I love it for the solo. Tunguska. A lovely acoustic section leading into a ridiculously epic solo. Fire In The Skies. One of the most melodic songs I've ever heard. Throughout it all the guitars are doing dual harmonies and the solo is simply beautiful. Deliver Us. Perfect end to the album. Arguably the best solo on the album leads into a quieter section which slowly builds back into a final chorus. As you can see, I love the solos. If it were stolen, I wouldn't buy it again since it's on my computer and I can just rip another copy. but anyway, one of the best albums I've ever heard.