Sound — 9
After hearing the first three singles for the past month - Saviour, I Don't Know, Information - I was ready for more a Catch Without Arms sound, which is not a bad thing. However, the listener is treated to an even better sound, The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion (PPD from here on out) has its own unique mix of all past Dredg albums while treading new sonic territory. There are far more uses of quirky instruments and a more diverse sound that all somehow meld nicely together. This is not a loud album, but one with many subtle undertones. Definitely give it at least one listen with headphones on. I especially love the different kind of transitions within each song. Listen to Pariah and the first thing you hear sounds like some type of nursery rhyme from an R&B album or something you would hear played during a dance from Mia Michaels on the tv show So You Think You Can Dance (I know, weird reference:). There are three distinct sonic elements that all meld well together. All of the 'fillers' really do add to the overall theme and sound, so be sure to listen all the way through.
Lyrics — 10
My first reaction was, "Blah, bland." But as with most lyrics you need to let them sit and digest - it is hard to 'get' lyrics after 12 listens, but I'll do my best. Overall I think this is Dredg's finest lyrical albums. Each song by itself has interesting lyrical content, but as a whole the album's lyrics are much, much more interesting. Look at the song titles. Really listen to the lyrics in the beginning and contrast them with the lyrics in the last songs. This is an album describing a journey. I don't have a concrete idea about what Gavin and the guys are saying, but I can feel that it is epic and powerful. On their own, some of the 'fillers' can sound 'cheesy' (R U O K), but taken in context they work and are very powerful. So far my favorite is contrasting Ireland with Quotes. It is interesting to note that in Ireland the singer is 'never gonna leave this place' and then in Quotes is looking for 'a way outta here.' Many references have been made to Salman Rushdie's essay Imagine There's No Heaven: A Letter to the 6 Billionth Citizen"... Which makes for even more interesting lyrical fodder.
Overall Impression — 10
I admit, on first listen this album had me saying "not bad, but I'm a little underwhelmed." As with most great art (think Tool, Isis, Dream Theater, Pelican) you will need to give this album a few listens before making up your mind on its greatness. For me, this is one of the best albums I have heard in a while. Go buy it now!