Sound — 10
The sound on this album is awsome. Great use of layered rhythm and lead guitars. The drumming is nothing short of excellent. Acoustic guitars are no stranger either. The bass doesn't come through the mix very well, but it sounds great when you can hear it.
Lyrics — 10
I love the lyrics on this album. Alot of cool topics, my favorite being Brainwashed; a song about corruption in religion. Other topics include a teenage suicide, and the destruction of the Garden Of Eden, to name a few. Then of course there's 16 minute epic Dante's Inferno (based on the book) which takes you on a tour through the nine plains of hell. All of the lyrics are very well written, and Matt Barlow (this was his first album with the band) does an excellent job singing. His vocals ranges from an angry growl, to a soft, melancholy voice. He does some of his best soft singing on the acoustic track The Pierced Spirit.
Overall Impression — 10
I'm surprised this album hasn't been rated before, as it's equally excellent when compared to the other Iced Earth albums. This one has alot of anger in it, especially in the title track, which is one of Iced Earth's heaviest song (if not the heaviest). Any fan of thrash or death metal fan that's never gotten into Iced Earth would definitely find this album interesting. If I lost this, I would cry in a dark corner and cut my wrists before buying it again.