Sound — 10
The first thing that strikes you about KsE's new album is how thick and chunky both guitars sound - it's like 'Black' era Metallica on steroids! The album opens with a syncopated riff very reminicent of Meshuggah but quickly picks up pace with a song laden with some heavy and quirky riffs. The drum sound is really heavy and Justin Foley is a much less punky drummer than his predecessor. Mike D'Antonio's bass playing is incredible and really gels together the whole KsE sound, complementing both the guitars and drums with his precise technique. The track of the album has to be 'Inhale/Breathe Life' as it combines an acoustic intro with some of the best riffs this side of Sweden, and also features some tasty pinch harmonics and is the only song with a proper solo! In short, this CD is damn good! Go out and buy it!
Lyrics — 10
It's a concept album! Don't run away just yet, but their is a definite thread running through Howard Jones' lyrics, which gives the album a sense of continuity. As far as vocal delivery, Jones had a great amount of control over his voice and can adjust to perfectly complement what the rest of the band are doing. The final track 'Hope Is' features some hardcore punk style chants which sound a bit wierd on record but would seriously get the room going when performed live. Former vocalist Jesse Leach also cameos but it's hard to tell where (I'm 99% sure it's on 'World Ablaze'), giving a nostalgic value for long-time fans.
Overall Impression — 10
This album definitly stands up to KsE's past works but builds on every aspect and is a sure improvement. I'd recommend this album for fans of In Flames, Soilwork, Shadows Fall, From Autumn To Ashes, Arch Enemy, Thrice and much much more. Any self respecting fan of good heavy music should by this album - your collection simply is not complete without it! It's That Good!