Sound — 9
The band's second album takes everything to a whole new level, and it's almost hard to believe it's the same band. The riffs are much heavier and more brutal, the drumming is more aggressive and Laura's vocals are a lot better then on the debut.
The album consists of 10 songs spanning over 34 minutes, which is a bit too short. However, the only filler is the instrumental outro song "The Last Catastrophe." The rest of the songs are great and have no trace left of metalcore. They range from 2:30 to 4:30 minutes long, most of which could easily have been 30 seconds longer. The sound of the album could be described as a slightly more melodic version of The Black Dahlia Murder. The guitars have a nice raw tone, but the somewhat lacking production causes some buzz and distortion on high volume levels, especially when listening in headphones, but other then that, the album is well produced. Vocalist & lyricwriter Laura Nichol, drummer Ben Murray and bassist Mike Dias wrote and recorded the album as a three piece. All the guitar parts were written by Ben Murray, which both makes the guitarwork more impressive and explains the absence of guitar solos. Not that solos would necessarily have made for a better album, but they might had.
Lyrics — 9
Laura's lyrics are awesome as usual and even darker then on "The Hero Cycle." Her style of writing lyrics reminds me a lot of Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist/Arch Enemy) with a lot of complex and at times almost poetical parts that can be quite hard to fully understand sometimes. Here's an example of the similarity's; Laura: "I found my dreams showered upon undeserving wretches." Alissa: "Exhibitionist intentions through the window carved in skin." Here's another example; Laura: "My secrets were being vomited from the mouths of glistening gluttons while I stood empty-handed." Alissa: "But foolish is the one who complacently thinks himself King, because when time erodes the past what remains are Nature's things." These kind of lyrics shows that the one who wrote them is intelligent and has an interest in literature. I really like this type of lyrics, but there was a song where a part of the lyrics repeated itself 6 times, which was a few to many.
When it comes to the vocals, Laura has a better and more diverse growl then on the first album. Sometimes she sing so fast that you wonder how she has time to breathe, and I think it would have been better if she had sung a bit slower on some songs. Her style of not singing along with the music or the melody, on this and the next album is really unique and works surprisingly well.
Overall Impression — 8
The best songs on the album are:
"The Hunt": A thrashy 2:46 minute song that has a bit of an The Black Dahlia Murder feel to it. Awesome riffs and great lyrics.
"Fractured by the Fall": One of the most melodic songs. Has a really awesome lead over the main riff, which also play during the chorus. It reminds me of the song "Fragile Heroes" from the "Stormchaser" album, which also starts with a riff playing 2 times and then plays again 2 times with a lead on top.
"The Static Masses": The best song, a complete mosh-fest that features extremely powerful riffs and insane double-bass drumming. It's also the best song vocally and one of my Top 5 songs by the band.
Lyrically, I would say the best songs are "Remains of the Gods" (which has awesome lines like "I never boast of bloodshed unless I have the heads to prove my slaughter"), and the anti-religious songs "Letter to My Abuser" and "Your Devoted Victim."
My overall impression is that this album is great and really fun to play on guitar, but also is a bit too short and not as fantastic as the 2 following albums.