Sound — 8
My first listen to the album I could tell the band tried to make something epoch with much longer songs than the last cd. The initial song, "Clenching The Fists Of Dissent" really grabs you into the theme of this CD right away. What I can hear after listening to this CD is that at times it seems The band sometimes "tried too hard" to make long songs because there are parts of some songs that don't really mix into each other too well (transition at 4.31 into the first track being an example of what I am talking about for those who were lucky enough to get the album before the release date). This record sounds a lot like passed efforts by the band but with a lot more effort into evolving the song which ultimately keeps you interested into the songs all the way through. This album is full of a lot of very great riffs as you would expect from Machine Head and definitely gets your head bobbing with a lot of heavy chugging guitars. Robert Flynn does sing on this album of course and "Beautiful Morning" is a great example of his vocal work on the album.
Lyrics — 8
Overall Roberts Lyrics are very angry (4.15 into track 3 "Aesthetics Of Hate") is a great example of even when he is speaking very quietly you can hear his emotion he is pouring into this song. "May the hand of God strike them down." There are more examples but I will leave it up to you to explore them for yourself when you pick up the record in stores.
Overall Impression — 8
I would say this is a great follow up to passed records by Machine Head. They have added further technicality to their sound by experimenting with lengthening their songs which ultimately makes songs a lot less repetitive if you end up listening to them over and over again. One of the more impressive songs for me as a listener right now is "Aesthetics Of Hate" because of the main riff and that the song is very well constructed overall, although my opinion will probably change as I listen to the record more and more seeing as how I've only had it for less than a week. Only negative to the record is that some of the songs do not flow into each other as you would expect as which it almost seems like they just cut the track and slapped another track at the transition.