Sound — 8
The sound quality is up to par with the '90s and the album sounds great whether it's the original grey cover version or the black remastered version. Although not as blatantly commercial and po-infused as "Risk," "Cryptic Writings" is a noticeably slower moving album with simpler tracks such as "Trust" and "Almost Honest." The most pop oriented track was "I'll Get Even" which may be a major disappointment for those who have come to love the hard and fast hitting older albums like "Peace Sells" and "Rust In Peace." Despite these deviantions from the archtypical Megadeth sound, it is still uniquely Megadeth in essence and deserves a listen.
Lyrics — 7
As mentioned, the lyrics are more pop oreinted and easier to decipher than their previous albums (a bit ironic since the album title is "Cryptic Writings"). The album's lyrics and song titles generally deal with secrets, trust, deception and revenge (it's almost "emo" if you think of those themes in romantic context but I wouldn't dare call Megadeth "emo").
Overall Impression — 8
I generally enjoyed the album for it's great sound quality and clarity. The songs are also easier to listen to due to simpler song structures and riffs, which is great for those who are new to metal or Megadeth though "Countdown To Extinction" is much better as a easy-listeing Megadeth album. I'd definitely keep this album and repurchase if it were lost.