Sound — 8
I think the sound was overall pretty impressing. The only thing that made me slightly mad was the abundance of slower song (i.e. some of sleep, disenchanted, the end, cancer, I don't love you). There is a pretty interesting storyline, which is about a person (assuming a man) who is dying young in the hospital, and is thinking over his life and his inevitable death. I'm not totally sure if he actually ends up dying, but that's all open to interpretaion. The guitar tones are pretty cool, very treble-ish. A lot of interesting rhythms. There are also some mildly awesome solos (but nothing close to shred, which could be good or bad, depending on your music preferences). A lot of the songs have a very cool classic rock vibe to them (especially House of Wolves), without totally abonding their whole gothic-punk-emo thing.
Lyrics — 9
In my own personal (and often challenged) opinion, I honestly think that this album has some really good lyrics. The only thing that could be a minor (or major) turnoff to some is that a lot of the songs deal with with death, and some mild swearing (the major ones are edited out in the clean version) It follows a good storyline, and will get you thinking. Some of the lyrics are actually a little funny, like in Mama.
Overall Impression — 8
I think this a very good record, it one of my many favorites. The one thing that I absolutley hate is when people dismiss this as crap for being "emo". It's not really all that emo. Well I suppose it is emo, as in emotional, not as in total poo. It can be fun to listen to at some points, and at the same time depressing. Overall I definately think it's worth your money. Don't download it though, because you'll be missing some pretty awesome album art/lyric booklet.