Sound — 10
The sound is very refreshing! Unlike the more rock oriented With Teeth, we get a great techno/industrial sound, great pounding beats layered with electronic noise. The album certaintly doesn't sound at all like anything else Reznor has done, and that's not a bad thing. This is the most solidly industrial album he's made. I also prefer Trent Reznor's voice to the voice from With Teeth. While I don't like it quite as much as the voice from The Downward spiral, it's very good. Great sound.
Lyrics — 9
Reznor has always been somewhat criticized for his lyrics (Nine Inch Nails is my favorite band, and I'm a diehard fan, but I'll admit, the lyrics have seemed somewhat forced in the past) and this is probably his most mature lyrical album yet. As you probably know, this album is all about the apocalypse being near, and is clearly criticizing power hungry people. With lines such as "watch what you say, they can read your mind" I have no problem with the lyrics, they're quite mature and impressive.
Overall Impression — 10
While I don't think this is quite as good as The Downward Spiral, and I still don't really have it on where I'd place it with Reznor's other albums, this might be the best album since TDS, the Fragile at the very least. The standout tracks in my mind would have to be, in no real order, "In This Twilight", "Me, I'm not" "The Great Destroyer" and the instrumental "Another version of the truth." I think for diehard nine inch nails fan this album will be a breath of fresh air, there is no low point here, unlike With Teeth, and some of the weak spots on the Fragile, I was hooked all the way through. This contains the single Survivalism, which while good, is easily my least favorite song on the album. It's a little bit more safe and isn't quite as industrial. This came out today (April Seventeenth, '07) and I'm deciding to review it right now. My opinions of my favorite songs might change, but for now that's a pretty basic idea. If you love Nine Inch Nails, I think you'll love this. I can already put this among my favorite albums. Not one weak moment.