Sound — 10
The opening song I expected to be heavy as hell so I was slightly shocked to hear a jazzy piece as the opening track. It had a groove to it though so I really dug Windowpane. Then I listened for distortion for the rest of the album but there was none. I didn't miss it. The 100% cleanness of the album made me listen harder because it was so quiet and in the end I soaked up a lot of the CD. The tone of the guitars on the solos was good. Those were distorted but I would count it as such. I really think distortion would have ruined this masterpiece.
Lyrics — 10
These were sort of cryptic but I think I got the gist of what Mikael wa trying to convey to me. It seemed as though the lyrics were all about dying and regret. My favorite lyrics were those of Hop Leaves. I foun out that the song is dedicated to Mikael's grandmother who died just before the release of the album. Windowpane was the same way. I liked the vocal melody during the choruses of In My Time of Need. I only sort of missed the death growl. For that I would put a 9 but I don't feel like ruining this albums perfect streak.
Overall Impression — 10
Top-notch blue-chip CD for the soft rock lover who is into underground music. Even the people who like the hardcore will get into the groove of the first track, Windowpane right away. Ending Credits also moves right along with the fantastic bass work. I only kinda missed the distortion and the death growl but other than those I have no complaints. I think this album should have won a grammy of some sort for something.