Sound — 7
Opeth's soft Album. It holds up to the high progressive standards that Opeth has repeatedly set. The songs are often a lot shorter than most Opeth songs, rating in about 5 to 6 minutes each. The music has a good deal of atmosphere to it, but underneath that is often subtle complexities that make this an enjoyable album. Very mournful, and not really catchy, but that is Opeth. In short, this is an excellent album, but is somewhat of an acquired taste.
Lyrics — 9
M. Akerfeldt wrote all the lyrics except for "death whispered a lullaby" which was written by Steven Wilson, whom did a lot of work and contribution to the album's non-musical side. Overall the lyrics are quite mournful, which is expected of Opeth. Very solemn, the lyrics rarely seem to give any resolution. Imagery is done well, giving you just enough to intrigue your mind. If you wanted to, you could easily dive very deep into the lyrics. Akerfeldt does a decent job singing, but your probably not going to by this album for his voice. His lyrics are much more powerful.
Overall Impression — 9
I feel that this is an excellent album by many standards. If you are an Opeth fan, I would recommend this as a must. If your not a fan of Opeth, I'd try buying Ghost Reveries or Watershed first. If your looking for an excellent, unique, not happy album, that is soft and quiet, this is the place. I would be careful though, don't expect anything catchy or poppy to show your friends.