Sound — 10
This is where Opeth started developing their sound to the one we know and love. The guitars sound clearer on this album, although not as 'chunky' as in MAYH. The bass is at the perfect volume, so you can hear it clearly without it drowning out the electric guitars. The drum sound is excellent, possibly my favourite drum sound ever and all the members play brilliantly. Very precise and complex music and all pulled off perfectly. Sounds perfect.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are written with a concept behind them. From what I've managed to gather, it is the story of a man who returns to the village he was exiled from for being an 'ungodly freak' to reunite with his love, Melinda. He soons learns she is engaged to another man, and meanwhile the people who exiled the man known as the 'council of the cross' find out he has returned. They capture and kill Melinda and in rage the man fights the men, only to be beaten down. He is taken to be executed, but just before he is hung, he sees Melinda waiting for him in the next life. So basically a unhappy storyline with a slight glint of hope. The lyrics are amazing, inspiring and they fit in perfectly. Each line is sung or growled with passions sung just the perfect way to suit the music. Amazing vocal lines compliment the lyrics perfectly.
Overall Impression — 10
Personally, this is my favourite Opeth album, then it's joint between MAYH and BWP. Those 3 albums seemed to capture Opeth when they were at a creative peak, and this one was the best one to come out from them. It's all flawless, bar the dodgy mixing at the end of Serenity Painted Death.