Sound — 10
The sound of this album is classic RED with a new touch. As they have in every album except "Release the Panic," in this album there are very prominent strings which drive songs forward and give them a master touch ("Imposter," "Shadow and Soul"). The heavier tracks feature guitars tuned as low as ever, with powerful rhythms and epic riffs ("Shadow and Soul," "Darkest Part"). On the lighter tracks, piano is more prominent, and this creates a calm atmosphere. The lead singer, Michael Barnes, really shows off his skills in both singing and screaming, however it could be argued that the latter is slightly overused on this album ("Shadow and Soul," "Fight to Forget," "Gravity Lies"). The new touches are the electronic elements, which could be given more prominence on the whole ("Falling Sky," "Yours Again"). Also emphasized more than ever on this album is the band's unique ability to put ultra-heavy parts of songs right next to ultra-light parts and still have a strong sense of flow.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics sometimes seem cryptic ("Shadow and Soul," "Falling Sky," "Gravity Lies," "The Ever"). However, some lyrics seem very clear ("Darkest Part," "Of These Chains," "Part That's Holding On"), and these really fit the tone of the music. Few, but some, lyrics seem cliche ("Yours Again," "Take Me Over"). As implied by the title, the overall lyrical theme is that of the contrast between beauty and rage, which is interesting and imaginative. Overall, throughout the album, even in the more unclear parts, the lyrics seem interwoven with the music and change dramatically just as the music does.
Overall Impression — 9
This is definitely RED's best album to date. It refines the melodic hard rock sounds of their previous albums, and adds new elements, making it seem unique compared to other albums. The most similar artists I've heard in style (Evanescence, Breaking Benjamin) don't quite create the same mix of heavy with light, and loud with soft, that RED does so well. One large annoyance, however, is the riff on "Shadow and Soul," which decides not to fit into a normal time signature such as 4/4 or 12/8, but instead creates a confused feel which messes up the rhythm. The most impressive songs, in my opinion, are "Darkest Part," "Falling Sky" and "Gravity Lies."