Sound — 9
Firstly, I want to say this is the most diverse thing I've ever heard. Starting with a Killswitch Engage style brick to the face, which progresses to an awesome shred metal solo. Bit too much screaming, but if you like that, then this would be an awesome track for you. Very Killswitch. Same vocalist, in fact. Next, is The Enemy which in one sense is reminiscent of SOAD's Question? with the acoustic intro, performed excellently by Andreas Kisser. Then comes the noise. In very large quantities, at that. What did you expect? Mark Hunter's doing the Vox, after all. Now here's one I don't like. Does Glen Benton usually sing like this? It's awful, but maybe a fan of Deicide would think differently, I wouldn't know. The instrumentalists are excellent, but I can't enjoy this. In the fire is distinctly weird. Then again, I blame King Diamond. This is the strangest track on the album. As with everything Matt Heafy and his partner in crime - Corey Beaulieu - do, unbelievable guitar work, this track features the pair at their creative best. The future is certainly bright for Trivium, if nothing else. Great track, and King Diamond adds some variety onto an album which to the casual observer would so far feel a little samey, since not everybody is a death/black/thrash/speed metal expert. An unorthodox alternative to screaming. The End is very well written and proves Matt Heafy can do more than growl for a prolonged length of time. However, I'm tiring of this track. It's very mainstream. Also depends very heavily upon the guitar harmonics. Now this, Tired 'n lonely is where the album really starts to push away the metal and try for something a little different. It's like punk, but a little darker. Definitely a great track, although I do wonder why it needed four guitarists despite Joey Jordison doing both bass and drums. Independent (Voice of the Voiceless) is a diverse track - Max Cavalera destroying your earlobes one minute, Iron Maiden style three part harmonics the next. I prefer the Maiden style part, personally. Definitely deserves a listen, though, if just for Jeff Water's solo. Dawn of a Golden Age is not a track I particularly like, as I think Dani Filth is at his best with slow atmospheric black metal, and this isn't slow at all, but frenetic and intense. The guitarwork here does not flow as well as it could, and while many may like this track, it is far too black for my tastes. The Rich Man is very reminiscent of Slipknot - Understandably, since the vocalist is the same here. Quiet and haunting during the verse, then smashes you in the face during the chorous. Class! No way out is like glassjaw really - hardcore with the almost misplaced vocals of Daryl Palumbo. For any GJ fans out there. Baptized in the Redemption is where things, in my opinion, become a little repetitive. Screaming vocals, heavy-as-f*ck guitar, and then a shred metal solo. Next! Roads is the most innovative track here. Not metal, not necessarily rock, but haunting music with celtic overtones, which brings out the best in Mikael Akerfeldt. Possibly the most important track on the album, because it proves that these men can do nigh on anything with their talents, they have the talent to play any music they choose. And Akerfeldt has never sounded so good. The intro to Blood and Flames sent shivers down my spine. It's simple, but seems so right. The vocals are strange, and the song sounds disjointed. Leach randomly lifts his voice into the highest pitch possible and then down again, and despite all this, its one of my favourite tracks. How do you make something so simple and disjointed, which doesn't fit together at all, sound so good? Ask Heafy and JD Leach, only they know. This song reminds me of, if anyone, Metallica. The vocalist has a voice similar to James Hetfield, and the rhythm guitar is the sort of sound Metallica are known for. However, the vocalist does things that Hetfield wouldn't even consider. Also, (I know I'm saying this a lot) a really really good solo. I don't wanna be (a superhero) is punk all the way - a rhythm guitarist played a few chords, stuck in a quick solo (albeit a nice one), and the track was over in 2 minutes. All of this, however, adds up to a good punk song, so I'm not complaining. Army of the Sun, overall, is a good song. Well written, with vocals half screaming and half sung. A highlight is when the track slows down for a little while, and everything just builds up. Also, when the two vocalists both sing at the end, meaning a scream entwined normal vocals. A very good track. On no mas control, the songwriting is a little poor. The guitar is not particularly intricate, although when Ill Nino's vocalist Cristian Machado actually sings, the track is improved a little. Enemy of the state is deep and gothic, and the vocalist scares me. A little, anyway. Implementing a lot of ideas that haven't been used before this track - slide guitar, samples and the like - this comes of as a very strange, unclassifiable song. I'm still not sure if I like it, but I'll listen to it until I've figured it out. There is so much cleverness and creativity in this album that it's bursting at the seams. This album allowed so many musicians to experiment with sounds that they couldn't normally, and has given us a wonderfully diverse albums.
Lyrics — 7
I think that some of the singers are truly unique - people like Daryl Palumbo and Corey Taylor are so noticable just from the tone of their voice, and King Diamond's inventiveness is unsurpassable. These are the ones that make this album worthwhile. I think for the most part this album had some top quality vocal skills, but some are repetitive and so dull it hurts.
Overall Impression — 9
I want to point out that I very rarely listen to death/black metal, and stuff with too much screaming involved. I only listen when it is of excellent quality. Considering I've listened to the death metal tracks and enjoyed them, doesn't that say something about the quality of this album? I knew I'd love the Daryl Palumbo track (No Way Out), he's an excellent vocalist. I can say the same for Tired and Lonely, with Caputo from LOA taking vocal duties there. However, the fact that I can listen to most of the album appreciating it, just proves the quality. If it were stolen, I would be little disappointed to lose the booklet describing the artists, but hey! The entire album's on my computer now, so what do I care?