Sound — 9
Very intellectual metal. Not necessarily over thought, but definitely well planned. Instrumental, too complicated for vocals. Lots of different techniques used in playing, though sometimes hard to hear. I saw an interview with these guys in a very popular guitar magazine and got the low down on this way-better-than-their-last-one album. On their first album they intentionally tried to make it as complicated as possible, and it showed. Yes, it was a half step shy of a technical masterpiece (and probably darn near impossible to perform consistently), but it lacked feeling and soul. This album still retains the ridiculous level of technical playing and free form song structure, but relies heavily on feeling and groove to drive the technical runs. This album makes you want to bang your head more than read a book about it lol. The style is what I like to call 'Epic Metal'. Every song is meant to sound huge and deep. Other than that all I'd really like to add is that these guys have wonderful tone and play on the neck pickup more than any other metal player I've heard. Plus one of the guitarists plays a custom made eight string guitar and is, in my opinion, freakin' crazy for it.
Lyrics — 9
There are no lyrics, and I'm very glad of that fact. Too often these days I hear singers who just can't keep up with the band they're 'fronting'. This music was meant to be heard on it's own. It tells wonderful stories and stimulates the imagination. So I guess you could say it does have lyrics, just not ones produced by a human voice box. They're more like images that flood your mind while taking the music in.
Overall Impression — 9
I can't say that these guys really sound like any other band out there. Yeah, you could probably argue all day about who their playing influences are and who they stole that technique from. But at the end of the day these guys make some great music that really jumps into a few genres quite easily and blurs the lines so much it's near impossible to tell which ones it's in lol. I haven't picked a favorite track yet, but give me time. I'm not sure if someone can really steal mp3 files and leave behind copies, but if some crazy fool did copy this album and then erase it from my computer I'd probably beat him severely about the lips and eyebrows until he cried for his mommy.