Sound — 9
This was an overall strong album. Not quite as good as Break the Cycle, but still a very strong effort. There is not much screaming in the album, so fans of the screaming in Break The Cycle might be a little dissapointed in that respect. However, the music was just as heavy as Break The Cycle. Also, the album had a very good mix of heavy and slow songs. This was good to see after 14 Shades of Gray, which kind of got bogged down in the same song patterns. Of course, Staind has suffered a little in terms of album sales now that the Limp Bizkit era has ended (or is at least nowhere near as popular). As far as the style goes, Staind sticks to their bread and butter sound. However, they make it interesting by changing the pattern and sound of every song on the album. This is kind of innovative for Staind, who are very capable of boring us to tears with their clean verse/heavy chorus routine. However, this is strictly an alternative metal album, and they stick with that genre the whole way through. Overall, a totally cool album with big, heavy riffs and even a few solos.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are typical Staind. They seem to be in the vein of Break The Cycle. This is good, because this is what Staind does best. They are not happy lyrics, like most of 14 Shades Of Gray was. The lyrics don't deal with self-loathing (as with previous albums), but seem to be mostly dealing with relationships and betrayal/being forsaken. Of course there are a few exceptions, such as "Schizophrenic Conversations," which attempts to take you into Lewis' head. But for the most part, the lyrics deal with relationships gone bad. The lyrics fit the music well. When the music is sort of uplifting and hopeful, the lyrics reflect the same. When the music is dark, so are the lyrics. Lewis is an excellent singer. He sounds just as good on this album as any other of Staind's.
Overall Impression — 9
I think this album compares well with any Seether album, but maybe a little less grungy with less screaming. Fans of Break the Cycle will definitely like this album alot. As far as the most impressive songs, "Right Here" is a great song which really stands out on the album. Also, "King Of All Excuses" is a great angry, hateful song, in which there are really heavy guitar parts, and alot of screaming during the bridge. Gotta love it. Also, "Falling" and "Cross To Bear" and have great heavy riffs with a great chorus. I love the fact that Staind did chose to break their own cycle of clean verse/heavy chorus for all the songs. It makes their music so much more interesting and fun to listen to. I love the guitar tone on the cd. It can get pretty heavy, but the intricacies of Mike's playing still come through. I really don't hate anything about the cd, although one or two songs are a little too uplifting to kick any ass. They're not bad songs, I just prefer the pissed-off, despairing Staind that we hear on the rest of the album. If I lost this album or had it stolen, I would definitely buy a new one. Go do yourself a favor. Buy this album and support the great music that Staind has given us over the years.