Sound — 10
Planetary Duality. The title implies science fiction, which is relatively prevalent throughout the album, with song titles such as 'XenoChrist' and 'Shape Shifters.' The album opens with the short, hard hitting Prison Born, with its blisteringly fast fills and stop-rhythm chorus. Michael Keene's guitar performance throughout the record is extremely well-constructed, with some of the best melody lines you've ever heard on a death metal album, such as in 'Coldly Calculated Design' and 'The Ancient Covenant.' The medley that is the title track is an extremely effective dose of ambience in the first movement, and unforgiving death metal in the second. Lyle Cooper's drumming is just outright fantastic, if only for the fact that the drumming fits in with the music, even among the complex time signature changes. The bass is barely noticeable, except for the tapping fill that opens 'The Ancient Covenant.'
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are typical death metal fare, but the way in which they are presented are what really prevent the album from ever becoming monotonous. You've got the standard growling and shrieking for most of the album, but amidst this, there are sections where the vocals take on a 'robot' sound, and even some bits where Keene takes on some clean singing, which lends to the songs extremely effectively, without sounding horribly out of place, except for one instance in 'Sons of Belial,' which isn't, by any means, a bad song. The clean vocals are an extremely welcome change from typical death metal, especially in that they don't sound like something you'd find on a Killswitch Engage record.
Overall Impression — 9
Several fans have complained that the album is too short. But that's th beauty of it. You can listen to the whole thing without getting bored, or being unable to differentiate between two songs. Because Planetary Duality is so short, it saves itself from the monotony that plagues even the best of death metal records. All in all, it's an excellent album. I definitely recommend it to anyone who appreciates a good death metal band, but isn't closed-minded to some unusual aspects of the music.