Sound — 8
These guys are probably the heaviest djent band out there, if they could even be called that. I like to think they're kind of like what would happen if Meshuggah and a black metal band were genetically combined. The Swedes in Vildjarta are very capable musicians, playing complex polyrhythms and riffs like no one's business. The atmosphere is very eerie, due to the off-kilter, mostly atonal riffs and ambient guitar parts in the background. In addition, the production is very good - the guitars could do with a small amount more saturation, and the bass is not especially audible, though that could be due to the fact that it would be tuned nearly an octave lower than a four string bass at times (they play in G standard and Drop F (on "Dagger"). The guitar tone is very distinctive, with a lot of treble and definition, and works well for their very low tunings.
Lyrics — 7
There is an almost complete lack of clean vocals - only occurring once on the album, on "Traces". This is a rarity in this particular microcosm of progressive metal, what with bands like TesseracT and Periphery focusing on clean vocals. They do sound quite good, though. Singers Daniel del and Vilhelm Bladin trade growls and screams, with Daniel handling the highs and Vilhelm handling the lows and the occasional cleans. As far as lyrics go, the album is a concept album, so all the lyrics share a common theme of the fictional town of Masstaden. It's certainly an interesting concept, but it makes the songs suffer thematically as individuals. Unfortunately, the vocals are nigh-incomprehensible most of the time without consulting the liner notes, which almost defeats the purpose of the conceptual vocals.
Overall Impression — 8
Compared to similar artists (Periphery, Monuments, Fellsilent, TesseracT), Vildhjarta is far heavier while still being easy enough to listen to. They are most comparable to Meshuggah, since they have a very similar feel about their music in addition to the obvious influence Vildhjarta shows. I'd buy the album again if I lost it - it's a pretty good album. Recommended songs: "Eternal Golden Monk", "Traces", "When No One Walks With You", "Shadow".