Sound — 8
Warrel Dane is an extremely underrated singer, in my opinion. The guy is simply amazing. At first he really needs to grow on you, but when he does you will become a fan. He has such a wide range of styles and he really knows how to write great music. First off, this album does not hit up there with some of his other stuff that he has done with Nevermore, but it definitely holds it's own against some of those amazing albums. The riffs, to me, are somewhat catchier than most of Nevermore's stuff, and the guitar parts are very well done. While I miss hearing Loomis' crazy solo's mixing with Dane's great vocals, Peter Wichers does a great job of filling his shoes and actually gives a great performance. The songs are very catchy and well-written. The album starts out with the awesome opener "When We Pray". Dane's singing in this song is definitely one of his best off the album. The chorus line is catchy and very well-delivered by Dane. The second song is "Messenger", and once again, we have a very well-written and well-performed song by Dane. Jeff Loomis shows up on this song to deliver an awesome solo. After that comes "Obey" and "Lucretia My Reflection" which continues the barrage of killer songs. "Let You Down", "Your Chosen Misery", and August" are very ballad oriented songs, but at the same time, they're also pretty heavy. They also manage to slow the pace down a little bit and set you up for the epic "The Day The Rats Went To War". Boy, this is such an awesome song! It opens with a killer riff and managed to catch me off guard the first time I heard it. This song is very Nevermore sounding, including the solo. "Brother", while not my favorite song on the album, is still a pretty great song, and the lyrics are pretty serious, which I'll get into in the lyrics section. "Patterns" is another one of my favorite song. It starts out with a killer riff and continues to keep the listener interested. Once again, this song is one of Dane's premier songs off of the album. It definitely features some of his best work. "This Old Man" is another heartfelt and serious song by Dane involving a true life story. The album ends with "Equilibrium", which is a great closing song. The sound of this album can vary at times, and that is one of the reasons I love it so much. It shows a somewhat different side of Dane. He continues to shock me at how great of a singer he is.
Lyrics — 10
Dane is one of the best lyricists I have ever heard. He really writes what he feels and his songs have so much meaning to them. Some of the standout songs are The Day The Rats Went To War, Brother, This Old man, and Equilibrium. They all have great meaning to them, and all display Dane's true feelings on the world, family, and random things that have happened in his life. One of the reasons why I like Dane so much is because he doesn't hold back when it comes to his lyrics. He shares some of this most personal thoughts on matters, and that is truly the making of a great lyricist. "Brother", of course, involves Dane's relationship with his brother. Dane lays it all out on the table and holds nothing back in this song. This is definitely one of the albums best songs lyrically. "This Old Man" is yet another song describing a real life story involving Dane. The song is about an Old Man that Dane would visit when he was a young boy and how he would tell Dane how wished his children would visit him. Years later, the man died alone. Once again, a very heartfelt song by Dane. All of the lyrics are very well-written and definitely one of the albums strong points.
Overall Impression — 9
While this doesn't beat out Warrel's performance in masterpieces like "This Godless Endeavor" by Nevermore, it still is a great album and a notable start for Warrel's solo career. The thing this album manages to do is show off Warrel's vocals more than Nevermore, which is what Dane was going for. My favorite songs from the album would have to be: When We Pray, Messengers, Lucretia My Reflection, When The Rats Went To War, Pattern, and Equilibrium. I love quite a bit about this album, but I can't say much about the things that I hate because I can't really think of any. There are definitely songs that kind of break down the epic nature of this album, but they are still good songs. In the end, this is a quality album and really has got me anxious for another solo release by Dane. I would definitely buy this album again if I lost it because it is definitely worth the money.