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...Well, pretty much everything before this. I've heard some of their albums before this and I hated them. This is however different to many of their previous albums. Most of them average around the 60s; this album was in the low 80s before I reviewed it, coincidence? I don't think so...
Everything I hated about this band has pretty much been improved or removed. As a result, I actually though this album was OK, even good in some parts. It's almost as if they've been reading some reviews and taken note of the complaints.
My number one complaint about this band is the vocals. OK, the vocal performance is a lot better now. Dani is still a pretty shit vocalist but his vocal performance is a lot better than it was. Usually I can look past band vocalists but there is a limit to how much I can take. So usually his voice is high pitched, performed without any passion and annoying as hell. This time, it isn't so high pitched. Sometimes, he uses a growling vocal style similar to what can be found on some death metal albums.
From memory, female vocals only appear on one track which is "The Death of Love." They are performed by Sarah Ferridge, she has a pretty nice voice and I like her vocal performance on here. It's much better than having female vocals appearing on every (or almost every track). I like the spoken narration. Doug Bradley has a pretty good speaking voice, his voice suits the part. I thought the child vocals would annoy me but it didn't.
The guitar riffs are pretty good and enjoyable on this album. As opposed to previous albums where they could be quite bland an unenjoyable. There are even a few solos to be found here. (ed note: I think the band ripped off a riff from Limbonic Art, the intro to Shat out of Hell sounds very similar to the riff which is found on Limbonic Art's Epitome of Illusions.) The drums are OK, nothing overly impressive but it gets the job done.
The synths on this album are pretty nice sometimes; other times as on previous albums the synths can be pretty cheesy sometimes. The intro, In Grandeur And Frankincense Devilment Stirs is an example of this. But it's never lolgay cheesy like The Graveyard by Moonlight.
Like all CoF albums, this album is simply too long. Pretty much everything post Damnation and a Day, this band has been releasing albums which overstay their welcome. If this album had been 10 minutes shorter, it would have been much better. Removing, the intro, Tiffauges and Corpseflower would have made the album shorter. They could have even combined these songs with other songs so not to lose any of the plot. Some songs on this album are also pretty bland and as I've already stated some synths are pretty cheesy. That's all the problems I have with this.
Overall, this is not a bad album. I never thought it would happen, but CoF have released a decent album which is worth a listen once in a while. CoF fans will almost certainly love this and haters of the band might find some value in it (as I have).
Conclusion: The above is recommended for download or purchase