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This album opens with a rather moody orchestral piece, which seems to be the fashion nowadays. However it sets the mood brilliantly, and the next song gives you an idea of what's to come - that is orchestral melodic death with real power, force and atmosphere.
Sometimes when a band uses an orchestra it dominates the band, riffs aren't often at the forefront of the album. Not so with this release. The riffs are extremely meaty; heavy with real force. Memorable, but I wouldn't say catchy.
If you've heard Dark Tranquillity you know what to expect from the vocals, deep bestial growls with the words spat out. You can hear the anger behind his voice, not like some death bands where the vocals are simply guttural with no real passion.
And then there's the clean vocals, used sparingly and only when they really are needed. They add a real dimension to the music, often featured on some of my favourite songs (the final song 'Lord of Lies' is a masterpiece). I can never explain clean vocals, you'll have to excuse me, but just trust me when I say that they're very good.
The orchestra, as previously mentioned, is never over-used. Though it has a presence in almost every song, it never dominates, it is only used in parts and used perfectly, better then most bands of this sort I know.
Let's get one thing straight, this band is melodic in its music, it's epic and it knows it, it revels in it, and you'll find yourself doing the same.
For those of you that think orchestral music is "Gay", there's enough of the melodic death to get you hooked. And for those that can sometimes find melodic death to be all samey like, well there's certainly enough variety in here to keep you happy too.
Oh and did I mention there's a cover of 'Beat It' by the king of pop, Mr. Jackson? This album has a way of surprising you like that...
Why not give this a higher rating, after all this praise? Well it's not doing much new, it's not a pinnacle of its genre, but what it does it does perfectly. And if that's not worth 90% nothing is...