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Don't let the title fool you, I love each and every PoS album. What I find commendable is that they somehow maintained the ability to surprise. I was actually expecting something similar to The Perfect Element, but maybe with a touch more darkness and energy. In some ways, it's like that. Yeah, it's fairly straight-forward, and it's heavy. You could say it's the St. Anger of prog metal. Even the solos are minimal, smothered in rapid-fire vocals. You don't get the motion and the texture of the solos and the guitars in general you might find on Remedy Lane, but that's alright.
When I first heard about Kristoffer leaving the band, I was shocked. He's one of the best bassists I've ever heard, and was almost the entire reason I picked up the instrument. But I know Daniel wrote the majority of the material, if not all, and was a more-than-competent bass player himself. But I figured Kris was more in touch with the bass, and maybe he is, but Daniel pulled this off with flying colors. Inaudible bass? No more than in any other albums. The production remains top-notch, and Daniel would never smother an instrument. You just need to know how to listen. The bass in Scarsick and Disco Queen alone are fantastic.
And Disco Queen... I have to comment. I was taken aback. Being caught off guard has never been so pleasurable. Maybe not the highlight of the album, but it feels like a pillar. It's like a splash of red on a black canvas. But don't get me wrong, it's not like the rest of the album is monotonous.
No, but possibly the biggest change in the PoS album structure is that each song is its own song. They don't thrive off the previous and following tracks. The endings and intros of songs still complement each other, but they only set the songs off in different directions, and if that's not progressive I don't know what is.
And while at first listen, I was kinda iffy on the whole hate on our nation's social status (I'm an American), only because it's been done to death. But this was as refreshing as it gets. First two tracks take nu-metal and make it a viable genre, while completely separating the band from the crap you hear on the radio. Some of Daniel's raps are reminiscent of Zach de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine. But Daniel can also sing. Don't let any bias against rap in metal let you toss aside these great tracks.
And I can't pick a favorite song. Right now I'm stuck on Idiocracy, but this is the 4th track I've picked as my favorite. And tomorrow it might be a different one. It changes constantly. So don't let anyone tell you this isn't progressive; not technical. There are layers and layers of melody and intricacy, and what else can you expect from them? That they can maintain so much attention to detail while thriving on rhythm is astounding.
I can't say this for sure, but I'd bet money that this will be my favorite album of 2007 come December.