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Great, but just a tad off. - 93%

TurtleSoup, December 28th, 2009

Let me start out by saying this is a fucking great album. If you're a fan of metal in general, it's a must-listen. This band is probably one of the most unique I've heard in my long life of metal, and that's saying quite a lot.

I'll start right off the bat with the lyrical themes. If you're Christian or hold religion in high regard, you should look elsewhere. I feel as if this album isn't quite as anti-theistic as The Project Hate's other albums. A recurring theme is "possession", "my soul", and "darkness". It's kind of emo (not quite), but it's really just a darker side of not-quite-anti-theistic death metal. That's not to say it's bad, but it seems like it deals more with personal problems than the other albums do.

When I first heard this album, I was immediately hooked by the great intro riffs to "Descend Into the Eternal Pits". One thing that I value most in metal is the skill a band has to involve many instruments and still have a song. This is definitely the case for the band. They've got a synth popping up every so often, but just enough in the background to not overwhelm the guitars, some industrial beats which show up mainly during the vocalist portions, and some neat effects as segues into different parts of a song.

This brings me to my main gripe. Some of the songs are just too damn long. Sure, I love long songs, but there's long, and then there's "will this song ever end?" "Descend Into the Eternal Pits" is one of these songs, despite being one of my favorite. It has a great start and a fucking awesome end, but the intermediate portion changes too much, as if it doesn't want to be part of the same song; even the vocals change to a mix of growl and pained yelling. This only lasts for half of a minute or so, which is short in comparison to the song, until it snaps right back into place with death growls and heavy riffs. If the songs were somewhere between half and two-thirds the length they are now, that bridge portion could be done away with completely.

The other problem I have with the album is that the songs don't really flow together as well as they could. It plays more like a compilation of great songs than an album meant to be played from start to finish. It's kind of the same deal as with the different parts of the individual songs: some of the tracks feel out of place on the album because of some nuance, such as overly-ethereal female vocals on "Arise to His World of Infamy". This isn't bad per se, it's just slightly out of place.

All-in-all, this is a great album full of mind-blowing tracks. The female vocals fit in quite very well with the harsh death growls, and the industrial beats that pop up every so often are great in combination with the "real" instruments. If you're into death metal, or into power or otherwise female-fronted metal and want to get into the heavier side, this is a great album to turn to.