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Prog, power, and folk? Yes please - 89%

BloodIronBeer, October 29th, 2007

I've been listening to this album non-stop, so it's time to review what could almost be seen as a very strong continuation of Far From the Maddening Crowd.

This album is really exactly what I wanted from this band: hooks galore, awesome often folky riffs, super tight, punchy drumming, outstanding vocal performances from both singers, a palette of many genres, and a nice helping of complexity to top it all off.

The grand folk infused power metal continues here, with only two discernable differences. Both of which are improvements.

The first difference is heaps of riffs with a touch of impressive and refreshing complexity. Some songs just have an obscene number of riffs, and few of them don't completely kick ass. There is a good bit of complexity as they dance between many different styles, sometimes only giving a tip of the hat in a part here, and only skimming the surface there.

Unless I simply was ignorant of past shining lyrical accomplishments, the second difference is well written and insightful lyrics. I am very rarely impressed with lyrics - be it for high standards on my part or a general apathy, or inability on the part of most metalheads writing lyrics - I am, however, quite smitten with the lyrics here.

Every song has character and charm. I agree with the last reviewer that Sleep is probably the weakest track; starting with a Middle Eastern chant-like a capalla section (very strange), I think the problem with the song is that it’s a very drastic turn around from the rest of the album. But otherwise all the songs managed to convey power and show the band's finesse.

Carpe Noctum is a superb closing track. After an awesome neo-classical riff, the song hushes down into a soft, reflective and somber mid tempo progressive part, which builds up seamlessly. After a number of other parts (yes, this album has a great many of them) and the chorus, the band returns to that awesome neo-classical riff. And then into an epic symphonic phase with a choir and endless little solos and parts. The fact that I have such difficulty putting what I'm hearing into words is to the band's credit. It proves that they're not just smearing the lines between genres, they're destroying the foundations of genres altogether.

This is indeed a worthy follow-up to Far From the Maddening Crowd - and that should tell you all you need to know.