The new release of this Colorado Metal-band comes only one year after what I consider to be their best album ever, "Thane To The Throne" (yeah, even better than "Ample Destruction").
Well, this record doesn't achieve to exceed the previous album, but I have to say it's still an excellent album. Two are the strong-points here: the exceptional vocals of Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin and the lead guitar-work by Chris Broderick. Harry's vocal range is nothing less than impressive (check out "Power Surge" and "Cold Is The Blade" if you don't trust me), he can reach practically every note he wants to; his powerful, soaring voice sets him as one of the best Metal-singers of today. But it's not only his vocal prowess which amazes me, it's also the deep interpretation of the songs he provides. I think "The Scarlet Letter" and "All Things Renewed" are the best examples of how much expressive he can be.
On the other hand, Chris' leads fit neatly every song on the album. I mean, every lead works in order to create a particular feeling in the song, using structures of notes and different techniques to properly define the tracks (e.g. the sweep picking in the opener).
In addition, the whole band is very talented, having a fairly technical approach to the songs that improve the quality of the album. There also are some accurate arrangements increasing the variety of the already huge song-writing. In fact, you'll find some violin inserts, acoustic breaks and even a Gregorian chant (on "Unworthy") scattered throughout the album, not to mention a bit of synths here and there and a few dual harmony guitar leads ("Frozen In Fear", "The Silent").
The production, courtesy of Mr. Jim Morris (ICED EARTH, DEATH and a million other bands) is the icing on the cake, every instrument being heavy yet smooth and clear; maybe a bit too much similar to the latest ICED EARTH-opus, but I don't wanna bother, it's just an impression, and the musical offering easily makes up for it.
At the end of the day, this is surely one of the best albums released in the ongoing year. I recommend this record to the whole Metal-dom, but if you especially like traditional Metal, this is a must-have.