If there is one thing that really brings down this album however, it’s the vocals. It’s not that they’re bad, just REALLY out of place. I was immensely confused when I first heard growls next to the extremely clean absolutely everything else. Now, I don’t necessarily think that rough vocals with very clean production can’t be executed well (though I’ve never heard this marriage in a way I thought was done right), but here I don’t think there’s a single moment in the album where I don’t think that clean vocals would sound better. Then there’s also the length. At 57 minutes and 10 tracks, including 2 instrumentals (which are actually pretty fantastic if I do say so), it feels like the album overstays its welcome. While the last track on the album is the longest track, it is definitely a big change from the rest of the album, in that it’s very rough and much more black metal based than any of the other tracks (in fact it’s the only black metal based track on the album). The second instrumental, while certainly nice sounding and all, feels very unnecessary, especially after a very strong 8th track that seemed to tie the album together well. Really, taking out the last two tracks altogether wouldn’t inflict any harm at all, probably even improving it.
I’m starting to realize more and more how awesome heavy metal can sound if done right. Metal that is riff and melody based always tickles my classically trained bone(r) without any of the wankery that can come from such things. Mixed in with a gothic ideal that isn’t done as a cringeworthy corsetfest and you have a compelling album that breaks the mold of Swedish death metal into something cleaner, yet with just enough edge to stay interesting.