These Norwegian prog metallers’ fifth album threatens to deliver great things. Roiling Nevermore-esque riffs with added crush generate real momentum and drive, underpinning some catchy vocal melodies that stick in the mind.
Sadly, it’s spoiled by some catastrophic misjudgements. The strong vocals go from impressive to profoundly irritating whenever a note is held for any length of time, totally overwrought, unnatural-sounding vibrato wiping out the good work up to that point.
Similarly, there are times when the heavier interjections, such as the death growls that crop up in Twilight Of The Dogs, are such a sudden gear shift the effect is comic rather than dramatic. Throw in the clumsy lyrics that lack any poetic cadence at all – particularly problematic during the socio-political songs like Inflict Chaos – and what was a potentially classy outing becomes something of a pig’s ear of a record.
A bright start quickly nosedives, coming close to crashing entirely in places as the problems become harder to overlook, and the strengths harder to focus on. A pity, as this could have been class.