This was not what i was expecting of an ex-Carcass member and it really took me a while to get into it. If i'm completly honest i wasn't too impressed on my first listen, but something kept dragging me back.
The thing is, this album is very different from other melodic death bands who get their 'melody' from lots of minor and aeolian scales with plenty of harmonies and tremelo picking. AE, on the other hand, get their 'melody' from the school of 80s and 70's guitar heros. So, for example, on a track like Pilgrim we have a chunky death metal verse while the chorus wouldn't be amiss on a Rainbow album. Similarly, Silverwing goes off on a huge, uplifting, lighter then air metal exploration capable of making Brian May don his spandex and eyeliner again. Then again, the likes of Demonic Science and great opener crush you skull with some huge metal chops. At first i was like 'what the hell' but once the music sunk in i really started loving it. The Ammot brothers are great players and its a huge testament to their skills that they can incorporate such different styles together. It's beauty and the beast, but not like i've ever heard before.
Alot of people give Johan a hard time for his vocals not being very extreme, but i really like em. He's definitly got his own style thats somewhere between early Tom Araya and Chuck Schuldiner (although beefier then both) and what he lacks in brutality he makes up for in the passion of his delivery. best not mention his lyrics though.
So, this is death metal. but extremly catchy, well written and walking a fine line between brutality and melody unlike other bands in this genre. This displays a real love and appreciation for a variety of rock sounds over three decades from metal to thrash to death to rock to prog and far beyond.
Well played, well written and well recorded; i highly recommend it.