The absolute pinnacle of NWOSDM, this album encapsulates everything that is great about the genre. there are searing metal riffs, screamed vocals, beautiful keyboard melodies and fantastically catchy hooks all over the album. The songwriting is of the highest calibre, and, for once, the peculiar Swedish take on the English language isn't present - the lyrics actually make some sort of sense!
Dark Tranquillity's earlier efforts were noteworthy enough slabs of metal, with 2000's 'Haven' hinting at the progression that would be made on this record. As far as modern metal goes, this is where its at, real metal, played from the heart. Not a hint of an oh-so-fashionable rap collaboration anywhere to be seen!
Like fellow Swedes Soilwork, DT show where Iron Maiden should be today, twin guitar leads abound and the lush keyboard work complements the music perfectly. Not pushed to the fore and used as a soloing instrument (as in Children Of Bodom), DT utilise their keyboards to provide 'mood' to tracks. They certainly sound huge on record. Having never seen them on tour I'd be interested to see whether they come across as well live.
The whole album is superb, so its hard to pick standout tracks, but my particular favourites at the moment are 'Single Part of Two' and 'Hours Passed In Exile'