I'll attempt to break down this review by song, since I have very different opinions depending on which song I'm listening to. Overall, the album was OK, I can tell they were definitely experimenting in their new album, but I personally like their original styles better. In a general sense, the singing played a more prominent role which I feel detracts from their original strengths - vast audio-scapes from their guitar and piano playing, the ethereal-ness in some of their other songs, and strong melodic driving. With this album I felt there wasn't as much as the latter two, as if they tried to incorporate styles from other bands/artists instead of building upon what they already had. I was initially attracted to their music because of their excellent and memorable melodies. Unlike previous albums, the first few songs in this album don't really go together and lacks any transitions in between. If you're just getting into GIAA, I would recommend getting their self-titled album, "All is Violent, All is Bright," and "Age of the Fifth Sun" to start out with.
For each song below I wrote my thoughts down as I was listening to it, but of course these are just my interpretations.
1) The Last March - I think this is a very fitting song to start off the album with. It starts mostly with percussion kind of in-your-face, which then slowly develops with more and more melodic layers as the song progresses. It definitely has the God is an Astronaut feel to it in terms of composition. Instead of a cathartic ending like some of their songs, this one actually ends with percussion again at the end. I think it evokes a feeling similar to "Post Morten" in their self-titled album (which I also love listening to).
2) Calistoga - The beginning of this song is a very abrupt change from the previous - much more heavy metal-esque. In contrast to the previous song, it also has a very obvious electronica feel to it, with electronically distorted voices making a prominent appearance in some parts. In my opinion the song has too much singing; whereas most other GIAA songs have singing but no words, I can at least the artists are singing something (though I don't know what) which was then distorted. The main guitar melody still sounds a little like GIAA's other songs, but I think the singing detracts from their strengths (which to me is their excellent weaving of melody and harmony). Also the same exact theme is reused in another song in the same album (Exit Dream), which is very disappointing (I'm not aware of any other instance where they so obviously reused the same theme).
3) Reverse World - For this song they revert back to a calm melody, again an abrupt change in pace and feel from the previous song. It starts with a nice synth piano melody, with percussion entering a little later. Again it is reminiscent of a lot of their previous work, with a more subdued feeling that slowly crescendos. There's more distorted singing that makes an appearance which really takes it away from the elegance of the melody. In fact it sounds like someone just auto-tuned their singing, it reminds me of Carl Sagan's voice autotuned (just search that on Youtube). The closest song I can find to this is "Snowfall" in their self-titled album.
4) Transmissions - This song is back to a more upbeat feel, with a lot of percussion and an emphasis on rhythm. It purportedly represents "transmissions" which in telecommunications are done in pulses, which is what a lot of the percussion does in the song. There isn't as much melody to this song, and not something that I would specifically want to listen to (I tend to be melody/harmony oriented).
5) Weightless - This song starts of with dissonance (reminds me of a ships' horn), and slowly phases in overtones and a slow melody appears. Eventually the song starts to have an ethereal feel to it, which is very fitting given the title. The theme is pretty simple, but with each repeat more layers are added. It is somewhat similar to "Coma" from their album "The End of the Beginning."
6) Exit Dream - The percussion plays a prominent role in the beginning, and the theme is quickly introduced. As mentioned earlier the theme is the same as in Calistoga, though the singing isn't as distorted. The percussion has a central role in keeping the song going. I personally don't like the melody, so by nature I don't like this song. Out of all of their songs where there is a strong theme, this is the one I dislike the most, and they used it in two of their songs in the same album.
7) Signal Rays - This song starts with a bass theme and percussion. Again more singing like Calistoga (strongly autotuned/distorted voices). The theme is OK, it doesn't play as prominent of a role, but the emphasis is more on the percussion anyway. Overall it's an OK song, and more or less in line with some of their other percussion-heavy songs.
8) Autumn Song - This one starts off quiet with synth piano, very gloomy, and nice melody to it. I get a picture of a desolate but peaceful landscape when listening to this one.
9) Spiral Code - Back to an upbeat rhythm on this one, with a lot of percussion as usual, and a decent melody. This one is mostly in line with their previous songs.
10) Strange Steps - The song starts off with a gloomy tone, and percussion that attempts to emulate what it's like to take steps through something unknown. Again a lot of voices, much more prominent than they have been in previous GIAA albums. A lot of the song has strong chords echoing, which is pretty similar other GIAA songs in the past.
11) Red Moon Lagoon - This song starts off with guitar, and lots of percussion use. In the background I can hear the same percussion rhythm as in "Transmissions" though it's very subtle. It then progresses to a more upbeat song with a decent melody.
12) Light Years from Home - This song is a little bit like the first song. If I were to be asked to identify the artist (without knowing it was GIAA a priori) then I wouldn't be able to guess it was them. The "Transmissions" percussion theme again makes its appearance in this song, which I'm not a big fan of (just my opinion).