It wasn’t until after I had already heard this album that I found out the lyrics are about band leader Rebecca Vernon’s struggles with faith and religion concerning her membership to the Mormon Church and it’s stance with gay rights. With this knowledge the music speaks louder than any sub text so despite my own personal views on religion, it is not something that impairs my enjoyment of this album. So if you have heard some of the buzz about this issue going into, I assure you if I can still listen unbiased anyone can. The music is what matters here. Right from the opening song the violins weep against the slabs of sludged out distortion. The vocals are generally pretty delicate and in contrast to the burly bass lines. The bass often sets the tone on songs like "Wound of the Warden". This band is not always metal in the strictest definition of the term. There are some growled vocals that arrive before the five-minute mark of “Wound of the Warden”. This is followed by a much softer vocal harmony, so they are not running the same old good cop/ bad cop thing with predictable vocal trade offs. The sludge does get hammered down onto by the midway point, with the violins acting as the salve.
They do no rely on droning you into submission, but with a song like "Black Majesty" they are able to hypnotize you. This makes the melodic trade off at the four and a half minute mark that much more effective. This album proves my theory that about being just being heavy all the time and how that numbs you out unless you are given something to contrast that with. It does seem like at 15 minutes this song could have had the fat trimmed here in there, but nothing that makes it too ponderous. There is a more depressive doom like pacing to "Killing Rapture". The vocals are mixed back against the guitars with the violins weaving their mournful melodies in the background. The drums churn up ominous storm clouds.
The strength of the closing song "Trouble Cells" is the darkness that surrounds it's otherwise surreal take on folk. This song weaves together a pretty good mood, setting it apart from the bulk of the album. Overall this album proves to be yet another step forward for the band, especially in terms of song writing where their attention to detail is top notch. This album is more of a journey than casual listening , but if you are looking for new ways to experience heavy, perhaps in a more emotional state this album does the job in that regard.