For those who aren't acquainted with this group of nihilistic frenchmen, I'll give you a basic overview of their sound. They basically sound like the bastard child of a steroid infused Cradle of Filth and Opera IX, and then coked up with obscene amounts of symphonic influences. The album will sound like a complete trainwreck to some, while to others it will sound like the grandest and biggest sounding pieces of music ever to be spewed out of the dank asshole called black metal.
In terms of production, this album is quite a strange beast. As with most Anorexia Nervosa albums, the guitar is hardly audible. Covering songs by this band would be near impossible, due to the obscurity of the riffs. Personally, I found that the guitars and drums blurred together in a monstrous mush that contributes to the overall 'grand' feel of the album. The drums sound airy, atmospheric, and most of all, monstrous. It literally surrounds the entire production with an ominous booming in the background, giving the impression of a gaping maw about to swallow you whole. The conclusion I reached is that the production sounded like Emperor's 'In the Nightside Eclipse' with an infinitely better and louder keyboardist. Though the production works in favour of the theme, it would have been better if there were guitars present.
Musically, this album was certainly a step up from their previous albums. Where Drudenhaus and N.O.O were all about playing as fast as humanly possible, they took some time off and tried to slow things down, namely on the tracks Sister September and A Sacrament. This development certainly gave their music a little more perspective and allowed the listener to fully enjoy the music rather than be bombarded by a constant flurry of drums and a brazen synthetic orchestra. It was also apparent that they gave a little more thought into the song structures- such as Sister September and An Amen, both in possession of ferocious musical evolutions giving more than a nod to Opeth's clinically crafted compositions- they generally gave a little more of a musically orthodox performance here as opposed to Drudenhaus, which possessed messy and indecipherable song structures flailing about but never really 'getting' anywhere. Hreidmarr's screams are slightly more restrained on this album, but what would I give for the man to give us a moment of silence! He screams and screams and screams.....never seeming to realize that he's detracting from the music. Although he's got a good shriek sounding like a strange cross between Dmitri Minakakis, Varg Vikernes and Ihsahn, it's still a little annoying. It's also refreshing to see their lyrics take a unique turn into redemption of all things. It may not suit the aesthetic mold of the genre, but kudos to them for trying something new.
This album is really quite short, clocking in at only seven songs and maybe a bonus 'Les Tzars' if you buy the European version. It's a great slab of black metal worthy of being one of the forerunners of the fabled 'third wave of black metal'. I would have given this album a five if there were actually audible guitars, but hey, nothing's perfect. If you like your music bombastic, and veering into the depths of frothing insanity,get this album NOW. I would even recommend this to faggoth music haters. If anything, this is faggoth music done right.