The heavy hitting sounds of previous albums are lost, but the corny lyrics remain. Production is so good it will get Kanye West jealous (and on the last track..cry). Featuring Queen style layered vocals over an overproduced guitar tone with bass guitar drowned out. Similarly drowned out is their drummer, although that works to benefit the music for the most part. I'm glad their drummer left because their replacement seems to blend in with the multitudes of synthetic symphony instruments with ease. Standouts are "Precious Jerusalem", "Battlefield", "The Soulforged" and the 14 minute epic "And then there was Silence".
After 3 masterpieces, the power metal gods made a power metal album with many progressive elements...It can't be compared with their classics, but it is a very good album...There are many good songs here like Battlfield, The age of false innocence and specially AND THEN THERE WAS SILENCE, MAYBE THE GREATEST SONG THEY HAVE EVER COMPOSED!
I'm not usually into this genre but this is awesome. Absolutely dripping with energy fronted by Kursch's equally energetic and powerful vocals made even more immense with the diligent use of vocal layering. Above that the songs are very well written and it's unlikely to get bored while listening to this album.
It's over the top, vast and some say too much but for me it's the ballsiest attempt at a "metal opera" ever! There's so much going on, it takes a quite a listens to take it all in but for me it never fails to please. Some say it's over produced but I'd say it has to be to be so damn good.
They described the track "And Then There Was Silence" as a gift to the fans. I would go further and call this album the real gift to the fans. Finding an album that reaches this level of grandeur, but still full of hooks and great power metal songwriting, is not something you can expect to find often.