Songs that I enjoyed from this album:
"Fixation on the Darkness (Jesse Leech version)" - This is probably the first song by KsE that I've ever heard. IMO, as much as I love much of the work that Howard Jones did for this band, the Jesse Leech version is the only one worth hearing/owning. This is a song about a revolution of mind and spirit which is surely happening, although I don't think KsE understands it as well as they seem to think they do. "Fixation on the Darkness" refers to the habit of focusing on the nastiness in the world, to get lost in thoughts about all the reasons this world is a terrible place to live. In the chorus, the words "return to the world... lay your head to rest. To give you a peace-of-mind, lay your head to rest" are a remedy to this. It's about learning to quiet your mind and be in the moment. The words "YOU LIE!!" are screamed between the first two sentences, which seems to illustrate the "back and forth" nature of changing oneself in this way. At first, it's a brutal fight against very well-established habits, and even when you try to be calm, the mind still interjects with violence and anger.
"My Last Serenade" - This song is a mixed-point for me. On the one hand, from a certain point of view, the words are true (even if some of them could've been chosen better.) I love the "from yourself you can't run away" line (even though in later songs the band themselves seem to forget that fact.) On the other, the christian lens through which they project it is hardly conducive to truly understanding the spiritual message, whether or not the band understands it properly themselves. It may be that the words "open up your heart - engage within!" were more based in sentimentality, or the members of this band may actually understand the point of spiritual science where the energy center we call "Heart" has to be literally activated and its energy allowed to permeate every facet of our lives. Either way, the latter is definitely what it means to me. They also warn of "[becoming] a slave to self-righteousness." Whereas this band fancies themselves christians and apparently try to lyrically encourage christian philosophy, I find this pretty amusing considering christendom has been one of the biggest sources of self-righteous thought and behavior in history. As I said, there is the truth in this song's lyrics, and then there is the fact that religious people are in no position to tell anybody what the truth is because religion intentionally skews everything.
"Untitled & Unloved" - Despite the cringe-worthy title, this is a nifty little acoustic-instrumental. It's dark, moody, desolate and contemplative. I think we all have those moments, and especially where there are no lyrics to muck it up, this is an especially appreciable track.
Other than those, I find one of several things wrong with everything else I hear on this album. Either it's too preachy (plenty passionate but with an entirely backwards and needlessly self-destructive ideology) or there's not enough singing compared with the amount of screaming done, or there's too much "drum-spamming."
So despite two or three "keepers," I would give this album overall two stars. I would like to see KsE express a spiritual ideology without distorting it through misleading religious cliches, anti-self sentiment and praise for martyrdom. I just can't stomach it.