"The Scythe," right away was a strong start. It's characterised by active, dynamic guitar riffs. Just because this album is closer to the mainstream doesn't mean the boys have gotten lazy! As always, I also find it encouraging to hear lyrics which reflect a sort of liberal prescience, however scathing. Its main message (stated more affirmatively,) is "if we want different results, we need to take different actions."
"This Continuum" is one whose story I know well. It's a song about the feeling of going nowhere, your life stuck in a self-destructive rut (or so it seems) and uncertain as to how to break the cycle. Still pretty active on the guitars, but more rhythmically basic than "The Scythe." This track's music is centered around palm-muted, alterate-picked and (probably) drop-tuned chords which are given added color by the addition of intermittent winding, dissonant riffs.
"The Blinding Light" is about the strenuous internal struggle to free oneself from deeply-rooted indoctrination. The "Ghost" to which Peters refers is most likely the "holy" ghost of christendom (though counterintuitively, he refers to the "ghost" as "she.") It's a song about feeling the taint of superstition in your mind and struggling against the mind-control of dominant religion in your life. The title is a reference to mainstream creeds as "white-light religions," and implies that in fact these faiths have kept us from seeing the real truth, made prisons of our minds and ruined our ability to truly live life and appreciate it for what it is.
"Widowed" is apparently about a funeral, sung from the perspective of "the other side," from which the spirit of the departed attempts to console their loved one(s). I love this song because it so varies in its intensity. It starts out solemn and slow, then picks-up into an epic crescendo of soul-wrenching mourning before the lyrics even begin. The tonal quality easily reflects the pain of losing a loved one and feeling it's beyond belief that they're gone. It's that feeling like you can't imagine how you'll ever recover. Eventually the song turns, for a few moments, to Throwdown's familiar palm-muted, chugging, dancing, pinch-harmonic-rich metal before a guitar solo to finish up the song. This song is a tidal wave of sorrow.
"Serpent Noose" is a relentless, sardonic castigation of the "poor me!" religions, which by design lash-out at nature and other cultures, and then (like any skillful bully) play the victims when they get what's coming to them.
"Black Vatican" is another sacreligious song, and has the message of being fed-up with the orthodoxy to the point of unleashing an uncontrollable, psychotic violence which is likened to "demonic possession."
Finally, "Burial at Sea" is an exhausted resignation to releasing the bitter spite against convention, not as a repentance and return to the same, but simply in the realization that "sure, they're wrong. But hating on them is only draining the life away from me. I'd may as well let it go, 'die' and be 'reborn' into a self who can forget about them and move on." In my experience, this point comes to everyone in the process of awakening sooner or later. It's a fitting end to the album, which I give five stars overall.