Maybe because the guitars operate in the same range as the vocals?
Anyway, someone nudged me to do write my own review. Like I've written in other threads at this forum it's on par or in the same region as "Beyond the Veil" (maybe even ahead of it) in my opinion. I'll break my review down on a track to track base. I think all tracks are at least okay, so no bad tracks on this album.
Kicking of with album opener Year of the Rat: a catchy track with nice drumming by Tarald during the verses (I'd sure listen more to radio if they'd play tracks like these) and an energetic chorus. I like it! (8,5/10)
Protection is the first ballad of the album (although it isn't a love-song). During the past few years I started to prefer the more energetic Tristania songs over the ballads, but this track is an exception. Lovely singing by Mariangela with a nice twist near the end. Also one of my favourite tracks of this album. (9/10)
Ah, Patriot Games, how I love thee! This track has everything I like in modern Tristania: great vocals, energy, an instrumental part to dance/jump around to and a gorgeous outro. This track is one of the main causes I sing a lot lately (and sometimes end up with a sore throat after hours of singing). Definately my favourite track on the album! (10/10)
After the assault of the previous track The Passing is one of my least favourite songs on this album, but there are lots of people who like it. At a gig someone said the track got him goosebumps. So personally I don't care as much for it as other tracks on this album. (7/10)
I'll be short on Exile: nice song, great chorus. (7,5/10)
Sirens seems to be one of the more grim songs on the album, especially during the start. I really like the acoustic part at the "Wall of Silence" and somehow reminds me of Opeth. (7,5/10)
Before I repeat myself, read the Patriot Games-review for The Emerald Piper. (10/10)
Vulture is also one of the least accessible tracks on the album in my opinion, but good nonetheless. I love the chorus! (7,5/10)
For Amnesia I direct you to the review of The Passing, minus the goosebumps comment. But I really like the part halfway the song starting with "Breaking out and breaking down" (6,5/10).
It's hard to miss Magical Fix with it's odd intro (3/4, 3/4, 3/4, 2/4 or so) at the start. Even though it's the oddest track on the album I really like it. One of the best tracks! (9/10)
Illumination: the first half of the track is good, but the second half is great! Something I'd really like to highlight on this track is Mariangela's part following the "chorus" after the halfway buildup which would fit well on a Pink Floyd album (it reminds me of their "The Wall (part 2)"). Outrageously low in the mix during Mary's "Master, tell us what to do" are some damn great screaming-like vocals, which you usually only hear in the most passionate gospel- and soulsongs. Honestly, this is one of the most original things I've heard in a while in "gothic metal" (even though I think it's a fan-created bullshit genre pasted without regards on a lot of different bands and genres) and I hope it gets utilised more often in the future, with more attention to it in the mix. This will increase the gap inbetween Tristania and the Tristania-clones who keep copying the old style, it might alienate fans of the old style even more, but I only encourage that. They hold back and parasite on the energy this new line-up has and in who I believe even more than previous line-ups.
Sorry for starting to rant in a review, but I'm passionate about stuff like this. Anyway, I give this track an 8 out of 10. (8/10)
Like I said in the rant, I believe more in the current line-up than past line-ups (even though I got along fine with members in those line-ups as well) and I really hope they get the chance to go professional. And IŽll do my best to help the band in achieving that.