The album opens up with lead single “Paradise” and it finds itself somewhere between ambient acoustics and generic indie-rock…front-man Lauri’s vocals are still honey coated as ever and he sings with an air of innocence as he juxtaposes the idea of one man’s hell being another man’s paradise…it’s a pleasant little song for what it’s worth but for a come-back single after a five year absence it’s a little underwhelming and it doesn’t incite much excitement to start the album…”Something In The Dark” follows up immediately afterwards and here we have this incredibly light, bubbly pop track…musically it sounds like it’s taken influence from modern dance-pop records, lacking only in pace, and the chorus here suffers from being a little flat really, it works as a nice, simple pop song but little else. With “Wonderman” then we’re finally met with some chugging riffs and you’re lead to believe that the album is going to come to life here but, the idea is shot down as the track descends into a soft ballad and it’s massively disappointing…and here we find the album’s primary flaw.
While we know Lauri’s vocals aren’t exactly the strongest, they’ve never been an aggressive rock band…but…we do know they can churn out an absolte banger and he’s capable of delivering, I’ve already mentioned “In The Shadows”, but they also have “Guilty” in their repertoire and hell, just listen to “Life Burns!” with APOCALYPTICA…they can do it, but this album is bereft of life, or even a point at times… despite having certain easy listening qualities, such as the funk driven “Crystalline” and the frankly Eurovision-esque “Delirium” providing an album highlight in all of its catchy pop splendour, the rest of the album is annoyingly lacklustre. “Empire” for whatever reasons deemed acceptable in production utilises a god-awful kazoo-like effect that you’d possibly find in a clichéd R’n’B track…it’s actually horrendous…while “Black Days” and “Dragons Into Dreams” are for whatever reason content with boring the listener into a coma more effectively than an opioid overdose…this album simply fails to inspire on many levels and it’s just an absolute shame…even from a pop music perspective this is relatively half-arsed and lifeless and to make the point clearer, there’s more substance to the last LINKIN PARK record, and look how that was received. Dark matters? Well, this album sadly doesn’t.