From the very beginning of opener 'Poison King', I realize I'm in for something quite interesting. This song reminds me strongly of acts like Therion and some of the greatest dark rock songs from Tiamat. What strikes me the most, and that will continue throughout the entire album, is the catchy feel of the music. Some of these songs have a pretty high sing-along capacity. I can easily imagine parts of the audiences singing along with these choruses. Perhaps, if I ever encounter these guys live, I'll be singing along too.
You might have noticed that I also added the tag "progressive rock" above this review. That's mainly because there are some more influences here, ranging from surfy guitars and strings in 'Golden Bough' to a Billy Idol attitude in 'The Art Of Passau'. 'Beyond The Fields we Know' feels a bit like a doom metal track, again overloaded with synths and atmosphere. Besides, you can find a lot of great guitar passages on this album too.
In fact, while I'm often reminded of bands like Him, Babylon Whores, Tiamat and Moonspell, I can't help but think about ABBA (for the catchy nature), The Vision Bleak (for the atmosphere) and Iron Maiden (for some of the guitar parts). That's not a bad list of bands to be compared with I think. 'The Devil And All His Works', perhaps my favorite song, perfectly embodies all of those elements. And then there are even some surprises, like the Mexican trumpets in 'Foreign Armies East', weird but great.
So, to conclude, let's see who I can recommend this album to. Obviously, to fans of all the bands I mentioned in this review, certainly the dark rockers. Perhaps it's not really something for Iron Maiden fans, but then again, only Iron Maiden is something for Iron Maiden fans, right? My advice: check it out. It might sound a bit goody-goody at first and strange next but in the end I'm sure you'll be singing along with the whole thing too.