While they may dodge the Opeth mistakes with perfection, there's still a lot to criticize here and it certainly will not become one of my favorite bands, at least not on this album alone and specially not if they write the same way throughout the rest of their discography - which is very likely.
On with the album:
Battesimo del Fuoco
It's WAY too straightforward, even the title is "baptism of fire" and it just talks about the main character's birth. Nothing is treated abstractly, nothing is made into poetry. It's a good old story book, nothing more, nothing less.
The Lake South
"Plagued by practical and a mercenary lust, they tear at her skin!
(The trouble began, but it never ended)
Clawing at her throat with a smell of desperate and a lack of regret!
(The trouble began, but it never ended)"
They actually did a pretty good job at the chorus using the words' sounds along with the melody itself. "Plagued by practical" and "With a smell of desperate" obviously aren't how you would normally say it, they would be plagued by practicality and desperation, I very much respect such changes and their objectives with them.
Other than that, some mildly creative segments but nothing that really stands out as an amazing composition.
The Inquiry of Ms. Terri
It ripping me down.
Reprise, two times, the Dime.
Burn it to the ground."
While this chorus may sound very nice, the song continues with the bland verses until it reaches a very "shitty romantic musical" style outro.
As a comparison, you can look to Frances the Mute's
"She said, "I’ll never let them hurt you
I’ll never let them in
What you took from me is mine
And what is mine I’ll never give""
It's not a complicated writing, but they keep it short and sweet. It's not a moment to go batshit crazy with the screaming, it's a moment to present her feelings, it's a moment to tell the listener how exactly she said those words and Cedric does exactly that.
Now compare it to the stale:
"We dance around the room,
My love, I'll carry you,
And I'll teach you how to treat that Leading lady that you'll meet.
We dance around the truth, my dear
I lie for you, and when I lie down, I'm simply lying to them too"
That's it. There's no other reason for this song to exist, specially when they repeat a part of song 6 in song 7.
I hope this is their Crossing The Frame, because I'd be ashamed. It isn't even a good song it's way beyond the level of quality shown in the others despite a couple moments in the instrumental that could just as well have been fit in other tracks instead.
The Pimp & The Priest
The pimp and the priest pounce on quickened cat's feet
For the freshest young blood, innocence for the feast.
The book will then brew what the sinful commit;
While the pimp and priest pray quietly where the precious sinners sit.
This is so storytelling chiché it becomes a good thing, it's actually setting up this little story that is confined to this one song and is told in just the right way. Not everything is just thrown at you with literal meanings, it actually tries.
Confess, oh, confess,
In the chapel, the brothel, where we suffocate stress.
We've got the time if you've got the scratch
(Conquer your sins while she screams on her back).
Faster, save me!
(While your sins remain hostage)
Harder, I can't breath!
Everyone loves kinky shit in music, Godfather's Lollipop is great because of that. They take it a bit further and actually make a point out of it with this very real situation of the relationship between church and brothel. Very clever writing on this chorus, great work!
His Hands Matched His Tongue
Uncommonly comfortable, but still I believe
That in time I think I'll see just what's been weighing down on me
An unearthy void collapsed, exposing what was trapped
To release this serendipitous design
What is that? Your little diary? Goodness, how could you fall so low after that last song was so good?
This entire song is boring and poorly written but I do commend them on making the connection to the song before (as already mentioned) with "Sing softly, bring me to the lake; Sing softly, sing me to the lake" .
This album was so simple and bland I only needed to listen to it once to understand everything it had to tell me, while bands like CoCa and TMV I have to listen to multiple times and look up a ton of things.
If you're thinking about writing a concept album, please do research first, get some experiences, read poetry and lyrics outside of your comfort zone. Go for that masterpiece, don't settle for the simple just because it'll sell tickets.