This is one of the best albums to come out in a long time. I will not bother comparing it to any other album, because it stands alone as a testament to what a truly great album can be. When I popped this one into the cd player in my car as I drove home from the record store, my mind was immediately flooded with images of old hospitals, grimy sugical instruments and a spiritual unease. I was hooked, and I intend that pun. On the back of the cd case, there is a quote: “Like the surgeon, the composer slashes open the body of his fellow man, removes his eyes, empties his abdomen of organs, hangs him up on a hook, holding up to the light all of the body’s palpitating treasures, sending a burst of light into its’ innermost depths. – Richard Selzer, MD.” This quote sums up the album completely, as there is an overwhelming dark theme composed of vocalizations, sound effects, and instrumentation interspersed with glorious choral vignettes, suggesting that the pain and suffering of the patient is temporarily alleviated by medicine, unconciousness, or a spiritual intervention. There is an almost constant feeling of impending doom, and then sometimes, the doom reveals itself with a cacophonic dirge, as though the gates of Hell had just opened and a legion of infernal creatures were coming just to torment one person lying under sedation on an operating table. Who knows what horrors lurk in the depths of an anaethestic-induced nightmare? I think Mike Patton has opened an operating room door and the sign reads “Delirium Cordia”.