BURNT OFFERINGS opens to a new chapter in the band's career. It is vocalist Matt Barlow's first album of many. Jon Schaffer's songwriting expands to undertake more experimental directions. The band's already dark music sinks into deeper tones of malaise and gloom. Lots of anger and scorn; lots harsh vocals, some pseudo-death metal riffing, and plenty of keyboards for texture. The lead track, ,,Burnt Offerings", succinctly captures all of the album's qualities in a 7-minute song. It reveals that Barlow is the perfect vocalist for the band, equipped with astonishing range and expression. During the chorus he skillfully toggles between gruff, fierce intonations and a deep bellow. In the quiet interlude, he sings like a dreary specter. The surrounding music meshes raucous thrash riffs, pounding beats, melodic guitar harmonies, delicate but brief pianos, and ominous lyrics. The dolorous ,,Last December" is not-quite-a-power-ballad, starting soft then thrusting into heavy riffing, all very dark in tone.