Produced by Fredrik Nordström and Michael Amott. Co-produced by Daniel Erlandsson. Mixed by Fredrik Nordström. Recorded and mixed at Studio Fredman, Sweden (March, April and May 2007).
Arch Enemy are ones of those bands who have been around for years—they formed in 1996—that I’ve just never crossed paths with, not through any determined avoidance on my part I’ve always had my attention drawn elsewhere, keeping up with other bands and interests.
Out of curiosity I checked the mountains of magazine-mounted CDs that I’ve collected over the years and I actually have four tracks by Arch Enemy:
I’ll have to give the last three a spin later. But first, back to this album, their seventh studio offering. The album opens with a siren and then a very latter-day Megadeth-style arpeggio-ed riff builds until Gossow’s throaty vocals kick in.
Track two, “The last enemy” is another high-octane track. You can imagine a swirling mosh pit soaking up the energy, even through the melodic riff that weaves itself through the chorus .
This is officially classified as ‘melodic death metal’ but it draws on so many influences that it’s not quite so easy to pin down. There are elements of various thrash bands in there, to my ears Megadeth and Kreator are the two most obvious. But then there was virtuoso passages that remind me very much of mid- to late-90s Steve Vai.
The third track opens gently with float melody played on keyboards but within thirty seconds a stabbing riff punctuates the calm. This song got me thinking that I would be really interested to hear Angela Gossow follow suit and sing, rather than growl. Something akin to what Opeth do: that mixture of melodic and death-metal growling vocals.
Track six, the title track, “Rise of the tyrant” opens with this film dialogue from Caligula (1979):
One of my favourite tracks is “The day you died” (track 7) probably because it reminds me of a more-melodic Coma of Souls-era Kreator. “Intermezzo Liberaté” (track 8) is very Steve Vai and then the album begins to see itself out in style with a couple more thumping tunes. The final track though, remarkably, reminds me of a heavier Helloween. Until the vocals, of course. Boy that girl can growl! (There’s a sentence I’ve never written before.)
As my first proper introduction to Arch Enemy I was really impressed. This is an album that I could put on any time I was looking for some more than decent melodic metal.
I’ll definitely be on the look out for more.
If you are into Arch Enemy, please tell me where I should begin. What am I missing?
Review score: 90%