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Remember Arch Enemy? They were this fucking great melodic deathmetal band infused with NWOBHM. They were brutal and intricate with Legend/Judas Priest interludes that made their music UNIQUE. Shredding, classic heavy metal guitars melded into crushing melodic deathmetal, like a Heartwork at the core taken to a progressive level with tons of time changes, guitar solos and rockin' breaks. They had amazing drumming of a Neil Peart quality infused with typical double bass deathmetal skins to create an overall amalgamation of heavy metal and melodic death metal that made you fuckin' headbang like a warrior. To call them Gothenberg really was incorrect because, though they had some of that sound, they had so much more; so much "real metal" in them.
That band is no more.
Arch Enemy were without question one of my top five with their first three releases. I even remained loyal to them when they ditched Liiva, who I consider a favorite vocalist. Then I heard the result -- Wages of Sin. Not good. There were hints of the heavy metal infusion and hints of the brutality, but at its core, it no longer was a unique sound, it was generic melodic deathmetal. OK, I said, that wasn't their best effort, but I'll stick by them, they're still one of my favorite bands, I won't abandon them. Well, now Anthems of Rebellion is out. It was like a stab in the back. Its absolute shittiness left me feeling betrayed. I'm glad there's a different vocalist here, because I probably wouldn't be able to listen to their first three, brilliant albums simply due to the crap produced with Anthems. Anthems of Rebellion? More like Anthems of Becoming a Generic Metal Band with No Unique Qualities and No Memorable Songs.
Enough about the social effect the album had on me. Enough about how brilliant they were with their unique, infused metal. Enough about how labeling them as Gothenberg was a slap in the face to their uniqueness, creativity and absolute mastery. To label them as Gothenberg now would be a compliment. This music is boring, typical melodic shit.
A big complaint people had about the REAL Arch Enemy was that Liiva sounded monotonous and lifeless. Well, how about Angela? She sounds lifeless AND like every other metal vocalist out there.
How about the music? No semblance of death metal (unlike before), no semblance of heavy metal (unlike before), so heart (unlike before), no spirit (you get the picture). What you get here is simplistic, formulaic melodic deathmetal with no interesting leads, lifeless guitars and mediocre drums with few fills or interest. There are even some nu-metal influences in there (listen to Leader of the Rats). There are some chugging, death-metally moments, but they're cliche and dull. What you get here is a band losing everything that made it a BAND... a group of musicians putting out music that set themselves apart from all genres. Now you get a group of musicians putting out music to try to appeal to a more mainstream crowd, blending themselves in with the melodic metal genre. It is straight-forward "New Wave of Swedish Death Metal" with its boring riffs and lame choruses. There are no interesting time changes, no interesting breaks, no interesting interludes, no interesting ANYTHING. In Flames, Soilwork, The Crown... Arch Enemy. It pains me to group them together, but it has to be done...
... That's what they've become.