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Intense and Artificial - 70%

MaDTransilvanian, May 19th, 2009

Arch Enemy have had a unique career as a melodic death metal band, since the band was partially born out of the heritage of grindcore pioneers Carcass through Michael Amott’s presence. The band underwent a massive shift when they dropped original vocalist Johan Liiva for Angela Gassow in 2000, opening the way for an entirely new sound. This two-song single was distributed on the eve of the third album with Gassow’s release, containing the songs Nemesis and I Am Legend / Out for Blood from the upcoming Doomsday Machine album.

First off is Nemesis, one of the two songs off the Doomsday Machine having a video and rightly considered by the band as one of the album’s highlights. This is an extremely fast-paced melodic death metal song which incorporates much of the new Arch Enemy sound; namely, very slick production values over a rather technical instrumental sound augmented by Angela Gassow’s somewhat overdone vocals. This unique sound is the reason behind all the criticism for newer Arch Enemy albums. It’s partly justifiable, given the song’s notoriously artificial sound and feeling, yet this doesn’t necessarily imply it’s weak. Indeed, Nemesis features a series of very memorable riffs which, while they don’t reach the almost-organic feel of the first few albums, are still enjoyable.

The second track is I Am Legend / Out for Blood, a considerably slower number featuring much more prominent drum work, closer to standard death metal than the band’s usual material. The guitar work is also of good quality, even featuring a short solo which is good but nowhere near the level of the band’s first three albums. This song is also somewhat more violent in lyrical content than the usual Arch Enemy stuff, although this doesn’t really mean much and it’s far from being gory or anything.

This single is pretty useless since both tracks are on all versions of Doomsday Machine and Nemesis also exists in the form of a video which is easy to find online. The music isn’t too bad overall but Nemesis is the only track that really distinguishes itself with its searing intensity, while I Am Legend / Out for Blood is rather generic. This is a surprisingly good representation of new Arch Enemy, with some exceptional music released next to some rather bland stuff.