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Well here we go, another album from Arch Enemy and another instance of a band re-recording old songs and marketing them as a new album. I guess we can give them credit for releasing albums at such a consistent pace, but much of their previous work has been really disappointing, despite a lot of potential.
Arch Enemy was formed in 1995 as a Michael Amott project after leaving Carcass. This is their 10th full-length album, including live releases (they have also released a few EPs), and sixth featuring female vocalist Angela Gossow.
Remember the days when a Death Metal band with a female growler was something new and different? Now it seems like every band lacking in talent is using a female growler as a gimmick. That’s not to say that Arch Enemy isn’t talented, in fact when Gossow was first added, very few bands had anything like it. However, now that this publicity stunt is wearing thin, it’s becoming painfully obvious how much she detracts from the band’s music. If you are lonely enough that seeing a moderately attractive, yet undeniably masculine, woman fronting a band makes your day, then I’m happy for you.
For those with more objective tastes, one has to wonder just whose idea it was to release this as an album. I was never crazy about Johan Liiva, but hearing these soulless re-recordings makes me appreciate what he gave to the band. Sure, he sounded exactly like Barney Greenway of Napalm Death, but at least he growled and yelled with intensity. These re-recordings had me looking at my watch so I could see just how much longer I would have to hear songs that I really liked being destroyed.
The only positive aspect is that the recording sounds a bit better than the originals, thanks to Andy Sneap, but if your only desire is to hear these songs with better sound, just pick up the remasters that have been released of each of the three Liiva albums over the past few years.
Back when these albums were originally released, the music sounded aggressive; two hotshot guitarists showing the world what they have to offer. Now the music sounds like a stale retread, with accomplished musicians going through the motions. The sound is good, everything else sucks. Save your money and avoid.
(Originally Published at www.metal-temple.com)