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The weakest of the Gossow era - 36%

PorcupineOfDoom, October 2nd, 2014

I'm a big fan of Arch Enemy. Even when they've been slagged off by everyone else, I've stuck with them and (for the most part) enjoyed the stuff that they have released. Unfortunately, 'Anthems Of Rebellion' falls far short of the band's high standards, further than 'Khaos Legions' and only slightly better than 'War Eternal'.

Let's get something straight: there are good songs on this album. 'Dead Eyes See No Future' showcases the beautiful melodies they can come up with and I'd go as far to say as it belongs with Arch Enemy's best works. 'Leader of the Rats' is also a great song, particularly the versus (not something you normally say about melodic death metal, but there's a first time for everything). However, even these songs are flawed. The verses in 'Dead Eyes See No Future' are a weak in comparison to the epic chorus, and it's almost the other way around on 'Leader of the Rats' (as well as having a bit of an "Insert solo here" sign hanging over middle of the song where they almost take a break). It would have been better if they'd made a track that was a combination of the good parts of those two songs, even if it would mean another shit track on the album.

Everything else... The nicest way to put it is that it's one of the most monotonous things I've heard. 'Silent Wars' is filled with fast drums... and that's about it. 'Instinct' starts off interesting but quickly becomes pretty boring as the ideas are just repeated over and over and soon you just want it to be done. Then 'End of the Line' is pretty plain as well (although it does feature some clean vocals, which is a bit different).

In fact, that's how I'd describe the whole album. Pretty plain and boring, not much variety. It's not like their last record where there was everything you could want in terms of a balanced diet of metal, this one just feels like the same kind of riffs churned out over and over again. There are good points, like the aforementioned 'Dead Eyes See No Future' and 'Leader of the Rats' as well as some decent tracks like 'We Will Rise' and 'Saints and Sinners'. However, the song 'We Will Rise' is incredibly over-hyped for a fairly average song (barely even clearing the barrier for what's metal and what's not) and 'Saints and Sinners' is kind of boring in places too.

As for the bad tracks, well... Let's just say that 'Dehumanization' pretty much covers it. I mean, what even...? The track is right up (or down) there with the worst that Arch Enemy have put out (the club with such "elite" members as 'Hybrids of Steel' and 'Thorns In My Flesh').

Let's be clear on this matter: Arch Enemy is a great band, but this album is definitely not a great album. Far from it. All I Could Bleed's album 'Burying the Past' was better than it. That says quite a lot considering how poor that was and how great AE are supposed to be. Thank god that they redeemed themselves with every single other album they released with Angela in the band, otherwise people would have a pretty good case for saying that Johan was the best thing about the group.

A rebellion with reservations. - 70%

hells_unicorn, December 15th, 2011

There’s been some contention as to which outfit is the most consequential in the Swedish melodeath scene, particularly given the incremental embracement of a sort of modern rock infusion that has drastically changed the character of the sound. All roads would seem to lead to In Flames in this regard, in particular their much scorned change in form “Reroute To Remain”, which sounded almost as metalcore as it did melodeath. But for some reason the accusatory fingers often find their way to the Angela Gossow era of Arch Enemy, particularly the stuff preceding the commercially successful “Rise Of The Tyrant”. Stylistically these does not really follow, given that Gossow’s very orthodox death bark, while produced by a female, is far closer to the late 80s death metal standard than anything Anders Fridén has blurted into a microphone before 2002, let alone afterward, and the music has largely remained in the style typical of the later 90s despite a few modern rock additives.

For the most part, “Anthems Of Rebellion” follows the tried but true, often good yet sometimes lacking approach that tends to typify most late 90s melodeath offerings. There are a handful of blistering speed/thrash oriented masterpieces that steal the show, some fairly decent mid-tempo material that plays with the atmosphere a bit, but also some rock/groove infected clunkers that don’t quite inspire the sense of irreverent fury that is being sought after. While songs such as “Silent Wars”, “Despicable Heroes” and “Saints And Sinners” are the obligatory triumphs of the style where the riffs are busy, the solos flashy and expressive, and the vocal display ugly yet near digitally precise, they are the exception rather than the rule, in contrast to the constant fury of Skyfire’s “Timeless Departure” or C.O.B.’s “Hatebreeder”, which remain spellbinding examples of how this style can slay when it has to.

The bulk of the contents found on here, aside from the aforementioned classics of technical brilliance with a catchy streak, are a bit of a mixed bag. “Dehumanization” isn’t a bad number for a song that sounds pretty heavily influenced by Pantera and a couple other 90s groove outfits, but it sounds out of place alongside the rest of this album, particularly when that comical clean vocal chorus chimes in. “Exist To Exit” and “We Will Rise” sort of plod around a bit and bring on the cliché modern rock elements, the former taking a good bit of time to get going for a 5 minute radio-friendly number. Having said that, most of what is on here that doesn’t outright slay tends to come off more as average than bad, with perhaps the lone exception of “Instinct”, a song that actually starts off pretty solid and chunky but lands in a horrid chorus that almost sounds like it was plagiarized from a pop/punk band and then had a few dissonant sounding chords thrown in to make it sound quasi-menacing, and failing in the process.

It’s definitely understandable that this album eventually paved the way for the weak and heavily derided “Doomsday Machine”, as it clearly shows a tendency towards incorporating a number of contemporary rock elements and dressing them up with a heavier guitar tone, faster beats, and an ugly sounding growl. But there are a fair share of redeeming factors here, not the least of them being the wildly technical and almost operatic character of the Amott brothers’ lead guitar passages. Melodeath, particularly the Swedish end, doesn’t often carry guitarists that can cut heads as fierce as these two do, and it is definitely a treat for the ears if that is what one is drawn to. It’s a decent pick up, though it’s among the weaker offerings out of this band as a whole, and also with regards to the latter era with Angela Gossow out front.

High-grade melodeth with flaws - 78%

Dulthasil, April 23rd, 2008

Homoeroticism has featured regularly in the sausage fest that is death metal. Something about a group of suburban-bred men attempting to be "bone shattering brutal" is amusing. However when a woman enters this world who isn't Jo-Anne Bench your run-of-the-mill death metal fan feels a little threatened. That’s not to say Angela Gossow is amazing but she isn't quite as terrible as many would say, as their opinion is hardly objective. Quite frankly this is not an unmitigated disaster of an album.

This is a hard album to sum up; it has exceptionally good moments and mediocre moments, not really any terrible ones. In terms of instrumentation the album is sound and tight, Michael and Christopher Amott are clearly in a different league to most guitarists around, the tone of the guitars at times is incredible, however there are times when the guitars lack any kind of drive or purpose.

Daniel Erlandsson is the one who brings all of this together, although his beats are not hugely original they are solid and work well with what is happening, occasionally pulling off a fill which jumps out at you. D'Angelo reinforces this solid backing. Although in metal you rarely get an interesting bassline, the bass is effective in this album is still effective.

Angela's vocals are reasonable, she is certainly not the best extreme metal vocalist but she’s still reasonable and fits the style. There really is nothing wrong with melody in death metal in fact it adds another dimension here as opposed to the album pounding its way through endless blast beats.

The problem with this album is inconsistency, there are the obvious classics like "We will Rise" but also less rated song like "Leader of the Rats" which are also good. But there are then songs like "Despicable Heroes" which are really there to pad it out.

Anthems of Rebellion is a good album but not a great album, certainly not as good as Black Earth but still better than Doomsday Machine. There really is little wrong with this.

Doesn't do it for me, and I know precisely why - 35%

kapitankraut, September 6th, 2007

This is the first album by Arch Enemy I've heard, although I've heard a lot about them already - generally focused on the fact that they're led by Angela Gossow, who is one of the very few female vocalists out there who at least nominally employs the death grunt vocal style. I know the band has a lot of fans out there, but I'm not one of them. Very little here persuades me to hunt out another album.

Musically, the band as a whole is quite competent. There are a number of guitar riffs throughout the album - generally in the first five songs or so - which are genuinely catchy and inventive. The musical intro to "Exist to Exit" is particularly impressive, too. The drums here hang back just enough to keep the track moving a bit, while the guitars pull out a very entertaining riff, which then turns up as the backbone of the rest of the track. Many of the other tracks behave in a similar manner, but this is perhaps the strongest example of what I'm talking about.

Unfortunately, the serviceable musicianship just isn't backed up by Angela's vocals. I almost get the impression at times that she's involved purely for novelty value, rather than because she actually complements the music. Firstly, I have serious doubts that what she's really doing could (or should) be described as a "grunt". It's a very rasping sound most of the time - apart from when she actually makes a grunting noise - which sounds almost as if she's trying for a rather half-hearted black metal vocal style. There's also a considerable degree of what I can only term a "death hiss" in her voice, which is an interesting idea but probably not one which really needs to be explored right here and right now.

Secondly, Angela has the unfortunate disability that she simply can't seem to vary her voice consistently. Every single one of the tracks here features her rasping away in precisely the same manner, apart from the rare occasions when she drops her voice a few notes for no apparent reason. Now, I'll be the first to admit that even the best grunters out there are hard-pressed to sound inventive sometimes, but they at least have the advantage that they start from an interesting point vocally. While a "death rasp" and "death hiss" are both potentially interesting directions to take death vocals sometime, Angela's range is too limited for them to really work.

Thirdly, far too often she seems to want to sing over very different music. Most of the music provided for her here is actually quite "bright" as death metal goes, while her vocals would be much more suited for a darker-sounding band. On this album at the very least, Arch Enemy are not that band.

To give the band credit, they do try to avert the focus from her voice once or twice. The double-tracked vocals (Angela and clean male vocals) on "End of the Line" are moderately interesting, but the lyrics of that song are bordering on the inane by the time the new voice turns up. Hearing Angela rasp out "You blew it/You knew it" sounds almost cartoonish, since I'm sure it was the kind of thing we used to shout at each other in the school playground. "Dehumanization" features a similar trick performed more consistently, but the focus is still placed on the rasps.

So what's the 35% for? Well, the music isn't overly bad. At least, when Angela's not rasping away and I can hear the music by itself, there's a fair bit to like. With a different vocalist performing the same songs, I may even rate this higher. Unfortunately, for all the critical support she receives, Angela really is a liability for this band. Without her, they'd be a solid melodic death metal outfit with some good talent. With her, they really fall flat on their faces.

Experimental and Very Catchy - 78%

darkreif, March 15th, 2007

Can anyone say experimentation? Presumably after the release of Arch Enemy’s arguably pinnacle effort, Wages of Sin, the band probably just felt a sudden urge to move in a slightly different direction. It would be hard to top Wages of Sin at its own game – so instead of fighting fire with fire, Arch Enemy takes a slightly different direction with Anthems of Rebellion.

Reading the previous reviews of Anthems of Rebellion – it seems to me that many people don’t like this album. Granted compared to Arch Enemy’s previous discography this album is going to piss a lot of people off. So as a warning for listeners that love previous albums: this album is likely to tick you off. On the other hand, this is an amazing album for people just getting into Arch Enemy. As a starter album, this album really hits a few targets.

There are many areas where this album begins to deviate from the standard of procedure that Arch Enemy had become accustomed to. The guitar work has been simplified on many of the songs. The riffing is pretty standard material. There has been some distortion (a listener is going to find computer distortion quite a bit on this album) in the guitar sound on some songs although the solos are still very classic sounding. The Amott brothers are one of the best guitar duos in the metal industry (and at this time Chris Amott isn’t with the band – a very sad fact). On this album much of the rhythm is written to be catchy rather than fast or heavy…and it is. The guitar work is very catchy – part of the reason this album is a great starter point for new Arch Enemy listeners.

The bass and drum work isn’t anything special on this album. The focus has been slightly targeted on song structure on the album so the bass and drums have been made a little louder and the song structure gives them a vaguely bigger role on the album. This is probably why the album is compared to “nu metal” quite often.

There has album been the addition of keyboards on this album. Just once or twice – the song “Instinct” comes to mind offhand. It’s not a real big deal – although some reviewers seem to be making it a lot bigger then really it is. I think it gives the album a little more variety and helps give “listener friendly” melody rather than relying on the guitar leads.

Angela Gossow spits venom. I shit you not. She is an amazing death metal vocalist and puts many of her counterparts to shame. Anthems of Rebellion finds her vocals becoming a little more understandable and she really gives the band the anger that makes them sound so sinister in the end. There is some experimentation that she does on this album. There is some distortion used on her vocals on a couple songs (“Leader of the Rats” is an example) and I think this is a useless experimentation. Her vocals are sufficient to the music and the distortion is really just a distraction. There is also a very surprising addition of a softer male voice in the song “End of the Line” that really added a whole new layer to the music that I really was getting into. I wish they would have incorporated more into the album while they had the chance to do so.

The lyrics are simplistic as is the style with Angela’s writing. There isn’t much detail being said in the lyrics – although most of the lyrics are very well written and hit all the normal metal subjects like hate, authority, battling falsehood, and empowerment. “We Will Rise” may very well become one of the best empowerment songs for young metalheads world round.

Anthems of Rebellion is a deviation from the standard Arch Enemy sound. There is a lot of computer usage to distort vocals, guitars, and keyboards. The writing has been simplified quite a bit but it has been writing to be very catchy. This allows a great entrance for newer Arch Enemy listeners. I believe this album is a lot stronger than many other reviewers have stated and even though the sound may have changed for Arch Enemy doesn’t mean the album becomes a burden.

Songs to check out: Silent Wars, We Will Rise, End of the Line.

Truly horrid - 5%

Dead1, February 1st, 2006

The Melodic Death Metal scene seems to stray more and more from the Death Metal aspect in order to focus more on the melodic one with all its consumer trappings. Wage of Sin seems to epitomise this trend.

Here we have an album where the only real connection to Death Metal is Angela Gassow's atrocious attempts at sounding like Jeff Walker from Carcass. Musically this is boring hard rock with the odd AOR and Mallcore influence thrown in for variety's sake. Worryingly, they also seem to be embracing electronic sound effects. When will people learn that keyboards and electronic effects have no place in Metal?

The Amott brothers really seem to have run out of ideas as the songs all merge into one another. This is not a good sign, as the album attempts to sell itself on catchy melodies. The intensity the band once displayed on Burning Bridges has totally disappeared.

Michael Amott once slagged out Carcass' Swansong'. Yet on this album, he is doing the same thing that is, writing commercial hard rock with death metal vocals. Yet Swansong is brilliant while Anthems of Rebellion is stale and pathetic.

Special attention has to be brought to Angela Gassow. As mentioned before, she tries to imitate Jeff Walker from Carcass but fails miserably. She is without a doubt one of the worst Death Metal vocalists to date. Yours truly is not averse to female vocalists, but Angela Gassow should never have been allowed to sing in a Metal band.

This is an album designed to sell to the horrifically commercialised American market. So if you like hard rock that pretends it is extreme metal, Anthems of Rebellion is for yours. But if you actually like Metal, avoid this one like the plague.

Bad for Arch Enemy, Good for Anyone Else - 80%

Hatesnuggles, January 30th, 2005

In 2001, Arch Enemy (AE) seemingly turned over a new leaf. For several years the band had been among the fastest, fiercest and most talented metal bands out there. They had three albums under the belt and were highly praised for their technical abilities. So how would the metal world react to their new female lead singer?

When Wages of Sin was released in 2001, the vocals of one Angela Gossow were highly suspect, as was the possible future of the band… until you actually listened to the album. What “Wages” was can only be described as heavy metal mastery. The riffs explode off the album, the solos are a pleasure to listen to and the rhythm section is perfect. The Amott brothers are truly a pair of the best guitarists out there and Angela has one of the most unique and powerful voices in all of thrash/death metal. Every song merits multiple listens, while having its own unique flavor that sets it apart from the rest of the album. Wages of Sin is as close as you can get to thrash metal perfection in this reviewer’s opinion and set a new benchmark for the band.

Well in 2003, it was time for AE to record their sophomore effort with Ms. Gossow and prove to the world that Wages wasn’t just a fluke. Well, I can say that the results weren’t all that bad. Where Wages seemed like more of a cry for help, with very introspective lyrics and driven by highly technical guitar work, Anthems of Rebellion comes off as more of a straightforward power album and lyrically a slap in the face to authority. It stands as a strong metal album with a number of great songs and is a good war cry for metal fans against war, politics or just anyone above them in general.

Is that to say that this isn’t a technical album? No, it still has its number of melodic riffs and excellent solos, but overall it feels a bit dumbed down since Wages of Sin. It still stands alone as a great metal album, but it doesn’t quite push AE to the limits of what they’re capable of. Essentially, it’s a bit more accessible to a larger audience than their former efforts, but AE’s hardcore fans still can appreciate it.

The reason I can say this is because Anthems is essentially the album that got me into AE, and is a good starting point for anyone interested in the band. It’s a very aggressive, well-played, well-produced album with enough of an edge to appeal to a wide variety of metalheads. Death Metal fans will appreciate the heaviness and power of the album, while more progressive metal fans can enjoy the melodic riffs that the Amott brothers can bring forth. Overall, this album has a little something for everyone, but not quite everything for anyone.

The main problem with this album is that it can be very inconsistent. You can listen to one song and appreciate it for its originality, melody, solos and everything else, and you hope the next song will have the same quality. More often than not, the next song will fail to impress. While a good number of songs are excellent, towards the end of the album it feels as if it’s beginning to fall apart. Therefore, unlike its nearly flawless predecessor, Anthems of Rebellion has a few too many pitfalls to make it an overall excellent album.

Anthems starts off on an excellent tone. The opening march of “Tear Down the Walls” is enough to get any metal fan excited about what’s to come, and is immediately followed by “Silent Wars”. A riff-happy, aggressive song that immediately lets you know that this is an Arch Enemy album. The lyrics are very fitting for the message that the album is trying to get across, that we’ve had enough of our normal lives and are left with nothing but anger. It serves as a good springboard for what should be quite a ride through the rest of the album.

“We Will Rise” is one of the true highlights of the album and a fine example as to why Arch Enemy is one of the finest metal bands today. A catchy yet admirable main riff, meaningful, deep lyrics and overall excellent songwriting pull this awesome track together. This song should be the lead anthem for a new legion of metal fans. What Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the UK” was for angsty British kids in the late 70’s is what “We Will Rise” should be for metal fans in 2000’s. What AE has here is a powerful song with a message that should energize metal fans to not be afraid to embrace the genre they love and say “fuck you” to the rest of the music industry. To stand up and proudly preach their appreciation and fandom of metal, in hopes that they will be heard and put and end to all the apathy, normalcy and mediocrity in the popular music scene. Cap the song’s great main riff and poignant lyrics with some great solo work from the Amotts’ and we have one of the best metal songs of the 2000’s.

Not to be outdone, “Dead Eyes See No Future” continues to emphasize AE’s struggle for perfection in their craft. Aggressive progression combined with a beautiful-sounding music with a refrain screamed as only Angela Gossow can. As the military drums arise along with the beautiful light guitars burst back into the refrain towards the end of the song, it becomes quite apparent that this is another big feather in AE’s cap. This is probably my personal favorite song on the album, one of my favorite AE songs overall and I think gives a nice example of how power and melody can be interwoven to create one awesome product. However, “Instinct”, the next song, is where the album’s inconsistencies begin. Up to this point, the album has been spot-on, but here’s where it begins to slow down a bit. A nice interweaving of a techno line and a guitar riff begins the song good enough, but problems arise as it goes on. The instrumental work on this song just doesn’t quite feel up to the previous tracks, and neither do the lyrics. It’s not to say that this song isn’t good, it’s quite catchy and after a couple listens you’ll find yourself screaming along with a few lines, but overall it just doesn’t quite live up to what you’ve heard so far.

“Leader of the Rats” is where the album picks up steam again. Once again, the song starts off with more great riffing work, which are soon complimented perfectly by the sharp, biting lyrics. The song is a tough, striking and occasionally soaring feat, reaching great heights with few negatives. It serves to put the album back on track. Yet, where this gives hope, the next track takes away. “Exist to Exit” is just a slow and overall uninteresting track. It really doesn’t stand well with a few of the previous tracks. It’s not that Arch Enemy can’t do great songs. “Savage Messiah” from Wages serves as a great example of what AE can accomplish in their slower songs, but this song "Exist to Exit" just can’t stack up with other tracks on this Anthems album or that they’ve done before. It almost serves as the beginning of the end of what should’ve been an overall excellent metal album.

Aside from “End of the Line”, a nice heavy piece which displays some interesting backing vocals and a nice mix riffs, the rest of the album is pretty lackluster. The rest of the songs on the album really aren’t that bad, just disappointing. Arch Enemy is a band that is talented enough to make every song a great song, but these last few tracks on the album just don’t live up to the high expectations that listeners should have for this band. The short instrumental tracks of “Anthem” and “Marching On a Dead End Road” I think do more justice to this band’s talents than songs like the uninteresting “Dehumanization”.

Overall, when this album shines, it gleams among some of the best recordings in metal. Yet, it's where it lacks its luster that the major problems stick out. Not to say that this is a bad album, or even has any songs that are particularly terrible. It’s just that Arch Enemy is a band that is capable of keeping listeners hooked onto an album from beginning to end, and this just isn’t one of those albums. For the first few songs, this album ROCKS! I love listening to the first couple songs. And while the latter songs are still very good when compared to other thrash and death metal that’s out there, it just leaves listeners feeling that there could’ve been more. I’m sure there are people who love the latter songs on the album, but I just don’t think they do justice to the true talents of this band. It’s an album which consists of an uneven balance excellent moments and missed opportunities.

I would still recommend this album as a good starting point. For those who may not be so technically savvy, the later songs may serve as a nice relief from what seems to be AE’s longing to fit as many notes into a song as possible. This album can appeal to a wide variety of metal fans because it does consist of a wide variety of styles in its songs. I still recommend this album because the songs on this album that ARE great are great enough to merit its purchase, and it’s because of those songs that I still have a great amount of respect and love for this album. Arch Enemy is capable of great things, and this album certainly showcases some of their greater skills. It’s a good display of what they can do, what they should stay away from and a hope for what they will do on their next album. If Wages of Sin is a 10, then Anthems of Rebellion is somewhere a little below an 8, and in this reviewer’s book, that ain’t too bad.

It’s not horrible, but it’s certainly not great. - 66%

Reaper, August 8th, 2004

This mediocre album begins with a chanting crowd that is used as the introduction to the track that doesn’t know where it’s going. The track, “Silent Wars,” is a track that doesn’t really have much personality but is filled with some decorative guitar work here and there but lacks personality and therefore is pretty bland. It’s not too much of a letdown, as the next track redeems my hope that this album is worth something more than my frustration.

“We Will Rise,” is a great song that is very memorable and well composed. It has the personality that the previous song lacks, mainly due to the guitar solos and the memorable chorus. This type of energy is evident throughout most of the album, as it is the main formula that makes this album not a complete waste of time.

The next track, “Dead Eyes See No Future,” illustrates the album’s ability to cross into the lighter side of Death Metal, with clean guitar solos and calmer drum parts. Double bass does get boring fast, when not done correctly, but this band does not overdo itself and keeps things simple for the sake of not sounding too repetitive.

Speaking of repetitive, Angela Gossows’s voice. Monotonous vocals that getting boring pretty fast are a negative trait that this album is almost filled with. At about the fourth or fifth track this becomes apparent and hinders the album from being what it could have been. Now the vocals aren’t too terrible, but they just don’t have much persona, which could have made this album better. They do somewhat change on some of the tracks, but overall they remain dull and tedious. It is a drawback, but I know that the vocals could have been much worse.

One of the highlights of the album is perhaps the sixth track, “Leader of the Rats,” it’s filled with energy, melody and the vocals are slightly better and at least change pitch in some cases, as opposed to most of the remaining tracks. It also goes for the seventh track, “Exist to Exit.” This is more of a melodic track, which allows Angela to change the pitch of her voice and add some variety to the song but is a bit bland and not too memorable.

The eight track is a piece of shit as it is almost completely useless. This is a track of overdone acoustic guitars right in the midst of a Death Metal album. I understand that is an intermission and introduction to the next song, which is the most aggressive song on the album, but it just doesn’t fit well into the overall feel of the album. Speaking of the next track, “Despicable Heroes,” is one of the best songs on the album. Angela’s voice isn’t monotonous, the drum work is excellent, and the guitar riffs are splendid. It is a very well done track that could have been better if it was a little longer, but nevertheless is a track that stands out and strengthens the album.

The tenth track is something new and very welcome. Almost adding a bit of a gothic edge into the song, another female singer (or maybe it’s also Angela, I’m really not sure) offers gothic inspired vocals in the background that work well with the aggressive vocals of Angela. This song, in a way, reminded me of the band Darkseed, mostly due to the gothic vocals in the background. This is a very welcome improvement to the other songs, as it definitely adds well-needed variety to a majority of the songs.

The 11th track is as much a waste as track eight. It serves no possible use on the album. This track is basically a synthesized (or at least I think) song of about a minute entitled “Anthem.” There is no possible reason to put this on an album, except if you want to make your album a 13-song album, which is the stupidest idea in the world. Why do bands do stupid shit like this? Why does Manowar almost always add some pussy song on their albums *coughNassunDormacough*, and why did this track ever make it into the final cut. Do the bands want to show some variety in their styles? Well than stop singing in one monotonous voice. Adding some retarded tracks that have no significance is almost always totally pointless.

That aside, the last track is a strong finish to this mediocre album. “Saints and Sinners” is a more memorable and powerful song that most of the other songs on the album. It adds a big bang to the finish and is one of the stronger tracks on the album.

Overall, this album is nothing special and definitely not the place to get introduced to the band. Try something better like Stigmata for example, before you decide that you’re a fan of this band. Buy this only if you truly appreciate mediocre albums.

One of the greatest of all time turns to SHIT - 5%

haikuholocaust, May 25th, 2004

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.

Anthems Of Radiorock - 35%

Apophis, April 8th, 2004

Mike Amott seems to think that the whole aura of what made 'Wages Of Sin' so popular, ie the dual guitars/ guitar duels, were turning the band into the "Dream Theater of death metal", hence why he decided to virtually strip all (noteworthy) solo's from the music.
The result?
We're left with a bland uninspired piece of radio friendly rubbish. If it wasn't for the logo on the front of the CD, you'd have a hard time convincing me that this was an Arch Enemy release at all.

Gone is the combination of heaviness with ever so Swedish melody, always present yet never over-used like In Flames and latter Soilwork. Replacing it is a seemingly brown-nosing attempt to get these insipid mediocre songs as much mainstream airplay as possible.

That's not to say that there isn't some semblence of decent songs on here. Songs like Dead Eyes See No Future start with possibly one of the best starts to a song I've heard from Arch Enemy for a hell of a long time, but as with the rest of this album it soon descends into unintentional cheesiness and loses all its edge.
Some people would blame Angela Gossow simply because she was the latest person to join the group, but that's far too easy. Plus it's besides the point that Angela Gossow is pretty much the only member of the band who is actually given enough free reign, aside from Mike Amott's garbled shoddy solos (If you can call them so), to shine. The once roaming and respected drumming of Daniel Erlandsson is stifled beyond belief here, so much so that they might as well have just called the album the 'Mike and Angela Show'

If you're honestly contemplating buying this album you've either never heard anything Arch Enemy did before 'Wages Of Sin', or quite frankly you have severely masochistic tendencies.
As to those people that actually rate this album, what can I say?
It defies all belief, even to a disappointed former BIG Arch Enemy fan such as myself, that the band could release something quite so dire as this. Particularly as Mike Amott had gone to substantial lengths to try and make out Arch Enemy were still "heavy" and "underground" , wanting to stay respected as being heavy and not selling out; and yet compromising those very words by releasing this pile of rubbish.


Rebellion against mediocrity - 95%

Lord_Jotun, February 7th, 2004

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you "Wages Of Sin", perfected. Don't get me wrong, I really loved that album, but I've always felt it was generally overrated, for despite its ability to blow most of 2002's other releases out of the proverbial water, there was something missing, namely the relentless feeling I used to get when listening to stuff like "Black Earth" and "Burning Bridges". Oh yes, the greatness was there, but the overall sensation tediously getting in the way was that of a slightly watered down affair, which obviously damaged the album's consistency to some extent. And no, that wasn't to blame on new vocalist Angela Gossow, her job was really good (not overwhelming, but who listens to Arch Enemy for the vocals anyway)? The finger was to be pointed to the songwriting, where occasional shortcomings would sporadically slacken the tension.
That was the past. The present is "Anthems To Rebellion", which simply takes the best elements from "Wages Of Sin", gets rid of any forgettable aspect and adds the natural progression the band has gone through in the meantime. Yes, it's bound to be good, and such a promise is entirely fulfilled.
The band's performance is, if possible, even tighter than before, and Angela's vocals have definitely improved in terms of variety and effectiveness.

We begin with a weird little intro named "Tear Down the Walls", which just consists of a syncopated rhythm with someone going "Hey!" over it; although not really necessary, it sets the "rebellious" mood for the rest of the record. It doesn't last for long, though, and immediately after that, "Silent Wars" hits us like a train with its brutal, fast riffage. This just COMMANDS headbanging, and when Angela unleashes her serpentine screams things only become more intense. Adrain's drumming is overpowering from the very beginning, laying the foundation for the song's untamed power as well as driving the clever variations with its flawless pattern shifts. A perfect album opener, which manages to be catchy an dtechnical at the same time (just listen to that impossibly-tempoed break just before the solo), and for sure a candidate for a long stay in future Arch Enemy live setlists.
"We Will Rise" slows things down and introduces an amazing dose of melodic catchiness, showing ho wmuch the band's musical views have widened since the last time. I need to underline how such a catchy element doesn't eclipse the general heaviness, but rather thrives on it (further proving the point that sometimes slower moments can be much more heavy than grinding supersonic blazers). The opening / chorus riff will be stuck in your head forever, as well as some of the solos.
"Dead Eyes See No Future" begins as yet another typical Arch Enemy thrasher, until the chorus sets in and an unpredicatble melancholic mood, enhanced by delicate keyboard lines, takes over. These two contrasting elements - aggression and sadness - coexist and create an irresistible stream of intensity, which reaches an emotional peak during a break when the chorus melody is just played by a lone clean guitar, gentle keyboards and distant march-like snare drum rolls, just before the all-guns-blazing chorus storms in yet again.

This brings us to another crucial point defining the strength of the new album: a lot of new, different elements have found their way into the Arch Enemy sound, breathing new life inside the picture without overshadowing the long time trademarks. "Exist to Exit" is another song that exemplifies this rather well, with its really ominous atmosphere accompaining the band's usual millimetric performance (great rhythm changes going on between the verses and the chorus).
"Saints and Sinners", the album closer, switches from a plodding verse (backed by great double pedal artillery) to a more open sounding chorus, where more keyboards add a slight symphonic feeling without sacrificing aggression.
And of course there's "End of the Line", a more melodic but equally hammering attack where bizarrely filtered clean vocals (courtesy of the Amott brothers) pop up in the chorus! These guys definitely don't want to repeat themselves, and they achieve their goal by surprising us in each and every song.

But there are also several flat out Arch Enemy assaults to be found here too. "Despicable Heroes" is the first to come to mind, with its unbelievably fast picking and rumming and furious riffs, definitely one of the band's most aggressive moments since "Stigmata", easily beating "Dead Bury Their Dead" from the previous album.
"Leader of the Rats" is slower and more groovy, and a perfect pit-mover. The chorus riff is killer and once again extremely catchy, and makes a really good contrast with the slow and menacing middle section. Great vocals from Angela, too, although the weird effect used on the first verse is kind of annoying.
Speaking of classic Arch Enemy trademarks, there are a couple of intrumentals to be found here, too. "Marching on a Dead End Road" is a dirge-like acoustic interlude based upon the chorus riff from "Dead Eyes See No Future" with a good melodic developement and of course very clean guitar work. "Anthem" is the exact opposite with its triumphant, uplifting feel; the solo sounds kind of curious as it begins as a minor scale when the song is all based on major chords... the effect isn't bad, though.

This album has only one minor drawback for me... well, actualy it has two, namely "Instict" and "Dehumanization". The first one is a slow paced number showing more fantastic percussive fireworks from Adrain but doesn't really go anywhere riff-wise; the lyrics are also pretty insipid, as well as seriously unoriginal: anyone who heard and read the lyrics from "Wages Of Sin" will immediately recall "Behind the Smile" (which wasn't that great song to begin with).
"Dehumanization" is euqally lacking in the melody department, and thsi time the clean vocals get in the way really too often, and soon become predictable and annoying. the synth line that appears in the chorus and is left alone to end the song is nice, though.

As a closing note, I have to praise Andy Sneap's excellent sound wizardry (it even surpasses his own job on "Wages Of Sin", and that is really saying something) as well as the very good artwork, fitting the album's theme perfectly with its "Blade Runner" reminescences. Very highly recommended, in case you still have some doubts. It's really worth it

F****N' Brilliant!!! - 100%

corviderrant, February 1st, 2004

I'll start by saying I am a little bit biased in that "Wages Of Sin" was my CD of 2002, because it was all killer no filler in my book--the production was perfect, the playing was spot-on, and the gorgeous Fraulein Angela Gossow kicked unholy amounts of ass with her terrifying vocals that left Johan Liiva's pasty Swedish arse in the dust! No, I was not a fan of Johan's weak, limited vocals, I will freely admit; they were great players being held back by a crappy vocalist. But now, dare I say it, they have topped themselves with this opus.

The production is even better then last time, amazingly enough; the drums sound like an artillery assault, the bass roars like a rabid lion, and of course, the guitars sing, shriek, crunch, and KILL! And Angela, of course, is soaring over the top of it all with her deadly vocal assault, still proving that women can hang with extreme metal vocal technique just fine. An album to make your speakers groan in pain, in short. Thank you, Andy Sneap--you da MAN!!!

Song-wise, well, some are better than others, but this album kills from start to finish. From the killer beginner of "Silent Wars" (that pre-chorus, with its full speed/half speed alternation gets my head bangin' every time) seguing into the brilliantly melodic "We Will Rise", to the middle tunes like "Dead Eyes See No Future" (one of my faves, featuring Michael's heartrending, emotional ending solo) "Leader of the Rats" and "Instinct" with its sludgy, A-tuned riffing, to the ending tunes like "End of the Line", the Bros. Amott consistently pull an impressive array of riffs, licks, rhythms and melodies that are catchy and memorable, as well as just plain staggering.

Michael's more plaintive, bluesy lead style still perfectly contrasts his brother's wilder, more technical shredding, and each one gets to to strut their stuff with individual instrumentals that are really quite pretty. Christopher's "Marching Down A Dead End Road" is a sweet little multitracked acoustic piece reminiscent of old Yngwie Malmsteen (only more tasteful) that also quotes the chorus melody of "Dead Eyes See No Future" as well as nicking a line from that tune, and Michael's "Freedom" is a soaring, blues-drenched turn in the spotlight worthy of the mighty Gary Moore.

I don't care what folks say about Arch Enemy, these last two CDs, for me at least, have shown them at some of their best playing and songwriting, as well as guitar playing. And Angela ought to punch out some of these idiots who keep downing her, as she is a more than worthy replacement for Johan who gave the band a much-needed shot of life and energy! She's buffed enough, I think she could do it...*G* Anyway, melodic death or not, this is just plain great metal, and these folks deserve their accolades after years of hard work. One of my fave CDs of 2003, needless to say, this was.