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Johan Liiva, man. - 89%

Andromeda_Unchained, December 5th, 2011

Arch Enemy have always been a band I've enjoyed, and they were - along with Carcass - instrumental to my wanderings into the more extreme side of the metal spectrum. I especially enjoyed the band when Johan Liiva was unleashing his furious, neurotic vocal style. In fact I'd say he was amongst my favorite death metal vocalists, as the way he conveys emotion throughout his tormented barks really strikes a chord with me, and comes off excellent.

The earlier Arch Enemy material often felt to me like the spiritual successor to the work Carcass laid down on Heartwork, (and okay, I guess Wages of Sin had one or two moments which would bring Carcass to mind). This of course would spring from the guitar approach of the Amott brothers, particularly Mike, who I feel did a lot in helping shape Swedish death metal in general. Their approach to melody and harmony is about as identifiably Scandinavian as it comes, with that decidedly home-grown style of down-tuned Maiden harmonies which again was one of the hallmarks of Heartwork.

Here Arch Enemy were right on the cusp of becoming the power metal band on steroids that recorded Wages Of Sin, fortunately they still had their balls firmly intact (no pun intended what-so-ever), although this is definitely the cut off point in the band's discography, heralded by both the coming stylistic change and change in vocalist. Here though, the band could still tear heads like their leaner, meaner brothers in Stockholm. As I've said before, this album is fairly reminiscent of Heartwork, though light years away from being a carbon clone. Tracks such as "The Immortal" and "Angel Claw" display this notion quite well quite well.

"Dead Inside" is about the most atypical Arch Enemy number here, and especially at this particular point in their career signposts their stlye perfecty. Certainly one of the bands finer numbers. "Seed of Hate" sees the band treading the waters of eighties metal worship, with a definite "Bark at the Moon" vibe going on. Without a doubt an enjoyable track, although just like "Dead Inside" would signpost Arch Enemy at the time of recording, "Seed of Hate" stands as somewhat an indicator to the future. Those looking for some of the aforementioned head tearing should look towards "Silverwing" and "Demonic Science" which deliver some serious Swedish style death metal chops.

I tend think Burning Bridges is the finest of the Arch Enemy offerings, and would definitely say that this was one of the stronger releases to come from the oft maligned Gothenburg crowd. The band didn't put a foot wrong here, and if there was any Arch Enemy album you should hear once my vote would go to this.

Edited 24/11/13 to actually make sense.