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Super Amott Bros. 3 - 92%

OzzyApu, March 16th, 2013
Written based on this version: 1999, CD, Century Media Records (Digipak)

This final album in the original trilogy of Arch Enemy's career is a different breed than its two predecessors. It's got the same burning distortion and ripping riffs that defined the Amott style of playing up to this point, but its emphasis on catchier songs made it lose that menacing, baleful edge that defined Black Earth and Stigmata. Burning Bridges moves even closer to heavy / power metal with lots of the harshness that wasn't foreign to the band at this point. The songs themselves aren't any worse for what they intended, except for the title track.

Now of all the songs of Arch Enemy's first three looming albums, the song "Burning Bridges" is dogshit. It's very doomy, but it's so boring as it tries to fry melodic leads without any real direction. Liiva's coarse yells rule, as they do commanding the rest of the album, but the song is governed by robotic drumming and some annoying as hell mellotron. The rest of the album's drumming is like an artillery battery with actual fills and blasting that's potent and flow-friendly. The drumming on this one song is in a totally different realm than the rupturing blitz of riffs and arcane-like melodic death, but most of all it isn't good.

The best on the other end of the album are songs like "Pilgrim," "Silverwing," and "Seed Of Hate". Basically anything on here except "Burning Bridges" is awesome heavy / power metal influenced melodic death with classic singular / twin solos, pronounced harmonies, and sadistic delivery of riffs, bass, and drumming. It's the same early Arch Enemy unity, but with a radiant slant. The best of these is the cryptic, brooding verses of "Seed Of Hate" preceding the song's unassailable tightness in untouchable lead prowess and Liiva's fervent delivery.

The bonus tracks make a great expansion and top this album off better than the uneventful title track does. It includes a nifty, inscrutable instrumental called "Hydra" that'll leave chills. Title track aside, this is another stellar offering that ends the original trilogy of awesome Arch Enemy albums. To have continued down this direction would have made them a powerhouse in a different right than the mundane joke they're considered now.