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Simple and effective - 83%

invaded, July 20th, 2006

This is the Arch Enemy lineup that many fans wish still existed today. But gone are Johan Liiva and Christopher Ammott. However, this record showcases the first lineup, with simple and catchy riffs, simple song strucures and some very cool lead playing. This is how AE should have kept it. This album doesn't show off full on wankery, more like tasteful and skillfull playing by one of metal's top brother tandems.

The band was still pretty green, yet there is an undeniable intensity and authenticity about this release that appeals to me. "The Immortal" is a classic, a song the band still plays often live to this day. The main riffs and leads are great and the rythm is pummeling and worthy of the horns. "Dead Inside" has a nice intensity to it, "Pilgrim" has some ferocious riffing mixed with a catchy as hell chorus that inspires my head to bang. Once again the lead playing is tasteful and fits the tune really well. "Demonic Science" is another standout track with a ferocity so genuine you can just picture the dudes jamming in a crummy basement. "Seed of Hate" is another rocker. I'm a sucker for catchy and groovy riffs and this album has these to the brim. "Angelclaw" is a very melodic track, very reminiscent of what the band would go into a little further later on. The track gets to a fast paced tempo and the riffing is once again very clean and precise.

The vocals on the record are not outstanding. I prefer Angela Gossow's pipes myself, although her last couple of records have not been that good(although she can hardly be blamed for it!). Johan Liiva was pretty good and fit the band's sound on this release. He doesn't stand out but nor does he dimninish the record's quality. The playing here, especially on guitars, is spectacular. The leads seem so effortlessly produced and the Ammott brothers always have a very accurate touch on their respective instruments. The drums are also steady, but Daniel Erlandsson left his best playing for Wages of Sin.

My only real flack with this record is that the closing track is not very good at all. The title track is slow and boring and does not encompass anything of what the band's sound is about. This track did not belong on what besides this is a pretty good record.

For those who like to wave the nostalgia flag, this one's for you.