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Tyranny at it's (almost) finest! - 89%

Gornot, January 4th, 2018

By this point there's been so many reviews and different opinions written about this album that it seems almost pointless for me to add another, but I am going to do it anyway because of one simple fact:

"Rise of the Tyrant" is what really got me into the Arch Enemy sound. Previously I have only heard a couple of their songs (those being "Nemesis" and "Skeleton Dance") and by the time I really started paying attention to the band, this album was released and I was eager to give it a listen.

Unlike some of their other releases, there is no veil of secrecy and suspence implemented as an intro to the album. The band immediately bursts into "Blood on Your Hands" with strong intensity that is expected of them. The production on this album is much more raw than on "Doomsday Machine", the guitar sound is beastly and outright fucking dirty, and it suits the album very well. The drums could've been mixed with a bit more detail, but they are good enough despite the overwhelming amount of guitar shredding. Angela Gossow sounds as amazing as always and she is one of the reasons I really like this band (aside from the fact that she breaks stereotypes of growl vocals being almost exclusively a male thing).

Unfortunately, this album does not come without flaws. The songs, while being very strong and impressive for the better part of the album, are not diverse enough to be immediately distinctive and I was not able to tell them apart from just the first couple of listens. "I Will Live Again" is, perhaps, one strong exception, and a song that despite being on the slower side than what I'm used to from Arch Enemy, is really good. I can't help but think that if Alissa White-Gluz was already in the band by this point, the song would've ended up even better with her clean vocals implemented, because Angela's performance here feels somewhat out of place during the verses. The leading solo just begs for a massive crowd chant, but instead it insists on harsh vocals and somewhat undermines the song's potential.

By the time the title track kicks in, I realize I wish there was at least some sort of a break from the pace of the album (despite this track being the one with an intro) and although "Intermezzo Liberté" provides it, I really really wish it was implemented a little bit earlier in the tracklist.

Overall, while this album is not perfect, the good certainly outweighs the bad, and even some of the weaker songs on this release are still interesting and catchy enough to be - if not very memorable and a staple of Arch Enemy's work - very enjoyable still.

Personal favorites and highlights:
Blood on Your Hands
The Last Enemy
In This Shallow Grave
Intermezzo Liberté