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Far From Perfect - 57%

ImpureSoul, May 18th, 2010

Arch Enemy found their biggest success with the release of Rise of the Tyrant, which made it on the famed Billboard 200 in 84th place. It brought a lot of fans to the Gossow side and got them going for the band after the (perceived) flop of Doomsday Machine. What do I think of this album? I'll sum it up with one word:

OVERRATED.

Of course, it isn't really a surprise. Just about every melodic death metal album that comes out of Sweden nowadays is overrated in the same way. I will give it this much: while it is overrated, it isn't a total loss. This album has it's good points. For example, this album is Gossow's best vocal performance to date. The album also has a few songs that remind me of the good old days. And compared to bands that have gone downhill WAY faster than Arch Enemy under the same genre (I'm looking at you, In Flames), it holds up much better than other Swedish Melodeath albums released around the same time. So, why do I think that this album is overrated when every other fan can't get enough of it? I'll tell you.

The main problem that Arch Enemy has had since Liiva was kicked to the curb STILL persists here. The bloody repitition of the choruses.If you don't know what I mean, listen to Revolution Begins. It's the same pattern of verse-chorus-verse-chorus that's way too plain and standard. It's unquestionably the most boring and uninspired song on here. And of course, it repeats the chorus line WAY too much (another problem that's followed Arch Enemy around for a long time). Most of the songs here follow that same pattern, and it's pretty frustrating. There isn't too much to surprise you or stick out in most of the songs, when you listen to all of them in a row. It's really unfortunate too, especially when you consider that this is the band that released Stigmata and Burning Bridges. Too many of the songs keep with the same pace and use the same tricks, and that's this album's major downfall.

Now that the complaining is done, time to move on to the positives. This album starts in with 2 songs that I still consider great songs. "Blood on your Hands" and "The Last Enemy" are legitimately good songs. Not to mention the solos are pretty good too. (Not as good as the stuff from the early albums, but hey, they beat the bejesus out of the solos from Anthems). On top of that, Gossow's vocals sound really good. I'm not kidding. That's the one thing that manages to stay good for most of the album. None of the feeble growls from Anthems of Rebellion, she really manages to make a good performance. The title song is pretty good as well, but that intro is ridiculous. "This Shallow Grave" starts good, (the section from 0:29-0:49 is awesome), but it's wrecked by being repeated until it gets stale. I like the solo sections from "Vultures", and that's about all there is to this album.

Rise of the Tyrant isn't all that good, but there are things that manage to save it from being a complete failure. Some memorable songs, Gossow's vocals have improved a lot, (too bad she couldn't keep it up for Root of All Evil) and the album is MUCH more consistent than the previous Gossow releases. All in all, I say it's an average album. Not great, not terrible, but average.

Originally written for spirit-of-metal.com