Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Melodeath's finest - 83%

Oss1, June 25th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2007, CD, Century Media Records

On this album, Arch Enemy finally realised what melodic 'death' metal is all about; speed metal riffs in a death metal-style enviroment. Riffs inspired by the 80's thrash metal bands, and maybe later Motörhead, are the main building blocks of this CD. On top of these riffs, the lead guitar rises with emotion in a style that has dominated all popular music the last few decades. The song structures do not wonder in to the progressive style of death metal, but rather stay in the standard verse-chorus style of heavy metal.

The anthemic vision that Arch Enemy have always strived for, seems to be present on this album more than ever. The album is surprisingly heavy and does not bow to the usual gimmicks of 'melodeath'. The guitarists lay down some memorable lead guitar lines over aggressive riffs, commented by the vocalists high screech. The songs build up with fairly standard, downtuned speed metal riffs, until the tension is relieved, usually in the chorus, with a lead guitar melody ranging from melancholic to rebellious. During verses the rhythm guitar sometimes steps away to a generic muted strum giving space for the vocalist's lyric delivery. Neo-classical licks in the style of Yngwie Malmsteen gives this album a dramatic undertone.

Although the band's virtuosity comes across clear, I see no ego-boosting apart from a few solos, that could have been cut shorter. Explosive guitar solos are many and they follow the style of Iron Maiden with two separate spots for each guitarist to showcase their shred abilities. Nice dual harmonies also find their way to the end of these solo sections. Vocalist, while maybe too weak for death metal, does a nice job conveying these songs without being the center of attention. Bass is constantly present following the fast footwork of the drummer, who punctuates these riffs well.

All in all, this is an enjoyable record within a genre that has suffered from too many below-the-average acts. This hybrid of death and heavy metal is enjoyable in small doses and although it may not leave a lasting impression, it sure can make your feet stomp and head bang. The bar has been raised by Arch Enemy to heights that could cause other bands to move to other genres, which might be a good thing for the evolution of heavy metal.