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Arch Enemy deliver again - 87%

PorcupineOfDoom, September 26th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2007, CD, Century Media Records

By this point in Arch Enemy's long career, most people have probably got bored of their sound and decided to ditch it and go listen to something else. Because I'd never been into death metal when this stuff was released (heck, I didn't start listening to this stuff until five years or so later), I just found all of Arch Enemy's stuff instantly captivating. This album stands out from their other ones, but I wouldn't say it was their best album.

Why not? Mostly because unlike 'Wages Of Sin' and 'Doomsday Machine', there are multiple songs that I dislike on this album. I don't mean to name and shame any in particular, but... Who am I kidding, I'm looking at you 'I Will Live Again', 'Revolution Begins' and 'The Great Darkness'. The first one tries to do something different and fails miserably, the second just gets a bit repetitive and generally isn't something to get excited about until the end (admittedly I did enjoy the outro), and the third felt a bit out of tune for the most part and just wasn't to my liking.

Now that that's out of the way, onto the good bits of the album. As a whole, the sound for this album is consistently faster and heavier than most of their other works. Unlike their previous album 'Doomsday Machine', Angela's voice sounds human rather than robotic (thank fuck) and that adds the feel of the music. The rest of the stuff is what you'd expect from the band, only heavier than normal. 'The Last Enemy' and 'Rise Of The Tyrant' are good examples of this, as they show that - while they have melodic parts - they're focused on delivering something slightly harder than they did with their last couple of albums.

A song that I feel is significantly underrated on this album is 'In This Shallow Grave'. No one ever seems to mention it, not just in terms of it being a good song but there also don't seem to be any real critics of it. It's almost as if no one has actually heard it. It jumps right into the song with fast and heavy riffs and pacey drumming, topped off with some harsh death growls. Then all of a sudden when it hits the chorus one of the guitarists starts playing a few nice hooks over the top of the continually heavy riffs and drums. Some people will think that it doesn't fit, but personally I love it. Still, I'd expect some critics of the song at least, but their attention seems firmly fixed on 'Night Falls Fast' and 'Revolution Begins'.

The only (decent) songs on the album that don't follow the general outline are 'The Day You Died' and 'Vultures', which add a little bit of variety to the mix but aren't really the best songs on the album. 'Vultures' starts off in quite a different way with two guitars doing different things that come together nicely, but ultimately it just turns into a fairly generic melodeath song. It does have some good parts to it, but six minutes is kind of stretching my patience with the same riffs and hooks over and over again.

Overall, I would say that while as a whole it doesn't top their last album, certain points of 'Rise Of The Tyrant' are better than those of 'Doomsday Machine'. Another strong showing by Arch Enemy with another great album, which pretty much cements their reputation as one of the legends of melodic death metal (in my eyes at least).