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No, I'm not going to make a "Rise" joke - 90%

RedMisanthrope, October 1st, 2007

Love them or hate them, Arch Enemy have returned for the throne of 2007 heavy metal. Did they conquer the other pretenders for ultimate metal supremacy? No. Did they manage to release a sold slab of metal? Oh yes they did! Is this one of my favorite releases of '07? You better believe it.

Going into this I was not an Arch Enemy fan at all. I thought "Wages of Sin" was a neat album, but "Doomsday Machine" left a very bitter taste in my mouth with so many throw away tracks it made Lamb of God's "Sacrament" look like a "best of" release. When "Blood on Your Hands" was released to the public I had an apathy attack and was bitterly reminded of "Doomsday Machine". When I actually listened to the song though I saw the my judgement was hasty indeed. Blaring sirens start the track off and I knew I was in for a ride. All I could say was, "Finally, they got it right".

The trademark Amott wall of guitars is certainly present in this opener and wailing solos are most definitely the order of the day. The drums are little less extreme this time around and unfortunately the bass takes a backseat (as usual). And then there's Angela. Oh, sweet Angela. Say what you will about her, I think she's brilliant. Wheather she's calling for a revolution or just spitting out lines for the hell of it, her reptilian voice certainly gets it point across.

Despite the very minor flaws of "Blood on Your Hands" I ran out and got the album and was definitely in for a surprise. Songs like "The Last Enemy" and "Rise of the Tyrant" (the heaviest song on the album) are instant classics in the Arch Enemy catalog and the entire album itself just has a much more consistent feel to it. Throughout the entire disc the guitars rarely let up with some very memorable solos and melodies, the drum fills are superb and the bass...well it's still pretty much in the background. I didn't say it was completely consistent.

There are still hints of the experimentation that ran rampant on "Doomsday Machine" as well. But unlike "Doomsday Machine" the experimentation this time around doesn't hinder the overall feel of the album. "I Will Live Again" features a very haunting opening melody that is the basis for which the riffs are constructed around. Not a good idea on paper but the melody is actually very good and I find myself going back to that track just to hear it. "The Great Darkness" also features so apocalyptic choir work which is nice, but at some points doesn't match up with the song so well.

Despite my great praise the album does have a bit of "been here, done that" syndrome towards the end and the last track isn't memorable at all besides the soloing.

This album does absolutely nothing different or revolutionary, but that doesn't mean that something that has been done before can't still be done well. This is a good album and probably my most pleasant surprise of the year. It has great solos, awesome vocals, and is just flat out heavy. Isn't that what metal is all about anyways? Buy this album.

Stand out tracks: "Blood On Your Hands", "The Last Enemy", "I Will Live Again", "Rise of the Tyrant"