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Incredible but flawed - 90%

Room101, January 6th, 2008

This is my first Arch Enemy album, so I won't be comparing it to any other of their albums. What I will be doing, is laying everything down bluntly. This album has some absolutely incredible songs, and the formulae are all there, but I must say this album sometimes borders on apathy and repetitiveness.

The high rating I have given this album is mainly due to flawless masterpieces "Blood On Your Hands", and "Revolution Begins", rightly chosen as singles for the album. Also high up in the hierarchy are "The Last Enemy", "In This Shallow Grave", and "The Day You Died", which all could be moderately improved, such as the former, which could have an more interesting introduction riff, and the riffs under the solos could be better and more fitting instead of just variating the main riffs, and so on. It sounds petty to point out such things, but if they rerecorded this in a few years and fixed the weak points, then this album would be absolutely perfect. I have noticed this in quite a bit of Arch Enemy's music, from listening to songs like "Dead Eyes See No Future" and "Nemesis" which, although they rule outright, they could be improved which would make that little bit of difference.

The skill is all here. The newly reunited Amott brothers shred furiously, almost in the vein of the master ripper Yngwie Malmsteen. The sweep picking after the bridge riff in "Revolution Begins" is immense. Sharlee's bass is very tight with the rest of the music, and Daniel's drumming, although evidently triggered, is spot on. Angela sounds less monotomous than she does on what I have heard of her older music, leaving out all of the double recording shit, and she sounds quite remeniscant of Jeff Walker (Carcass). But the lyrics in most places, are quite simple. In my views, the lyrics to opener "Blood On Your Hands" are the king point of the album where the lyrics are concerned. Also, in virtuoso closer "Vultures", she goes really high, as if to growl a falsetto, which is very well done.

The most of this album is memorable, apart from "Night Falls Fast" and "The Great Darkness" which I have listened to many times and can only remember that they were okay. What was surprising, though, was the title track. That, in my opinion, has to be one of the highlights or representatives of the album, but here, it is nothing special. It has a huge intro from some movie, and then goes in to a big wall of sound the way I'm concerned. Worth mentioning, though, is the mellow interlude "Intermezzo Liberté", which is a sub-three minute instrumental melodic-doom metal break from all the fast stuff. It is quite enjoyable, unlike many instrumental interlude songs, like Morbid Angel's "Nar Mattaru" from the album Covenant, Nile's "Infinity of Stone" from Ithyphallic, and Meshuggah's "Acrid Placidity" from Destroy Erase Improve.

All in all, though, this is a pretty good album. I would recommend it to anyone who wants an album full of catchy melodic riffs and killer solos.

If you want some taster material, download "Blood On Your Hands" or "Revolution Begins".