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Rise of My Disappointment - 20%

corviderrant, September 28th, 2007

I don't believe this...I'm actually panning an Arch Enemy album. And I am sorry to say that this particular one deserves it.

The production is too weak, for starters. Like on Dimmu Borgir's recent album, Daniel's snare is buried beneath a flotilla of annoying triggered kick drum activity. Does Fredrik Nordstrom not like drums anymore or something? It sounds that way if this is any indicator. The guitars do have some presence and bite, and the bass is still nice and distorted, though buried more than it's been in the past. Disappointing factor to say the least. It only adds to the weakness and lack of impact on this album.

The music? Uninspired and they sound as though they're going through the motions on this album. Another reviewer mentioned evidence of rehashing songs on their part, and they're right: "Blood on Your Hands" is a pallid retread of "Enemy Within" and "The Last Enemy" is "Ravenous" all over again, only lacking the rabid intensity that made that song special. The riffs are tired and not as catchy as what the Brothers Amott have written before. Even the leads aren't as passionate as before, a VERY bad thing in the AE universe. The overall lack of enthusiasm on this album is upsetting. The only positive thing I can say here is that at least they seem to have jettisoned the stomp rock Ozzfest trappings on this album. But unfortunately at the cost of re-visiting a sound they've outgrown, the old style of melodic death metal they helped pioneer.

It was a chore listening to this album, much as it was trying to find redeeming qualities about "In Sorte Diaboli" earlier this year. Even after several listens, I was throughly unimpressed. And I am sad to say that. I know AE can do better than this, they have before. Therefore, I will chalk this up as a failure and only hope that they get the riff machine going again next outing as well as re-examining where they are, where they want to go, and whether they can bother to put out an album on a par with "Wages of Sin", my personal watermark for AE albums, again.

I suspect there is burnout setting in in the AE camp, if this album is any indicator, and either a break or a breakup is a solution to this. If they keep releasing sub-par efforts like this, maybe the Ozzfest crowd will like it, but I won't be bothered to continue supporting them. And it pains me to say that.