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I Actually Love This Album - 96%

ict1523, September 16th, 2007

I was very critical of Arch Enemy's last album...I thought it was experimental and mainstream at the same time, but this time, its clear the sound is heavier, darker, and more intense, and the album definitely is much less mainstream.

The album is rather heavy, the riffs while they do have melody, manage to sound very dark, Angela delivery is a bit more varied and at times she sounds even more like a male. And the solos, Arch Enemy's albums have always been filled with them, but I feel like there are even more solos on this album and that they are very ranged and melodic. Now at first, I didn't like this sound, and thought Arch Enemy kept losing their direction, but I kept giving this album chances, and its probably grown more on me than any other album in recent listening...I'd say its a hard album to get or understand but once you do everything seems to connect and make sense.

Some highlights? Well I love most songs on this album, but I'll focus on a few..."Blood on Our Hands" is a great opener, starts off with a fast guitar riff and the song explodes with nice drumming and an angry growl from Angela. This is one of the faster songs on the album, also one of the heaviest, Angela's vocals here are definitely powerful...the solo in this song is also fabulous...speedy, high-pitched, and ranges from high to low...

"The Last Enemy" is a good song, also a fast and heavy song. Another intense and powerful vocal deliver from Angela. One of the solos in this song (there's more than one in most songs) is great for its thin but intense and speedy sounds...the other is more of a melodic solo. "Revolution Begins" is another good song, but it does sound more mainstream geared, with a slower pace, and the song isn't as heavy, but what it lacks for in heaviness it makes up for in melody.

"Intermezzo Liberte" is a superb instrumental, I have always loved Arch Enemy instrumentals as they feature some awesome music, melodies and solos included. This is no different. We have a fairly nice melodic melody that starts off with acoustic guitar and slowly builds up with the heavier guitar and drums coming in. The guitar solo in here which takes up about a minute is also a superb one, it also goes from slow and melodic to a thinner but higher-pitched and faster paced sound before it slows down again. Very nicely executed instrumental. A lot of bands have instrumentals that really don't do anything for me and I see them as filler, but with Arch Enemy, they are just as enjoyable if not more than regular songs.

"Vultures" is the last highlight I'll cover, and boy is it a song. At 6:35, it is one of the longest Arch Enemy songs and I enjoy every second of this song. I'd be willing to bet 40-50% of this song is soloing, and the other half or so is just as good with very nice dark riffs and brutal angry vocals from Angela. This song almost has a thrash feel to it, some of the solos have very strange, almost unpleasant melodies, but to my ear the strange sound is what makes the solo incredible, hell they remind me of some Kreator solos from "Pleasure to Kill"...just abstract melodies that are totally unlike what we've seen from Arch Enemy the past few years...overall an awesome song.

As for the negatives, there aren't many, but I find the intro to "Rise of the Tyrant" silly as its spoken. I also don't like the lyrics in part of the verses to "I Will Live Again"...I can actually understand what Angela is saying here and it sounds stupid, something about "Is it me or is it you? Look in the mirror, who do you see?", but this is really nitpicking, and I am resorted to pointing out these small faults, as I can't see any other ones...

So to review...More brutal sounds, my favorite Angela vocal delivery on this album, abundant intense and speedy solos, this album has it all. My favorite Arch Enemy album despite the somewhat different sound. I don't know much about Arch Enemy previous to "Anthems of Rebellion", but I dare say this album sounds a bit more like their older stuff, especially with regards to the solos. Wonderfully executed album, and if you don't like it at first, give it another chance, its a grower. After Doomsday Machine I didn't even want to listen to this album, thought they chose and would stick to their more mainstream and shitty gothenburg sound, but I was wrong. Hell this doesn't even sound anywhere near a regular gothenburg or melodic death album...