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That sounded familiar... - 65%

karma_sleeper, August 1st, 2007

I like Arch Enemy. I really do. You might even call me a fan. But I still have mixed feelings about this album. On the one hand, it is very monotonous. It’s hard to differentiate one track from the next. On the other, there are a lot of catchy melodies and some OK songs. I’d like to think this album is a step up from “Anthems of Rebellion” and “Doomsday Machine” but I wouldn’t go that far.

“Rise of the Tyrant” is a bit like a less painful “Anthems” and a less diverse “Wages of Sin.” The track “Night Falls Fast” on “Rise of the Tyrant” uses a nearly identical riff to “End of the Line” on the “Anthems” album. This called to my mind Nickelback’s song recycling. That’s right – I just drew a comparison between Arch Enemy and Nickelback. Normally I would find something like this pleasantly nostalgic, but since “Anthems of Rebellion” was such a mundane release, it just makes me nauseous. You won’t find much variety between songs, either. I can’t stay interested when listening to this album. It’s just the same thing over and over. The reviewer above me was right in pointing out that you’ve heard this album before. Another strange bit about this new album is the use of choirs. They don’t detract from the songs, but they feel really out of place. When I think of Arch Enemy, I don’t envision creepy chants in the background. It sounds strange and unnecessary.

On the plus side, I really enjoyed a lot of the leads in the songs. Despite what we may think of recent trends, the Amott brothers are talented guitarists and I continue to enjoy their shredding, ear bleeding assaults. Angela’s vocals remain strong on this album but sound different than usual. I can’t quite put my finger on it. She sounds more manly if that’s at all possible. Did I mention the sleeve art was neat? Sorry, I feel like I have to say something good to balance out all the bad.

If you really love Arch Enemy despite their last two releases, then you will continue to love Arch Enemy despite “Rise of the Tyrant.” Hell, you may even enjoy it. To those less clouded by blind devotion, you’re better off avoiding this one or waiting for a sale. It’s all been done before and Arch Enemy has taken a moment to remind us of that with their latest CD. Shameless riff recycling and ultimately boring guitars mark the core of this album. Angela’s vicious screams and heavy doses of melody can do nothing to salvage what could have been a decent and fun album.