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A pained attempt at previous success - 21%

matt85210, January 16th, 2010

This new album by Arch Enemy is a disappointing one to review for me, if I am honest. On the one hand, in light of their recent horror stories, this is yet another chapter in their tome of predictability and serious lack of any real edge. On the other hand, this isn’t quite as jaw-droppingly awful as, say, ‘Anthems of Rebellion’ was. But it’s pretty close. And no one is more let down than I, as Arch Enemy were literally THE band that got me into metal in the first place, so to see them regurgitate such rubbish as this really does hit a nerve.

And it has been a pretty swift and unmerciful fall from grace. Remember when the Amott brothers were two of the most celebrated guitarists in the whole genre of melodic death metal (and I genuinely believe that it was not just because they just happened to be brothers)? Remember ‘Burning Bridges’? And of course, don’t forget that they were one of the first female fronted metal bands before it was cool. So… what is it that’s going wrong on albums like this?

Well, they’ve become very comfortable in the little niche that they have created for themselves, haven’t they? Nothing wrong with that. Except, there is something wrong with that. The problem is, their niche sucks. It sucks badly. Case in point: the second riff of ‘Blood On Your Hands’ or the main riff to ‘Vultures’. Speaking subjectively, I just fucking hate these little offbeat, slightly syncopated riffs they have scattered randomly throughout their later CDs. It feels like they have simply run out of ideas and this is the only thing they have left in reserve to make things interesting. The wanky and pointless ‘widdly-widdly’ bits after every verse, the crass and insincere self-empowering lyrics, the train timetable verse-chorus-verse-chorus… it’s as dull as dishwater, as it pains me to say it about a band that I used to hold in such high regard.

Despite my initial loathing of this album, there are some things I will say for Rise of the Tyrant. Firstly, the album is more consistent than their other post Wages of Sin efforts. Even though I am annoyed at the way it is employed, its pretty difficult to deny Arch Enemy’s collective musical ability. Even though you know exactly where and when the solos are about to come in (and to a certain extent what scales are going to be played), when they eventually do, they are expertly played, if instantly forgettable in terms of material. Songs like ‘In This Shallow Grave’ momentarily threaten to spark a glimmer of hope, and also– shock horror! There is some sense of musical progression on this album! Whereas on Doomsday Machine the band borrowed elements of industrial metal in the crunch of the guitar production, here they have taken on a slightly groovier approach, which may sound appealing, but only insofar as they sound a bit more like DevilDriver now.

Guys, seriously, why is this album getting so much praise? There are some real turds floating around this stagnant lake of retarded musical crap. ‘Blood On Your Hands’ is positively awash with cliché, ‘I Will Live Again’ is the very epitome of lazy and uninspired song writing, through to the token instrumental ‘Intermezzo Liberte’ track for Amott to wank all over with some needless shredding.

Rise of The Tyrant is a full on fart in the face. The punchy riffs on this album were the filler riffs from albums like Burning Bridges and Wages of Sin. I want to say that they can do better, but I am finding less and less evidence for this. With albums like Rise of The Tyrant, Arch Enemy will only ever be the band that introduces young kids to metal, and at this rate it won’t belong before the kids mature, grow up, get a clue, and move on.