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The Rise of Gossow - 85%

shatterzer0, May 24th, 2008

Alot of things have been written since 2001 when former singer Johan Liiva left Arch Enemy, most of them negative. With his replacement came the criticism, as he was replaced with none other than a woman who had only known Michael Amott briefly by interviewing him and giving him a rough demo videotape of her performances. In Amott's words though, she wiped the floor with the rest of the other singers who tried out for the lead role. Even though it came from left field in perspective, Angela Gossow does fit perfectly into the scheme of the music and brings something else no one else besides maybe Karen Axelsson from Sonic Syndicate can and that is beauty with brutality.

The sound of police sirens emerge on "Blood On Your Hands" and the band kicks into a frenzy just as quick as it ceases. What amazes me here is being a first time listener to Arch Enemy the way that Angela Gossow does fit into the music, as her death growl is almost on par with her male counterparts. If you didn't know she was female, it might take you by surprise. The song itself goes from a very fast pace to a beat oriented chorus and back again. Keeping it in the same arena, the band follow up the opener with the same ferocity and pace with "The Last Enemy" but slows the pace down in certain spots with more melodic guitar work, including an acoustic guitar outro. With "I Will Live Again" the band take it down a couple of notches for the entire song, incorporating the use of samples and slower tempo, melody based guitar work, but quickly pick it back up with "In This Shallow Grave" as it seems the band wanted to give the listener a breather of sorts. By now you're sort of realizing the whole gist of this album. As Rise of the Tyrant's vocals are more on line with the political stances of other metal groups such as Megadeth or atleast that is how I perceived it after reading several of the lyrics in the album booklet and double taking at the album name and song titles. On "Revolution Begins" the band pull it all together to make their album "anthem" so to speak (or the song that stands out the most as what could be used for commercialism.) The song itself is a pretty cool song and so is the video. Even though I'm a sucker for the more "mainstream fodder" type songs, this still carries the essence of all that is Arch Enemy in it, with solos by Michael Amott and the attributes the opening part of the record to this point carries.

Altogether this album contains alot of things that separate this band from others in the genre. I love the musicianship of the band as a whole, as they work as tight as anything I have ever heard and even though it's hard to admit, females can sing almost on par with their predecessors in the sub-genre. I think what catches me the most about this album is the way it flows together so seamlessly, almost effortlessly and yet it's a solid album throughout. Much like the Demon Hunter album Storm the Gates of Hell, it's hard to really dissect the album and pinpoint any place on it that didn't really fit. The only one thing I am kind of against and call me whatever, but I just don't like "interlude" type tracks as it could be replaced so easily with another track of more magnitude. All in all though, this is a solid effort and well worth the money.