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"Shut up and take my money already!" - 20%

tshred666, August 14th, 2012

What's worse than cash-grabbing remasters? Cash-grabbing re-recordings! Remember the relentless thrashing days of Liiva? Well, here come the Amotts and Century Media to ass-rape those memories!

Some would probably want to blame Gossow for this ass-hattery, but my instincts say it's the Amott brothers and wholly corrupt Century Media trying to steal money from the parents of the majority of Arch Enemy's current fanbase. You remember how disgusted and appalled you probably were when you heard John Bush shitting on the legacy of Joey Belladonna in Nuclear Blast's cash-grab known as "The Greater of Two Evils"? This is the Arch Enemy equivalent. While Angela is a competent vocalist, her voice does not work AT ALL in the Liiva-era material. Johan had an incredibly percussive and heavy punch that fits right in with the traditional death metal paradigm, while Angela has a high growl that fits more with the Gothenburg sound.

Another aspect here that ruins the listening experience is the overly polished production and higher tuning. Back when Liiva was behind the mic, the Amotts stuck with B-tuned guitars with a very thick, crunchy tone that's caught somewhere between the Gothenburg and Stockholm standards. With Angela, we get a very sleek, clean, and modern tone that's tuned to C standard. While one might think "Oh, it's just a half step, what's the big deal?", but that is a very critical half step. Just look at their rehashing of "Incarnated Solvent Abuse" - big difference, isn't it? Now imagine that applied to tracks from their first three albums with really thin and hollow production and Angela's demon snarls. Not a pretty picture, is it? The polishing of the rhythm section is also equally aggravating, the bass being buried underneath every other instrument and the drums embracing that annoying, modern, trigger-happy sound that now pervades every metal genre.

The only tracks that work are "Beast of Man" and "Dark Insanity", so if you want to check those out, go ahead, but you won't really get much from the experience, trust me. I haven't heard the bonus tracks that people in Japan and Europe have the displeasure of hearing, but however good they are, they're still probably just put here for the same reason the rest of this atrocity is here, to piss off old fans and steal the money of newer fans. Don't buy any hype people, buy the first three albums if you want to hear this material done the right way.