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Not bad, and I hate Gothenburg - 66%

BurntOffering, April 30th, 2008

I really shouldn't like this, but I do. This whole genre is complete crap and I can't stand any of the bands in it. At the Gates, In Flames, Dark Tranquility they are the popular things in Sweden it seems as of the past decade. Quorthon must be rolling over in his grave. Anyway, for some reason Arch Enemy does something all the other bands of the genre can't do: not make me puke.

Alright, you get it. I hate Gothenburg much like others that have written reviews here, but what about Arch Enemy? Well, this band actually has a riffs and catchy melodies that don't come off as faggishly repulsive as other bands of the genre. Not to say the band doesn't have their flaws though.

I'll start with the good.

The band can craft some catchy riffs, speed or thrash riffs will dominate the verses, occasionally with the second guitar playing 3rds along with it giving it that Gothenburg sound and usually some kind of power metalish riffs under the solos. Check out the intro riffs for Heart of Darkness and Dead Bury Their Dead or the verse riff to Ravenous. You'll see what I'm talking about. The lead guitar is quite spectacular. The Amott brothers are quite excellent and creative with their leads, sadly not so much with the goofy melodies that the genre cannot just do correctly. The drummer is actually quite restrained, backing the riffs for a nice powerful sound. He never resorts to overplaying, but relies on double bass a bit too often. Angela is not bad at all. I hear people bitch and moan about her and I can't see why. Most of those that praise her are mainly looking at her tits and those that dislike her usually just dislike her because she replaced and inferior singer and they're just homosexual or something. I'll take the middle road and say I think she's got a decent set of melons....err...pipes.

Now the bad.

Well, the production of course has that modern feel to it. Some of the choruses are atrocious. Heart of Darkness may ride that killer intro riff, but man is that chorus about as awesome as a bowel movement. "Behind the Smile" is just a really bad song. This band should never go slow to be honest. usually the fast stuff is pretty good, but the slow stuff is really hard to listen to. Savage Messiah is another example of this. Good verse and prechorus riffs especially the slight build up with the keys, but then falls completely flat at the chorus. Then there is the bad harmony thing that all Gothenburg bands fail at. Burning Angel actually has a good riff in the chorus, but the random goofy melody they like to do is really bad in this song. This problem pops up every few songs, and becomes a bad staple in every song on the rest of their albums.

Highlights: Ravenous for sure and Dead Bury Their Dead. These two actually slay the whole way through, no parts that make me cringe.

Should I recommend this? Well, fans of the style I'm sure cream over it, but this band really isn't that bad and I found a lot of parts quite enjoyable. Probably the best band in this genre.