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One of the Nu-Gothenburg's Better Releases. - 80%

woeoftyrants, February 6th, 2007

(Note: Originally written by me on September 10, 2005 for Amazon.com)

Without a doubt, this is the best metal album to come out of Sweden in the melodic death metal field for a long time. The scorching solos, fist-pumping harmonies, vicious drums, and a superb production job make "Wages of Sin" quite possibly AE's best album, rivalled only by "Stigmata".

The Ammott brothers are absolutely impeccable. There is a great balance here in the sound. The precision is unparalleled in their intricate, meticulously-crafted harmonies and the INSANE shreddage on the solos. (It has to be heard, especially on "Burning Angel" and "Ravenous".) The trade-off allows both of the guitarists to have their turn to rip your head off. There's plenty of melody and catchy riffs here, but for the old-schoolers, "The First Deadly Sin" and "Dead Bury Their Dead" serve up some brutal, technical, and ripping thrash-fests. The clean guitars, while used sparingly, give off an eerie, dark atmosphere. (See the beginning of "Savage Messiah" for best example.) All around, an absolutely astonishing performance is given here.

Daniel Erlandsson's drums are just as great. He may not be the fastest, nor the flashiest, but his bludgeoning double bass and full-throttle thrash attacks give the songs an extra dose of venom. He does have his technical moments, and even some minature solos. His fills are pretty crazy on "Web of Lies", and "Lament of a Mortal Soul" helps show off his fusion/jazz intricacies. A great performance.

And of course, we have Angela's vocals. I actually prefer her over Johan, as she seems a bit more consistent and polished with her delivery. The lyrics aren't the best, but hey, they get the job done. (Even though "Savage Messiah" has some pretty good lyrics.) Her raspy screams and semi-growls fit the attitude of the songs perfectly. At times, she uses a frightening semi-whisper. Though she may not be the most dynamic vocalist and hasn't improved much on subsequent AE albums, this is more than enough to convince me that her vocals are pretty damn evil for coming from a blonde bombshell such as herself.

Every song has its own attributes that make it stick to you. From the deceptively calm intro of "Enemy Within", the variety of "Dead Bury Their Dead", (download this song to see what the album sounds like, it encompasses the whole album in one song and has some brutal guitar work in it) or the malicious assault of "The First Deadly Sin", all the way to the calming instrumental "Snow Bound", this will be one melodeath release that never gets old because of its consistency and variety. A highly recommended release to all metal fans.