Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Arch Enemy Unleashes Chaos On It's Fans

There are many one word labels that come to mind when discussing Swedish death metal veterans Arch Enemy: aggression, brutality, extreme. One word that pops into my mind would be “consistency”. The band has released nine studio albums beginning with their debt in 1996 Black Earth, and has consistently delivered to their fans impressive bodies of work. They have evolved and grown as a band, yet remaining true to a sound that converted many listeners into fans.

Their newest studio album Khaos Legions definitely ranks up there with the best work that they have created to date. The album kicks off with a short instrumental, the first of three, but really gets things charged up with the second track and first video “Yesterday is dead and gone”. An adrenaline charged assault of aggression on which the Amott duo shines. These guys pack a one, two punch of shredding wizardry that commands the listener to bow in their epicness.

Fans of Arch Enemy are expectant of the delivery of aggression from the band and this album is no exception to that rule. That element of the band shines through on songs such as “Vengeance is Mine” and “Cult of Chaos”. They remain true to the trademark sound of Arch Enemy, yet they manage to raise the bar with the technical riffs and hooks on both of these. A band has to continue to grow in order to thrive in this tumultuous industry and Arch Enemy proves that on this album.

There are two standout tracks in my opinion on this release. I absolutely love “Cruelty without Beauty” in all of its glory. Sharlee is a beast on this track and brings his drumming to a new level. The Amott’s are shred worthy gods on this one. These guys are not afraid to flat out wail away on the guitar. I also love the addition of the synthesizers on this track as they raise the bar and add a rich layer to this song. They are very effective, yet without becoming overkill. “Through the Eyes of a Raven” is similar in ways to “Cruelty” as it is an adventuresome song with many layers to it. The aggression is still there in full force and the hooks definitely pull you in and refuse to let go. The shredding is even bigger than the hooks on this one. A complex song that is full throttle from beginning until the acoustic conclusion, which definitely catches you off guard.

There has been a lot said as far as the vocals of Angela Gossow. I have read on fan boards that she is a “one-trick pony” and that the band relies on her too much to get attention. I am sure that most female fronted bands have gone through this, especially in the “metal” genre. I think her screams can be as fierce as any man in this genre, if not more. Is the complaint a fair one in this genre? I don’t think I have heard of a male singer who is told he needs to “scream it down a little” and show some versatility.

Overall, this new album was well worth the four wait. The band sounds tighter than ever and the song writing is top notch. The three instrumental tracks on here really don’t do much for me, but maybe other fans will like how they tie the songs together. Angela proves on her that she is not just “eye candy” and that she is a strong front woman and deserves some credit. I think her growls are gut wrenching and brutal.

I don’t know if you consider them extreme metal or melodic death metal, but the band are bringing their sound to the stage in the states for a series of dates. I encourage you to check out their new album Khaos Legions and try to catch their live show and see how this band can truly melt your faces live.

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