ARCH ENEMY
Melodic Death Metal • Sweden

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Arch Enemy is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Halmstad, Sweden, formed in 1996. Founded by Carcass guitarist Michael Amott along with Johan Liiva, both originally from the influential death metal band Carnage. The band has released seven studio albums, a live album (Burning Japan Live 1999), two DVDs and three EPs. The band was originally fronted by Johan Liiva, who was replaced by Angela Gossow as lead vocalist in 2000

Arch Enemy, the brainchild of Michael Amott (Carcass, Carnage, and Spiritual Beggars) was originally assembled when Michael Amott left Carcass. Guitarists Michael Amott and younger brother Christopher Amott (Armageddon) joined with vocalist Johan Liiva (ex-Carnage, Furbowl, Furbowl|Devourment) and then-session drummer Daniel Erlandsson (Eucharist) in what Michael Amott called "an attempt to merge melody with aggression and technicality."

The band's debut, entitled Black Earth was recorded at Studio Fredman and released by the now defunct Wrong Again Records
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Will To PowerWill To Power
Century Media 2017
Audio CD$8.59
$8.92 (used)
Arch Enemy - War EternalArch Enemy - War Eternal
Century Media 2014
Audio CD$9.82
$11.87 (used)
As The Stages Burn! [CD + DVD]As The Stages Burn! [CD + DVD]
Limited Edition
Century Media 2017
Audio CD$13.99
$9.30 (used)
1996-20171996-2017
Box set · Import
Century Media Int'l 2018
Vinyl$168.92
Black EarthBlack Earth
Remastered · Extra tracks · Import
Savage Messiah Music 2013
Audio CD$10.26
$14.70 (used)
Khaos LegionsKhaos Legions
Century Media 2012
Audio CD$10.00
$8.98 (used)
Anthems of RebellionAnthems of Rebellion
Import
Imports 2005
Audio CD$11.78
$9.40 (used)
Doomsday MachineDoomsday Machine
Century Media 2012
Audio CD$13.83
$7.99 (used)
Wages Of SinWages Of Sin
Extra tracks · Collector's Edition
Century Media 2012
Audio CD$19.99
$7.86 (used)
Tyrants Of The Rising Sun - Live In Japan (2CD)Tyrants Of The Rising Sun - Live In Japan (2CD)
Century Media 2008
Audio CD$8.99 (used)
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ARCH ENEMY - Pure Metal Date T-shirt - NEW - XLARGE ONLY ARCH ENEMY - Pure Metal Date T-shirt - NEW - XLARGE ONLY USD $23.77 Buy It Now 3h
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METAL HAMMER MAGAZINE 10/2009 SLAYER NIGHTSTALKER HEAVEN & HELL ARCH ENEMY EPICA METAL HAMMER MAGAZINE 10/2009 SLAYER NIGHTSTALKER HEAVEN & HELL ARCH ENEMY EPICA USD $4.99 Buy It Now 8h
ARCH ENEMY  concert poster 2017 / European tour ARCH ENEMY concert poster 2017 / European tour USD $4.95 Buy It Now 8h
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Arch Enemy : Anthems of Rebellion CD Arch Enemy : Anthems of Rebellion CD USD $6.15 Buy It Now 10h
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ARCH ENEMY CD - WILL TO POWER [DELUXE EDITION](2017) - NEW UNOPENED - ROCK METAL ARCH ENEMY CD - WILL TO POWER [DELUXE EDITION](2017) - NEW UNOPENED - ROCK METAL USD $20.99 Buy It Now 18h
ARCH ENEMY War Eternal JAPAN CD QATE-10053 2014 NEW ARCH ENEMY War Eternal JAPAN CD QATE-10053 2014 NEW USD $103.41 Buy It Now 23h
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ARCH ENEMY - WAGES OF SIN 2001 2CD CENTURY MEDIA GERMAN IMPORT ARCH ENEMY - WAGES OF SIN 2001 2CD CENTURY MEDIA GERMAN IMPORT USD $4.99 (0 bids)
1 day
New: ARCH ENEMY (Melodic Death Metal) - Black Earth LP Clear Vinyl New: ARCH ENEMY (Melodic Death Metal) - Black Earth LP Clear Vinyl USD $17.98 Buy It Now 1 day
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1 day
Arch Enemy Wages of Sin lp first pressing ex Arch Enemy Wages of Sin lp first pressing ex USD $55.00 (0 bids)
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Lunarsea 2x CD Death metal technical brutal At The Gates In Flames Arch Enemy Lunarsea 2x CD Death metal technical brutal At The Gates In Flames Arch Enemy USD $11.23 Buy It Now 1 day
ARCH ENEMY Nemesis / NEVERMORE Final Product Rare Split 4 Track CD! ARCH ENEMY Nemesis / NEVERMORE Final Product Rare Split 4 Track CD! USD $4.20 (0 bids)
1 day
Arch Enemy - As The Stages Burn! [New CD] Ltd Ed, With DVD, Digipack Packaging Arch Enemy - As The Stages Burn! [New CD] Ltd Ed, With DVD, Digipack Packaging USD $15.95 Buy It Now 1 day
Arch Enemy - War Eternal [New CD] Arch Enemy - War Eternal [New CD] USD $12.20 Buy It Now 1 day
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@ 2-CD ARCH ENEMY - TYRANTS OF THE RISING SUN / CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS 2008 @ 2-CD ARCH ENEMY - TYRANTS OF THE RISING SUN / CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS 2008 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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Arch Enemy - Will To Power [CD] Arch Enemy - Will To Power [CD] USD $11.19 Buy It Now 2 days
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Rock Sound Check: 15 Track: As I Lay Dying, Arch Enemy, Ted Maul, InMe Rock Sound Check: 15 Track: As I Lay Dying, Arch Enemy, Ted Maul, InMe USD $1.39 Buy It Now 2 days
War Eternal by Arch Enemy (Vinyl, Jun-2014, Century Media (USA)) War Eternal by Arch Enemy (Vinyl, Jun-2014, Century Media (USA)) USD $21.87 Buy It Now 2 days
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Arch Enemy - Burning Bridges [New CD] Argentina - Import Arch Enemy - Burning Bridges [New CD] Argentina - Import USD $15.74 Buy It Now 2 days
ARCH ENEMY Tyrants Of The Rising Sun - Live In TFCK-87460 CD JAPAN 2008 ARCH ENEMY Tyrants Of The Rising Sun - Live In TFCK-87460 CD JAPAN 2008 USD $43.14 Buy It Now 2 days
Wages of Sin ARCH ENEMY 2 CD SET Wages of Sin ARCH ENEMY 2 CD SET USD $12.75 Buy It Now 2 days
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Arch Enemy / Burning Japan Live 1999 ( Dream On / park-9006) CD Album Arch Enemy / Burning Japan Live 1999 ( Dream On / park-9006) CD Album USD $54.59 Buy It Now 2 days
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WITCHERY I Am Legion + 2 JAPAN CD Arch Enemy The Haunted Spiritual Beggars WITCHERY I Am Legion + 2 JAPAN CD Arch Enemy The Haunted Spiritual Beggars USD $25.50 Buy It Now 2 days
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OPETH Sorceress JAPAN 2CD + DVD Yngwie Malmsteen Katatonia Bloodbath Arch Enemy OPETH Sorceress JAPAN 2CD + DVD Yngwie Malmsteen Katatonia Bloodbath Arch Enemy USD $48.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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ARCH ENEMY - Black Earth - CD - Enhanced - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** ARCH ENEMY - Black Earth - CD - Enhanced - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** USD $28.95 Buy It Now 3 days
Arch Enemy - Stigmata [New & Sealed] CD Arch Enemy - Stigmata [New & Sealed] CD USD $15.43 Buy It Now 3 days
Arch Enemy - Will To Power(2017)CD Arch Enemy - Will To Power(2017)CD USD $7.00 Buy It Now 3 days
Arch Enemy - The Root Of All Evil (Limited Edition) - Arch Enemy CD L0VG The Arch Enemy - The Root Of All Evil (Limited Edition) - Arch Enemy CD L0VG The USD $34.44 Buy It Now 3 days
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ARCH ENEMY Doomsday Machine JAPAN CD TFCK-87388 2005 ARCH ENEMY Doomsday Machine JAPAN CD TFCK-87388 2005 USD $29.03 Buy It Now 3 days
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3 Melodic Death Metal CDs Arch Enemy,The Absence and Night in Gales 3 Melodic Death Metal CDs Arch Enemy,The Absence and Night in Gales USD $6.66 (0 bids)
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ARCH ENEMY ARCH ENEMY "Wages Of Sin" ORG 1st JAPAN SLIPCASE press RARE OOP!!! USD $17.00 Buy It Now 3 days
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Arch Enemy Anthems Of Rebellion CD album (CDLP) Japanese TFCK-87322 Arch Enemy Anthems Of Rebellion CD album (CDLP) Japanese TFCK-87322 USD $31.59 Buy It Now 3 days
NIGHTWISH (8 Pages) Metal Hammer Mag Feb 18 Lacuna Coil Epica Arch Enemy Doro NIGHTWISH (8 Pages) Metal Hammer Mag Feb 18 Lacuna Coil Epica Arch Enemy Doro USD $5.60 (0 bids)
3 days
HUNTRESS Spell Eater CD LTD 1 BONUS TRACK ( ARCH ENEMY ) HUNTRESS Spell Eater CD LTD 1 BONUS TRACK ( ARCH ENEMY ) USD $8.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Will to Power [LP/CD] * by Arch Enemy. Will to Power [LP/CD] * by Arch Enemy. USD $31.81 Buy It Now 3 days
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Arch Enemy - War Eternal [New CD] Arch Enemy - War Eternal [New CD] USD $19.49 Buy It Now 3 days
Arch Enemy - War Eternal [New CD] Arch Enemy - War Eternal [New CD] USD $12.59 Buy It Now 3 days
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ARCH ENEMY Rapunk EP CD JAPAN QATE-10104 NEW / Michael Amott Carcass Nevermore ARCH ENEMY Rapunk EP CD JAPAN QATE-10104 NEW / Michael Amott Carcass Nevermore USD $4.99 (0 bids)
3 days
CD • ARCH ENEMY • 2017 • LIVE POWER • (Metal Hammer Exclusive) NEW, STILL SEALED CD • ARCH ENEMY • 2017 • LIVE POWER • (Metal Hammer Exclusive) NEW, STILL SEALED USD $16.90 Buy It Now 3 days
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Arch Enemy - War Eterna Tour : Tokyo Sacrifice [Japan BD] QATE-80001 Arch Enemy - War Eterna Tour : Tokyo Sacrifice [Japan BD] QATE-80001 USD $50.64 Buy It Now 3 days
ARCH ENEMY As The Stages Burn ! JAPAN DVD + CD Carcass Witchery In Flames ARCH ENEMY As The Stages Burn ! JAPAN DVD + CD Carcass Witchery In Flames USD $39.50 Buy It Now 3 days
HEARSE - ARMAGEDDON, MON AMOUR 2004 US 1PR MINT! ARCH ENEMY ENTOMBED FURBOWL HEARSE - ARMAGEDDON, MON AMOUR 2004 US 1PR MINT! ARCH ENEMY ENTOMBED FURBOWL USD $4.99 Buy It Now 4 days
LEGACY MAGAZINE No 110 05 / 2017 ENSIFERUM ARCH ENEMY LEGACY MAGAZINE No 110 05 / 2017 ENSIFERUM ARCH ENEMY USD $6.99 Buy It Now 4 days
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ARCH ENEMY Discography

ARCH ENEMY albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.32 | 15 ratings
Black Earth
Melodic Death Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 4.11 | 20 ratings
Stigmata
Melodic Death Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 4.08 | 20 ratings
Burning Bridges
Melodic Death Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 3.87 | 25 ratings
Wages of Sin
Melodic Death Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.60 | 28 ratings
Anthems of Rebellion
Melodic Death Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 3.57 | 20 ratings
Doomsday Machine
Melodic Death Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 4.12 | 23 ratings
Rise of the Tyrant
Melodic Death Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 3.52 | 12 ratings
The Root of All Evil
Melodic Death Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 3.44 | 20 ratings
Khaos Legions
Melodic Death Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 3.87 | 20 ratings
War Eternal
Melodic Death Metal 2014
.. Album Cover 3.18 | 9 ratings
Will to Power
Melodic Death Metal 2017

ARCH ENEMY EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Burning Angel
Melodic Death Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Dead Eyes See No Future
Melodic Death Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Revolution Begins
Melodic Death Metal 2007

ARCH ENEMY live albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Burning Japan Live 1999
Melodic Death Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Tyrants of the Rising Sun: Live in Japan
Melodic Death Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
As the Stages Burn!
Melodic Death Metal 2017

ARCH ENEMY demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo
Melodic Death Metal 1996

ARCH ENEMY re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Manifesto of Arch Enemy
Melodic Death Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Dawn of Khaos
Melodic Death Metal 2011

ARCH ENEMY singles (3)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Doomsday Machine (sampler)
Melodic Death Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
War Eternal
Melodic Death Metal 2014
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
The World is Yours
Melodic Death Metal 2017

ARCH ENEMY movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.95 | 2 ratings
Live Apocalypse
Melodic Death Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
4.02 | 2 ratings
Tyrants of the Rising Sun: Live in Japan
Melodic Death Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Astro Khaos 2012 - Official Live Bootleg
Melodic Death Metal 2012

ARCH ENEMY Reviews

ARCH ENEMY Will to Power

Album · 2017 · Melodic Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
Sweden's Arch Enemy are the kind of band who I have always enjoyed but not necessarily found to be the most remarkable act around. Very hit and miss in terms of how interesting I find their albums, I was actually blown away by how much I enjoyed their last offering War Eternal (2014). Though the last ten years have resulted in a real up and down listening experience in terms of quality, I had high hopes resting on their eleventh album Will to Power (2017), which sees Jeff Loomis of Nevermore fame joining their ranks.

This is not just because of War Eternal being a new career high point for them, but because everything leading up to Will to Power seems to have being putting all the pieces in place for Arch Enemy to break their mould and deliver something that, at long last, brings their music to the next level. They have a vocalist in Alissa White-Gluz whose dual style of growls/clean singing was only lightly scratched on War Eternal (in a real blink and you'll miss it kind of way). They were showing tendencies of experimentation with symphonic elements on the last album, which were integrated well. And now they also have Jeff Loomis, one of the main writers of major (and very different to Arch Enemy) metal band Nevermore, whose new blood is surely going to influence their sound right?

Wrong. Loomis didn't contribute a single thing to Will to Power. The album feels so typically Arch Enemy that Michael Amott may as well just have played all the guitars himself and hired a session player for the second guitarist role when playing live. Such a noted player like Loomis feels wasted here as is. As for the other things I spoke of in the previous paragraph, the symphonic elements do make an appearance on a single track, the closer A Fight I Must Win, but mostly outside of a metal context. Otherwise they've evaporated into thin air. Alissa White-Gluz does use her clean singing voice on one song, Reason to Believe, which feels very much like a testing the waters kind of track to see how well fans receive it, while playing it completely safe with the rest of the release. And that's exactly how Will to Power comes across by and large. Safe and phoned in. The songs aren't bad in themselves, but it's nothing we haven't heard before from this band and many others in their genre.

In all fairness this isn't anything new with Arch Enemy, but unlike their best albums such as War Eternal and Rise of the Tyrant (2007) most songs aren't memorable individually after the event. That makes all the difference with a band like this. But as has always been the case in the past, Will to Power is not a terrible record by any means. I don't think Arch Enemy have ever made one of those. But it is very average and only made at all noteworthy by that one song Reason to Believe that uses clean vocals. That works really well, as I expected it would given the bands polished production sound. If only they'd been brave enough to use more of the clean singing.

Will to Power is the kind of record that makes one think whether Arch Enemy knows how much potential they have right now (I can't be the only one to hear it) or are content to just keep doing the same thing over and over, occasionally producing a War Eternal or Rise of the Tyrant quality album. I'm sure there's someone out there reading this and thinking 'but that's what they play, why should they change it?' and it's a valid point. And it would be fine if every album was as good as War Eternal. But as I see it when you're turning out more albums like Will to Power and the earlier Khaos Legions (2011) and Doomsday Machine (2005), where the term 'uninspired' springs to mind surely it's time for a bit of bravery with your writing and to use every weapon at your disposal? A band doesn't have to leave their established genre behind to make a record that sounds different from their others. This one just sounds over 90% recycled.

ARCH ENEMY Will to Power

Album · 2017 · Melodic Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Nightfly
When Angela Gossow left Arch Enemy in 2014 it could have quite easily been the end of the band but in came Alissa White-Gluz and stamped her mark on the War Eternal album with an impressive and professional performance as if she’d been there all along, such was the seamless transition. War Eternal whilst having a few weaker moments robbing it of greatness was nevertheless a solid melodic death metal album with a plentiful supply of hooks and strong riffs. Shortly after War Eternal was released former Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis joined the band and I was eager to hear what the first studio album to feature him would be like as he never failed to impress me with his incredible playing in Nevermore.

Will To Power will not hold any surprises (well there may be one) for fans of the band as for the most part it’s pretty much business as usual. Loomis as expected proves to be a great addition with plenty of jaw dropping shredding. Musically it’s a similar mix of melodic death/power metal as War Eternal and equally good. After the short intro Set Flame To The Night, The Race comes in firing on all cylinders featuring compelling riffing and a fantastic Loomis solo proving immediately what a great addition he is and is a good omen of great things to come hopefully. Like War Eternal however there are one or two less than stellar moments. I’d already heard The World Is Yours and the first thing that struck me about it was how much better it would have worked with clean melodic vocals on the chorus. A bone of contention I sometimes have with melodic death metal, at least when it really ups the melody quotient is how much better it could sometimes be with clean vocals. Of course some melodic death metal bands already mix it up and do it but I know it could be sacrilege to some fans of the band. Well what do you know, on the semi-ballad Reason To Believe White-Gluz sings cleanly and bugger me, she’s really good too. Maybe they didn’t want to over-do it and risk alienating a sizeable part of their audience but a bit more of this could have raised the bar on a couple of the songs. As a song it’s not one of the best but the vocals save it. The Eagle Flies Alone is merely an ordinary piece of mid-paced melodic metal. If a strong vocal melody had been added it could have been so much more. Now don’t get me wrong, Ms White-Gluz is a perfectly able growler and it works fine on the more balls out stuff and I’m not suggesting that all death metal bands should go and get a more traditional singer, as I said I’m just talking about the particularly melodic stuff.

Anyway enough controversy and back to the album. Overall I’d say the second half is the strongest – Murder Scene kicks ass and I always enjoy a galloping kick drum pattern as used on First Day In Hell. In fact there’s no shortage of good songs with strong hooks on side two of my vinyl copy with no weak moments to speak of. My Shadow And I is particularly impressive with drummer Daniel Erlandsson putting in a particularly fine performance. Album closer A Fight I Must Win is another highpoint with its memorable riffing and groove and the brief addition of strings to the intro and outro add some colour.

Hats off to Arch Enemy for not being afraid to use clean vocals then. If I was them I’d expand on this next time as they’re a strong and welcome addition. Not essential then, but nevertheless Will To Power is another very good album that whilst unlikely to be the favourite of most people who’ve followed the band shouldn’t disappoint either. I’m still waiting though for the masterpiece that I know they have in them.

ARCH ENEMY Doomsday Machine

Album · 2005 · Melodic Death Metal
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Unitron
"Watch the skeleton dance."

Many people seem to see melodic death metal as a real hit-or-miss genre, rarely being middle of the road. It either misses like a miscalculated golf swing, or hits hard as steel. I see it no differently. While the genre is home to many albums that just fall flat, there's always a handful of hole-in-ones that makes up for any bad shots that may be prevalent.

One complaint I have for melodic death metal, is that it often loses a lot of that raw and aggressive punch that is so essential to death metal. However, Arch Enemy's underrated Doomsday Machine should be the guidebook for how to make a death metal album that has a melodic sensibility but still kicks your ass. As you enter the machine, you're greeted with some of the most piercing and grooving riffing that has ever been present in death metal. I could name off any song to showcase this, but perhaps one of the best examples is the screeching homing missile attack of a main riff of "Nemesis". "My Apocalypse" may very well be my all time favorite death metal song, and just crushes the listeners skull with it's pummeling groove. That aggression is contrasted perfectly with a quiet atmospheric bridge, which features echoed-tone chords and a sublime guitar solo. The similarly toned chords that open up "Mechanic God Creation" is one of the best moments on the album, and is just as satisfying to hear every time I listen to it.

Speaking of, the Amott brothers' guitar playing is absolutely phenomenal and among the finest in death metal. Unlike the normal constant chugging of many modern technical and brutal death metal bands, these guys have infectious thrashing hooks and virtuoso soloing. I'm sometimes reminded of Rust in Peace-era Marty Friedman and Dave Mustaine's leads with some of the melodies. Sometimes there's even references to neo-classical shredders, such as the main riff in the instrumental "Hybrids of Steel". Angela Gossow's vocals are at their best on this album, and are among the most brutal in metal. Her growls and snarls pierce the skin just as much as the guitar licks. Her vocal performance on the first few songs and "Skeleton Dance" is especially fantastic. The whole album just sounds so damn colossal. The rhythm section is commanding, and the production is loud and almost mechanical sounding. The album really feels like a machine being constructed in a clanking and rattling factory.

Doomsday Machine is not only a unique melodic death metal album, but it's quite a unique album in general. I haven't heard an album that blends melodic guitar leads, death, thrash, and groove this well before. The tones and overall sound of the album as well is something that I've yet to hear replicated. If I had to choose, this is probably my all-time favorite death metal album. It's got raw brutality, groove, and crushing aggression all with a sense of harmony. It's a modern classic that still sounds fresh over a decade later. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

ARCH ENEMY War Eternal

Album · 2014 · Melodic Death Metal
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Necrotica
I've long considered Arch Enemy one of metal's great guilty pleasures; while they never achieved the overall level of quality many of their contemporaries reached in their heydays (Dark Tranquillity, Children of Bodom, etc.), they've been known to have a really fun anthemic quality to their music nonetheless. And that's what it really comes down to... I don't think many people take the band's music very seriously, but judging by how flat-out entertaining songs like "Nemesis" and "Silent Wars" are, this point can be pretty convincing. Unfortunately, it doesn't always mask the sad truth that much of Arch Enemy's output is hopelessly generic, particularly when it comes to both guitar leads and the primary riffs that serve as the basis for each song. Aaaaaand unfortunately, that's a serious problem when it comes to a genre like melodic death metal, with which both of those factors prove to be two of the most important elements of a band's sound. Both the leads and riffs are the primers that hold the songs together, and lead guitarist/primary songwriter Michael Amott has proven his penchant for creating bland motifs and solos for the last 10 years or so. However, there was one glimmer of hope on the horizon when looking at War Eternal: the fact that Angela Gossow would be replaced by The Agonist frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz. While Gossow was a great death metal singer, some fresh blood in the band would at least hopefully prompt some change in the band's dynamic and style. Well, that's wishful thinking, isn't it?

War Eternal proves that getting too comfortable with one specific style over time can prove fatal to a band's work, the entire record being littered with bland composition after bland composition. While there are some interesting moments here and there, such as the soft clean guitar-driven intro of "You Will Know My Name" or the electronic experimentation of the bonus Mike Oldfield cover "Shadow on the Wall," they aren't frequent enough to distract from the overall mediocrity at work here. First of all, the production is about as lifeless and synthetic as things can get, completely draining the impact of the more inspired and heavy riffs on the record; the whole album suffers from the same overproduction as many of the mainstream deathcore records from bands like Suicide Silence and Emmure. Compare this to records like Children of Bodom's Halo of Blood or Carcass' Surgical Steel, which have a clean sound to them but just enough rough edges to make them sound menacing. However, of course, the music itself doesn't help the band's case at all.

After listening to this album many times, I can safely say that I remember almost none of it; the riffs and melodies are so uninspired that it's simply remarkable that nobody from Century Media told them to alter their work before packaging it for record stores. Along with the production adding to the mediocrity, there almost seems to be a general lack of interest from the musicians as well. The title track, for instance, utilizes a grand total of one note (C) for most of its main riff, before devolving into a boring mid/fast-tempo set of melodies that sound recycled right out of a Carcass record. Songs like "Stolen Life" and "As the Pages Burn" go more for the "fast and brutal" approach, only to feature even blander riffs that end up muddled under White-Gluz's overdone vocal performances anyway. Speaking of which, Alissa's vocals aren't all that remarkable here; while it's nice to hear someone other than Gossow in this band for a change, Alissa certainly doesn't sound as inspired here as she did in The Agonist. However, I'll admit that the clean vocals she occasionally employs are a nice change in pace from the typical growls and screams... one just wishes they were perhaps used a bit more, honestly. When you get down to it, though, the compositions are what absolutely kill this record. Even a song like potential highlight "Avalanche," with its interesting keyboard arrangements and neoclassical vibe, instantly kills its own inspired intro with an extremely weak verse; once the keyboards come back in, the experience just feels inconsistent and underwhelming.

As if I haven't hammered the point into your heads enough, the entire album is just so damn uninspired and bland. It goes beyond that, though... it may sound tough for a metal album to put somebody to sleep, but this could easily do the trick. Every good moment on this record, such as the occasional usage of a dark atmosphere or some of the vocal highlights, is completely raped and pillaged by every boring riff and the choruses that define the phrase "going through the motions." The entire package feels synthetic, unappealing, unimaginative, sloppily written, sloppily paced, and just awful from almost every conceivable angle. Even with a new singer, War Eternal is just a depressingly lifeless mess of a record. Look on the bright side, though: at least it makes for a good coaster for your beverage, as well as a good substitute for reading bedtime stories to your kid(s) at night!

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

ARCH ENEMY Wages of Sin

Album · 2001 · Melodic Death Metal
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Vim Fuego
When people look back on the metal of 2001, what is best remembered? Slayer's return with 'God Hates Us All'? Slipknot’s overhyped but dire 'Iowa'? Emperor's final exit with 'Prometheus…'? Deicide's crazed contractual obligation album 'In Torment In Hell'? If there was any justice in the world, 'Wages of Sin' would be hailed as the defining album of 2001. It isn’t, but hey, life ain't fair.

Right from the get go Arch Enemy command respect. Even on first listen, the technical brilliance of the band is awe–inspiring. The riffing and soloing is amazing. It immediately gets in your face, grabs you by the ears, and shakes until you can't help but give it your full attention. This is not something to listen to while you're working, as you'll be constantly distracted. That's not to say it's overly technical in a prog–rock kind of way. No, this is interchangeable twin guitar rifferama, as pioneered by Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, where rhythm and lead guitar blend seamlessly.

Choosing the outstanding tracks on this album is impossible. As each new track begins you think "this is the one!" but then the next track begins you think "or maybe this". There is not a dud, filler, or weaker track among them. Just as a random example, "Heart of Darkness" starts with what sounds like a riff left over from Carcass' pathologically essential 'Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious'. Angela Gossow's guttural growl (it says here it's a female vocalist, though it's difficult to believe!) also sounds a lot like that produced by the Carcass lads.

Latter day Carcass seems to be a reference point repeatedly, and if any band deserves to revisit the likes of 'Heartwork' and 'Swansong', its Arch Enemy. After all, Michael Amott helped define their post–'Symphonies of Sickness' sound. All the same, it would be misleading and unfair to call Arch Enemy Carcass clones. This band has its own unique musical identity, out–muscling a majority of so–called melodic death metal bands, but still retaining that essential listenability and attention to detail missing from more brutal bands.

While the brainwashed, baggy–trousered hordes think they have found the essence of "extreme" metal in Slipknot and Disturbed, anyone with an ear for what metal CAN be will be tracking this down and smiling quietly and blissfully.

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