You know what, I don’t really see the point of Rise Of The Tyrant
. It does almost nothing for Arch Enemy’s somewhat impressive list of discography, it doesn’t bring anything new to the Melodic Death Metal scene, and it just feels like a half-assed attempt at keeping fans happy and a way of showing up as a cover story on Revolver
Magazine. So here I am sitting in my room listening to what seems to be the same song over and over again, when suddenly a strange smell creeps into my nose. Does anyone else smell it? Well folks, that is the smell of a sellout. I’m getting to the point where I don’t even care to listen to this band anymore, because since vocalist Angela Gossow latched onto this band from their 2002 album Burning Bridges
onward, this band has been nothing more than an average, run-of-the-mill Melodic Death Metal group who try so hard to be recognized and separated from the rest, yet they fall flat on their face.
It’s not that I’m against female vocalists in Metal. I am a very avid Nightwish fan, and I love when a band will add in some soothing female vocals in a song to calm the mood down, but seriously, female Death Metal growls just do not work. They didn’t sound that bad when they had more layering effects on them than Cher had plastic surgeries, but without all that computer-aided nonsense they sound absolutely flat. A completely monotone, unchanging drone which sort of floats in there with the fairly interesting guitar riffs just doesn’t cut it for me any longer. If your replaced the vocals with, say, Mikael Stanne, then this album would be more like a 3.5 or a 4, but with a depleted vocalist like Gossow at the helm, this band is going nowhere fast.
At least the whole album isn’t as much of train wreck as the vocals are. The guitars are actually fairly impressive, putting down some really catchy melodies and some calm, toned-down bridges. In nearly every song, such as “The Last Enemy”, a really interesting riff or two is included to pull your attention away from the vocals and lack of originality and makes you realize that there is a redeeming quality to this album after all. The use of the acoustic guitar is also well thought out. They are used to a good effect but they aren’t relied on to give the user a break from the chaos. The electric guitars do a fine job of slowing the song down and giving the listener a breather for a minute or two. The instrumental “Intermezzo Liberte” is probably the best song on the entire album, not only because it has no vocals, but because it is like a 3 minute guitar solo. This really shows off the talent of these individuals, but it is a damn shame that they can only write maybe a half an album of worthwhile material. Also packed into nearly every song is a fairly lengthy solo, but it seems with these that Arch Enemy is simply trying to take up time because either Gossow has run out of stupid lyrics to scream or because they figured the listener wouldn’t want to hear another two minutes of grinding guitars. Either way, the guitars are certainly the highlight of the album.
In this day and age though, to stand out a band has to be willing to step outside of their shell and their comfort zone to try something new. I have heard this kind of music before more times than I would like. Sure, some may cite Angela’s vocals as innovation because they are from a female, but it would be nice if maybe she changed her vocal range around instead of the same pitch throughout the entire disc. Maybe if they wrote songs which broke away from the typical song structure and tried, maybe, a 10 or 12 minute song, they may catch my attention more. Maybe if they tried to theme an album around something other than revolution (they already tried this once before with the lukewarm Anthems Of Rebellion
). Hell, maybe if they tried some keyboards or other instruments to bring in a real sense of atmosphere, even if it is brooding and chaotic like their “rebellion” theme so portrays. Maybe they should try not only to appeal to the masses of posers and trends, but play music which conveys what they truly love and respect. Just please, for the love of Swedish Metal, try something new
I may have been a bit harsh toward these guys, but the truth is this is probably the single biggest disappointment of 2007. I wasn’t sure whether to be enraged or to break down and weep when I learned that this was the piece of trash that took them two years to compose. I hold higher standards for bands like Arch Enemy, and when they come out and throw an album out the door without realizing how much of a train wreck it is, that will drop the bar to the floor. I’ll file Arch Enemy under the “Questionable” category for now, but if this crap continues they will be tossed into the “Has-Been” barrel where they deserve to be.
+ Good Guitar Riffs
+ A Great Instrumental
+ Good Drumming
+ The Album Cover Looks Cool
- Terrible Vocals
- No Originality
- Boring Songs
- Lots Of Filler Tracks