Arch Enemy: Doomsday Machine
July 26, 2005 on Century Media records
Angela Gossow - Vocals
Michael Amott - Lead/Rhythm Guitars, Backing Vocals
Christopher Amott - Lead/Rhythm Guitars, Backing Vocals
Sharlee D’Angelo - Bass
Daniel Erlandsson - Drums
For a biography of the band, click [URL=http://www.musicianforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=375613&page=1&pp=25]here[/URL]. There’s no reason to write a biography twice.
When one first listens to Arch Enemy, it may sound like your standard melodic death metal. However, upon further inspection, one finds out that their singer who sounds so much like a man is actually a WOMAN. Angela’s voice can put many male growlers to shame, and she is backed by a brilliant band, each of whom do their part beautifully. This album is a huge step up from their last full length, Anthems Of Rebellion, and the group is one of the fastest selling on their label, Century Media.
The album begins with Enter The Machine
, a fitting title for the intro song. This song is an instrumental. I think of it as the introduction to the next song. It opens with one guitar playing a few notes. Gradually, the rest of the instruments pulse throughout the intro, a drumroll is played, and the rest of the band comes in. A new riff is played after this...a harmonized guitar part. The intro riff comes back in, and the second part comes back in, this time higher up on the neck. The instruments hold their notes, and one guitar starts palm muting while the other does a tapping part, it sounds like. As the instruments fade...
...the next song, Taking Back My Soul
, begins. This has a typical Arch Enemy intro...some palm muted chords with double pedal work. The instruments stop every so often and start up again, and the song finally plays something through. At the end of the second intro part, a solo is played, and the verse starts as Angela comes in. Angela is...scary. There’s no other way to put it. Her voice is just goddamn scary. A short interlude results after this part, and the chorus comes in. The chorus is more melodic than the rest of the song, in traditional Arch Enemy style. The intro riff is played over another solo. The booklet credits this solo to Gus G, Arch Enemy’s current touring replacement for Christopher, and guitarist for numerous bands, including Dream Evil, Nightrage and Firewind. Another verse is played, the interlude is repeated, and another chorus comes in. The second part of the chorus is variated a little bit this time...it is repeated, just without Angela on vocals. A drumroll, and a new part comes in. This part reminds me of punk music...it sounds a bit like that. 3 variations of this part are played, the third part harmonized, and it is repeated as another solo is played. Arch Enemy is great in that their solos are always consistently amazing. Another new riff, and Angela comes back in, and fades out as yet ANOTHER solo starts. This song has the most solos in any song on the album. The song slows, as Angela belts out a brutal scream, and another chorus comes in. It is repeated twice, and the song ends with Angela screaming “My soul", which is followed by the intro riff, and an abrupt end. One of the best songs on the album, chock full of brilliant leads. 10/10
The third track, Nemesis
, was the album’s first single. It opens with a furiously fast riff, and a few cymbal crashes. The whole band comes in as Angela lets out a shriek...some feedback peaks, and a verse comes in. Angela’s voice is quite a bit lower in this part than usual. The intro riff is repeated with a solo over it...short but sweet. Another verse is played, which has 2 parts, and the chorus is played. The chorus is beautiful; it’s stunningly melodic, yet with Angela’s vocals, it’s also brutal and heavy at the same time. Angela screams:
“One for all/All for one
We are strong/We are one
One for all/All for one
We are strong/Nemesis!"
The intro riff comes back in, with another solo over it. The verse riff is repeated with some people shouting “Hey!" over it, and Angela comes back in for the second half. The chorus is repeated, and a new part comes in, with a snaredrum keeping time with the guitars. Angela shouts, “We are nemesis", and the whole drumkit kicks in along with the instruments. This part is extremely headbangable, which signifies a great riff...after this, the rest of the instruments fade out, save one guitar. It plays the lead riff of the chorus, and the rest of the band comes in with a different key signature. The solo guitar plays a little riff, the intro is played again, the guitars run down the neck, and the song stops. It ends with some mechanical sounds in the background. A great choice for a single...it shows the band’s versatility to go from unbelievably heavy to melodic and uplifting. 10/10
starts a bit slower than the other songs. It opens with one guitar, and the drums hitting the toms. The double pedals come in at the second part, the instruments fade out, save the drums, and the whole band comes in. After this, the verse begins. It reminds me of funk music, almost, but heavily distorted. Angela comes in over this part, and the verse switches to a new part. This part sounds very jazzy, in a sense. The chorus comes in, which is the intro riff repeated with Angela over it. She sings:
“My apocalypse is near
I can feel the end/Coming here"
A new verse is played, and the chorus is repeated again, twice this time though. The instruments stop, and a single guitar comes in. It plays a few chords, interrupted by only a few bass notes, and a flanger effect is used as the rest of the band comes in. The guitar plays some notes, and then a harmonic part. The first part is repeated with a distorted guitar playing a lead riff. This part is then harmonized for the second half of the interlude, and all of the distortion kicks in as Angela comes back in. This part is very melodic...it’s beautiful. The guitars have a harmonized part in the second part of this interlude, and the instruments hold their notes...the intro riff is played with only one guitar, and the whole band comes back in for another chorus. The guitars begin to furiously palm mute, and all the instruments fade out, as a ping sounds, most likely on keyboard. The song ends this way. A step down from the previous songs, but still very good. 8.5/10
The fifth track, Carry The Cross
, begins with a single guitar playing an alt-picked part, and the drums playing a beat on the hi-hat. The bass comes in, with a few notes, and the other guitar comes in after it. This riff is repeated, with one guitar playing the intro part and the other playing some chords. The distortion fades, as some whispering goes on in the background. Angela comes in after this...her voice sounds like it has been altered. There’s a slight effect to her voice. The distortion kicks back in for the next part. Over a very emotional chord progression, Angela sings:
“And when we are beaten
The cross holds us down
I hear them laughing
And walking away"
The intro riff comes back in, and functions as the chorus riff. Angela sings over this:
“Carry the cross/And suffer the loss
Hear my confession/Forever damnation"
Another verse is played, the interlude is repeated, and the chorus is repeated again. After this, a harmonized guitar part is played, which is very emotional. The next part has a new harmonized part, with a solo (most likely overdubbed) over it. Angela belts out a scream as the keys change, and the solo kicks into overdrive. The instruments fade out, leaving just the solo guitar, and come back in for the last chorus. It is repeated twice, and the song ends. A decent song, which would have been better with the addition of more solos. 8.5/10
The next track, I Am Legend - Out For Blood
, is the heaviest track on the album. It starts out with a lone guitar, interrupted periodically by the drums. A drumroll is played, and the whole band comes in, playing the same riff. A new riff is played, variating between the guitars playing different parts and the same part. The intro riff is played, this time with keyboards over it, courtesy of someone named Ola Stromberg. The second riff is repeated, and the song changes abruptly. It quickens, Angela comes in, and the band plays a part very reminiscent of a grindcore band. The chorus is played, with one guitar playing chords, and the other playing a lead riff. Both guitars harmonize the lead riff during the second part of the chorus. Angela sings over them:
“I am out for blood
Out/For your blood!"
After the chorus, another verse is played, and the chorus is repeated. The instruments fade, leaving just drums and what sounds like keyboards. The guitars play in time with the keyboards, and Angela sings:
“I can/Smell your flesh
I can/Taste your sweat
I can/Sense your fear
I am/Right here"
After this part, the drums switch into overdrive mode, playing what I believe is called a blast beat (which i think is basically a closed roll alternating between the hi-hats and the snare drum). The music slows as the guitars go up the neck, and a solo riff starts. This part of the song is the “melodic" in melodic death. It’s very pretty. The second part of the solo is harmonized...after the harmonized part, another solo riff is played, ALSO harmonized at the second part. A short drumroll of sorts, and the chorus comes in, the first part without Angela. She comes back in for the second part. The song ends with Angela shouting “Out for blood". A personal favorite of mine, and also the most chaotic/brutal, yet still carrying that melodic edge. 9.5/10
has an odd beginning. Guitars gradually fade in, playing some higher notes...gradually, a palm muted part begins to build up, and the song finally kicks in. The heavy intro riff sounds very evil and very brutal. The guitars switch for the verse as Angela comes in. The intro riff is repeated for the chorus, as Angela sings at one of her most brutal moments on the album:
“Watch the skeleton dance
Dancing on my grave
My frozen hour of death."
Some say Angela’s screaming method is wrong, and she won’t be able to talk the same a few years from now. You can hear her straining her voice in the chorus...however, it lends a truly evil effect to the music. Another verse is played, and the chorus is repeated, with a different variation on the vocals for the second part. The guitars play a new interlude...one furiously palm mutes, then holds the chords, while the other plays a lead riff. The guitars then begin to harmonize, as Angela sings:
“Had I not known/That I was dead
I would have mourned/My loss of life"
A solo begins after this, and peaks after Angela shouts “Loss of life!" The solo is played to focus more on emotion than technical ability...it pays off here. Another chorus is repeated, and the song ends after this. A good, evil song (it sounds corny, but that’s really the only way you can describe it). I like it...I heard this before the album came out, so this is the “unofficial second single" to me. 9/10
The eighth track, Hybrids Of Steel
, is another instrumental. It starts off with a very patriotic sounding intro. One guitar plays chords, and the other plays a lead riff. The drums crash in time with the guitar, and the instruments hold their notes. A pick slide, and a new riff ensues; a drumroll, and both guitars play this riff. At the end, it is harmonized, and the song goes right into a solo. This song is very uplifting...it’s really happy. After the solo, the riff is repeated again, and the distortion fades. The drums play a pounding beat as the guitar picks a few chords. Another guitar joins it, playing a little lead riff, and the drums finally play a standard beat over it. The guitar solo gets louder, and starts doing a little shredding beat. The distortion kicks back in with an abrupt change, as the time signature is changed. After this part, the intro riff is played again. The song ends with a held chord. I find this song a bit irritating at times...however, it has some great leads spread throughout it. 8.5/10
The next track, Machine God Creation
, starts off with a clean riff, interrupted only by a few cymbal hits. A guitar plays 2 palm muted chords, and holds another chord. This guitar fades in and out around this riff. Finally, the distortion kicks completely in, and the guitars play an awesome alt palm muted riff. A short interlude, and Angela comes in. Her voice is completely off the deep end here. Brutal, low, and full of hatred, it goes brilliantly with the music. A different part is played in the verse, and the chorus begins. The chorus isn’t as melodic as other choruses...it favors the more brutal edge. The riff before the verse is played again, the first interlude is repeated, and another verse is played. The chorus is repeated, and the intro riff is played again. The distortion kicks back in, and Angela comes back in. She sings:
“Climbing the walls
The walls are too high
They swallow the sun
This part of the song is especially brutal. A new riff results after this part, and a solo begins. It sounds like the first part is tapping, and then turns into a normal solo. The chorus is repeated twice again, and a guitar chord is held, interrupted by a few cymbal hits. A new riff slowly builds up, and Angela lets out a scream as the whole band comes in. After this part, a new solo begins. This one is quite faster than the last, and more technical. It’s one of the best solos on the album. The song ends after the solo. The longest song on the album, and another great effort. 9.5/10
The tenth track, Machtkampf
(yes, that is the actual name...I thought it was misspelled at first), begins with only drums (a change from the other songs). A guitar comes in, and Angela screams as the whole band comes in. Everything fades except one guitar, and a drumroll is played as the whole band comes in again. This song is much faster than the last...it makes you want to get up and move. After this part, the verse begins as Angela comes in again. The chorus is much different than the other songs...it’s much faster. After the chorus, a solo results, in the same fashion as the rest of the song: fast and chaotic. Another verse is played, and the chorus is repeated again, this time twice. A new riff results, a bit slower, and the second part is harmonized. A buildup, a pick slide, and another solo results. This one is more focused on emotion. The guitars go down, and pick back up as a new solo comes in. This one is faster. The intro riff is played again, with Angela and another voice (all other vocals were credited to a guy named Apollo Papathanasio) sing:
“Vengeance in my eyes
A new power flows in me"
The chorus is repeated again twice, and the song ends with a series of palm muted chords and a held chord. A song that makes you want to get up and headbang. 10/10
The final track, Slaves Of Yesterday
, begins traditionally, yet a bit slower. This song is more emotional than the others. A second guitar joins the first, plays a little solo riff, and leaves. The guitars come in and out, playing chords, while the drums play a driving beat. Angela comes in as the verse begins and the guitars play straight through. The intro riff is repeated for the chorus. Angela belts out a truly evil scream, and another verse is played. The chorus is repeated, and a new riff results, slower than the rest of the song. Angela comes back in, and screams “Slaves....of yesterday!" The guitars begin to palm mute, and a solo starts. It’s full of emotion, almost like the outro to one of their songs from Stigmata, Bridge Of Destiny. The solo becomes harmonized, and gives the impression that it is slowly falling. The intro riff is repeated (the VERY beginning, not the chorus version), and another solo starts. This one is more technical. Another chorus comes in, this time with Angela putting 100% more into her voice. It’s...scary. The song ends with a fadeout of the intro and a solo. A great end to a great album. 10/10
This may be Arch Enemy’s best release with Angela on vocals yet. Everything about it screams brilliance, from the astonishing guitar leads to the earthshaking drums to Angela’s inhuman screams that sometimes make us forget she’s a woman, and not a minion of Satan. If you want melodic death metal, look no further than Arch Enemy. They are truly brilliant, and this album does not disappoint.
Final Rating: 9.5/10
(It’s not perfect, but it’s damn near close).
The link brings you to my Arch Enemy writeup thread, which has a band history and plenty of uploads. Don’t miss it.