Arch Enemy was brought together by guitarist Michael Amott (ex. Carcass) in 1996. This Death Metal/Melodic Death Metal band, hailing from Sweden, mixes fiery riffs with melodic leads to give you that "in your face" experience shown by many of the same genre.
The original cast of musicians that accompanied Michael Amott were Christopher Amott (guitar), Daniel Erlandsson (drums), and vocalist Johan Liiva. There first album "Black Earth" featured the likes of Fredrik Nordstrom, THE producer in the metal genre.
In 1998 they relased "Stigmata." In my opinion, the album that made them such a success, and 1999s "Burning Bridges," featuring ex-Mercyful Fate bassist Sharlee D'Angelo.
For "Wages of Sin" Angela Gossow came in as vocalist to replace Liiva. I think both are great vocalist, however live, Angela may have the edge. With new vocalist at hand, Arch Enemy has been a nonstop treat in the death metal genre, and seem to have no boundaries. With "Doomsday Machine" released a bit ago, that statement has been proven.
*****This is my very frist review, and I did it on this album because I noticed there was no review for it. I hope you enjoy it, and maybe decide to pick up the album or maybe give it another listen. Enjoy.
ARCH ENEMY IS:
Angela Gossow - VOCALS
Michael Amott - GUITAR
Christopher Amott - GUITAR
Daniel Erlandsson - DRUMS
Sharlee D'Angelo - BASS
1. "ENEMY WITHIN" - This song starts off with a nice little piano opening. As you approah the 25 second mark, you are greeted with a weird/eerie noise. It gets louder and louder and at 45 seconds, you are greeted with that "in your face" onslaught of metal I talked about earlier. Nice drumwork and impressive guitar work here. At 1:25 Angela comes in. Yes, it is a girl. haha. You can obviously tell she fits the metal mold, and has great vocals for death metal. Transitions in guitar work throughout, with a pretty solid solo coming in at around 3:02. Back to the main riff and then it starts to fade out into the next song. [4/5]
2. "BURNING ANGEL" - No piano intro here! Straight into headbanging brutality. The intro is VERY reminiscent of Megadeth's - "Hangar 18," well, in my opinion at least. Lead kicks in at about 12 seconds and continues for a bit until Angela comes in, and the song changes a bit. At 1:12 it changes tempo for a bit and goes back to the opening. The standout of this track is definately the solo at the end, which starts at 2:41. At 3:58, an awesome barrage of sweep picking as well. Great track and one of my favorites. [4.5/5]
3. "HEART OF DARKNESS" - Great song here. Starts off with a slower riff when compared to "Burning Angel," but is still great. Change at 32 seconds and Angela's vocals kick in soon after. Angela really hit me when I first heard her growl "...heart of darkness." A small interlude ensues at 3:00 with a lead coming in. The song then completely changes and sounds really cool, slower, but still cool. Solo at 3:57. And then back to the chorus. Good track. [4/5]
4. "RAVENOUS" - This is the song that introduced me to Arch Enemy. I absolutely love it. It starts off with light drumming and a cool little lead. The rest pounds in, and the main riff is introduced. Angela really impresses me in this track. Some whammy bar wankering at around 57 seconds, and the chorus kicks in a few seconds later. There's a small change of pace with the interlude that comes up at 2:33, which then leads into some crazy soloing. Just an overall great track. [4.5/5]
5. "SAVAGE MESSIAH" - Intro sounds pretty cool here. It runs for a minute or so, adding more and more as it progresses. At 1:01 a brutal riff comes in. I'm not quite sure why I like this riff so much, the first time I heard it my head immediately just started to whip around. Angela uses some chorus effects at some points of the song. Chorus at around 2:00. It goes back to that intro at 2:53, and leaves you wanting more of that riff. A lead comes in at 3:14, and a small bassline is introduced as well. When it ends, Angela sounds VERY eerie when she chants "Savage Messiah.." A small change in the song with it ending with that same intro. [4/5]
6. "DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD" - Opens here with the basic rythm and gets bigger and faster as it progresses. Complete chaos at 44 seconds. Those double bass drums come in at about 1:01 and a small solo at 1:09. A VERY sick riff comes in at 1:34. Also, one of those riffs (like "Savage Messiah") that makes you headbang spontaneously. Solo at 2:03 and spans for about a minute or so. Nice bass comes in at 2:52 and then back to that main riff. The outro is that really awesome riff and then to the next song. [4/5]
7. "WEB OF LIES" - Drumming at the beginning and goes straight into some rythm and vocals. It starts to pick up pace with a cool part at 35 seconds. At 57 seconds you get a little change of pace, and it sounds a bit uplifiting. Solo at 2:23, leading into a MUCH faster onslaught. For some reason this song didn't stick to me too well. Still good, however. [3.5/5]
8. "THE FIRST DEADLY SIN" - Nice little heavy opening. And then you get blistering speed on those guitars at about 23 seconds. This is definately one of the fastest parts I've heard when compared to the last seven songs.At 2:04 you are greeted with a REALLY cool little rythm part. 2:26 begins the solo, nice harmonization at parts. Much slower riff comes in at about 2:56, and is a cool transition back to the blistering part. Overall, very fast, brutal, just a very good death metal song. [4/5]
9. "BEHIND THE SMILE" - Doesn't quite sound like Arch Enemy here during the intro. Chorus comes in pretty shortly. There's a couple transition points when coming up to 2 minutes. Awesome little harmonizing at 1:59. Sounds just flat out cool. More soloing in, more like a ballad type solo. Ends with an organ. Just a pretty average song to me. [3.5/5]
10. "SNOW BOUND" - Nice change of pace here. Pretty emotional solo here. I like it a lot, and I love playing it myself. There's not a whole lot to say about this song. Quick little intrumental. [3.5/5]
11. "SHADOWS AND DUST" - Cool little little track here. Nice intro. Vocals come in at 45 seconds. The song loses pace a tad but still sounds awesome. Lead piece comes in at about 1:31. Pretty linear song until about 2:41 when a pretty cool solo comes in. Then fades out and ends the album. [3.5/5]
+ Great guitar work (riffs, solos, harmonization, melodies, etc.)
+ Angela definately proves to be a talented vocalist.
+ Great listening experience. One where you can just headband and headband to.
+ Lyrics are pretty decent when compared to many other death metal bands out there.
+ First half of the album is amazing.
+ To me, the second half of the album drags on a bit, and loses its edge.
= "Burning Angel"
= "Heart of Darkness"
= "Savage Messiah"
= "Dead Bury Their Dead"
OVERALL SCORE: 4.0 |---*-|