Arch Enemy
Burning Bridges


5.0
classic

Review

by B R A N D O N S C O T T CONTRIBUTOR (135 Reviews)
August 26th, 2015 | 40 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Time stands still as the immortals keep on breeding"

Burning Bridges is a death metal album for classic rock fans. Arch Enemy's first two records - Black Earth and Stigmata - were excellent forays into ravenous melodic death metal, defined by their dichotomy of unbridled heaviness and classic metal harmonies. Here, Arch Enemy poached the best elements of those records to synthesize their most concise and memorable collection of songs to date, crafting what is the greatest album in their discography.

Arguably their most "controlled" display of songwriting, Burning Bridges ditches the relentless brutality of their death metal roots, accentuating the "melodic" in melodic death metal. Though some could easily be disappointed by the lack of muscle, Amott and Co. more than make up for its absence in finesse; the balance between heaviness and harmony on Burning Bridges is absolutely superb. Tracks like "Pilgrim Man" and Angelclaw" are prime examples, where the Amott brothers juxtapose crunchy thrash riffs against dual-guitar harmonies that would make Iron Maiden envious. There is undoubtedly still enough ferocity to be had however; opener and fan favorite "The Immortal" is rife with pulverizing Gothenburg-styled guitars and Daniel Erlandsson's seismic drumming, while the crawling title track crushes you under the weight of slow-burning guitars and Johan Liiva's throaty rasp.

The former vocalist is easily the most divisive aspect of Burning Bridges; many fans of Arch Enemy's older output love his unique shout, while Angela-worshipers see him as the weaker predecessor to her demonic rasp. However, a cursory listen to the album makes it apparent that no matter which camp you reside in, Liiva was unquestionably the right vocalist here. Improving leaps and bounds from the monotone bark of Black Earth and Stigmata, Liiva's delivery on Burning Bridges is the perfect counterpoint to the album's stripped down, thrash-y musical stance. His rapid fire, syncopated lines on "Dead Inside" are infectious, and "Seed of Hate" features haunting whispers and wounded shouts that practically drip with passion. After such an impressive improvement, it's difficult not to wonder what truly drove the band to burn their bridges with Liiva after the release of this album.

It should go without saying the highlight of this album is the guitar-work. The chemistry between the Amott brothers has never been better than it is on Burning Bridges. Rooted in metal's beginnings, the rhythm work is inspired by the galloping nature of the NWOBHM and the speed of thrash, rarely relying on death metal's tremolo rampages. As a self-professed lover of classic rock and metal, Michael's playing satisfies not only guitar shredders, but fans who enjoy more thoughtful compositions. The trade-off solo in "The Immortal" is spectacular, driving in one memorable phrase after another, while "Demonic Science" closes with blazing split-harmony guitars and a captivating melody. The often underrated and appreciated Chris also proves to be quite the guitar hero, and his tasteful licks in tracks like "Pilgrim Man" and "Silverwing" are just as powerful as his older brothers.

Burning Bridges has all the makings of not just a classic melodic death metal record, but a classic metal record in general: godly musicianship, memorable vocals, and above of all, extremely well-written songs. For those of you prejudiced against listening to this album because of Liiva, you're doing yourself a disservice. This is an ESSENTIAL album in the Arch Enemy canon. For those who have already heard it... well, you know what I'm talking about.



Recent reviews by this author
With the End in Mind Unraveling; ArisingLes Discrets Virée Nocturne
The Black Twilight Circle Tliltic TlapoyauakBook Of Sand Occult Anarchist Propaganda
Xavlegbmaofffassssit.... GoreTevlo/Veela Icy Love EP
user ratings (381)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Dan Smith (3.5)
...

Thomas Michael Morris (3.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2015


20990 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm still doing the BTC discography reviews, but I've been on such a huge Liiva-era Arch Enemy kick lately and felt inspired to write about, what is in my opinion, their best album.

Digging: Jordablod - Promo

Hawks
August 25th 2015


45548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn a 5 bro? I never jammed any Liva era Arch Enemy. I should probably check this.

Digging: Blaze of Perdition - Near Death Revelations

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2015


20990 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Like i said in the review: you're only doing yourself a disservice by not listening to this. It's one of my favorite melodeath albums ever.

zaruyache
August 25th 2015


13876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wish they still sounded this good.

Digging: Imbaru - Vigias

Hawks
August 25th 2015


45548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gonna jam this tonight. m/

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2015


20990 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Let me know what you think of it Ryan m/ and yeah, zaru, i agree. I haven't listening to Khaos whatever yet ( i really have no desire to) and War Eternal has its moments, but it's by large a by-the-numbers melodeath release. For me, everything after and including Doomsday Machine has been pretty mediocre.

R6Rider
August 25th 2015


5088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lol@Hawks I was gonna start my comment the same way.



But yeah, a 5 bro? Haven't listened to this in forever. Angel Claw was my least favorite track for some reason.



Need to re-learn that outro part from Demonic Science. Brings the feels hard.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2015


20990 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah a 5. I guess my opinion is somewhat swayed by the fact that this album was pretty instrumental in my getting into "heavier" metal. But if you have it rated a 4, you can't disagree TOO much ;]

R6Rider
August 25th 2015


5088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hawks go jam Black Earth. If you can get passed Some of Liiva's vocals it's up there with Arch Enemy's best stuff imo.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2015


20990 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Definitely. Stigmata is instrumentally, their most ambitious, so check that as well. Fuck it, just check their first three, they all rule in their own way.

zaruyache
August 25th 2015


13876 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not huge on Liiva-era stuff either, but Wages of Sin is teh pwnz. WoS and forget the rest.

Hawks
August 25th 2015


45548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gonna get this first and give it some time then just go backwards. m/

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2015


20990 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Wages of Sin is okay if you like really watered-down versions of their first three albums. It's still good, but no way better than their first three. I love Anthems, but even that is just really not great Carcass-worship.

Hawks
August 25th 2015


45548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Anthems is def my favorite out of what I've heard so far and I dig Wages of Sin too.

R6Rider
August 25th 2015


5088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It was my first album that got me into heavier music as well.



Review makes me wanna jam old AE for weeks.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 25th 2015


20990 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

:] good! That was its intention

Hawks
August 25th 2015


45548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this rules.

R6Rider
August 25th 2015


5088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Soooo wroooooooooong!!!



For so loooong!

LepreCon
August 26th 2015


5191 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No way is this a 5 but you love it and you argue the case well so that's all that really matters, have a LepreCon pos. Still a kickass album.

Hawks
August 26th 2015


45548 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not too big on this guys' vox tbh, but they aren't awful and there's a lot of top notch and catchy riffs/leads here.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2016 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy