One of the newer genres of music that I've gotten into lately is melodic death metal. It was a pleasant surprise – up until awhile ago, I did not like the regular form of death metal, and I hadn't envisioned myself ever getting into anything related to the extreme style of metal. But then I found Gothenburg bands such as In Flames and Dark Tranquillity. I also discovered other groups which incorporate melody with harsh vocals, groups like Children of Bodom and Into Eternity. From there, as they say, it was history. One of the bands I've heard and enjoyed since then is Arch Enemy. Formed by the Amott brothers in the 90's, Arch Enemy went on to become one of the most influential bands in the melo –death (oxymoron much?) scene. As the 90's turned into the 2000's, the band also evolved, acquiring female vocalist Angela Gassow. 2002's Anthems of Rebellion was the band's second album with Angela on board.
Anthems of Rebellions has your typical melodic death metal sound. Angry death growls; a heavy, aggressive rhythm; and of course, the melodic guitars which provide a catchier, more memorable feel to the music. Guitarists Michael and Chris Amott certainly do not disappoint. Almost every track on the album contains very powerful melodies. Whether it be through a solo or an assortment of riffs, like on We Will Rise for example, Arch Enemy incorporates this element without taking away from the music. The heavier riffs similar to that of a straight on death metal band are also well done. This keeps the music at an acceptable level of aggressiveness. Arch Enemy balances out the heavy and melodic parts very well, which should please fans of their works.
Another part about Arch Enemy that I enjoy is the efforts of vocalist Angela Gossow. While I had to stop myself from laughing as I listened to songs like Silent Wars, We Will Rise, and Dead Eyes See No Future (because you know, she just sounds so funny), I learned to enjoy them. Her performance in songs like We Will Rise, Dead Eyes See No Future, and Leader of the Rats are superb. Her technique has that aggressive, tortured feel to them, yet at the same time, you can still recognize what Angela is trying to convey, for the most part. Angela's vocals fit the music very well, and are an important part of the band's formula.
Among full length tracks, Anthems of Rebellion contains very little filler. Almost every track has some deal of thought put into it, whether it be through creepy riffs and keyboards as seen in We Will Rise (I really like that song, if you haven't realized), to the angry, mocking guitar lines in Leader of the Rats. The only tracks that really aren't necessary are Tear Down the Walls, a minute long introduction to the album, and Anthem, a 56 second, you guessed it, anthem to metal. Though it is a fairly nice guitar based piece, it does not really make the album all that much better, especially since it is track 12. Another very short song, Marching on a Dead End Road, could also be considered filler by some, but as it is not an especially heavy track, it changes things up, presenting a calm few moments before the album reverts back into the aggressive collection of music that it is. The remainder of the songs are mid-lengthed offerings, a trait that fits them very well. Not to long, but at the same time, not to short.
As I immerse myself in the world of melodic death metal, Arch Enemy's Anthems of Rebellion definitely satisfies my need for that genre of music. Infectious melodic guitars, top notch vocal efforts, superb song writing, this album has everything one would want from a band of this stature. Anthems of Rebellion is a great album for both those just getting into melodic death, and the "veterans" of the genre. While perhaps not a classic in metal, Anthems of Rebellion is easily worth the investment. Definitely an impressive album.
We Will Rise
Exist to Exit
Dead Eyes See No Future
Leader of the Rats