Arch Enemy - Anthems Of Rebellion
Arch Enemy are one of the most respectable acts in the metalscene from Sweden, and their previous album Wages Of Sin was a magnificent album and one of the last year's best.
You will have to search a long time to find the likes of the bonecrushing double bass drum riff that kicks off the first song Silent Wars - it's amazing, and it's a delightful smash in the face but it is represented in the song way too few times, and song is quickly turning into a more thrashy riff similar to something Carcass or Destruction could have composed back in the days. When Angela starts singing it is unfortunatly clear that she has changed her style a bit, and I am afraid to the worse. From haveing been one of the better growlers in the whole business, she now sounds like a crow with a cold. It sounds a little bit overdone just for the sake of it, which is unnecessary because she was as great as she could be before. I don't know if this change is intentional, but if so I think it is a shame. It doesn't sound especially good. Please change this back til the next album, Angela.
The rest of the beginning of the album with We Will Rise and Dead Eyes See No Future passes pretty unnoticed and with Instinct and Leader Of The Rats the tone and the mood of the cd is set with heaviness and darkness rather than speed and swirling leads. Exist To Exit is very good, more doublebass drum driven tune and is the best song so far into the album. After an aucustic interlude in form of Marching On A Dead End Road, they deliver the 2.12 long/short Despicable Heroes which is a fast killer that easily could suit as one of the better on the Wages Of Sin-album. The following piece End Of The Line is a bit faster and with a galopping pace and an odd but still good refrain with semiclear vocals. Dehumanization is a boring midtempo song with exprimental bridges and choruses, and doesn't speak to my metalheart at all. Closing Saints And Sinners is an average tune measured by Arch Enemy standards, and by now those have been heard a bit too much on this album.
This is significantly more aggressive and a bit darker than the previous album and producer Andy Sneap (Machine Head, Testament, Kreator, Nevermore) has as usual done a splendid job and has managed to build a fat, solid and clear soundpicture. Some of the melodic elements have also had to stand aside for more technical and progressive parts which always is welcome if it's done good, but to be honest I don't think it fit, and a more straight approach would suit this album better I believe.
What I miss the most, and I think that has been Arch Enemys signum, is the killer riffs and the brilliant melodic harmonies. I admire all the musicians skills in this band because they are tight and creative, but it tend too be a bit too much of the monotone thrash hybride riffs here. The first pressing of the album will be available as a 2CD version including a bonus-disc with special live tracks from the 2002 Wages Of Sin Tour as well as Dolby 5.1 Surround mixes of songs from the new album.