More than 20 years down the line and ten full-length albums into their portfolio, one has to acknowledge that ARCH ENEMY are stronger than ever.
There was a time when I thought that Arch Enemy was a light-weight, pop death metal outfit who happened to have a former Carcass guitarist within its ranks. That time, however, is long gone, and I’ve come to appreciate and deeply respect Michael Amott’s mission to create the “heaviest melodic metal band of all time” (quote archenemy.net).
The new album, Will To Power, which is about to be unleashed upon the world in a couple of days, is a testament to the determination of Michael Amott to write heavy and melodic music.
Some things haven’t changed one iota: There is still a considerable touch of Malmsteen and Michael Schenker in Arch Enemy’s music (prime example is ‘Dreams of Retribution’), and it works perfectly with the Swedish melodic death metal. There is plenty of variation to be found in terms of tempo and riffing as always. It is all good.
There are two things that have changed in my ears:
1. With a force like Jeff Loomis on board, there has got to be a thing or two going on in the department of guitars. And there is! There are details in the guitar work you can listen to over and over again and never get tired of. When Loomis joined Arch Enemy back in 2015, I was kind of surprised, but it makes so much sense now. This is a marriage made in guitar heaven.
2. Alissa White-Gluz has really stepped up in the role as the front lady of Arch Enemy now. She did a fine job on ‘War Eternal’, totally, but this time there is so much more power and versatility in play. Alissa grunts, whispers, screams like a demon and sings her way through the album, and she does a splendid job on all accounts. When White-Gluz grunts ‘This is a fight I must win’ in the chorus of the song that has stuck in my brain the past couple of days, ‘A Fight I Must Win’, I almost automatically say: “No worries, bluehair, you won the fight!”
Damned good album, this one.
01. Set Flame To The Night (01:20)
02. The Race (03:15)
03. Blood In The Water (03:55)
04. The World Is Yours (04:53)
05. The Eagle Flies Alone (05:16)
06. Reason To Believe (04:48)
07. Murder Scene (03:50)
08. First Day In Hell (04:48)
09. Saturnine (01:09)
10. Dreams Of Retribution (06:40)
11. My Shadow And I (04:05)
12. A Fight I Must Win (06:35)
Playing Time: 50 minutes
Alissa White-Gluz - Vocals
Michael Amott - Guitars
Jeff Loomis - Guitars
Sharlee D’Angelo - Bass
Daniel Erlandsson – Drums