|Review: Arch Enemy - Anthems of Rebellion|
|Anthems of Rebellion|
Label: Century Media
Year released: 2003
Review online: January 5, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Anthems of Rebellion
Arch Enemy were a better band than In Flames to begin with, so it should come as no surprise that when it came time to sell out, they have done a better job of it. For their second release with Angela Gossow at the mic, the Amott brothers have managed to become marketable without becoming utterly unlistenable.
I won't say this album sucks, because it really doesn't. Angela sounds much better than last time out, and her delivery is much more confident. I thought her vocals were too one-dimensional on "Wages Of Sin", but here she has more depth and conviction. The production job is not as good here, and as I would expect from Andy Sneap, the guitars are far too dry. The mix is sharp but flat, with no feel of depth. The songwriting is enjoyable enough, but has very obviously been dumbed down and simplified for a wider audience. I feel uncomfortable calling this Death Metal anymore, as it is far too cleaned up and accessible for my definition of that, but there isn't a 'Commercial Death Metal' category. Some of the riffs here are very cool, but some of them are rather dull, and with this many tracks the ratio of filler is a bit high. I would say there are maybe 9 cuts I would really have wanted on the album, the rest are disposable. I must say I am disappointed with the leadwork here, as it is rather muted and perfunctory, and all the riffs are either the both-guitars-play-the-same-thing kind or the one-plays-the-lick-while-the-other-goes-chugga-chugga. Gone are the sometimes glorious twin-ax harmonic riffs from past albums, and a lot of the songs sound kind of half-assed as a result. For a guitar team like the Amotts, who have talent and skill falling out of their asses, an album like this is a criminal waste of their ability.
So while this is not a bad album at all, and I like it quite a bit, for this band it is something of a disappointment. I was looking for much better this time around for Arch Enemy. They have managed to produce a much more accessible album than before, and I have no doubt they will sell a zillion copies of it, but they could have done so much better. It would be a shame for this band to go down the road to sellout without having ever produced the classic album we always hoped they had in them.
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