|Review: Arch Enemy - War Eternal|
Label: Century Media
Year released: 2014
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: June 13, 2014
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
I have never been what you would call a huge fan of Arch Enemy, since the last album they put out that I liked was Rise of the Tyrant back in 2007, and that album stands in a welter of lesser works like Doomsday Machine and Khaos Legions - not albums anyone would call great. This album has the additional burden of being their first in almost 15 years not to feature the reliable Angel Gossow. Now, I was never a big fan of Angela either. When she started, having a woman front a band like this was a complete novelty. Now it's almost routine, and I never found her work that compelling.
For the frontwoman spot Arch Enemy have recruited the blue-haired Alissa White-Gluz from her previous band The Agonist, who were so awful I would need to create new words to discuss them properly. However, replacing the mediocre Gossow seems to be well within her powers, as if nobody told you it was a new girl, you would not have any way to tell.
Anyway, this is a better album than Arch Enemy have managed for a while, as they seem to have jettisoned any traces of 'core or trends and just made a fucking metal album rather than trying to cater to whatever the kids are into these days. As such, this is the first work of theirs in seven years that does not insult my intelligence. The riffs and leads are pretty good, and there is some real catchiness to be had here. The production actually has some teeth, and the guitars are out front, rather than buried in the background. Compositionally this is decent, even if it's not really pushing itself any. Disappointing to hear a talent like Amott half-ass his way through this album - or it would be, if he hadn't been doing it for like 13 years. This is solid, by the numbers, and entertaining while it's on. Certainly one of their better recent albums, if that's not too much of a backhanded compliment.
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