June 11, 2014 Arch Enemy – War Eternal (Album review)
Over the last three decades the name Michael Amott has become a household name associated with the heavy metal guitarist elite. After leaving Carcass, who substantially influenced a new genre in the 1990’s, the guitarist and songwriter founded his own band named Arch Enemy back in 1995 with the idea to create the most heavy and melodic metal band of all times. Over the course of eighteen years, Arch Enemy, under Amott’s guidance, has crafted ten acclaimed full-length-albums, dominated sales charts, and toured the globe as a top heavy metal act.
When Amott recruited German vocalist Angela Gossow to replace original singer Johan Liiva to lead Arch Enemy on their fourth studio album Wages of Sin (2001), changed extreme metal forever. These days still actively exciting audiences worldwide the band is still hunting for the perfect Arch Enemy album, even after so much success. Having to compensate for the retirement of members Christopher Amott (younger brother of Michael), and the recent departure of Gossow, who wants to concentrate on her private life, Arch Enemy takes no prisoners in their quest to triumph. According to Amott the changes made in the band were necessary for the survival of the music. One of the new additions include ex-Arsis guitarist Nick Cordle; a quick-fingered, high-energy guitarist which can trade wicked licks, sick riffs, and wild solos with Amott hand in hand. While Cordle made his first appearance in Arch Enemy in the ” Under Black Flags We March” video, War Eternal marks his first full-length-album-performance. The other key addition is new French Canadian born Alissa White-Gluz, formerly of The Agonist, taking over on vocals, joining the cast of long-time members Daniel Erlandsson (Drums) and Sharlee D’Angelo (Bass). With so many changes, the intrigue of fans who have waited three years to hear the follow-up of Khaos Legions now get to wrap their cranium around new album War Eternal.
Having already putting out two high energy singles in “War Eternal” and “You Will Know My Name” prior to the albums release the question is, can Arch Enemy keep up this level of intensity through an entire thirteen track album. The answer is a resonating yes. From the opening intro of “Tempore Nihil Sanat (Prelude in F minor)” the band offers a much more intricate album than expected while still keeping an eye on the typical knife-sharp riffing, irresistible guitar-melodies, and anthem-like choruses. All killers, no fillers is the motto here. Every song feeds into the ear-canal quickly, without missing the roughness and heaviness haunting the listener from track to track. Some of the stand out moments early on in the album include the technical “Never forgive, Never Forget” and the In flames style mega-hit “As The Pages Burn”. In the latter part of the album other gems include “Time is Black”, which comes along with James Bond title-track-like strings, the neck-breaking anthem “On and On”, and the closing unhurried instrumental “Not long for this world”. These are just a handful of the highly recommended songs to highlight this powerful album.
Regardless of which song on War Eternal, Arch Enemy proves their ambitious skills and serve an almost perfect, sweeping album that starts a new, fresh-sounding chapter in the band, which unites all the trademarks. With a textured introduction and two amazingly put together instrumentals mixed in with ten Swedish Metal-cudgels, War Eternal is album other bands in the genre should hold as a standard. Above all, those who might think White-Gluz is just a replacement or a copy of Gossow is far wrong. The aggressive, higher pitched female sound of her voice is one reason War Eternal is an outstanding, interesting metal record that should make the scene sit up and take notice. CrypticRock gives this album 5 out of 5 stars and runner up for metal album of 2014!