Type: CD Company: Century Media Release: 2011 Genre: Thrash Reviewer: Eric Compton Published: 7/1/2011
Burns up some quality thrash tunes
Arch Enemy hinted that this new record would incorporate more punk influences and I'll be damned if I can hear anything remotely punk-oriented. These Swedish mainstays have always been a little loose lipped early in their recordings and this is another fine example. No punk, all metal.
The group continue their quest for king (queen) of melo-death on "Khaos Legions". Gothenburg and metalcore and every kind of power metal makes up this suite of viable 2011 heaviness. This crosses boundaries and certainly makes aggressive music while still showboating twin guitar bravado and vocals that border on demonic in both persuasion and aptitude. This is the continuation of "Doomsday Machine" in some many ways, more so than "Rise Of The Tyrant" because the band are more into melody and wrapping energetic tunes with rambling fury and fundamental logic.
All sorts of chemistry here from faster old school death (see "Cruelty Without Beauty") to straight up traditional cuts. Think of Scorpions and Kreator combined with Exodus and Nevermore (and God knows who). The band aren't re-inventing the wheel or necessarily furthering their evolution but still make quality albums that lend purpose to the thrasher state of mind.
Where the problem lies is this has a certain recycle to it. I have heard some of these riffs already and the Amotts have used some of these same melodic notes in parts of other songs. This isn't a sin (In Flames have been caught "red" handed) but it still leaves me a bit cheated. Maybe we have heard the very best original material from the group's first trio of albums. Perhaps this is akin to Overkill or Kreator or...gasp...Motorhead, bands that continue to push the heavy load but with no real sense of goal or even time period. Decades have passed with some acts and they never even stop to glance at their crowds.
Have I painted Arch Enemy into a corner or did they do it themselves? Did I think these Swedes were innovators of style and substance and would push themselves to the very edge of brilliance (like similar acts In Flames or Soilwork) or did they happen on great ideas early on but were never that talented? Do they have longevity or living off the idea that they can be a great band? The group have recently stated that they have now been intact for over a decade and other band members are contributing to the writing and composition. Why doesn't "Khaos Legions" differ from "Doomsday Machine" or "Anthems Of Rebellion"? Why hasn't this band evolved?
Regardless at the end of the day this new record rocks and burns up some quality thrash tunes that encompass that wicked Swedish sound. It is entertaining and I will always pick up a new Arch Enemy album and question why the group hasn't aged or matured. I still buy Overkill and Motorhead. I still play Saxon's newest efforts. Arch Enemy is right there pushing and plodding and chopping it up with quality craftsmanship. But I still think with this much talent and sheer work ethic better albums should exist in a year starting with 2.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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