8/18/2011 - Review by: Greg Watson
Enlist in the Khaos Legion!
Arch Enemy is back with a vengeance!!! The appropriately titled (for me anyhow) new album, "Khaos Legions" showcases Enemy at their best. From the opening intro "Khaos Overture" to the finishing "Secrets", Arch Enemy rips and tears its way through metal taking no prisoners along the way. This album is probably my favorite since "Anthems of Rebellion". Screamer Angela Gossow has found her "voice", not that she ever lost it mind you. As with each album, she has continued to evolve that growl of hers. On tracks "Yesterday is Dead And Gone", "Bloodstained Cross" and "Through The Eyes of The Raven" her vocal style is clearly different than the guttural, Carcass-esque style as she first brought out. There is a black metal element to her vocals on this album particular with a little clean vocal work mixed in as well. Yes that's right, I said clean vocal work.
The Amott Brothers bring their twin shredding talents to the table in full force on the album also. "Yesterday Is Dead and Gone" features a riff that will be permanently etched in my metal memory for a long time to come. Solos abound on this release as well, allowing the brothers to showcase their different styles varying from sweeping arpeggios to frenetic fingerwork. The rhythm riffs are catchy as hell and once in your head are near impossible to get out. They continue to be a destructive duo that continues to set the bar high.
Daniel Erlandsson(drums), Sharlee D'Angelo(bass) and Per Wiberg(keyboards) bring up the rhythm section and tie the album together in a symphony of destruction. Erlandssons' legs had to have been close to falling off by the time he laid down his drum tracks for this album. The drum work is not too fast though to take away from the rest of the instruments as is the case with so many death/grindcore bands. D'Angelo continues to produce solid bass lines that compliment Erlandsson on the drums and fill in the songs with some balls. Wiberg is a nice addition with some atmospheric and ethereal keyboard work throughout as well.
Rickard Bengtsson is back at the engineering helm. His sound can be heard on Arch Enemy's 2005 release "Doomsday Machine". The sound and production work seamlessly to deliver an uppercut right to your chin. None of the instruments overshadow one another and Gossow's vocals are mixed in to the fray for a maelstrom of metal mania!!
There is no reason any metal fan should not like this release. It has everything a metal head could ask for. Solos, head banging riffs, vocals that will inspire you to do good or evil and an album that you can keep in your rotation for a good while. So my fellow bangers, go out and enlist in the "Khaos Legion"!!!
7/1/2011 - Review by: Eric Compton
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.
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