Will to Power
9/15/2017 - Review by: Eric Compton
Against the grain rebellion finely tuned by seasoned veterans
I went on an Arch Enemy kick last year and thoroughly examined their entire back catalog. As I get older I learn to appreciate bands like this more and more. Maybe it is old age and their seemingly endless work ethic on the road and in the studio that keeps me young vicariously. Regardless, I'm a fan--possibly for life--so my reviews could be a little biased. The thing is, I can't see how any fan worth his salt could scold this album's first four songs (minus the intro track). It's lyrically and musically preaching what we all value--against the grain rebellion finely tuned by seasoned veterans.
"The Race" should have been the band's opening single, a furious burner with both Michael's chops and new guitarist Jeff Loomis (who contributed solos only). Alissa's "Constricting like a heart attack, a mythomaniac on the loose in the streets" is damn near perfect. It's that line I could play for the aliens to introduce metal. "Blood in the Water" is another quick churn, devouring the listener in slab of riffs. It's a bit more accessible with the driving rhythm that's nearly traditional metal if not for the growling delivery. Energy? In droves on opening single "The World is Yours" (with a touch of keys), "Murder Scene" and "My Shadow and I". Alternatively, amidst the structured velocity is "First Day in Hell", a gloomy Hellish atmosphere coordinated with Alissa's darkest vocals and Michael's grim lyrical imagery. As if a sequel to the cut, "Dreams of Retribution" paints the same portrait lyrically while speeding it up and introducing some faster keyboard parts. Surprisingly, clean vocals appear on an Arch Enemy album with the emotive, power ballad "Reason to Believe" (perhaps a peek at Alissa's solo record).
Last month it was The Haunted, soon it will be Witchery, right now it is Arch Enemy and their month to shine. Damnit, if Sweden isn't the titans of our time. From the Stockholm Strip of hard rock talent to the mountains of power, traditional and death, the "land of the midnight sun" continues to shine. Arch Enemy continue their dominance, strengthening their arsenal of riffs with refined lyrics and an even darker awareness of the times. 'Will to Power' is exactly that.
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