8/13/2005 - Review by: Eric Compton
High quality ep
Arch Enemy - Doomsday Machine - 2005 - Century Media
"Doomsday Machine" was rumored to be the ultimate thrash engine, with Michael Amott promising the music world that this was going to be "that record". Well it is "that record" indeed, the one record that finally pushes Arch Enemy completely off the map of talented, young bands to watch. I had high hopes and dreams for this release, really putting the cart before the horse and boasting about this band's talent and skill level, in my mindset setting Arch Enemy miles above the tier they are really in. Sure, the group display a fair amount of thought out melody and aggression but when it comes down to it I'm just left with another string of cuts that lack motivation or direction. So that heavy drum beats to the same old song and dance and Arch Enemy are left with an album that just extends the band's career one more release. Nothing that we, the metal fans, can celebrate and admire. We are back to the same spot we always are when we discuss the current state of affairs in Arch Enemy. Where is the intensity and fire from before?
Records like "Burning Bridges" and "Black Earth" are where I see and remember this band. That was the prime-time for the group when the albums they were releasing made sense, they broke down barriers and created a stir through Europe and to an extent a stir that carried over to the US. With "Wages Of Sin" and "Anthems Of Rebellion" the band see all-time highs in concert attendance and record sales. But how much of that is just carry over from their previous works? How much weight does singer Angela Gossow carry in an era when female "frontmen" are the singer and style of choice? Unfortunately today's new market for Arch Enemy isn't concentrating on the music or they simply don't know the difference between today's rather stale sound or the band's monumental first three recording slabs.
"Doomsday Machine" is a tired tale that has been told numerous times before. The record starts in grand style, and let me be honest, the opening intro, "Enter The Machine", is simply awe inspiring, a moody kickstarter that does nothing to set the tone of the rest of the album. This one stands completely alone as the album's real highlight (I hesitate here to say only). But really the first three cuts display that raw, energetic emotion that the band wears less frequently these days. "Taking Back My Soul" and "Nemesis" are blasting, sure fire winners that do more in two songs than the rest of the album combined. Huge leads, impressive drum work, and a furious and hellbent vocal performance from Gossow. But that is where the buck stops. Tracks like "Carry The Cross", "Skeleton Dance", "Out For Blood", and "My Apocalypse" just go absolutely nowhere. Mid-tempo crawlers that do more harm than good for "Doomsday Machine", and that is not what I would have expected from a band seeing more exposure and mainstream press now. The writing is moody, the atmosphere is dull, and the energy level is at an all time low.
This is not where the band needs to be right now.
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