Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions
I’ve been an Arch Enemy fan for some years, but of late my tastes have drifted away from them into harder, darker territories. They are very much a ‘gateway’ metal band for me, having so much melody and accessibility about them, and yet metal cred in the presence of Mike ‘Carcass‘ Amott. It also helps that he and his brother form one of the great melodeath guitar pairings of all time. I guess I bought into the ‘Arch Enemy are mediocre’ bandwagon, which to be honest I can understand – their music is pretty formulaic, and they are quite hyped up, but what they do they do fucking well. The last album I purchased by these guys was Doomsday Machine (hell, that was probably my first death metal album, ever!), also going back to Wages of Sin (the double CD edition with the out-takes and covers). Actually, upon inspection, I also have Stigmata and Burning Bridges – old school. Other than that, my interest has waned – certainly NO interest in their ‘self-covers‘, which just reeks of cash in.
So, to Arch Enemy of 2011. Firstly, the whole ‘punk’ thing rings rather hollow – this is still very much thoroughbred melodeath as played and perfected by Arch Enemy. But hey, if it shows that Mike is going back to his roots, who knows what might emerge. Anyway, I’ll leave that issue to one side for now.
The production is gorgeous, as to be expected from Andy Sneap. The leads ring clear and crisp in the mix, the drums are mixed just high enough, Angela sounds ferocious and the bass kicks through nicely as well. Solid effort, on that Century cash (so punk right? :p)
What does it sound like? Arch Enemy, in a word. Yet another solid collection of melodic death metal songs, with the brothers Amott trademark guitar style present throughout. Magnificent leads, glorious harmony work, decent enough riffs, all good, really. There are some beautiful interludes on this album, some really quite interesting intro sections as well – low end bass rumblings on one track, Middle-Eastern vibes on another. Angela sounds downright feral throughout, sometimes dropping really low to near deathcore levels. Apparently Per from Opeth (well, as was) mucks in at some point, which is nice, if a little superfluous.
There are some superb drum fills on this album, as is standard with Daniel, and the basswork is also classy, again, as to be expected. If I am blunt, this is more of the same from Arch Enemy, just really nicely delivered. They’re certainly not breaking any new territory, but just keep on delivering the goods. It will no doubt get plenty of play over here.
3.5/5 (not breaking any rules, after all)