Arch Enemy

War Eternal

Written by: PP on 19/08/2014 00:04:14

When iconic vocalist Angela Gossow departed from the ranks of Arch Enemy in March this year in amicable terms to focus less on touring and more on her family (while remaining the business manager for the band), few expected her replacement Alissa White-Gluz to be as good as she is on the Swedish melodeath group's tenth studio album "War Eternal". She tears her throat apart with a thick, powerful melodeath shriek throughout the record proving that the next chapter in Arch Enemy is just starting and, like many critics like to point out, they're playing In Flames songs better than In Flames these days.

Let's take the title track, for instance. Its Amon Amarth references are obvious through the rollicking guitar rhythms and all, but the lead melody here sounds sublime with classic Swedish high pitch twin guitars supplementing Alissa's marvelous shriek. The solo is great, too, despite being more or less a conventional melodeath solo. But then again, when you're among the best in the genre still doing it, nothing wrong with sticking with textbook examples that are proven to work. Next up, "As The Pages Burn" provides an immediate second highlight with catchy, high-octane riffage and plenty of shredding to go with for your daily headbanging needs. Here, White-Gluz demonstrates some of her range and variety as a vocalist, as she drops down to deeper growls than most of her male counterparts can muster, and straight after delivers yet another decipherable, Darkest Hour style shrieked chorus that carries enough melody to put it on the national radio in at least Sweden where they're used to music this heavy. Speaking of which, if you've ever wondered who inspired Darkest Hour on "Undoing Ruin" among others, look no further than Arch Enemy. Tracks like "No More Regrets" mirror a very similar approach to writing melodeath, even if it's less metalcore oriented in general.

At the same time you have a track like "You Will Know My Name", which is about as quality melodic death metal as it comes within the genre in 2014. Everything from classic twin guitars to huge, echoing choruses and even dramatic theatrical symphonics on the background is packed into one hell of a catchy track. This is a theme that seems to repeat itself throughout the record with one solid track after another, even if there are only a couple of true masterpieces present here. Genre purists might decry the polished production, but the crisp mixing ensures the guitars are perfectly crystallized into the soundscape in all their melodic death metal glory. And though "War Eternal" isn't the best Arch Enemy album out there, it's an excellent debut for White-Gluz on vocals and demonstrates her talent as a female growler in a field crowded by male alternates. Check it out if you want to hear melodeath like it should be played.


Download: War Eternal, As The Pages Burn, You Will Know My Name
For the fans of: In Flames, Amon Amarth, Darkest Hour, Dark Tranquillity
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.06.2014
Century Media

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