Arch Enemy
Burning Angel EP

Ok, fellow ‘Enemies, before you spontaneously combust at the sight of this review, please know everything (three songs, one video) is included in Century Media’s deluxe edition of Wages of Sin. However, collector geeks and those that simply must have everything by the mighty Arch Enemy will find Burning Angel rewarding.

As usual, the Japanese spare no expense in layout and packaging – how is it that albums from the Land of the Rising Sun look infinitely more appealing than their domestic and Euro counterparts? – and there’s even a semi-personal note from lead axeman Michael Amott to greet you on the inside. So what, right? The real reason to own Burning Angel is for the excellent “Lament of a Mortal Soul” cut. Why this wasn’t included in the original track listing of Wages of Sin is beyond me, as the quintet muster all their Carcass Heartwork-era riffing and tenacity into one track that quite literally blows “This Is Your Life” and “Rot ‘N’ Roll” out of the proverbial water. Guitarists Chris and the older Amott’s cunning rhythm and lead work is every reason why you fell in love with Wages of Sin, and it quite easily is the band’s most rockin’ tune yet penned. The opening staccato salvo is pure metal muscle layered with tension-building wammy-bar fills.

Vocalist Angela Gossow is in fine form, too, all venom here and spitfire there. “Burning Angel” is culled from the album, which is a little disappointing – a different mix or anything else would have been more beneficial from the consumer end. Arch Enemy’s cover of Judas Priest’s “Starbreaker,” off 1977’s Sin After Sin effort, displays the Amotts are every bit as tight as Downing and Tipton. Even former vocalist Johan Liiva (ex-Furbowl, Carnage) shines, barking Halford’s classic lines with full report. The video for “Ravenous” is fairly professional from a death metal standpoint. It’s by no means “God of Emptiness,” but you can tell amidst campy moments Arch Enemy can make video a viable format from which to promote their incendiary brand of metal.

When it’s all said and done, Burning Angel isn’t exactly the most cost-effective purchase you can make, but those of you who already have the bulk of what’s slated to appear on the domestic version of Wages of Sin should find the EP most enjoyable.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Dick
April 30th, 2002

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