Arch Enemy
Rise of The Tyrant

Returning after what many feel were two rather lackluster, sub-par albums in Anthems of Rebellion and Doomsday Machine, Sweden’s Arch Enemy is back with Rise of the Tyrant, a surprisingly (though most welcomed) impressive slab of Gothenburg influenced thrash.

The chemistry of brothers Chris and Michael Amott on guitar is unmistakable and hard to match, as the two offer up some tasty thrash riffing and phenomenal, memorable melodies in every song, which work well to offset and balance the generally heavy, fast and frantic pace of the material. It’s these melodies that operate as the biggest hooks that pull you in, most notably in album opener “Blood On Your Hands”, “I Will Live Again”, and the outstanding “Vultures”. Michael Amott’s soloing must be mentioned here, as it’s simply fantastic, shying away from pointless wankery, though not completely devoid of technical depth – see “The Last Enemy”, “Revolution Begins” or the neoclassical instrumental “Intermezzo Liberte”. The bass lines of Sharlee D’Angelo are allowed to show through the start/stop riffing in the verses of “ The Day You Died”, which is nice, as the bass is typically nearly drowned out or hard to pin point in most other places.

Another issue that should be addressed is the vocals of Angela Gossow – her vocal lessons with Melissa Cross have certainly paid off, as her work here is much more enunciated and organic sounding, where as her performance on the previous two releases seemed rather processed and effect laden. The previously mentioned “Vultures” is a great example of her growth as a growler – there are parts that sound as if she’s possessed.

As an Arch Enemy fan, both of the Liiva and Gossow era, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that Rise of the Tyrant stands among Wages of Sin and Burning Bridges as their finest work, and may even be better than both of those, though only ample time will reveal if this statement holds true in the end. One of 2007’s finest releases, and highly recommended to any and all fans of melodic death metal and thrash alike.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
October 3rd, 2007

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