Death metal giants Arch Enemy released their second album of the Alissa White-Gluz era on September 8th. Guitarist Michael Amott once again handled the bulk of the writing, however, the album features new addition (and super-shredder), Jeff Loomis. With all that talent, how is the finished product?
The album’s first few tracks are exactly what you would expect to hear on an Arch Enemy album. ‘The Race’ is fast and frenetic. ‘Blood In The Water’ slows thing down a bit and features a great main riff. ‘The World Is Yours,’ sounds straight off the War Eternal album. It, along with the second single, ‘The Eagle Flies Alone’ feature incredible musicianship–and some cheesy lyrics. The messages of independent thinking and self-empowerment are great, but the lines often come off as simple (or even juvenile). This doesn’t detract from the songs; it just isn’t the best it could be.
‘Reason To Believe’ is where listeners are thrown a curveball. This is the first Arch Enemy track to feature extensive clean singing. I have mixed thoughts about the track; Alissa has a great voice, but again, the lyrics let the song down. However, because the instrumentation on this track is more subdued, those awkward lyrics are front and center, unable to hide behind the incredible guitar work.
Fortunately, the album finishes strong. ‘First Day In Hell’ slows things down to a crawl, giving the song a doom-metal vibe. ‘Dreams Of Retribution’ and ‘My Shadow and I’ are two of the heaviest tracks on the album, while the closer, ‘A Fight I Must Win’ is epic in every sense of the word; the song features an orchestral opening and some blazing leads from the band’s two guitar virtuosos.
Overall, fans of Arch Enemy will enjoy this album. Despite the lyrical shortcomings, the albums shine as a cornucopia of riffs and solos. ‘Will To Power’ is produced to perfection, and should hold up well through the upcoming touring cycle.