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Arch Enemy: The Root Of All Evil

For those who are not familiar with Arch Enemy, this is a disc that not only gives a look back at where they started from, it also gives you the chance to see just how far they have come. When they replaced lead singer Johan Liiva with female death metal vocalist Angela Gossow, it most certainly changed the sound and dynamics of the band. This album shows just how much. With new versions of some of their best work from the Johan days, it is easy to see the growth both musically and in the lead singer department.

With Johan Liiva as the frontman, I was never really impressed by the band. Yes, the Arnott brothers are dynamite guitarist and they have a keen sense for the melodic metal that is their trademark but I never could get excited by them until Ms. Gossow took over as vocalist. She seemed to be able to challenge the band to become better. The guitar riffs became much more dynamic. The songs had a lot more power and they seemed to have what was missing before. This is clearly evident on The Root Of All Evil as they bring to you an update that to this humble reviewer, completely overwhelms the original versions. When the first real song on the disc, "Beast of Man" kicks in, you will be blown away! Not only does the band show the considerable improvement in their musical ability, the recording itself, is much more clean and crisp. Of course it should be with all the new technology but the difference is amazing if you listen to them side by side.

The major benefactor of this is the rhythm guitar. No longer lost in the mix, you now have the terrific sound that will certainly cause at least a slight case of whiplash! I hauled out the old recordings and played them side by side. The difference is something to behold and I can see the older discs ending up as yard sale fodder now. Well, maybe not but they will definitely not make it to the CD player nearly as much as this one will.

Even on songs like the mostly instrumental "Demoniality" there seems to be more substance to the remake. The song is played in a lower key and becomes a much darker and more powerful song. It seems as if the brothers Arnott have learned a few things in the years since they first set these tracks down. I have a new found respect for their abilities thanks to what they have shown me here.

The more melodic songs such as "Silverwing", "Dead Inside" and the amazing "Bridge Of Destiny" are really the jewels of this showcase. With a style that can only come from maturity, the band has transformed these songs into works that might resemble the originals but totally obliterate them! New fills and solos along with the amazing Ms. Gossow on vocals has made me become much more of a fan than I use to be of these older works. I cannot wait to see them live.

For long time fans of Arch Enemy, this is an album that will reinforce you love of the band. For newcomers, this is a disc that will make you wonder why you have not been on the bandwagon long before. This is one of the most dynamic offerings I have heard recently and I continue to thoroughly enjoy it.

There is a version of this album that has 3 additional live bonus tracks. I did not receive them so I cannot comment. I wish they would have been included as I would have loved to hear what they sounded like. I am sure that they would be worth the purchase.

Track listing:

1. The Root Of All Evil (Intro)
2. Beast Of Man
3. The Immortal
4. Diva Satanica
5. Demonic Science
6. Bury Me An Angel
7. Dead Inside
8. Dark Insanity
9. Pilgrim
10. Demoniality
11. Transmigration Macabre
12. Silverwing
13. Bridge Of Destiny

Added: October 14th 2009
Reviewer: Scott Ward
Score:
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1672
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Arch Enemy: The Root Of All Evil
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-10-14 14:09:44
My Score:

I'm not really sure just how necessary The Root Of All Evil is...after all, there's no doubt that the popularity of Arch Enemy really took off after original singer Johan Liiva was replaced by female belter Angela Gossow, but the first three albums of the band were very good for what they were, which is solid death metal with exceptional melodies and stellar guitar work from the Amott brothers. In saying that, there's a good chance that most current fans of the band got into Arch Enemy around the time Angela joined, so chances are these folks might never have heard Black Earth, Stigmata, or Burning Bridges, which, to be honest, is a shame, as there's some excellent extreme metal to be found on them. Well, if you fall into this catagory, now's your chance to hear some of the best tunes from those albums re-done with today's technology and line-up of the band, sung obviously by Angela instead of Johan. Some loyal followers of the band from the beginning no doubt have never really taken to Angela, and deem this set of recreated classics somewhat akin to blasphemy. Regardless of which camp you fall into, The Root Of All Evil is pretty damn good no matter which way you look at it. Let's face it, Liiva was never really a great singer, and it was always about the songs from this period in the history of the band, so hearing Angela's demonic roar infiltrating tunes such as "Immortal", "Bury Me an Angel", "Diva Satanica", and 'Dark Insanity" actually works quite well. There seems to be more effects added to her vocals on certain songs here (something they did away with on the last two AE albums, which I felt was a good idea), especially on "Beast of Man", an otherwise ripping piece that is brought down slightly by the over saturating of Gossow's death metal growls.

Otherwise, expect plenty of sizzling riffs and solos courtesy of Michael & Christopher (man, can these guys play!) throughout each of these heavy yet catchy songs. So many times I almost thought I was hearing a young Michael Schenker jacked up on steriods! With the mixing done by the always reliable Andy Sneap, you know this one was going to sound killer, and it certainly does.

If you happen to find the deluxe edition, you get three live versions of "Bury Me an Angel", "The Immortal", and "Bridge of Destiny", plus full lyrics and photos, housed inside a glorious digi-book package. Again, some may find The Root of All Evil a bit unecccesary, but if you are like me and rarely go back to Arch Enemy's first three releases for whatever reason, now's a good chance to hear some of these killer songs updated for 2009 with the mighty Angela Gossow on lead vocals. If that doesn't thrill you, wait for their next studio release.



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