Anyone who thought that Christopher Amott would leave the successful Arch Enemy to try something completely different are in for a surprise, as he's resurrected his death metal act Armageddon once again for their first album since 2002s Three. The current line-up of the band features Amott on lead guitar & clean vocals, guitarist Joey Concepcion, bassist Sara Claudius, and drummer Márton Veress, with lead growler Matt Hallquist performing all the death metal growls on the album but has already left the band.
Captivity And Devourment, their new album for Listenable Records, is arguably better than the latest Arch Enemy release War Eternal. Hallquist proves to be quite the find here, as his powerful, deep growls & menacing screams are the perfect foil to Amott's soaring clean vocals, so it's a shame that his stint in the band is ultimately so brief. Tracks like "Rendition" and the title cut are crushing examples of melodic death metal, with riffs that scorch, lead guitar solos that sizzle, and rhythms that pummel. "Fugitive Dust" is more of a straightforward metal rocker, with slow, grinding riffs under an evil vocal, while "Conquer" rampages from start to finish, Amott churning out one acrobatic guitar solo after another while Hallquist spews out his maniacal venom. "Thanatron" contains some progressive elements not unlike some of Opeth's more extreme output, and the lovely instrumental "Background Radiation" allows Amott some time to show off his acoustic guitar talents. One of the albums more pulverizing songs is "The Watcher", an absolute crusher with some brutal riffs and those stellar dueling vocal styles, and "Giants" offers up some melancholy, almost doom laden arrangements to mix things up a tad.
By no means an extreme metal album that's going to reinvent the genre, Captivity And Devourment is still a great return from a long forgotten band. Time will tell whether Amott keeps Armageddon going or moves off into another direction, but this is a really solid release that not only shows the guitarists commanding chops, but also his ability to composure enjoyable genre fare. Recommended.
1. Captivity and Devourment
2. Locked In
4. Fugitive Dust
7. Background Radiation
8. The Watcher