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Arch Enemy: Anthems of Rebellion

Sweden's lethal killing machine Arch Enemy showed on their 2003 release Anthems of Rebellion that they could inject a healthy dose of melody into their highly technical and guitar heavy brand of lurid death metal. Lead singer Angela Gossow sure has the looks, but don't let that pretty face deceive you, her voice sounds like she gargles with broken glass every morning before breakfast, and on these thirteen songs her voice is as brutal and menacing as ever. However, the tunes here contain catchier melodies than on previous Arch Enemy albums, partly due to the guitar team of Michael and Christopher Amott concocting ear friendly guitar riffs, harmonies, and solos. Listen to their breathtaking leads and addicting harmonies on the crunchy "We Will Rise", or the sledgehammer riffs and virtuoso fills on "Dead Eyes See No Future", a pounding track littered with Gossow's bloodcurdling vocals.

The band seemed to be saying "Hey, we can be more than your traditional death metal band" on this one, as evidenced by the symphonic power metal of "Instinct", a great tune punctuated by catchy vocal melodies (yes, catchy!) bubbling keyboards, and rapid fire double bass drum work. "Leader of the Rats" contains some venomous lyrics and super heavy riffs, while "End of the Line" is pure Swedish melodic death metal at its finest, complete with memorable guitar harmonies, clean and death vocals that will having you humming the chorus for hours.

For the guitar fans out there, and this band has many who follow the talents of the brothers Amott, there are two short instrumentals here "Marching on a Dead End Road" and A'Anthem", that let each sibling strut his stuff in a more atmospheric and symphonic setting. These guys certainly have the chops and taste, as they conjure up plenty of great licks throughout this CD, and perhaps really pull out all the stops on the killer closer "Saints and Sinners", a tune that features wonderful Iron Maiden like dual guitar harmonies, wild solo acrobatics, Gossow's deadly vocals, and orchestral keyboards that reminded me a little of early Rainbow. Speaking of keyboards, there's a smattering of synths, organ, piano, and even Mellotron on much of the album, adding a nice symphonic element that adds to the melodic songwriting style.

Although the harsh vocals might scare off some, once you give Arch Enemy a chance, there is so much good stuff going on with their music that the death metal vocals, even Angela's demonic delivery, starts to grow on you. For some of the best guitar work and melodies going today in the world of death metal, give these guys a listen. Their whole catalog is very strong, but if you have never heard them before, this one might be their most accessible.

Track Listing
1) Tear Down the Walls
2) Silent Wars
3) We Will Rise
4) Dead Eyes See No Future
5) Instinct
6) Leader of the Rats
7) Exist to Exit
8) Marching on a Dead End Road
9) Despicable Heroes
10) End of the Line
11) Dehumanization
12) Anthem
13) Saints and Sinners

Added: June 1st 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Arch Enemy Website
Hits: 3378
Language: english

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