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Arch Enemy: Black Earth (reissue)

Arch Enemy's 1996 debut Black Earth was never officially released here in the US, until now thanks to Regain Records. Years before Angela Gossow joined the band, the brothers Amott had Johan Liiva at the vocal helm (and also on bass), and with Daniel Erlandsson on drums, the initial line-up of Arch Enemy was formed. Black Earth is considerably different than the more recent material, certainly a bit more raw, and the vocal styles of Liiva and Gossow are night and day. Here, Liiva has a very deep, hardcore/death metal bark, similar to perhaps what you would hear from bands like Napalm Death or Entombed, and the music of the band is a tad more plodding and less melodic that it would later become.

Regardless of the fact that the music in their earlier stages was less refined, it's no less enjoyable. Huge, crunchy riffs permeate songs like "Bury Me An Angel", "Dark Insanity", and the crushing "Eureka", the latter featuring huge, beefy riffs and Liiva's deathly snarl. The guitar work of Michael and Christopher Amott is stellar throughout, as these two monster players spew out catchy riff after catchy riff as well as plenty of tasty virtuoso solos. There are a few instrumental's here, like "Demoniality" and "Time Capsule", both tunes letting the Amott brothers fire off massive, groovy riffs, and staggering, melodic leads. The band's penchant for writing death metal anthems is in the infant stages on this one, but can be heard on the fine "Fields of Desolation", a song complete with memorable riffs, catchy death metal shouts, and deliciously melodic guitar solos.

This reissue comes with three bonus cover tunes, which were available on certain import versions of the CD, as well as a video for "Bury Me An Angel". The two Iron Maiden tunes are fun, especially "Ides of March", which lets the Amott brothers really rip, sounding damn close to Smith & Murray. Overall, if you have yet to add Black Earth to your Arch Enemy CD collection, now is a fine time to do so. They have come a long way as a band, but it's been quality all the way.

Track Listing
1. Bury Me An Angel
2. Dark Insanity
3. Eureka
4. Idolatress
5. Cosmic Retribution
6. Demoniality
7. Transmigration Macabre
8. Time Capsule
9. Fields Of Desolation
10. Losing Faith -bonus track
11. Ides Of March -bonus track
12. Aces High -bonus track
13. Bury Me An Angel (Bonus Video)

Added: April 2nd 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Arch Enemy Website
Hits: 2336
Language: english

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