Sunday, 6 December 2009

CD Review: Rise of the Tyrant, by Arch Enemy (2007)

Perfecting their formula, Arch Enemy return with a polished album of first class melodic metal, and maintain their position near the top of the metal mountain.

The combination of the Amott brothers on guitars and Angela Gossow on vocals is among the most perfect marriages in metal. The three are responsible for the majority of the songwriting. The Amotts are big fans of broad, classical-inspired and haunting melodic themes that underpin the compositions. On Rise of the Tyrant, the brothers deliver a clinic on how to write and play clean, polished, controlled tandem heavy metal guitars. Gossow's growl perfectly complements the twin guitar work.

Daniel Erlandsson proves that drumming does not need to be frantic to be effective, while Sharlee D'Angelo gets on with the bass duties with a minimum of fuss.

The highlights are many, and most come on the front end of the CD. Opener Blood On Your Hands sets the theme by bolting jaw dropping speed guitar work with a demonic Gossaw before breaking into a simple but effective power melody to tie the song together. The Last Enemy, I Will Live Again, and Revolution Begins are all masterful track. Closer Vultures is a virtuoso display of controlled guitar pyrotechnics beautifully layered above a chillingly haunting melody.

There are a few of hiccups on the CD, not surprising given the 11 song length. It is ironic that the title track Rise of the Tyrant is one of the few limp tracks: from the spoken opening (from the movie Caligula) to the unfocused melody, it fails to hit the target. The Great Darkness is probably too ambitious in attempting to evoke a doom-is-here vibe, while Night Falls Fast is merely ok. Bands should not shy away from a limit of eight songs on the CD, as long as they choose the right eight.

Rise of the Tyrant is Arch Enemy's seventh CD, and the fourth to feature Gossow on vocals. The band deserves high praise for still delivering terrific metal deep into their career.


Michael Amott - Guitars
Christopher Amott - Guitar
Angela Gossow - Vocals
Sharlee D'Angelo - Bass
Daniel Erlandsson - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Blood On Your Hands - 10 *See Video Below*
2. The Last Enemy - 9
3. I Will Live Again - 9
4. In This Shallow Grave - 8
5. Revolution Begins - 9
6. Rise Of The Tyrant - 6
7. The Day You Died - 8
8. Intermezzo Liberte - 8
9. Night Falls Fast - 7
10. The Great Darkness - 6
11. Vultures - 10

Average: 8.18

Produced by Fredrik Nordstrom and Michael Amott.
Mixed by Fredrik Nordstrom. Engineered by Patrik J Sten.
Mastered by Peter In De Betou.

All Ace Black Blog CD Reviews are here.

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