Saturday, 30 January 2010

CD Review: Burning Bridges, by Arch Enemy (1999)

Arch Enemy's third album is a further progression towards complete songwriting and well-defined heavy metal. On Burning Bridges, most of the songs are grounded in coherent structures based on classical-inspired melodies. The lead guitars of Michael and Christopher Amott frequently soar into memorable solos, while the band behind them gels into a tight supporting unit.

Johan Liiva's vocals are confident but still somewhat monotonous, while the bass/drum combo of Sharlee D'Angelo and Daniel Erlandsson is pure unstoppable power.

The eight-track set is well-selected to avoid needless length and padding material. Seed of Hate and Angelclaw are the only two relatively weak tracks. Seed of Hate is simply routine, while Angelclaw wanders in, meanders, and gets lost in a frantic mess.

The other six tracks all display a sharp focus, with Silverwing and Burning Bridges the two standouts. Silverwing is probably the most complete song on Arch Enemy's early albums, with sharp and complex tempo changes that build into a lyrical melody and a magnificent guitar showcase. Burning Bridges is a slow, unstoppable flow of volcanic lava obliterating everything in its path with a beauty that is both glowing and haunting. It's an inspired ending to a powerful album.

The 2009 re-issue of Burning Bridges includes no less than 9 extra tracks. Four are "rare" tracks previously released on the Wages of Sin bonus CD, including an improved version of the terrific Fields of Desolation which corrects the criminal fade-out from Black Earth. The other five are live tracks previously only released in Japan. Altogether, the 2009 re-issue provides some 75 minutes of music.


Michael Amott - Guitars
Sharlee D'Angelo - Bass
Johan Liiva - Vocals
Christopher Amott - Guitars
Daniel Erlandsson - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. The Immortal - 8 *See Video Below*
2. Dead Inside - 8
3. Pilgrim - 9
4. Silverwing - 10
5. Demonic Science - 8
6. Seed of Hate - 7
7. Angelclaw - 7
8. Burning Bridges - 10

Average: 8.38

Produced by Fredrik Nordstrom and Michael Amott.
Engineered by Fredrik Nordstrom.

All Ace Black Blog CD Reviews are here.

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