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Review: Arch Enemy - Rise of the Tyrant
Arch Enemy
Rise of the Tyrant

Label: Century Media Records
Year released: 2007
Duration: 48:52
Tracks: 11
Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: August 29, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating
Rise of the Tyrant

Rated 3.74/5 (74.71%) (34 Votes)

Unbeknownst to me previously, it appears that our beloved Arch Enemy have become a speculative and questionable player in their over-populated field. Since the recruitment of screamer extraordinaire Angela Gossow and the whole 'I can't believe that's a girl!' fiasco, the Swedish melo-death giants have witnessed a resurrection of biblical proportions, and following in the footsteps of Italian pals Lacuna Coil, AE have swamped and trawled the land on extensive tours including stints on the US Ozzfest, and the much heralded Gigantour along with Nevermore and Dream Theater. Their fourth record, the mighty "Wages of Sin" may have been the perfect confluence of melody and aggression for the band, and is still revered for its genius, but as far as I knew, its subsequent follow ups "Anthems of Rebellion" in 2003 and "Doomsday Machine" in 2005 were well received by the fan base. After witnessing a rather heated argument in the press tent at this year's Bloodstock event, it would appear otherwise.

The fact is, Arch Enemy have returned with a blistering album that can only be described as "Wages of Sin - the Reunion Show". As the band so amply demonstrate, their talent lies with crafting a convergence of scathing death metal, and supremely intricate melody lines. In all honestly, "Rise of the Tyrant" isn't death metal at all, in the same respect that "Come Clarity" couldn't sit in that classification if it foamed at the mouth and wielded a meat cleaver. The only real death metal influence is, as usual, Angela's menacing roars and pebbly rasp. Musically, this stands closer to "Wages of Sin" in the respect that most of the songs offer differing degrees of technicality, with plenty of double bass attacks and a copious amount of guitar harmonies. With Chris Amott back in the fold, "Rise of the Tyrant" sounds bulkier, and more complete, with both Amott brothers at the forefront providing the smooth, silky pouring of luscious melodies and shining solo breaks.

Truth of the matter is - most will probably hate this -"Rise of the Tyrant" is the band's most melodic venture to date, with a dominating amount of material following a simple structural formation, most complete with a catchy, anthemic chorus. There is a greater use of keys too, with the intro of "I Will Live Again" baring resemblance to modern In Flames, and even the choral segments of "The Last Enemy" bringing Turisas to mind. "The Day You Died" is possibly the most commercial track of all, with a riff and a chorus so similar to a fellow countrymen's; it makes you wonder what Nocturnal Rites would sound like with a guest spot from Gossow. The death metal fans of yore will be compensated for all the melodious MTV pandering with shredding opener "Blood on Your Hands" and the ridiculously vehement "The Great Darkness"; and as production duties are back in the hands of Fredrick Nordstrom, a lucid, crystalline sound is 100% guaranteed.

We all know Arch Enemy are on the rise, and we all know that they will never return to the dark, gritty days of "Stigmata", but despite their last two rather lacklustre efforts, "Rise of the Tyrant" is another step forward for a band so many wish would step back.

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