Talons sharpened and intentions true. Venom filled aggression is about to come racing at you so you’d better be ready, ready for an onslaught of riffs, ready for guttural growls that could strip the paint off your bedroom walls and ready for the brand-new Arch Enemy record.
Just over 20 years have come and gone since the Swedish based metal giants graced our scene and consistency is something that’s always attached itself to the creative output of this group. Changing the formula back in 2014 with the exit of long time member Angela Gossow and welcoming of beyond capable Alissa White-Gluz.
2014’s ‘War Eternal’ was a masterclass in how to deliver a chokeslam of an album with the odds stacked against you. A world tour behind them and a new record in front of them, Arch Enemy give us ‘Will to Power’ and there’s no beating around the bush, it’s a rager!
Animosity is a word that the best describes the opening track to this record, As the riffs build and the gears start to shift on ‘Set Flame to The Night’, this leads you right into the venom filled aggression we mentioned earlier. ‘The Race’ is a relentless masterclass in how metal should sound, teeth grinding aggression with an in your face mentality. Long-time axe man Michael Amott and new comer Jeff Loomis each share a blistering guitar tone which only complement the face melting riffs that are being exchanged.
‘Blood in The Water’ festers with the classic Arch Enemy sound all over it, shifts in pace and guitar solos that will make your ears bleed with appreciation. The first single from the record ‘The World is Yours’ comes gunning for you next up. Opening with a very Carcass-esque riff before descending into bedlam, as far as singles go Arch Enemy really couldn’t have made a better choice, brimming with all the characteristics that make this record what it is. There’s no stopping that chorus once it hits you.
It’s when we get to the track ‘Reason to Believe’ when the record takes a more experimental approach. Best described as a brooding heavy ballad but not losing any of the heaviness. This is Alissa’s moment, sinister and spine tingling from beginning to end, a track like this really demonstrates that those guttural growls that Alissa contributes are not the only thing she brings to the table.
‘Murder scene’ is where we get down to the jaw dropping musicianship of everyone in this unit, Bassist Sharlee keeps it locked down while those face melting guitar exchanges make a comforting return. Every verse in this track is jam packed with so much going on, it’ll take you a few listens to really appreciate the sheer amount of experimentation in the background.
Close your eyes and Imagine being on the front lines of a circle pit in the deprecating depths of Hell. Cool, right? ‘First Day in Hell’ has a real sombre opening before drummer Daniel Erlandsson brings in a gallop that easily brings this track home as one of the standouts.
Clocking in at around 12 tracks, take it from me this is not a record that should be brushed under the carpet and it demands your attention. Whether you’re an Arch Enemy fan or not this is a masterclass in how dark heavy music should sound.
So, 10 albums down and still sounded just as crushing and contemporary, it’s safe to say Arch Enemy are becoming the good old reliable!
Will to Power out September the 8th on Century Media Records