Arch Enemy – War Eternal (2014) – Review

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Arch Enemy - War Eternal - Album Cover

I know, okay? You hardcore fans would like to have Angela Gossow back. But you know what? Ain’t gonna happen, and Alissa White-Gluz is pretty good and spits these lyrics out quite aggressively herself.

Young Alissa was hand-picked (so I am told), whisked unceremoniously away from her old gig The Agonist by Gossow to take over after she departed from active duty. The latter still appears to remain the manager of the band, though. And hey, if you want her back, just switch back to albums like Khaos Legion, which is a pretty cool piece of work by itself.

The new front combined with the kind of oldies but goodies stellar riffs and solos on this album, render a pretty good mix of good old Melodic Death Metal. And their success gives Swedish band Arch Enemy credit, promoting their last album War Eternal.

This band sometimes sounds like one of those Heavy Metal groups that were En Vogue in the ’80s and early ’90s. And – at times – there’s a bit too much of this. A bit of a rougher style would have been better for my taste. And good that we have a new vocalist. Because she throws them death grunts into the fray like an angry bobcat. So that we never forget what style this really is.

But then again, all of a sudden they take off with these brutal riffs and solos of the other kind and at breakneck speed. And those just take your breath away. So War Eternal sports a very alluring mix of flavors, but they still stay true to their roots.

Getting everybody in the mood with Tempore Nihil Sanat (time heals nothing – a friggin’ intro by Loki), War Eternal really gets going with Never Forgive, Never Forget, and War Eternal. As the Pages Burn is – by the way – pure Melodic Death Metal. And this in this august assembly of special concoctions. Brutally direct and unsentimental, as it should be.

Then Arch Enemy continue to spit out these absolutely superbly aggressive tracks like No more Regrets and You will know my Name. Whereas the latter is a little lame on melody, but just about.

The rest of the tracks is also very good, with Avalanche being the outstanding performance of the last third of the tracklist. This with exception of the very last track, which simply is a very bad filler. What devil rode them to decide to put this failure into their album is frankly beyond me.

To wrap this up, War Eternal contains some great, steely metal with loads of sharp edges. Just the way we like it. Lyrics delivered with aggressive stamina and underlined with good Melodic Death Metal. What else could you want for a quiet evening between friends, right?

And this stuff does my soul good listening to it. You heard that right, Melodic Death Metal from Arch Enemy is good to heal your tortured soul. There you go.

Ed’s note: The review made it onto the first ever Intermittent Best Of of the RockmusicRaider blog. Congrats!

Record Rating: 8/10 | Label: Century Media | Web: Official Site
Release date: 4 June 2014

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