Upon first listening to this album, I thought I would be in for another ride around the death metal cliché’ world. Upon listening a few more minutes, I found I was quite mistaken, and found to my pleasure that this was definitely not the case, I found something inspiring, inventive, and rebellious. Ok, so the whole rebel/revolution thing has been done before, but Arch Enemy do it very well here. The album really strikes a few very impressive meanings. It’s extremely hard to describe this album, I can say it struck some cords, but that’s not quite the case. You see, from the start, it’s mind bogglingly brutal, and heavy, with great vocals to compliment it all. All the while, the mood is meant to be rebellious and angry, and it will soon have you within it’s grasp, however, whether or not it is a good thing that the album puts you into this kind of mood, is up to you, and only you.
I’ll start off with my own opinion on this. Personally, It think it does exactly what it was meant to do. Bring you into the evil sounding atmosphere, and not let you leave until the album is done, or you simply turn it off. I warn you now, don’t do the second option. I enjoyed this album more when I listened to the whole thing at once than when I listen to individual songs. An exception to that, however, would have to be the song “Revolution Begins”. Every time I listen to it, the extreme skill of it takes me over. The way it evokes feelings within you, the way it creates an atmosphere of music that envelops you with its grasp, all of that adds up and turns it into a song that simply leaves you wanting more.
However, no matter how well done certain songs are for quick listens, I still recommend that the whole album be heard at one time. Or at least in two halves if you do not have the time to sit down and listen to it the whole way through.
Of course, there are extremely few albums that are flawless, and this one is no exception. Although the heaviness was intended, it creates a feeling of repetition at a few points in the album. If you listen closely, you’ll realize that these aren’t exactly the same riffs, but quite similar, especially if you listen to this with the volume level high up. Unlike many fast and heavy albums, I did not have a problem with the drums, and that, is a good accomplishment I think, especially coming from me( There’s probably at least a 60% chance I’ll have some sort of problem with drums in extremely heavy and fast music).
Anyway, let’s look at the vocals and lyrics next. I really think the vocals fit the music well, as well as the theme of the album, I also think that adding in some areas of clean singing would help the overall effect. Mostly because after 30-40 minutes of this album, the harsh voice gets a little repetitive, and sounds ever unchanging. Not particularly bad, seeing as the theme for this album is certainly revolution against a tyrant, so harsh voices would be expected, but the songs themselves suffer from this.
Lyrically, this album was quite good. I can’t say I haven’t heard better lyrical work than this, but I also cannot claim that this is uninventive. Some songs take the approach of having a conversation before the actual song. An example would be “Rise of the Tyrant”, which in all reality, really fits the what the song soon becomes. Throughout the songs, choruses will be repeated, and usually have some kind of anger attached to them, they are almost something to project you from one part of a song to another, and they do it perfectly, carrying you through the many feelings and thoughts of this album.
However, I cannot say this is an album that is easy to listen to. If you dislike heavy albums with very harsh singing, this is not for you at all. Just about the entire album features grizzly, brutal, savage riffs, while harsh singing erupts from the vocalist. The whole album has a feeling of controlled chaos, but certainly chaos will be what you realize at first. If you prefer metal that is more on the softer side, stay away from this album.
In the end, I have to tell you all to go and get this album, whether you go and buy albums, or you download off the internet. It’ll be worth your money and your time. Unless you are a hater of very heavy music, and everything stated in the above paragraph, you’ll probably enjoy this album, who knows, maybe this album will even turn you haters around, and make you enjoy the savage beauty of this kind of music. A must listen to fans, and first-timers alike.
(Review originally published in 2007)