Ryan Murray | Co-Owner | Chief Editor | Contributor
Melodic death metal’s Arch Enemy is set to unleash their 11th studio album entitled “Deceivers” on Friday, August 12th and this dose of heavy is exactly what we all need after these past two years! I can see this album easily becoming the best metal album of the year, far surpassing others that may have come close! This brutal, yet melodic work of art is going knock you to the ground, but you’ll probably just get back up for more over and over again, because you won’t be able to get enough!
With “Deceivers” being Alissa White-Gluz’s third studio album, as well as the second consecutive album with their current lineup including Jeff Loomis (ex Nevermore), Arch Enemy seems poised to be an unstoppable and explosive force within the entire music industry. In fact, founding member Michael Amott has said that Arch Enemy had achieved so much with White-Gluz’s first two albums “Will To Power” and War Eternal”, and that they just kept getting better and stronger. While it was amazing to see, Amott admits that he “thought the band would go down to some extent, and we could slowly build it back up to where we were when Angela Gossow left, but instead with Alissa, it just took off and became a whole new thing.” This album is an absolute killer! It’s got the precision you’d expect from Arch Enemy, with some unexpected surprises along the way!
Perfectly opening this beast of an album is “Handshake With Hell”, bringing a classic heavy metal feel to the forefront. This track is easily going to be a huge crowd pleaser, and is clearly a standout track! Alissa expertly blends her perfected growling/harsh vocals with some well-executed classic heavy metal vocals mixed in, which I wasn’t expecting, but absolutely love! I also was taken back by a softer, more atmospheric bridge-like section with Alissa‘s vocals sitting lightly above the atmosphere, slowly building into a more powerful vocal right before we get a shredding guitar feature. We hear: “In the end, we only reap what we have sown. Can’t leave well enough alone. The world’s at stake. Under an oath that cannot break”
Tracks like “Deceiver, Deceiver” are just absolutely brutal. With lyrics like “What happened to the concept of loyalty? I guess there really is no more honesty!” and “You put on a great act, I’ll give you that. Go on and take a bow you despicable rat. Accept the applause, you king of whores. This is your grand finale.”, it’s clear that this track oozes personal betrayal, as well as the anger that comes from it. What I enjoyed most about this track is that the darker atmosphere is filled in beautifully with the melodic, yet brutal guitars. This song is really personal for me. Someone I and people I love trusted with so much, has deceived so many and has broken so many people through their lies and deception without remorse.
Another track that I wasn’t expecting instrumentally, as it’s got some more classic sounding metal riffs, along with even some power metal infused as well is “In The Eye Of The Storm”! The harmonizing guitars and melodies throughout this track really bring Amott and Loomis out to the forefront.
“The Watcher” is another brutal onslaught, with vocals, guitars and drums that kick you right in the gut. There are some great guitar harmonies throughout this track, and Daniel Erlandsson absolutely gets a workout on this one, offering a relentless, heart-pounding pulse for the entire track, with even some thrash-like skank beats, which adds a nice variety.
Adding some really nice strings, and creating a lighter, yet eerie atmosphere, “Poisoned Arrow” gives me “Forever Darkness” vibes from Darkseed’s 2000 album “Diving Into Darkness”. The transition into this track from “The Watcher” is simply perfection. This slower tempo track brings a darker atmosphere, almost that of deep heart break. This is definitely one of my favorites and is definitely another stand out track that I wasn’t expecting.
Tracks like “Sunset Over The Empire” give off the all-too-familiar feeling that we are not only destroying ourselves day by day, but that we do so ignorantly and willfully without remorse. With lyrics like “They heard the warnings, ignored the signs. Wheels of injustice kept on turning. Unaccountable for their crimes. On the streets anger burning” and “As the sun sets on the empire, is there a future to be found? Hopes and dreams…now ashes on the ground”, the message is quite clear. This track also sees Loomis at the forefront, really paving a solid landing point for him.
“House Of Mirrors” starts off with a strong demonstration of Alissa’s powerful clean, yet very classic power metal like vocal, really showing her incredible range! This track has really catchy vocal hooks, which the rest of the band plays off of just perfectly. This is another track that really solidifies Loomis’ presence on guitar, and melds incredibly well with Erlandsson’s earth-shattering drums, especially the really tight double kicks heard throughout.
Bringing it back down tempo just slightly, “Spreading Black Wings” feels almost doom/dirge like instrumentally. The atmosphere is unsettling and dark, but yet, this piece is massive! With lyrics like “Opened my eyes, saw the divine lies. The power lies within me. Not in worship of idols. I am my own authority. Break the chains of past, sweet freedom at last. I can breathe, I can see, I can touch, I can feel!”, this track seems to point to a breaking free from things that hold us back from being who we are meant to be and the darkness we sometimes face in that journey.
An eerie synth intro leads way to the drawn back instrumental “Mourning Star”, which at first listen, to be honest felt more like a filler. Upon my fourth listen through of the album, however, it feels more like the aftermath of the journey experienced in “Spreading Black Wings”, and fits quite nicely!
“One Last Time”, for me, is more of an anthemic follow up to “Spreading Black Wings” delivering a message of hope, breaking through the stench of stagnation and frustration of being just “a cog in the machine”. We’re all told “Don’t dream too big, you might hurt yourself…just stay in line.”, but this song sees a deep determination to break those chains and to gain the future that’s in store for us. “I’m gonna break free. Get out of these chains. I’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain. The future is calling, it’s calling out my name. One last time”
As we reach the end of the monstrous journey, “Exiled From Earth” sees our not-too-distant future if we continue to sabotage and destroy this place we call home. “Folded time to meet our end. Murdered our only home. Too proud to comprehend, now Gaia reclaims her throne.” With addictive melodic hooks, this closing track perfectly leaves us with a feeling of condemnation if we don’t change our ways.
“Arch Enemy has done what few can accomplish. “Deceivers”, while delivering a solid example of all that the current line up is capable of, has managed to raise the bar insanely high, and has set the band apart as a force to be reckoned with! I would be surprised if this album isn’t considered metal’s album of the year!”
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