Overall Score: 8/10 Musicianship: 9/10 Production: 8/10 Song Writing: 8/10 Pros: A real return to form with plenty of guitar hero moments from Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis as well as a renewed approach to song writing that adds some fresh dynamics to the bands usual melo-death formula Cons: Despite some impressive performances, Jeff Loomis's talents still feel slightly underutilised and Alissa's use of clean vocals so early in the record may put hardcore death metal fans off immediately.
Swedish melodic death metal titans ARCH ENEMY are back with their brand new album
Deceivers! It’s been five long years since their last album Will To Power (2017), the longest break between albums since the band’s formation in 1996. However with a global pandemic
plaguing the recording sessions of their new line-up, we think they can be forgiven for the
That’s not to say they haven’t teased us along the way though, releasing the first single
Deceiver, Deceiver back in October 2021. Drip feeding eager fans four more
songs over the following months and slowly building the anticipation with each subsequent
single. Sure, there have been a few delays, but for those that have been keeping score,
Deceivers looks set to be a sledgehammer of a record.
The familiar single, Handshake With Hell makes for a powerful opener. With a tasty two
handed tapping intro from Michael Amott, followed up by a salvo of double kick drums from
Daniel Erlandsson and the demonic growl of Alissa White-Gluz. Trigger warning for the
hardcore death metal fans in the audience though: There are clean vocals to be found here
too. However, while present they are used much more sparingly than on tracks like Reason To Believe from Will To Power and do lend a certain impact to the band’s overall sound.
Dynamically bridging the gaps between the chaos and carnage, elevating heavy riffs that
would just sound like more of the same without some kind of respite in between.
Deceiver, Deceiver takes things up a gear. With an anthemic chorus and rapid
fire blast beat outro that brings to mind earlier albums like Doomsday Machine (2005). There’s some really impressive guitar work to be found here too. From the almost polyrhythmic intro riff, to Loomis and Amott‘s duelling guitar solo. There’s a real sense of chemistry between the two axemen, despite this only being the former NEVERMORE guitarist’s second album with the band.
In fact, as the onslaught continues with In The Eye of The Storm and The Watcher, it
becomes increasingly clear that the recent line-up changes have breathed new life into ARCH ENEMY. It feels as though the band have really solidified themselves in this new line-up and
the extra melody bought by the addition of Alissa White-Gluz and the always exemplary
fretboard acrobatics of Jeff Loomis sit very well in the mix.
Poisoned Arrow brings the tempo down slightly, even throwing in a string arrangement that
adds a touch of class to proceedings. Before the band plant their foot firmly to the floor and
pick up the pace again with Sunset Over The Empire and House Of Mirrors. The latter of
which being almost certain to leave a few seasoned headbangers with whiplash if it finds its
way onto setlists for their upcoming tour with BEHEMOTH later this year!
Even as Deceivers draws to a close, White-Gluz & Co. prove they still have a few surprises
left up their studded sleeves with the atmospheric and brooding doom metal flavoured
Spreading Black Wings and the power metal-esque galloping key changes of the
appropriately titled, One Last Time. Once again displaying some real versatility and
demonstrating that ARCH ENEMY aren’t prepared to rest on their laurels.
Overall, Deceivers is a great album with some real depth to be found with multiple listens.
The inclusion of clean vocals and the more varied song writing approach is sure to deter
some dyed in the wool death metal fans. However, this newly reinvigorated incarnation of
ARCH ENEMY isn’t taking any prisoners either and we’re willing to bet that even their most
vocal detractors will be unable to resist the allure of tracks like In The Eye Of The Storm, or
the aforementioned House Of Mirrors in a live setting.
After two and a half decades on the scene, multiple line-up changes and dropping a “ballad”
that worried even the most open minded of fans, ARCH ENEMY have definitely found their
feet once again with Deceivers. Tight, aggressive and more varied in their approach than
ever before, we can’t help but think their latest album might be the beginning of a second
golden age for the Swedish death metal legends!
Deceivers will be available August 12th via Century Media Records.
For more information about ARCH ENEMY, like their official page on Facebook.