Third album by a (now) three man band, so what other name do you want? And since it’s a new album from guitarist-extraordinaire Chistopher Amott’s ARMAGEDDON, the band’s also adopted a new style reflecting Chris’s personal interests: Hard Rock with palpable classic Heavy Metal running the whole length. The Death/Thrash from 1997’s “Crossing The Rubicon” is long gone and the melodic Power Metal of 2000’s “Embrace The Mystery” is rarely apparent.
Then there’s the obligatory line-up change. Daniel Erlandsson has stayed on for drums, while Tobias Gustafsson (EUCHARIST, THE END, CROM and doing his best Sharlee D’Angelo impression on the cover) handles bass. Vocals fall on Christopher Amott for this one and he handles the job competently. His voice isn’t as forceful as one may want, but he certainly doesn’t embarrass himself and one must wonder if the production might have something to do with that. Said production gives his voice a recorded-live quality
“Gathering Of The Storm” is exactly what a Hard Rock opener should be, with a great shredding guitar solo. The first song proper, “Burn The Sun,” just begs to be played live and the guitar solo is just so wonderfully, characteristically Amott that the last two ARCH ENEMY albums could look to it to see what they’re missing. “Stranglehold” and “Heart Of Ice” give us more straightforward Hard Rock. It’s all good, but not the most memorable material. “Well Of Sadness” starts as a forlorn acoustic interlude with trippy lyrics, but gets electric about a minute in. It stays slow and melancholy, of course.. For some reason, the one that really gets stuck in my head is “Rainbow Serpent”, but not the cool, galloping riffs under the verses but rather the repetitive chorus.
All the songs here are competent, if not spectacular, but the guitar work gets it closer. Definitely a good album that Amott and Hard Rock fans will regret not picking this up. Christopher recently announced through the band’s officially sanctioned, fan-run MySpace page that he’s working on new ARMAGEDDON material in the vein of “3”. More recently, he rejoined ARCH ENEMY, which has distracted him from ARMAGEDDON before, so we’ll see. Hopefully, if and when another album is released it won’t just be in Japan
(Online May 24, 2007)