Can anyone say experimentation? Presumably after the release of ARCH ENEMY’s stunning effort, “Wages Of Sin”, the band probably just felt a sudden urge to move in a slightly different direction. It would be hard to top “Wages Of Sin” at its own game so instead of fighting fire with fire, ARCH ENEMY takes a slightly different direction with ““Anthems Of Rebellion””.
Reading through some of the early reviews of “Anthems Of Rebellion”, it seems to me that many people don’t like this album. Granted compared to ARCH ENEMY’s previous discography this album is going to piss a lot of people off. So as a warning for listeners that love previous albums: this album is likely to tick you off. On the other hand, this is an amazing album for people just getting into ARCH ENEMY. As a starter album, this album really hits a few targets.
There are many areas where this album begins to deviate from the standard of procedure that ARCH ENEMY had become accustomed to. The guitar work has been simplified on many of the songs. The riffing is pretty standard material although still good. There has been some distortion (a listener is going to find computer distortion quite a bit on this album) in the guitar sound on some songs although the solos are still very classic sounding. The Amott brothers are one of the best guitar duos in the metal industry and the chemistry between the brothers is hard to come by or even rival for that matter. On this album much of the rhythm is written to be catchy rather than fast or heavy as in their early career. The guitar work is very catchy - part of the reason this album is a great starter point for new ARCH ENEMY listeners. But for some of the older fans – might want to skip this one.
The bass and drum work isn’t anything too special on this album. The focus has been slightly targeted on song structure on the album so the bass and drums have been made a little louder and the song structure gives them a vaguely bigger role on the album. Although both of them give us some great performances they aren’t going to be pushing too many boundaries on this one.
“Instinct” comes to mind offhand. It’s not a real big deal, although some of the fans seem to be making it a lot bigger then really it is. I think it gives the album a little more variety and helps give ‘listener friendly’ melody rather than relying on the guitar leads all the time.
There has also been the addition of keyboards on this album. Just once or twice though in areas where a little more depth was needed. The song
Angela Gossow spits venom. I kid you not. She is an amazing Death Metal vocalist and puts many of her counterparts to shame. “Anthems Of Rebellion” finds her vocals becoming a little more understandable and she really gives the band the anger that makes them sound so sinister in the end. There is some experimentation that she does on this album. There is quite a bit of distortion used on her vocals (“Leader Of The Rats” is an example) and I think this is a useless experimentation. Her vocals are sufficient to the music and the distortion is really just a distraction. There is also a very surprising addition of a softer male voice in the song “End Of The Line” that really added a whole new layer to the music that I really was getting into. I wish they would have incorporated more into the album while they had the chance to do so. But it was interesting for the time and it was nice while it lasted.
“Anthems Of Rebellion” is a deviation from the standard ARCH ENEMY sound. There is a lot of computer usage to distort vocals, guitars, and keyboards. The writing has been simplified quite a bit but it has been written to be very catchy. This allows a great entrance for newer ARCH ENEMY listeners. I believe this album is a lot stronger than many other reviewers have stated and even though the sound may have changed for ARCH ENEMY doesn’t mean the album becomes a burden. It’s still a solid release.
Songs to check out: “Silent Wars”, “We Will Rise”, “End Of The Line”.
(Online September 30, 2008)