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Arch Enemy - The Root Of All Evil (6/10) - Sweden - 2009

Genre: Death Metal
Label: Century Media
Playing time: 52:22
Band homepage: Arch Enemy

Tracklist:

  1. The Root Of All Evil (Intro)
  2. Beast Of Man
  3. The Immortal
  4. Diva Satanica
  5. Demonic Science
  6. Bury Me An Angel
  7. Dead Inside
  8. Dark Insanity
  9. Pilgrim
  10. Demoniality
  11. Transmigration Macabre
  12. Silverwing
  13. Bridge Of Destiny
Arch Enemy - The Root Of All Evil

“The Root Of All Evil” has me completely torn. You see, I’m a fan of both incarnations of ARCH ENEMY (with Johan, and with Angela), leaning towards the Johan Liiva-era as my favorite. I found “Wages Of Sin” to be a very enjoyable album, especially after a bit of nervousness following the leaving/ousting of Liiva, but the two following albums were both let-downs. “Rise Of The Tyrant” was close to a return to form, but didn’t match the kick-assery of “Stigmata” or “Burning Bridges”.

 

While it seems that the biggest issue I’ve read about with older ARCH ENEMY are the rather sloppy vocals of Liiva, I always found them very Rock and Roll, bringing to mind some of Punk’s early forefathers (without actually sounding like them). Angela Gossow, on the other hand, has always sounded way too clinical and dry, without half of the life and personality of Liiva (she’s definitely one of the most boring sounding live vocalists I’ve ever witnessed). I listen to modern ARCH ENEMY for the music, not the vocals, if that tells you anything.

 

It’s with that that I’m so completely torn over. On one hand, it’s definitely nice to hear these songs in an updated setting, with modern production values, allowing everything to come through cleaner that ever before (more on this in a minute). On the other hand, I feel Gossow’s vocal delivery sucks a good deal of the life out of these songs. In fact, all “The Root Of All Evil” really accomplishes is making me want to go back and listen to the originals (maybe that’s what they had in mind all along, they have just reissued the old albums, you know?).

 

Now, back to the ultra clean sound: while I did say that it was nice to hear these songs in such a fashion, that sentiment is rather short lasting. One spin through “The Root Of All Evil” has my ears missing the somewhat raw spontaneity of the originals, with the clean mix/production further robbing these songs of their one-time vibrant life.

After analysis, I’m going to have to place “The Root Of All Evil” into the fail category, as ARCH ENEMY would have better served to work on a new album, working to continue the trend found on “Rise Of The Tyrant”. As a gateway to those who came into ARCH ENEMY with the Angela-era, I suppose this album has its merits, hopefully leading those newer fans to check out the original songs. For the long time fan however, this album is of passing interest at best.

(Online January 27, 2010)

Eric Vieth



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