ARCH ENEMY... everyone knows them, everyone knows they rule, and this is the CD where ARCH ENEMY's legacy began. Led by a godly team like Mike and Chris Amott, how could you not succeed? Not only that, but they have Daniel Erlandsson, one of THE best drummers in Metal today. Bottom line: this band is bursting at the seams with talent and songwriting ability, and it shows on every song on "Black Earth".
Most people know Arch Enemy for their melodic masterpiece "Burning Bridges" and while "Black Earth" is quite melodic, I'd say it focuses more on heaviness and crushing the listener with brutal riffing and speed. The vocals are equally brutal, but not your standard Death Metal-style. Johan Liiva uses his own style and I think it's great. Believe it or don't, you can actually understand most of what he says! That's unheard of in most Death Metal, and it's a nice change.
The songs on "Black Earth" are all extremely catchy and memorable, and demand listen after listen, which is good, because the CD is only about 32 minutes long. Kind of short, but I'd rather have a short CD of awesome Metal than a long uninspired one. You know, the kind where it seems like the band wrote like 20 minutes of cool music but decided, "Hey, if our CD is 74 minutes long people will think we are epic! Let's try and fill this sucker up!" Thankfully, that doesn't happen on "Black Earth". The intro of "Bury Me An Angel" blew me halfway across the room when I first heard it, which either means the song rules or I had the speakers too loud. In this case it was both. Little surprises throughout the album prove that ARCH ENEMY won't settle for an album like the above mentioned uninspired band, plus they give you time to recuperate from the savage beating that is "Black Earth". For example, on "Bury Me An Angel" there is a part with what sounds like Pizzicato-Strings (look at me, I know my classical instruments) and on "Cosmic Retribution" there is a Spanish sounding acoustic guitar interlude.
In conclusion, this album rules but is a little short. Buy it or suffer the consequences.