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Arch Enemy - Doomsday Machine (CD)

Arch Enemy
Doomsday Machine
by Michael Dalakos at 21 July 2005, 9:32 PM

Can Arch Enemy be the first case of a Malmsteen type of band in the entire history Death Metal? What do I mean? I LOVE Mr. Malmsteen but let's face it: most of his songs are written as satellites around his solo abilities! And now we have Mike Amott, an amazing guitar player who's int two more than just successful bands (the other one is Spiritual Beggars). Have Arch Enemy turned into his vessel of virtuous expression in the Death Metal field?
Arch Enemy were formed by members of Carnage, Carcass and Eucharist. Frontman Johan Liiva previously played with Carnage and Furbowl whilst guitarist Mike Amott was best known for his role in Carcass (and also once a Carnage member). The rest of the members were Christopher Amott, Mike's younger brother, drummer Daniel Erlandsson (occasionally with In Flames and Eucharist) and last but not least Sharlee D'Angelo, also an active member of Witchery, Mercyful Fate, Sinergy and Dismember.
With this lineup the band released a series of albums (Black Earth - 1996, Stigmata - 1998, Burning Bridges - 1999 and the live follow up Burning Bridges Live 1999 in 2000). For some reason the band was mostly successful in Japan than anywhere else!
The departure of Liiva caused some problems but in the end it was Arch Enemy that had the final word. The addition of German female growler Angela Gossow settled the score once and for good since Angela not only was a pretty face but also one hell of a singer. The band's success went skyrocket with the release of Wages Of Sin (2001), only to be followed by the even more successful Anthems Of Rebellion in 2003. just to close this short bio, let's also add the latest news: In mid 2005 Greek guitarist Gus G. (Kostas Karamitroudis) of Nightrage, Mystic Prophecy, ex-Dream Evil, Firewind joined the band as the group's touring guitarist after Christopher Amott bowed out of that band in order to fully concentrate on his studies.
Doomsday Machine catches the band at its best. A team of kick-ass players leaded by an amazing guitarist. OK, we liked Angela in her debut with the band and Anthems Of Rebellion. In the new album it's really hard to figure out her actual voice since it is covered with layers of effects. Don't get me wrong but in Wages Of Sins she had indeed an amazing voice (sounded like a lion!). Now she's just another growler using technology. Can't really blame her but can't really praise her either.
Can you imagine what the first thing is that you will notice in Doomsday Machine? The guitars (no kidding) and especially the breathtaking solos, that simply must be the best Amott has ever delivered with this band in their entire career. From the album's instrumental opener Enter The Machine, to the technical (and a bit bizarre) Taking Back My Soul, from the more Heavy Metal than Death I Am Legend/Out For Blood (probably based on the known Vampire book?) to the instrumental (again) Hybrids Of Steel there is simply not one single average riff, lick, solo. Simply outstanding!
But is Arch Enemy only solos? Still I can't really say. I have the feeling though that Amott has started paying more attention to the solos than to anything else. I guess the future will tell if I'm wrong or right (I hope I'm wrong since this is a band I really admire). The production is once again bombastic (probably better than the one of Anthems Of Rebellion).
If you look at Doomsday Machine with a clear eye, it is rather obvious that it sounds like a natural evolution of the band's previous release. However no one can deny the fact that Amott's playing is definitely a couple of levels higher than anything else in here. Do you mind? I don't!

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Enter The Machine
Taking Back My Soul
Nemesis
My Apocalypse
Carry The Cross
I Am Legend/Out For Blood
Skeleton Dance
Hybrids Of Steel
Mechanic God Creation
Machtkampf
Slaves Of Yesterday
Lineup:
Angela Gossow - Vocals
Mike Amott - Guitar
Christopher Amott - Guitar
Sharlee D'Angelo - Bass
Daniel Elandsson - Drums
Record Label: Century Media Records
     


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