Stalwart Swedish metal band Arch Enemy released its ninth full length studio effort last month. While being the ninth full length release for the band, it is the first for the band with new vocalist Alissa White-Gluz. Gluz, the former vocalist of The Agonist, replaced now former Arch Enemy vocalist Angela Gossow earlier this year, shocking a number of fans. After having spent some thirteen years as the band’s vocalist, one might think that such a shakeup might not be such a good thing. But as this album has evidenced, it might be the proverbial kick in the pants that the band needed. As audiences will note in listening through the album, the band has taken the speed/death metal sound that made it famous throughout its previous albums and added a thrash element to the mix, making the album even more of interest to audiences. One of the best of this album is its title track and lead single. The social commentary of the song’s lyrical side alongside the pure aggression and power in the music make it clear why it was chosen as the album’s lead. ‘You Will Know my Name’ will catch listeners’ ears just as much with its scathing indictment of those people that would call themselves friends to ones face but talk trash behind one’s back. The song’s musical side along with that indictment will reach so many listeners. And the instrumental ‘Graveyard of Dreams’ is another show of talent from guitarist Michael Amott. These are just a few samples of what Arch Enemy offers audiences on its latest full length effort. Together with the album’s other songs, they are sure to impress any fan new or old.
Arch Enemy leads off its first album with new vocalist Alissa White-Gluz in grand fashion with the absolutely searing ‘War Eternal.’ A better choice for the band’s re-introduction couldn’t have been chosen. Anyone that is familiar with Arch Enemy’s body of work will be just as impressed with this song as those that might be newer to the band’s sound. The song, penned by Amott—Amott wrote the lyrics to each song as an added note—is rife with social commentary. Amott writes in this song, “Friend or foe/There’s no way to know/Through the battlefield of life/It’s ill or be killed/So many times/It’s a matter of degree/From being up on your luck/To down on your knees.” He’s writing about life ingeneral and how it can be tough and easy from one point to another. He goes on to write about those that would make life difficult, writing that “They try to change you/Crush and break you/Try to tell you what to do/They’d like to have control of you.” Whether it be politicians, those within one’s own social circles or otherwise, there is not one person out there to whom this song doesn’t relate. Through all the difficulties, he reminds listeners not to give up, writing, “Search deep inside/Remember who you are.” In the end, it proves to be a song of self-empowerment and inner strength. Again, what better way to introduce the band’s new album?
‘War Eternal’ proves with the combination of its searing musical side and equally powerful lyrical theme of self-empowerment to be the perfect choice to introduce Arch Enemy’s new album. Just as impressive from this new album is the similarly themed ‘You Will Know My Name.’ It doesn’t boast the same buzz saw guitars and machine gum drumming. But the way in which it builds from almost a brooding opening into the driving classic sound which audiences have come to know will impress just as much. That slow boil helps to heighten the song’s lyrical side, in which Amott writes about false friends. He writes of said individuals in this song, “The judging eyes watching me/Is all I’ve ever known/When I try to open up my heart/I am ridiculed and torn apart/You tell jokes I’ll never get to hear/Behind my back at my expense.” He tackles the things that those false friends like to say about others, writing that “There’s something inside me/And I know it’s good/I’m not evil, just misunderstood…Today I break my silence/Strip you of your dignity/Tear down your perfect world/Your perfect lies…No longer invisible/You will know my name.” In its own way, this could be the anthem of those who have been bullied for years on end. And just as the blues helps people in tough situations feel better, so could this song help those who have been bullied by fake friends, and perhaps even prevent them from doing what so many others before have done. To that extent, Amott and his band mates are again to be applauded for this song’s inclusion on this album.
‘War Eternal’ and ‘You Will Know My Name’ are both powerful and important additions to Arch Enemy’s latest full length effort. They both show the band’s technical abilities and its ability to reach fans lyrically as well. Just as much as the band exhibits its continued talents through the aforementioned songs, it shows once again that it can create deep emotion solely with its musical abilities. This is evidenced in the fully instrumental piece, ‘Graveyard of Dreams.’ The song only runs one minute and ten seconds. Even within that short time, it generates quite the emotion thanks to Amott’s guitar work. The very title, ‘Graveyard of Dreams’ creates an image of someone in the depths of depression. And Amott’s guitar work illustrates this image even better. As with ‘You Will Know My Name,’ the depth of emotion expressed in this song could actually serve as music therapy of sorts. That is because of the band’s ability to relate to listeners even just through music. Listeners will hear the music expressing how they might be feeling. In turn, it could serve as a point of strength. Yet again, the members of Arch Enemy are to be applauded here. It is yet one more piece of the whole that makes War Eternal another impressive release from Arch Enemy.
‘War Eternal,’ ‘You Will Know My Name,’ and ‘Graveyard of Dreams’ are each great additions to War Eternal. They are only part of what makes this album a success for the band. The albums’ remaining songs each pose their own argument for the album’s success. And audiences new and old alike will agree to that in hearing the album in its entirety. War Eternal is available now in stores and online. It is available both in standard and Limited Edition Triple-Disc set online via the Century Media Records store at http://www.cmdistro.com/Item/Arch_Enemy_-_War_Eternal_-Ltd._CD_Mediabook_Edit.-/47541?Aff=cus and http://www.cmdistro.com/Item/Arch_Enemy_-_War_Eternal_Ltd._Deluxe_Artbook_-3CD-/47540?Aff=cus. More information on War Eternal, Arch Enemy’s current tour schedule and all the latest from the band is available online at http://www.facebook.com/archenemyofficial and http://www.archenemy.net. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.