Arch Enemy returned Friday with its latest album, Deceivers. Released through its longtime label, Century Media Records, the 11-song record is unquestionably among the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal offerings. No doubt it has made it that much more difficult for any hard rock and metal critic to decide on which albums make up the absolute cream of the crop. That is evidenced through its musical and lyrical content alike. One of the songs that serves to support the noted statement comes early in the 45-minute record’s run in the form of ‘In The Eye of the Storm.’ One of the many singles produced from the album, it is just one of the works that shows how much the album has to offer. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Poisoned Arrow’ is another interesting addition to the record and will be examined a little later. ‘Sunset Over the Empire,’ which is yet another of the album’s singles, does its own share to show what makes Deceivers such a strong new offering from the band. It will also be examined later. Each song noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Deceivers worth hearing. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Deceivers a powerful new addition to the band’s catalog and to this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums.
Deceivers, the 11th new album from veteran metal act Arch Enemy, is a presentation that the band’s established audiences will find just as engaging and entertaining as more casual audiences. That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike. ‘In The Eye of the Storm,’ which comes early in the album’s run is just one of the songs that serves to support that statement. The song’s musical arrangement opens with a huge, semi-orchestral approach that quickly gives way to the band’s familiar, driving guitar work and time keeping. The heavy, chugging approach to the song and the melody in the lead guitar gives this arrangement an almost power metal sound and style that is so unique from much of the band’s catalog. Vocalist Alissa White-Gluz’s guttural vocals are just as powerful as ever, too. The whole makes the arrangement featured here a unique entry among the album’s content. The heaviness and steady, driving tempo does well to help illustrate a theme in the song’s lyrical content that seems to deliver a message of perseverance and determination.
The seeming theme is delivered as White-Gluz screams in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “The chase is on/The traps are set/Wont’ let them drag me back there again/The ball on that chain/It bears my name/To tame the beast in me/I still believe in life before death/It fuels the fire in me/I will run ‘til I die/Under these black skies/Tyrannic law/A razor claw/In the eye of the storm.” That very statement of not letting someone drag her back makes the seeming message most clear. The seeming message of perseverance continues in the song’s second verse as White-Gluz sings, “As darkness falls/The hunt goes on/The hounds of hell have picked up my scent/The rain pours down/I’m still running/My breath freezing the air/We may be born to astride the grave/But I will not die a slave.” Now that last statement about not dying a slave comes across as being somewhat political, and maybe it is meant to be just that. The thing is that it is just one part of the overall message of wanting to die on one’s feet rather than living on one’s knees. In other words, the theme here is something fully empowering for any listeners. It is a familiar theme that is certain to resonate with any listener. When it is considered along with the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement, the whole makes the song overall a clear example of how much Deceivers has to offer audiences.
‘In The Eye of the Storm’ is just one of the songs featured in this record that displays the record’s strength. ‘Poisoned Arrow’ is another notable addition to the record, displaying the album’s power. The musical arrangement featured in ‘Poisoned Arrow’ opens with a rich string arrangement and keyboard that then gives way to a brooding, almost Metallica-esque riff a la ‘One.’ The richness of that contrast immediately grips audiences before the band evolves the song into something that is far from what audiences might expect. In place of the band’s familiar extreme metal riffs, this arrangement instead finds the band moving in a more classic metal direction while still giving the song its own unique identity with a modern twist. That identity makes this contemplative arrangement reason enough to hear the song, though its lyrical counterpart makes for its own engagement.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Poisoned Arrow’ comes across as a commentary about the power of words, to an extent. White-Gluz sings in the song’s lead verse, “Silent shadows/A broken frame/The empty picture that we became/No words needed/The stories in our eyes/A crack in the mirror/Too many lies.” That mention of the broken frame and lies seems to be an allusion to a broken past making the present so difficult. That is just this critic’s interpretation. The seeming theme is illustrated even more in the song’s second verse as she screams, “Deep footsteps mark the snow/Traces of yesterday/Where and when to go/We never meant to cause pain nor sorrow/Now every word a poisoned arrow.” This further hints at the seeming theme. This points even more at an introspection and retrospection of how things were, ruing things said and done. Keeping that in mind, the lyrical theme will resonate with listeners in its own way if in fact this is the message that the band is intending to deliver. That is especially the case when the seeming theme is considered along with the song’s musical arrangement. All things considered, they make the song all the more powerful and moving.
‘Poisoned Arrows’ is just one more of the songs that serves to make Deceivers another impressive offering from Arch Enemy. ‘Sunset Over the Empire’ is yet another way in which the record shows its strength. The song stands out in part through its arrangement. The arrangement features machine gun fast beats with solid time keeping within the solid time keeping work with the equally sharp work on the bass and guitars. The grouping forms a strong foundation for the song on which the song’s equally impacting lyrical theme rests.
Guitarist and principal songwriter Michael Amott said during a recent interview that the song’s lyrical theme is “sadly, one of those that seems to ring more true with each and every day passing day nowadays.” This is inferred through the song’s lead verse and chorus, which makes mention of the end of days and the rulers of the wasteland rejoicing in the flames. The additional mention of the wheels of injustice turning and those who should be responsible not being so held for their crimes adds even more to the clear commentary that Amott mentioned. The song’s second verse, which addresses “brother fighting brother” because of words and the fate of a nation being forever changed is extremely resonant with today’s world. The way in which the commentary here is delivered is certain to connect with listeners in its own right. When this biting statement is considered along with the fire and energy in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole makes the song clearly another example of what makes the album so strong. When this song and the others examined here are considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Deceivers another powerful, successful offering from Arch Enemy.
Deceivers, the latest album from Arch Enemy, is another strong offering from the veteran metal act that will appeal to so many hard rock and metal fans alike. That is evidenced through its musical and lyrical content alike. The songs examined here are just a snapshot of what makes the record so engaging and entertaining for audiences. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album one more of the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.
Deceivers is available now through Century Media Records. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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