Roundtable Review: Arch Enemy – War Eternal
Release Date: 10 June, 2014
Length: 48 minutes
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Studio Albums: Nine previous albums
WarpRider – If I had the chance to go back through my old reviews, I might change a couple of the ratings; a small handful. Arch Enemy’s Khaos Legions would be one of them. I reviewed it at a 4.5 out of 5 and shortly after that, I felt the enthusiasm for that album quickly wane. Perhaps I was excited and overjoyed to hear new material or maybe I just didn’t listen to it enough. Needless to say, there are other Arch Enemy albums I like much better. If I re-reviewed that album I might give it a flat 3.
So, here we are again, but with a new vocalist. I have to admit this personnel change came as a surprise to me and after giving War Eternal some time to sink in, it’s a very welcome personnel change. Alissa is a perfect fit. The new material can be almost a little too melodic from time to time (mainly what has been posted in public forums pre-release), but there are more brutal songs on the album such as “As The Pages Burn”, “No More Regrets”, “Time is Black”, “Down To Nothing”, and my personal favorite, “Avalanche”. They are intense while still maintaining the trademark melody… just the right amount of melody. My main focus with my part of the Roundtable Review for this album is not to make the same mistake I made before and jump the gun. Ten listens later… 5.0
Atleastimhousebroken – I’ll admit, I’ve never been much a fan of Arch Enemy. I respect their chops and I can easily bob my head to their songs if they happen to be on, but I’ve never really had much desire to pop an album of theirs on for some myself music time. And War Eternal really isn’t changing that. However, I simply can’t say I don’t see where the record/band has/will have much of an audience. Power metal-y guitars jam-packed with Gothenburg melo-death is quite fun to listen to and maintains a high level of energy, and as always the aerodynamics of the guitarists are of some of the highest quality, if a tad predictable. Apparently they have a new singer and guitarist, I really didn’t notice, so I guess that’s better than being bad.
If you are an established fan of the band, you should absolutely love this record as it pretty much delivers what Arch Enemy have been delivering for years. If you have yet to dig into them, I don’t think this is going to change your mind. 3.0
Irmelinis – Here’s a fine album. It includes just what you can expect from a band like Arch Enemy, who have been around for quite some time, continually putting out solid releases. As you all should know by now, both the new singer and their new guitarist are incredibly talented, bringing their own attitude and flair to Arch Enemy’s bombastic, powerful sound. Most notably is Alissa White-Gluz’s contribution behind the mic. I was very impressed with her live performance when seeing her with The Agonist last year and she’s a more than worthy successor, with a voice sounding immensely sharp and intense. This time the songs feel darker and deeper than earlier albums, while still being furious and consistent. To no one’s surprise, there are no surprises to be found. I’m guessing that may please many fans, not everyone likes change. Good stuff! 3.5
ChristopherMammal – When the immaculate Angela Gossow decided to retire from singing, Arch Enemy didn’t go hunting for an Angela clone. They determined to target and recruit a singer who would bring a different but captivating vocal style to the band. The metal gods smiled benignly when Alissa White-Gluz accepted the invitation from Arch Enemy. She has a lighter, higher and harsher voice than Angela in the upper dark vocal range. Lower down, her deep gutturals project rich power. Yes, Alissa is different, but holey moley, she’s good with Arch Enemy.
Alissa is a composer and arranger as well as a magnificent vocalist. She brought new ideas with her. It sure seems to me that the new album reflects a further evolution in the structure and style of composition, especially in the tracks nearer the end of the selection. They incorporate orchestral, almost neo-classical interludes that enhance the more melodious side of Arch Enemy. Overall, the new album does full justice to both the shining talents of Alissa and the flawless music behind her voice. I know there is still a mountain of great new metal to be released this year, but I doubt if I’ll hear a metal album I will enjoy more than War Eternal in 2014. 5.0
A Metal State of Mind Score – 4.1 out of 5