Arch Enemy - Khaos Legions

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Sweden's Arch Enemy have come under a bit of critcism from outside their faithful fanbase for not producing a really vital album for some time, their momentum particularly being slowed by the stop-gap The Root of All Evil re-recordings album in 2009 and therefore not having actually produced any new material since 2007. And there are some who still, even after 11 years, don't rate the band with front-woman Angela Gossow, preferring original singer Johan Liiva, and citing the bands increased success in that time to the novelty factor around having a female death metal singer. These are increasingly in the minority, but they still exist (there's an equal minority who think Liiva was a poor vocalist as well). The fact is that this time around Khaos Legions is the best thing Arch Enemy have done with Gossow at the front, and possibly the best thing since the highly regarded Liiva albums, and should not be ignored by anyone. Every sharp riff here is undeniable, none more so than devastingly heavy groover Through The Eyes of A Raven, and expert production from Richard Bengtsson along with the band, has resulted in a heavy but supremely clear sound, where nothing overpowers anything else and the twin guitar histrionics of the Amott brothers, amongst their collective best and most prolific to date, are able to shine. Some of the songs here are as fast as anything Arch Enemy have recorded before, but don't sacrifice anything in terms of melody or precision, and even if Gossow does sound like Gollum with a size 9 on his throat during parts of Bloodstained Cross, her vocals are some of her simultaneously vicious and clear so far. The sheer amount of lead guitar, ranging from pure shred to sublime melody, will have the hordes of Amott fans out there salivating just as much as the ones who want destructively heavy stuff to headbang to.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2011, Albums, Death Metal, Quick.Play Reviews,

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