Sound — 8
Archy Enemy has often been likened to an acquired taste. The band's strictly non-commercial musical approach, although arguably supplanted by Angela Gossow's appeal, is quite admirable in the knowledge that there is so much untapped marketing potential to the band. Khaos Legions sticks to Arch Enemy's ethos, while the band's thrash metal influences come to the fore. New material has been a long time coming, but Arch Enemy fans won't be disappointing with what is another mark of Arch Enemy's consistency; the band's real strength is the drama to the song writing. "Khaos Overture" - the introductory track - is a dramatic minute and a half including tasteful guitars, well-worked drumming, and the best use of sirens in a song for a long while. The next song - "Yesterday Is Dead And Gone" - has an introduction similar to that of "Beast And The Harlot" (Avenged Sevenfold), while the next couple of tracks maybe lose a bit of drive "Under Black Flags We March" being a low point of the album. The middle of the album doesn't seem to have the ferocity associated with Arch Enemy, but that is redeemed by songs like "Through The Eyes Of A Raven" and "Cruelty Without Beauty" the latter of which is a highlight of the album for its well worked intro and dramatic overtones. The guitar riffs are terrific, and Gossow's vocals enter the fray at just the right time, before the song reaches its artistic high point in terms of instrumentation. Let's just say the song doesn't fizzle out. "Cult Of Chaos" produces the next highlight of the album by proving Arch Enemy's versatility. The band sometimes seems to lack focus when playing more melodically, but this track's combination of monstrous death metal with gripping melodies is a triumph. Meanwhile the Amott brothers' guitar tones are to die for. Songs as diverse and magnificently structured as "Thorns In My Flesh" and "Secrets" deserve plaudits from critics and fans of the band alike. This album's awesome sound and tasteful (reducing the volume in favour of character) production values are there for all to witness.
Lyrics — 7
The main criticism of Arch Enemy is often the band's reliance on Gossow to attract listeners, but at the same time, Gossow's vocals can be heard to be somewhat one-dimensional. She doesn't have the variety to her screams that others in the death metal genre boast. Indeed, the placement of the instrumental track - "We Are A Godless Entity" - serves as a welcome break at the right time. That's not to detract from Gossow's overall performance. Arch Enemy's classification as Melodic Death Metal is, unlike some other notable claims to the "melodic" tag, well-deserved. If Gossow were to seriously alter her vocal arsenal the band's dignity may never be recovered.
Overall Impression — 8
Archy Enemy's insistence on slowing things down makes "Khaos Legions" a memorable album, and much of that is due to rhyme to the Amott brothers' madness. There is a creative element to Arch Enemy that renders the band both success and failure. It is pity that this type of music will never reach the masses, because Arch Enemy is a musical force to be reckoned with. This is an album for fans of music, and if Gossow's vocals aren't for you, at least (legally) download the instrumentals.