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Released: Sep 28, 2009
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Label: Century Media Records
Number Of Tracks: 13
Arch Enemy has injected new life into songs from their first three albums on their latest album The Root Of All Evil.
The Root Of All Evil
UG Team, on october 06, 2009 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: In what is a rather smart (and somewhat intriguing) move on the part of Arch Enemy, the Swedish melodic metal outfit has re-recorded tracks from its first three releases, which are compiled on a new CD titled The Root Of All Evil. The previous CDs (Black Earth, Stigmata, Burning Bridges) all featured then-vocalist Johan Liiva, so it's certainly understandable why the band wanted to allow the always-surprising Angela Gossow to take a stab at their past hits. There are distinct differences between the vocal approach of Liiva and Gossow although nothing too terribly dramatic and those unique qualities inject new life to newly recorded versions. What even stands out more than Gossow's presence is the general recording quality, which is leaps and bounds better than what you hear on the originals.
For every band that has ever replaced a frontman/frontwoman, it's always a bit of chore convincing the audience that the replacement singer now owns the older songs. It should also be mentioned that bassist Sharlee D'Angelo was not a member during this time period, either. Rather than go through that nonsense anymore, Arch Enemy'a latest CD at long last gives Gossow full reign over many songs on the first three albums. With the 13 tracks on The Root Of All Evil (11 of them featuring vocal content), you get an interesting mix of nostalgia and fresh creativity. What remains the same is the solid musicianship, which was already in place.
Among the highlights are Dead Inside, which begins with a somewhat steady tempo and eventually goes in a variety of musical directions. At the heart is the guitar work of Michael and Christopher Amott, who always are top-notch in terms of skill. When you hear the latest version of the song, however, you notice little nuances like increased dual guitar work and a more polished sound altogether. The guitar team obviously made some new choices in their equipment, as it sounds impeccable now. Another key standout track is Bury Me An Angel, (originally from the Black Earth record), which now takes on a crisper, more defined sound within the rhythm section.
If you haven't looked into Arch Enemy's work until now, The Root Of All Evil should be a vital part of your collection. The CD is jam-packed with meaty riffs that range from being standard death metal rhythms to licks that would make Yngwie Malmsteen pleased. The track that sums up that statement perfectly is Demonic Science. It masterfully takes unlike/clashing musical styles and somehow makes them cohesive. There is, of course, a higher-pitched sound to Gossow's growls and screams in comparison to Liiva, but her delivery is still quite effective. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrical content is on the more dramatic side, but it works well with the genre. In terms of subject matter, you'll hear about everything from dangerous, conniving females in Diva Satanica (Divine queen of evil; Sowing her seeds of hate; Mistress of pain) to spiritual answers in Pilgrim (From the womb, to the tomb; An eternal struggle for the holy truth; We are not the first, nor shall we be the last). Granted, you won't be able to understand a good deal due to Gossow's gruff delivery, but the songs are still fairly well thought-out in terms of the structure. // 8
Overall Impression: Arch Enemy proves just how much they've grown musically with the release of The Root Of All Evil. While the songs from the band's first three releases were solid in the beginning, the newest recordings are impressive on even more levels. Gossow is a welcome addition, but it's not necessarily her presence that took the album to the next level. However, she certainly adds a distinctly fresh vocal sound that works well with all of the changes that were made during the recording process. // 10
The Root Of All Evil
Aays, on december 01, 2009 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Arch Enemy have always been known for their fast melodic style of metal and this album, although a bit slower than their previous material, is no exception. The Root of All Evil is basically a re-recording of previous songs, and this is something that never bodes well for a band (Testament did it with First Strike Still Deadly- listen to it and you'll see why). Though The Root of All Evil has its moments in 'Beast Of Man', 'Bury Me An Angel', 'Transmigration Macabre', and 'Diva Satanica, it feels forced at some points, as if the Amotts aren't really all too excited about the whole prospect. In favor of the album, the solos have been extended, and they feel a lot cleaner than their earlier counterparts. The bass is rarely heard, and comparing the into of 'Beast Of Man' to its Stigmata counterpart, you'll find that this one is a lot... quieter. The one thing that shines out is Daniel Erlandsson's drumming, which never even shows a hint of letting up of slowing down. // 7
Lyrics: Angela Gossow delivers, as usual. The beginning of 'Beast Of Man' sampled Liiva's vocals, and for a second I feared that Angela had abandoned her tried-and-tested formula. Her vocals add a freshness to the same songs once dominated by Liiva's bark, though to be honest, on tracks such as 'Silverwing' and 'Bridge Of Destiny', Liiva's vocals sound a lot better and fit the song well. Angela's exceptional performance in 'The Immortal' harkens back to Wages Of Sin at some points, and on the whole I am impressed by her vocals. // 9
Overall Impression: The Root of All Evil is a brilliant album for any person looking to get an insight into Arch Enemy (as it showcases the newer Arch Enemy in terms of sound and the older in terms of songwriting), and this album, while not on par with Rise of the Tyrant, is a gem in itself. For a die-hard fan of early Arch Enemy, this album won't really make the cut, but it is highly recommended for everyone else. Stand-outs include 'Beast Of Man, 'The Immortal', 'Diva Satanica', Bury Me An Angel', 'Transmigration Macabre', and 'Silverwing' (though I still prefer the original. If it were stolen, I probably would buy it again despite having the songs on my iTunes, because it's awesome and to keep my Arch Enemy collection complete. // 8