War Eternal

Arch Enemy

Releasing a new album with a new vocalist is no insignificant move for a band […]
By Daniel Fox
May 16, 2014
Arch Enemy - War Eternal album cover

Releasing a new album with a new vocalist is no insignificant move for a band as big as ARCH ENEMY; this may well be on par with the departure of KAMELOT's Roy Khan; Angela Gossow, the band's vocalist of over 14 years, has departed and made way for THE AGONIST'S Alissa White-Gluz. Having already established herself in her previous band, and handpicked by Angela herself, she was a realistic choice. It is also the first album recording to feature the band's new shredder, Nick Cordle, previously of ARSIS. He of course is Christopher's replacement; now just how do you replace an Amott brother? You don't; but alas, he doesn't need to. He carves out his own niche, and has an immense lead presence you can damn well hear the band's newfound fire in "War Eternal", a surprising and rejoiced first thrust up from "Khaos Legions".

"Never Forgive Never Forget" breaks open the beast with one of the band's heaviest and fastest tracks they have ever made. The classic ARCH ENEMY leads are ever present, this time round we hear an immense drumming effort from Daniel, whom I have hardly ever heard using blast beats. On this track, they dominate, and aid in exuding a new heaviness in this new ARCH ENEMY. If this is what a band sounds like on a clean slate, it comes with no small joy to hear them release an album that blows the last one out of the water. "No More Regrets" was a standout for me; fast paced and heavy as hell, but driven by an anthem like march, interlocked with riffs made of the same magic I found on "Rise of the Tyrant". Naturally, the harmonized lead work came out as some of the best on the album (with the exception of the title track).

"Time is Black" was the hard-to-pick favorite; the opening riff one of the heaviest the band has written in a long time, harkening back to the Johann era. It splits off into powerful, grandiose passages permeated by a strong presence of atmospherics; yet another new, most-welcomed feature on the record, many of which effectively emulate orchestral chords. It also happens to be one of two tracks (the other again being the title track) in which Alissa best screams her lungs out on the entire record. Holders-on-to-nostalgia aside, I made the comparison to Roy, because like his successor, Tommy Karevik, she not only makes the album hers, but the sings (screams) pure ARCH ENEMY with a fresh vigor that you cannot help but embrace. "Not Long for this World" is the kind of track that often makes its way to the end of an ARCH ENEMY record; a slow, emphatically emotional, yet infinitely powerful dirge of memorable riffs and melodies; the latter, faithfully composed of leads that are present on previous albums.

On a personal note, I don't believe "War Eternal" peaks above their masterpiece in "Rise of the Tyrant", but, like "Burning Bridges" and "Wages of Sin", it will definitely be an ARCH ENEMY album to be warmly remembered as a new, inspiring beginning, and one that will mark 2014 as a great year for metal.

10 / 10


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"War Eternal" Track-listing:

1. Tempore Nihil Sanat (Prelude in F minor)
2. Never Forgive Never Forget
2. War Eternal
3. As the Pages Burn
4. No More Regrets
5. You Will Know my Name
6. Graveyard of Dreams
7. Stolen Life
8. Time is Black
9. Stolen Life
10. On and On
11. Avalanche
12. Down to Nothing
13. Not Long for this World

Arch Enemy Lineup:

Michael Amott - Guitars
Nick Cordle - Guitars
Alissa White-Gluz - Vocals
Sharlee D'Angelo - Bass
Daniel Erlandsson - Drums

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