Arch Enemy - _Wages of Sin_
(Dream On, 2001)
by: Chris Flaaten (8.5 out of 10)
Arch Enemy have been on a steady course for three albums in a row, defining their musical style and -- at least in my opinion -- improving with each step they take. Since the release of the eminent _Burning Bridges_ [CoC #41], however, things have not been going very smoothly for the band. They have changed vocalist and their latest album still has no release date in Europe or the US -- _Wages of Sin_ is only available in Southeast Asia at the moment. Hopefully this will change soon, because this is a great album! With previous Arch Enemy albums, the only thing I wished for was more intense vocals. Liiva's shouting style of vocals never sat well with me, even though he improved a lot for _Burning Bridges_. Apparently, the band felt the same way as I did and found what they needed in Angela Gossow from Germany. Yes, that is a feminine name. Yes, she is a female. Yes, I was as curious as you are now when I played the disc for the first time. The album opens with forty seconds of quiet piano and then glides over in hammering riffs and drums; then a short fury of poweresque guitar harmonies before Angela unleashes vocals of extreme intensity! The music is unmistakably Arch Enemy, with the weaving of power metal and melodic death metal elements they are well known for. Yet again they have achieved a wonderful balance between melody and brutality, but they sound slightly darker and angrier on _Wages of Sin_ than on their previous albums -- especially the song "Savage Messiah", which features a dark, slow and melody-stripped heaviness unprecedented for Arch Enemy. The album has their best production to date and variety is abundant. My only remaining problem regarding Arch Enemy is that I can't seem to keep my interest up through all of the eleven songs. Listening to either half gives me the same impression of quality, though, so this is due to my taste regarding the genre and not the music itself. Arch Enemy shouldn't disappoint anyone with this album.

(article published 19/10/2001)

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