Arch Enemy - _Doomsday Machine_
(Century Media, 2005)
by: Jackie Smit (8 out of 10)
There's a cynical, bitter part of me that desperately wants to dislike Arch Enemy. The ever-so-slick production, the often too Maiden-esque dual guitar twiddling, live shows that recall just about every single heavy metal heirloom dating back to the first Black Sabbath tours -- there are certainly more than enough holes in the Arch Enemy tapestry to tug at if one were that way inclined. Yet, for all their faults, it's undeniable the band are currently almost single-handedly introducing a younger generation to extreme music, by providing a desperately needed antidote to the manufactured angst of metalcore. And that is a very good thing indeed; particularly if, like me, you'd sooner spin the next Korn record than hear yet another band who "innovatively" meld saccharine-drenched pop choruses with Swedo-metal. Moreover, it's encouraging that for the most part, Arch Enemy have built their evidently unflagging momentum purely on their own terms; a mode of operation that has certainly not been compromised on their sixth effort.

In many ways the culmination of some of the band's finest moments from as far back as _Wages of Sin_, _Doomsday Machine_ presents a number of significant improvements over _Anthems of Rebellion_ -- not least of all the decidedly more mature lyrical approach, which in many ways is reflective of the greater depth and intricacy in the songwriting. While still maintaining their typically Swedish bent, this time around Arch Enemy tone down the anthemic pomp for a few fleeting moments, and the results are spectacular, with the brooding "Carry Your Cross" being particularly impressive. For the most part however, the band remain entrenched in familiar, safer territory, both in terms of songs and sound. It's a shame really, considering the potential that literally oozes from the record's brighter moments; yet if the band's reception at this year's Ozzfest is anything to go by, _Doomsday Machine_ as a whole is likely to disappoint only the most selective listener.


(article published 17/10/2005)

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