The Root of All Evil
It’s not very often that people remember there was a time when Arch Enemy was not fronted by foxy firebrand Angela Gossow, when Michael Amott ran it more as a solo project than a full fledged band. For those who’ve forgotten, Arch Enemy are bringing back the good ol days with a re-recording of songs from their first three albums Black Earth, Stigmata and Burning Bridges (before Gossow joined as vocalist) with the current lineup. Keeping with current production values, the songs have been given some serious spit and polish makeovers and moved towards a more streamlined sound. And that’s exactly where the album falls flat on its cosmetically enhanced face; in the band’s inability to let a good thing be. The burnished production has stripped every song of its bite, leaving nothing but a toothless shadow of the former. The earlier albums featured downtuned guitars that made the songs sound heavier; with the band’s current tuning the songs lose much of their density and crunch. Tracks like ”˜Demonic Science’ (Burning Bridges) and ”˜Beast of Man’ (Stigmata) had raw, gritty riffs that were the perfect counterpoint to the melodic interludes that came alive in their wake; here they flow in one indistinguishable grey mass of overproduced music. If you haven’t followed Arch Enemy’s back catalogue, this album might seem a passable successor to Rise of the Tyrant (2007) but for fans who go way back, The Root Of All Evil is not knowing when to stop.