Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review: Arch Enemy - Khaos Legions

Band: Arch Enemy
Album: Khaos Legions
Year: 2011
Country: Sweden
Genre: Melodic Death Metal

The music Arch Enemy released has become so tired its almost painful. I really wish it weren't this way because the Swedish melodeath band actually started off really strong and consists aside from the vocalist, of very talented individuals. I have reviewed one of their Angela Gossow fronted albums in the past and while I felt the major reason I didn't enjoy it was her vocal performance on Khaos Legions there are a slew of different reasons I just wasn't feeling it.

This time around there are a couple of major issues that prevent this from being a good album. The new issue I noticed (and keep in mind I say "new" because this is only the second post-Liiva record I've given a listen) is that the riffs are mind numbingly similar sounding to what I had heard on Doomsday Machine. I mean they were just different enough that I could tell I wasn't listening to that album. But my god if I had a dollar for every time while listening to Khaos Legions I thought to myself, "hey this sounds like Doomsday Machine!", I would be a rich man.

It's not just the riffs either, there seems to really be no way to differentiate the solos from each other. They all sound about the same! I don't know what is going on with Michael Amott but it seems like someone sucked all the creativity out of his brain because if this were another band it would be getting a call from Arch Enemy's lawyers over how they stole riffs from the band. It's really difficult to get over as well. It makes listening to this album tedious and boring and you impatiently wait for the few unique moments before the creativity drought ensues.

The fact that there is actually a good song or two is what saves this album from being a drink coaster. But trust me they are few and far in between. The bass intro to Under Black Flags We March and the verse riffs of the song are actually pretty song. I especially what the Amott brothers made up for the chorus. Is it flashy or technical? Not at all but it makes for a good song and that's what matters. I also enjoy the guitar harmonies during the chorus for City of the Dead. It brings to mind the old school In Flames style of guitar harmonies Jesper Stromblad is so good at.

Another thing that really rubs me wrong is that Mike and Christopher Amott have so much talent yet they write music that sounds so similar to what they did in the past. That really polarizes the listener. And even if you like AE there is a chance that you might grow tired of what they are doing and probably won't like this either. Hell Daniel Erlandsson has played with Carcass, In Flames and Eucharist. We all know the guy has got chops but unfortunately he just isn't allowed to showcase them.

Angela Gossow once again proves she is a one trick pony. She continues to have her vocals screwed with giving them a fake robotic feel that just sounds terrible. You can easily tell this isn't really what she sounds fact no one sounds like that because its messed with so much using layering and different things. Her lyrics are still atrocious as well. It has the angst and rebellion we have all experienced teenagers. This topic is getting old and she really needs to expand her horizons to include different subjects instead of this lame stuff.

Arch Enemy continue their fall from grace with Khaos Legions. The material written for this album is so samey and similar to their previous work and not at all in a good way. The musicians all seem to be going through the motions and I can't help but think the song writers are going through a creative drought of sorts. Angela as usual is awful, nothing new there. If you were a diehard fan of something like Doomsday Machine then this album was made for you. If you are looking for something new or interesting I would move along.

Score: 3.5/10
Standout Tracks: Under Black Flags We March

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