Arch Enemy – ‘Will To Power’ (Century Media) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 04:30

Arch Enemy - Will To PowerNow ten albums into their career, Sweden’s finest purveyors of melodic death metal, Arch Enemy, continue to prove why they have been such a vital force in the metal world for two decades.  Their previous album, 2014’s ‘War Eternal’ marked a significant change for the band; the introduction of Alissa White-Gluz (ex-The Agonist), who replaced long-term vocalist Angela Gossow, seamlessly transitioning the band into a brand new era.  With their new line-up firmly established, Arch Enemy unleashes one of their strongest and most diverse records to date with ‘Will To Power.’

 

From the opening instrumental, ‘Set Flame To The Night’, it’s quickly apparent that the band have crafted a fiercely melodically charged album.  The searing leads that define the monumental stompers ‘A Fight I Must Win’, ‘Dreams Of Retribution’  and ‘The World Is Yours’ bear some of the most memorable and instantaneous guitar hooks that mastermind Michael Amott has ever put to record.  Along with the considerable talent of Jeff Loomis (formerly of Nevermore fame), the guitar work on ‘Will To Power’ is impeccably stunning from start to finish.

 

There is a greater emphasis on a symphonic element to the music this time round; the piano-led denouement to ‘The Eagle Flies Alone’ and the orchestral accompaniment to ‘A Fight I Must Win’ only accentuate the already grandiose nature of these tracks.  The Danny Elfman-esque descending keyboard line on ‘Dreams Of Retribution’ is an uncharacteristically playful feature, evoking the joyous bombast more readily attributed to power metal at its best. 

 

 

On the whole, ‘Will To Power’ embraces a more traditionally heavy metal approach to the songwriting, lending an even greater stomp to the more mid-paced moments, particularly on the fantastic ‘Blood In The Water.’   This style, when blended with the more extreme elements of their core sound, suits Arch Enemy well, and provides some variety when sat alongside the thrashier cuts like ‘The Race’ and ‘Murder Scene.’

 

Although she already showed her vocal prowess on ‘War Eternal’, Alissa shows a far greater level of dexterity on ‘Will To Power.’  From her feral growls on ‘First Day In Hell’ to her antiphonal interplay with the lead guitar lines on ‘A Fight I Must Win’, she exudes a consistent confidence in her delivery.  Of course, the elephant in the room for many fans will be the inclusion of clean vocals on ‘Reason To Believe’, a first for the band even this late into their career.  However, with a vocalist as gifted as Alissa, it would be heinous to waste such a skillset, and the band utilizes her cleans alongside her harsh vocals in manner which is befitting of the song.

 

It’s impressive that after two decades as a band, Arch Enemy can still find ways of reinvigorating their particular brand of metal, while still holding true to the foundations of their sound. Full to the brim with extreme heavy metal anthems, ‘Will To Power’ is a stellar addition to the band’s catalogue.

 

‘Will To Power’ is released on 8 September. You can get your copy HERE.

 

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