Arch Enemy - Black Earth

Track Listing: 
  1. Bury Me An Angel
  2. Dark Insanity
  3. Eureka
  4. Idolatress
  5. Cosmic Retribution
  6. Demoniality
  7. Transmigration Macabre
  8. Time Capsule
  9. Fields Of Desolation
  10. Losing Faith (Bonus Track)
  11. The Ides Of March (Bonus Track)
Rating: 
4

This is Arch Enemy's debut CD featuring the Amotts (Christopher and Michael) on guitars, bass guitar was also done on here by Michael until they found a replacement following this release, Daniel Erlandsson is on drums and former Johan Liiva on throat.  Let me tell you that for a debut CD, there are many classic tracks on here.  Michael is the force behind the riff writing with his brother contributed more so on the leads than on the rhythms.  His leads are more technical than his brothers, whereas Michael's melodies/leads are more "feeling" based.

There is no intro exhibited here, just the slam of a snare beat then enter the band with vigor.  From my standpoint, this debut could've been stronger if vocalist Johan had a little more variety to his bellowing throat outputs.  There aren't too much variation exhibited on here from him, but his vocals don't drown out the melodic riffs.  He just needed to have more feeling put into them.  They were quite boring.  I'd have to say that some of my favorite melodic tracks are on here are plentiful primarily because it's melodic death metal is my favorite genre, of which Arch Enemy plays dominates in.

The music features B-tuned guitars, which are thick and heavy throughout this whole CD.  There are many tremelo picked rhythms as well as many melodic parts, especially during the chorus sections. They give the debut more augmentation to this aggressive main guitar riff-writing.  The tempos vary.  There are faster parts, more groove laden licks and slower chorus style writings.  They keep the listener captivated with this writing ingenuity.  In addition, there is an acoustic instrumental called "Time Capsule" and also a heavier one entitled "Demoniality."

As I meantioned previously, there are some great lead guitar work by Christopher Amott.  Just listen to the outro solo on "Fields Of Desolation" and you'll hear what I'm talking about. Christopher's leads are way more filled with arpeggios and speed picking than his brother Michaels.  Like I mentioned again also, Michael has more emotion involved in his lead guitar work.  He likes to use the wah-pedal exclusively on his solos. Michael was more technical when he was playing for Carcass, quite noteablely on their "Heartwork" release.

The production is solid, though the bass guitar is difficult to hear.  All of the rest of the band member's main guitars, drums and vocals are well heard.  The mixing was well done nevertheless and the guitars are what stands out the most here.  Most tracks reflected how talented this band is.  But getting rid of Johan was not a good move, even though his vocals here are more death metal oriented.  This isn't the case on future releases when he was still with the band.

On the import CD of this release, there are some bonus tracks featuring Iron Maiden cover songs. Strange to hear them in B-tuning with Johan on vocals. Songs  to check out here are "Bury Me An Angel", "Eureka" and "Fields Of Desolation." If you're a big fan of melodic death metal, then you should check this CD out.  It's what melodic death metal is totally about.  You'll hear what I'm talking about if you decide to purchase the album.

Label Name: 
Wrong Again/Regain Records