Arch Enemy - Stigmata

This legendary Swedish melodic death metal act needn't an introduction, especially since they're well established and have been for over 16 years. The lineup on this release features Johan Liiva on vocals, Michael Amott on guitars, Christopher Amott on guitars, Martin Bengtsson on bass, and Daniel Erlandsson on drums.

There is no intro just tremolo picked guitar riffs that give you the overall dark feel of the release. This album is filled with melodic overtures, B-tuned thick guitars, and Johan's distinctive low throat. The guitar riffs are entirely unique, imaginative, creative, melodic and quite memorable. This I believe to be the band's best output in their entire discography. It's too bad Johan isn't still on vocals.

The music is what's the most enduring. There's a combination of sweet distinct songs on this original sounding overall release. It features the band's unbelievably awesome writing capabilities. Songs such as "Beast of Man", "Dark of the Sun" and "Bridge of Destiny" feature such great catchy guitar bits. Christopher dominates on lead, while Michael overuses that wah-pedal. It would be ideal if Michael was solely on rhythm guitar.

Christopher is way more technical than his brother on lead, but Michael still has some good melodic solos that compliment the album. That chunky guitar is what is most admirable. The bass guitar was hard to hear. It was barely audible during the entire album. That is where I think is the weakest point is on the album. Everything else blends well in it's entirety. Nothing else lagging behind except the bass.

This is an album where you can't really get sick of because it's simply intoxicating, especially if you're a melodic death freak like me. The leads, rhythms, vocals, and drums are perfectly executed without much discretion. There is nothing not to like here since the melodies shine so well here. Without a doubt, "Stigmata" reigns in its' entirety and remains to be the most ideal melodic death metal release that Arch Enemy has ever put out!

1. Beast Of Man
2. Stigmata
3. Sinister Mephisto
4. Dark Of The Sun
5. Let The Killing Begin
6. Black Earth
7. Hydra
8. Tears Of The Dead
9. Vox Stellarum
10. Bridge Of Destiny