Success has not mellowed ARCH ENEMY nor is complacency a word in the band's collective vocabulary. It seems that some felt 2005's "Doomsday Machine" was a slight letdown from its predecessor, "Anthems of Rebellion", although just as many found it to be an unashamed slab of Swedish melodic death metal, myself included. Regardless, one would be hard pressed to argue that the group has not been a model of consistency and metallic excellence, qualities most obvious on new release "Rise of the Tyrant", a definitive ARCH ENEMY release. The album is among the act's heaviest work of the Gossow era, yet at the same time boasts some of its strongest melodies to date, the result being a strong combination of both attributes.It is not that "Rise of the Tyrant" is a trailblazing effort, not by any stretch. Rather, it is more like a showcase for what has made Swedish melodic death metal so appealing. Though not necessarily one my personal favorites of the genre, ARCH ENEMY continues to deliver, thanks in large part to the fantastic guitar work of the Amott brothers. "Rise of the Tyrant" features the kind of often thrash-infused riffing that makes the neck hairs stand at attention, guitar solos that burn hot as the sun, and a host of moving melodic leads. Whether the weeping instrumental "Intermezzo Liberte", with its neoclassical feel, the monstrous riffs of "The Last Enemy", or the soaring leads heard on the epic "Vultures", "Rise of the Tyrant" will work for not only for budding guitar gods, but also air guitar players across the globe. As far as the songwriting as a whole is concerned, there is nary a track that does not offer a commanding sense of melody. As furious as "Blood on Your Hands" (a track that features a bad-ass stop-start riff section with Angela Gossow snarling as nastily as ever) may be, it is not without an immediately catchy melody. The odd keyboard bit, such as the intro to "I Will Live Again" (another fine example of those alluring leads) enhances the effort as well. The title track is classic, if predictable, ARCH ENEMY, while "The Great Darkness" includes Latin choral parts and offers an especially effective pace change and riff at the midway point. The band does indeed bring it all together on this release. "Rise of the Tyrant" will surprise few for its inventiveness (and who was looking for that anyway?), but will please many for its righteously metallic and deft balancing of the heavy and the melodic. Look for it to top the success, both in terms of soundscan units and critical/fan approval, of "Doomsday Machine". A nicely done effort for sure.
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