Sunday 24 September 2017

Album Review: ARCH ENEMY - Will To Power

Arch Enemy - Will To Power

01. Set Flame To The Night
02. The Race
03. Blood In The Water
04. The World Is Yours
05. The Eagle Flies Alone
06. Reason To Believe
07. Murder Scene
08. First Day In Hell
09. Saturnine
10. Dreams Of Retribution
11. My Shadow and I
12. A Fight I Must Win
13. City Baby Attacked By Rats (Charged G.B.H. cover) [Bonus Track]

Will To Power is the second Arch Enemy studio album to feature Alissa White-Gluz on lead vocals, the first being the awesome War Eternal. I've followed the band since their debut album Black Earth came out, and I heard the song Bury Me An Angel on a compilation. Before Alissa White-Gluz joined the band, my favourite of their records was Wages Of Sin (Angela Gossow's lead vocal debut), which features the incredible track Ravenous. I enjoyed the subsequent albums, but if I'm completely honest, started to lose interest in the band a little more each time.

When War Eternal came out, it totally blew me away, and I think it was their best album to date, and totally rekindled my love for Arch Enemy. The big question was, could the follow up match it, or even surpass it?

Will To Power holds no prisoners. It's full of the brutal Thrash and technical Metal that we've come to expect from Arch Enemy, thanks to the writing talents of lead guitarist Michael Amott. However, this time, there is definitely more of a melodic Power Metal influence in the music. The World Is Yours has a grandiose chorus that reminds me of bands like Virgin Steele, except with a Death Metal vocal style, and Dreams Of Retribution brings to mind a really pissed off version of Stratovarius.

The production is very polished, and brings out the precision of the playing without compromising the crushing heaviness. I think it's the most commercial album they've done so far, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Alissa White-Gluz has an amazing singing voice, and her clean vocals at the start of Reason To Believe showcases her ability to shine in different stylistic areas, and brings a new dimension to Arch Enemy. Some of the lyrics on the record may be a little cringey for older listeners, but I'm sure they're empowering for angry kids, for example, The Eagle Flies Alone. In fairness, that's where this album strikes gold. Not only is it a very strong Heavy Metal album, but it's guaranteed to be a 'gateway album' for teenagers, exposing the younger generation to Extreme Metal for the first time.

Will To Power may be a little too commercial sounding for older fans who prefer the band's earlier Melodic Death Metal style, but I'm sure fans of the previous record will thoroughly enjoy this one. I really enjoyed it, but I can't say if it's my favourite of theirs yet. Only time will tell.


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