Archive for the ‘Albums’ Category

Arch Enemy – Black Earth

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Black Earth is the first release from one of my favorite bands, Arch Enemy. At this point in the band’s history, they were essentially a solo project of guitarist Michael Amott. Interestingly enough, the core of the band was essentially the same as the current line up, missing only Sharlee D’Angelo, and with Johan Liiva on vocals.

I was somewhat familiar with the work of this incarnation of the band, as my copy of Wages of Sin came with a bonus disc featuring selected rare tracks with Liiva on vocals, which I didn’t get into at first. After I watched the Tyrants of the Rising Sun concert DVD, I realized that I really enjoyed some of the earlier work (Silverwing and Dark Insanity), so I revisited the bonus disc from Wages of Sin, and it stuck.

So, I recently picked up Black Earth. While you could compare it Carcass, there is a different feel involved. I’m not enough of a metal expert to specify the genres, but early Arch Enemy has more of a melodic feel to it (although not to the extent of their later releases).

Still, this album punishes. Very, very thick riffage, and with an overall production that is much darker and raw than on later releases. I still enjoy later Arch Enemy more, but this is a very nice change of pace.

King’s X – XV

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Apparently, I haven’t been reviewing enough King’s X, so having listened to the latest release by King’s X, “XV” for a week or so, I thought I’d jot down my thoughts.

More so than the other King’s X albums I’ve listened to, there seems to be a more definitive split between the songs on this one; the songs sung by bassist Dug Pinnick, and the songs sung by everyone else (either guitarist Ty Tabor or drummer Jerry Gaskill, I’m not exactly sure). Songs like “Julie” and “Repeating Myself” are beautiful songs, but you’d have a difficult time convincing somebody that they came from the same band that did “Move” and “Go Tell Somebody”. This isn’t a bad thing, it just makes the album slightly incongruent. Overall, I don’t think it’s as strong as Ogre Tones, but it’s still a very enjoyable album.

Arch Enemy – Doomsday Machine

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Arch Enemy is one of my favorite metal bands, and Doomsday Machine was the first of their albums that I owned. This is a pretty important album for me, as it got me back into listening to metal again, a genre that I had sadly neglected for many, many years. I am a huge Arch Enemy nerd now. I am, in fact, a member of their fan club.

Although this is the first Arch Enemy album I purchased, I actually listen to it the least. I’m not sure why that is; probably because I listened to it for two solid weeks when I first purchased it. It’s probably the most “accessible” of the Arch Enemy releases, with a fantastic amount of variation between songs – “Hybrids of Steel” has moments that would make Rush proud. It also features live staple “Nemesis” (which is also the first Arch Enemy song I ever heard), which has a good old fashioned shout along chorus. It’s a solid melodic metal album. GO BUY IT NOW.

Interestingly, this one isn’t all that popular with a lot of metal fans. It’s considered “too commercial”, which is amusing to me, as up to that point, it was by far the heaviest thing I’d listened to in ten years.

I should also mention that singer Angela Gossow (my death metal girlfriend)* is responsible for finally getting me to appreciate, respect, and expect harsh death metal vocals.

And for that, I thank you.

* My wife and I do this thing where we refer to a celebrity as our “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” of a specific medium. She has a TV boyfriend, a movie boyfriend, etc. I just happen to have a death metal girlfriend. It’s fun.