Arch Enemy – Doomsday Machine

The slow but steady decline of Arch Enemy since its inception (or, arguably, since the arrival of one Angela Gossow on the scene) is consistently one of the most depressing yet banal stories in the metal scene today. From their original height (above average melodic death metal), they’ve taken a dramatic turn for the worse over the years, culminating in a string of post-Axelsson albums that, shall we say, leave much to be desired. While when I had purchased this album I knew full well that it was going to be no tour de force, nothing had prepared me for the entirely new level of odium I was about to experience.

Is this a joke? Really, is this a joke? Are we supposed to take this cluttered collection of half-baked concepts, littered with the remains of b-side metalcore riffing and melodramatic vocalizations seriously? Jesus, what exactly happened here? While describing Gossow-era Arch Enemy as brilliant would be a dramatic stretch at the best of times, they were certainly able to string a few decent songs together per album (‘Silent Wars’, ‘Ravenous’, etc.), but here they seem completely and utterly devoid of all the talent that they had expressed in their previous albums, leaving them a bitter, shrunken shell, a Gothenburg husk, if you will, of what they used to be.

Starting off with the tepid instrumental ‘Enter The Machine’, the album doesn’t seem utterly terrible at first glance; just dramatically uninspired and lacking the asskicking propensity of previous releases. But hey, it’s just the first song, correct? While ‘Taking Back My Soul’ is pretty bad, we can’t always have a ‘Silent Wars’ to tide us over for the meat of the composition, can we? Well, ‘Nemesis’ should quickly shatter any dreams you had of using superlatives such as ‘decent’ or ‘mediocre’ in conjunction with this album. Let us look at the stunningly introspective lyrics at work here: ‘One for all/All for one/We are strong/We are one’. Masterful, to be sure, but I think it falls just short of, I don’t know, ‘Get low/get low get low get low get low get low get low’.

The album, of course, continues roughly in the same vein. Gossow’s growls are particularly kitten-like on this album, the Amott brothers’ guitarwork, while somewhat technical, fails to inspire even the slightest bit of emotion or power in the listener, despite the overtly slick and defined production here. Really, this album seems poppier and more accessible than anything they’ve done before. While attributes such as this are something that certain bands are able to pull off without seeming cheesy, not in this case: the half-riffing that fills ‘My Apocalypse’, with its weird, bleepy high chords followed by predictable E string chugging will prove that nicely. Drumming in similarly binary in nature; rock beat, rock beat, double bass, ignore. There’s really not much more to it at all. Surely a disappointment for Arch Enemy that I fear they may never recover from.



~ by noktorn on March 6, 2007.

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