REVIEW: Arch Enemy – Will To Power by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy

Swedish melodic death metallers Arch Enemy are back with their tenth album and follow up to the successful 2014 ‘War Eternal’ which saw new vocalist Alissa White-Gluz’s take to the helm, and was the first album in thirteen years to feature a new line-up after former long-time vocalist Angela Gossow stepped down. The transition went well and she was quickly accepted by fans. With this new album ‘Will To Power’, it is the first album to feature respected guitarist Jeff Loomis who joined in 2014 and notably is the first to incorporate more clean vocals throughout, again showing off Alissa’s wide talents and the evolution of Arch Enemy after their two-decade career.

Opening song ‘Set Flame To The Night’ is a scene setter, with voices and sirens accompanied by resonant fast and alarming guitars that build suspense and foreboding…

‘The Race’ furiously kicks off with Alissa White-Gluz’s fierce screamed vocals and urgent guitars. The guitar work, especially towards the end, carries over the creepy vibes seen in the opener. It features crashing riffs and rapid drums throughout, this is a solid and savage first full offering and sets the bar high.

‘Blood In The Water’ keeps the momentum and blood running hot, starting with effective manic hushed tones from Alissa, helping to show off her many capabilities and range. It is very melodic with skilful guitar work throughout which you would expect from the likes of original guitarist Michael Amott and new well-renowned guitarist Jeff Loomis, they make quite the formidable axe players to please the senses and help achieve a massive sound.

The blistering ‘The World Is Ours’ is relentless and a sure metal anthem, that will be a fan favourite with an epic resonant sound and more glorious guitars, this has everything you would want, with a nice balance of heaviness with an optimistic triumphant sound.

New single ‘The Eagle Flies Alone’ however has an instantly more sombre feel and is very atmospheric with driven riffs that are memorable and high-powered. The whole song soars effortlessly, again displaying a sonically pleasing yet aggressive offering that is all consuming.

‘Reason To Believe’ opens on a beautiful clean intro with wistful emotive vocals before things intensify, with Alissa’s purposeful shouts, which are some of the best yet. The transition from calm to forceful is intelligible and highly effective.

‘Murder Scene’ picks up the pace again, going full throttle thrash style at shattering speeds with far reaching wild and tuneful impressive guitars that dazzle. While ‘First Day In Hell’ has a dark and suspenseful presence as you would expect which progresses with hard hitting catchy riffs, the whole song rampages in devilish style.

After another eerie atmospheric interlude with ‘Saturnine’ the longest song of the album, ‘Dreams Of Retribution’ blasts off, with progressive elements and possesses a massive and textured sound, aided by the effects and varied instruments, resulting in a grandiose affair.

‘My Shadow And I’ goes back to straight up in your face brutality with demonic hellish vocals and unstoppable instruments. The final song ‘A Fight I Must Win’ is hopeful yet solemn with resonant guitars and synths creating a huge ambience. The instrumentation is dark but never loses its dynamic melodies and Alissa’s fierce vocals are on point, blending perfectly with the majestic brutal sounds, before ending on a dramatic and memorable note. A fitting way to end this stunning collection of songs.

This is a powerful, highly charged and ambient album, which is a sonic masterpiece. The song writing and compositions are impressive and consistent throughout. They are in their element with striking instrumentation placed with Alissa’s extensive vocals, each complimenting each other wonderfully. The band have faced some challenges but they continue to prove that they are still going strong and expanding their sound and capabilities further after all this time.

SCORE: 5/5

‘Will To Power’ Is Out September 8th.

#darkartconspiracy #metal #music #review


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