ARCH ENEMY makes a triumphant return with their highly anticipated tenth album War Eternal which has already been released worldwide via Century Media Records. This marks the first release with new front woman Alissa White-Gluz (THE AGONIST) and guitarist Nick Cordle (ARSIS). I strongly feel that the addition of this new blood to the group has pushed them forward to the next chapter of ARCH ENEMY without losing touch of where they come from.
Throughout this offering you hear the ever prevalent classical presence that has always been associated with this group, starting with the opening “Tempore Nihil Sanat (Prelude in F minor)” which translates to Time Heals Nothing in Latin, which is also a lyric to the following “Never Forgive, Never Forget” that opens the album superbly with blast beats, thrashing riffs and plenty of melodic guitar leads. The title track “War Eternal” is next and sees the band returning to a familiar realm for them; this tune has everything that I have come to love about ARCH ENEMY, including the rocking rhythm passages and signature solos. At this point, I can already tell that they made the perfect choice in selecting Alissa as their new lead vocalist, she absolutely kills it!
Moving on to the solemn thrasher “As the Pages Burn” you again notice the familiarity of 2007’s Rise of the Tyrant which I could not stop listening to when it was released; around the two and a half minute mark you will hear what I’m talking about. The super melodic “No More Regrets” reminds me of a mix between CHILDREN OF BODOM and old school MEGADETH by way of the twisting riffs and non-stop melodic shred going on. “You Will Know My Name” tones it down but only for a minute with a clean eerie intro with some tight drum work into more rocking tastiness; this song had me hooked immediately, it’s so full and powerful. Once again Michael Amott showcases his ability to arrange a beautiful interlude that is “Graveyard of Dreams” which essentially splits this disc in half.
Side B starts off with the not-so-memorable “Stolen Life”; don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid jam but it just feels like there’s something missing. “Time Is Black” immediately takes away any uncertainty I previously felt and is one of the strongest tracks on this LP; being the longest song at just over five minutes, these guys and gal manage to chock this one full of groove and variety. “On and On” didn’t catch my attention at first but after a few listens it grew on me; there is plenty of good melody going on and killer, frantic harmonized guitar sections.
My absolute favorite song has to be “Avalanche”, everything about this song is awesome; there is a strong symphonic/neo-classical feel that I just can’t get enough of and Alissa sneaks a hint of her clean singing voice into the chorus in the form of backing vocals. The pre-album closer “Down to Nothing” keeps the energy high with more furious, twisting riffs. This one has a bit more of a darker feel than the rest of the record and ends on a completely metal thrashing mad note! The instrumental “Not Long for This World” gracefully sums the album up having a similar feel as “Intermezzo Liberté” but much slower; the arrangement of War Eternal seems flawless, well done!
I highly recommend this release for all fans of ARCH ENEMY, old and new, and fans of metal in general. I will definitely be picking this one up and so should you!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Never Forgive, Never Forget”, “War Eternal”, “You Will Know My Name”, “Time Is Black”, “Avalanche”, “Down to Nothing”
WRITTEN BY JOR-EL