Alright, let’s do this. There’s a brand new ARCH ENEMY album Will to Power dropping on September 8 through Century Media Records, and believe me when I tell you it’s fucking great. Disregard the naysayers, nitpickers, dipshits, and crybabies who just want to dump all over anything and everything this band has done since Wages of Sin, okay? 2014’s War Eternal showed that the group still meant business, and now with Will to Power, their second with vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, you can see that this time the sequel is just as good as the first movie. The addition of Guitar God Jeff Loomis alongside Michael Amott also works wonderfully as the team’s solos are fluid, dynamic, and their riffs are able to move mountains.
Opener “The Race” is off to the, well…races as soon as the starting gun is fired. It grabs you by the throat and simply refuses to let go, while “Blood In the Water” is wonderfully melodic as it maintains its bite. The same can be said for first single “The World Is Yours,” though this one is heavier. And damn if the hook isn’t catchy as hell and solos (both single and dual harmonized) aren’t of the face-melting variety. Another single is next with “The Eagle Flies Alone.” It starts off rather quietly before jumping into an AMON AMARTH-type of tempo and feel. This one wasn’t bad, but didn’t really thrill me. Moving on, we come to the first track to feature *gasp* clean vocals in “Reason to Believe,” a nice tune that takes a swim in the ballad pool, and it works.
“Murder Scene” is a full-on rager, and “First Day In Hell” goes at a gallop. These are quite a one-two combination. I’ve seen a lot of people bitching about the second half of this disc and quite frankly I’d like to know who their crack dealers are, because they’re obviously getting the good stuff. “Dreams of Retribution” clocks in at 6:40 but never once does it feel long, because it’s very fast-paced with a fist-in-the-air bridge and some majestic lead lines that should get most of you pretty pumped. The guitar heaviness really shows up for “My Shadow and I”, but again, not at the expense of a tasty hook or a nifty time change.
Finally we come to closer, album’s best track, and my new favorite song from ARCH ENEMY, ”A Fight I Must Win.” Man, oh man, it’s gonna be tough for me to do this one justice, but I’ll try. With a 6:38 runtime, there is a glorious dual lead intro, followed by this insane wall of sound. According to Alissa, the lyrics are about fighting depression, something many people can relate to. But musically, it feels like such an empowering track. I listened to it four times in a row and when I was done I felt ready to take on anyone and anything. And you know what? It still has that effect on me with every spin. I pray this one is in the setlist on November 1 here in Philly.
All in all Will to Power is a fine addition to the ARCH ENEMY catalog, certain critics be damned. The songs keep things moving, other than one tune that wasn’t a world-beater for me. Oh, and if I haven’t mentioned it ENOUGH, the guitar work is sensational. But aside from that, Alissa White-Gluz is very commanding in her delivery on this record. She makes each song her bitch. Hell, even the intro “Set Flame to the Night” is pretty damn cool, and I hate intros. If you’re a fan and you dug War Eternal, then you’re gonna love this one. That’s what I think, and I know I’m not alone in that assessment. Pick yours up on September 8 and see for yourself.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “A Fight I Must Win”, “The Race”, “First Day In Hell”, “The World Is Yours”, “Dreams of Retribution”