ARCH ENEMY - Khaos Legions CD
Century Media Records
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Every since 2001 ARCH ENEMY has kept a fairly tight schedule when it comes to recording a new album. Every two years they have something new out which is pretty damm good. Their last new release (aka: new material) was 2007's Rise of the Tyrant which many considered their pinnacle of success. Two years later they hit a proverbial bump by releasing the The Root of All Evil compilation. I say bump because The Root of All Evil contained various past songs from the band's first three albums when Johan Liiva was still their vocalist, re-recorded with Angela Gossow singing. Now for some people when it comes to ARCH ENEMY, the early and the new shall never meet. Those people considered it a pointless release while others, myself included, thought it was a decent addition. Be that as it may here we finally have some new material from them and after a few spins I am completely not impressed. I consider myself a fan but honestly I wouldn't call any of their releases perfect. What they perform live is really their best material but as far as their full lengths go you have some really great songs and then a few mediocre ones. With Khaos Legions the pattern has been flipped as far as song quality.
I don't expect bands I like to be really progressive from release to release. Instead as long as they can sustain some form of consistency then I like it. Khaos Legions sinks below what this band has achieved in the recent past and to me that sucks. Normally ARCH ENEMY starts off their releases with a powerful track but not this time. Here we have a unnecessary intro, "Khaos Overture", which wasn't very chaotic and is followed by "Yesterday Is Dead and Gone" which sounds like a throwaway cut from two releases ago. From that point on it's fairly average except for the Amott brothers soloing all over the place. There's even a few unwarranted instrumentals on here. "Bloodstained Cross" opens with a riff way to similar to "Blood on Your Hands" and then falls into Michael Amott paying homage to Michael Schenker. Angela Gossow's vocals have also taken a turn for the worse. On Rise of the Tyrant she was really bringing forth those witch vocals that she's famous for doing live. On here it's gone. "No Gods, No Masters" is sadly pop metal which will probably get the crowds excited (?) but it's not "We Will Rise". Songs like "City of the Dead" and "Through the Eyes of a Raven" start out fairly well but a quarter of the way in they sink to melodic metal mediocrity or even Power Metal. "Cruelty Without Beauty" is a fairly heavy duty cut except when the keyboards come in and Angela's vocals sounding like crap.
If there's any highlights, and I'm being gentle, on here there's "Cult of Chaos" which should have been the first song on here. I'll guess and say it will be part of their live set. "Thorns in My Flesh" and "Vengeance Is Mine" are even better, except for the melodic breaks, too bad you have to wade through three quarters of the release to hit the decent cuts. I have to be honest and say even these three tracks are not nearly as good as some of their past work. In fact if there's anything good about this release it's the Amott brothers showing off some fine lead solo work. It will probably get Michael Amott a cover story in Guitar Player magazine although I think he took his love of Michael Schenker a little too far on here. I would say that the only thing missing is a UFO cover but then I found out that there's a digi pack version of this (or some special package) with a SCORPIANS' cover, "The Zoo". Ha! Yeah well Angela is originally from Germany so go figure. Khaos Legions falls to the fans only bin which will be at the bottom of my stack of their releases.