In the four years since Arch Enemy’s last new studio album (not counting The Root of All Evil, which was re-recordings of songs from the band’s first three, pre-Angela Gossow, LPs), I may have forgotten how diverse this group can be. There are times here when the drumming is very intense, such as most of the almost Black Metal sounding “Through the Eyes of a Raven,” and occasionally galloping like classic Iron Maiden, but then many other moments where it’s kind of more in a Hard Rock vein. I don’t mean to imply that the variety is necessarily bad, but there were times when I felt that the extremity could have been turned up. Thinking back now, maybe that wouldn’t even be a good idea. In any case, Khaos Legions is somehow instantly memorable, and the songwriting and musicianship on display here are as stunning as the nearly flawless production. Check out the simple, mournful guitar solo at about 3:30 into “City of the Dead” for an amazing example of how less can truly be more. And listen to the clearly audible basslines throughout the album for more being more. Angela’s easily-understandable raspy snarl is unloved by some, but I’ve never had a problem with it or her (even though she may have the most produced vocals this side of Dani Filth), and she really cuts loose a time or two, venturing into rawer territory for an instant. The only thing not to like about this LP is that there are (at least) four different versions of it: The normal CD, with 14 tracks; the Mediabook edition, with a second disc containing four cover songs; the iTunes download with bonus live track; and of course the Japanese CD with two exclusive songs. This multiple-different-versions-of-the-same-album bullshit seems to be getting more and more commonplace, and I can’t be the only one who hates paying for something only to find out that I’m missing part of it.
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Mike Wallace said:
I must say I think it is the best stuff they have done. It is a good fucking piece of work, and a must have for any metal fan.
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