Arch Enemy‘s star is at its zenith: the Swedish/Canadian melodeath band has never been more popular, never (co)headlined as many festivals as of late with overwhelming (and over the top) performances. With musicians as guitarist-founder Amott, guitar wizard Loomis (ex-Nevermore) and charismatic vocalist White-Gluz (plus previous growler Gossow behind the wheel as manager), the group exists of quite a cast as well. What does all this say mean for the band’s newest record ‘Will To Power‘? Lets find out!
Earlier this summer, Arch Enemy already released the single “The World Is Yours”. While normally the first song hardly reflects the content of the rest of the album, in this case, this pumped up metal song represents ‘Will To Power’ quite well. Lyrically the track goes on about seizing power, growing into the person you want to be, defeating the status quo and so on. Almost every song on the record revolves around this theme. Take: “A Fight I Must Win”, well the title says it all. I’m sure Arch Enemy decided to stick with accessible and easy on the ear-lyrics to increase the catchiness of the album, however, these lyrics are oversimplified and a tad cringing because of that.
Musically, ‘Will To Power’ never really rises above a standard level. The intro “Set Flame To The Night” still starts of promising with a trademark Arch Enemy guitar lead, and “The Race” is a groovy, death metal-ish tune, the kind that we all know and love this band for. The previously mentioned single and “The Eagle Flies Alone” follow in the lines of War Eternal. Both songs and the many more to follow, demonstrate that sadly enough, the group has opted for a formulaic approach to their songs. Whether you hear track 3 or 7, you are treated easy riffs, a very melodic, stadium metal vibe, a(n) (admittedly great, because come on, these guys can play) solo to spice things up and generic lyrics.
A track that is worth mentioning is “Reason To Believe”. Growler Alissa introduces her clean vocals to Arch Enemy, it is the most daring step of the band on the entire album which deserves a praise. The raw rock vocals of White-Gluz are powerful and you hear she is definitely talented as a clean vocalist (as you can also hear on a couple of Kamelot songs and with The Agonist) yet the power ballad feels completely unrecognizable as an Arch Enemy song.
Arch Enemy may be on top of their game in the live circuit, but ‘Will To Power’ is quite formulaic. It might do the trick during an energetic live show, but as a record to spin at home, I’d prefer something more challenging. If it weren’t for the band name that adorns the cover, I’d hardly be bothered to check it out.
Release date: September 8th, 2017
Record Label: Century Media
1. Set Flame To The Night
2. The Race
3. Blood In The Water
4. The World Is Yours
5. The Eagle Flies Alone
6. Reason To Believe
7. Murder Scene
8. First Day In Hell
10. Dreams Of Retribution
11. My Shadow And I
12. A Fight I Must Win