Arch Enemy - Khaos Legions
Century Media
Melodic Death Metal
14 songs (54:41)
Release year: 2011
Arch Enemy, Century Media
Reviewed by Tony
Album of the month
Ever drink an over-carbonated soda? You know that feeling where it feels like you are swallowing more air than flavor and you wasted you $1.50 on this Dr. Pepper? It is still Dr. Pepper, an excellent beverage, but there’s just something missing. It feels hollow to you. This is the feeling I get when I listen to Arch Enemy’s latest, Khaos Legions. It is good, the musicianship is once again up to standard for them, and I always preferred Angela over Johann Liiva, unlike many on MR, but something feels like its missing. When I listen to Extreme Metal, I want to be blanketed with an overwhelming guitar sound, a bass that rocks my speakers, and a drum sound that could act as a pacemaker in an emergency. The guitar sound needed to be buzzier in my opinion, however so many will disagree. Khaos Legions opens properly after an instrumental with Yesterday is Dead and Gone. This track is decent. The riffs are kind of dated, and that hollowness is definitely there, but the musicianship regardless is solid. The chorus did not either make an attempt at melody or brutality, with the post chorus guitar salvo cleaning up the mess.

The lead sound is higher quality than the riffs, and the deepest palm muted notes still sound excellent, leading me to think that the mids were cut in production. The much heavier Bloodstained Cross is next with some more dense riffs to accompany better vocals from Angela. I feel that Angela is a better vocalist when she is singing over faster, more bass filled rhythms such as the fast double bass during the initial verse on Bloodstained Cross. Sometimes I feel that Arch Enemy slow down their choruses to purposely play melodic passages. This oft times feels forced and would be better if their songwriting let flow more. However, the deep and passionate solo following one of the choruses makes up for this. The finale of Bloodstained Cross is a lesson in melodic guitar.

Quite honestly I think that Khaos Legions blows Rise of the Tyrant completely out of the water. One of the best parts of the album that I feel MR underrated, Doomsday Machine is that it attacks and doesn’t let up for the first few songs, employing scorching solos along with well wrought leads. My first exposure to the band was the song Nemesis which at time surprised me with its utter virulence. Add to that that I thought Angela was a man and I was even more excited about delving into Arch Enemy. Khaos Legions does this same thing. It bursts through the gate and doesn’t relent. Even the more ballad-ish songs such as No Gods, No Masters has a good feel to it. Through the Eyes of a Raven has some of the darkest melodies Arch Enemy have ever conjured. It is safe to say it’s fantastic that the Amott brothers have been reunited. For Chris to leave the band to go to school to me was stupid. Unless he’s going to be a brain surgeon he should have plied his talents on stage this whole time, not in the classroom. It’s like a high school pitcher who has immediate big league potential but goes to college for a degree when they could retire a multi-millionaire at 35. Fools. Angela’s vocals are not as raw or unadulterated but they are as harsh and brutal as ever. I thought they left them too much alone on their previous effort, to the point where you could hear her literally gasping for air (bridge in Blood on Your Hands. ).

This is a LONG album. Very rarely do you see 14 tracks on a Metal album. As previously stated, in portions the density of the guitar tone can be incomplete and hollow, but on Through the Eyes of a Raven the band sound more like a Brutal act with the addition of Melo-Death level guitar shredding. This, is a brilliant song and it is as heavy as Arch Enemy have ever been.

There are quite a few instrumental interludes here and there much like every other track on Judas Priest’s Nostradamus. Cult of Chaos is the tenth track. This track is another testament that Arch Enemy are taking their talents a step further. I look for aggression, groove, and fiery guitar solos more than anything in Melodic Death Metal. This album brings it all. The next few tracks close the album brilliantly, bringing a songwriting flair and heavy coherence not seen since Wages of Sin. This is very easily the aforementioned albums closest rival in the Angela era. Arch Enemy made it up to me. I bought their previous BRAND NEW and it skipped to Hell and I didn’t like the copy I downloaded anyway. This is a new bridge, a new barometer in the brutality scale of Arch Enemy. You won’t sleep or bore with this in your player. Enjoy.

Killing Songs :
Bloodstained Cross, No Gods, No Masters, Through the Eyes of a Raven, Cult of Chaos
Tony quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Arch Enemy that we have reviewed:
Arch Enemy - War Eternal reviewed by Joel and quoted 89 / 100
Arch Enemy - Stigmata reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Arch Enemy - Tyrants Of The Rising Sun - Live In Japan reviewed by Pete and quoted no quote
Arch Enemy - Rise Of The Tyrant reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 90 / 100
Arch Enemy - Black Earth reviewed by Crims and quoted 93 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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