Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
M. Brisson | 12/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm seeing a lot of negative reviews for this album, but I believe something different is at work here. Please read on.
I've been a fan of Arch Enemy since the Burning Bridges days. I caught their very first U.S. performance, which was in Waunakee, Wisconsin of all places (I figured they would start on the east coast and work their way west), opening for Nevermore on their Dreaming Neon Black tour. I think my girlfriend at the time and I were the only ones standing at the gate screaming with horns up . . . many of those present were locals who didn't understand the greatness they were witnessing. Followed the tour to Milwaukee for seconds the next night. I was on the email list and received word of Angela Gossow's induction into the band. I remember that Mike & Company teased us with sound samples and commented: "soon we'll reveal the one behind the vocals." Along with the rest of the world, my jaw dropped as I learned that it was noneother than . . . the very beautiful Angela Gossow! What a treat! And I remember sending Angela an email to express my congratulations to her and my anticipation of hearing everything to come with her in the band. The down to earth and friendly person she is, she sent me a very nice reply. AE are not only incredibly musicians, they're a great bunch.
There, those are my AE credentials. LOL.
Let's not forget that all the material on this album is over 10 years old, and my experience is that it has been a rarity to hear this material played live anymore. I very much missed stomping along to such favorites as Dead Inside or Pilgrim. While I would have loved to see a re-make of my personal favorites: Eureka and Idolatress, I suppose the band had to draw a line at some point - they can't remake everything, LOL.
I give 4 stars and not 5 because I too would prefer to hear new material. That said, I would never give this album a BAD rating because - as I said above - I think there is somethign at work here.
When Angela came into the band, she had big shoes to fill. AE was still in its "younger" stages and still carving out its niche. 10 years later, AE has grown. I believe this album is a re-interpretation of its older material, as viewed through the eyes of its more experienced band members, and mixing in Angela's vocal style to the overall product. In a sense, this album strikes me as almost therapeutic to the band - a way of connecting Angela to its very roots.
I agree with a few of the comments that have pointed out that some of the songs have lost a little bit of "edge." Well, again, lets not forget that the band undoubtedly sees the world and appreciates music differently than it did 10 years ago. Music, like people, has to evolve and grow. Music should not be a constant, it SHOULD be organic, and I believe that many of the previous reviewers should give this album another try, with "fresh" ears. Try to appreciate it for what it stands for, not for what the originals stood for.
I sincerely hope that AE is using this album to re-visit its roots and warm up its chops in preparation to BLOW US AWAY with a new album in the coming months!"
Classic Arch Enemy, Revisited
Justin Gaines | Northern Virginia | 10/30/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I suppose most people know the history behind this release. Arch Enemy was always one of the better Swedish melodic death metal bands, but it wasn't until they hired a female vocalist (one Angela Gossow, a rarity in a male-dominated genre) that they really received mainstream attention. It didn't hurt that Gossow could belt out throat-shredding growls with the best of her male counterparts. Anyway, several albums into their career with Gossow, the band has decided to revisit some of the songs from the early Arch Enemy albums - Black Earth, Stigmata and Burning Bridges - that featured Johann Liiva on vocals, this time with Gossow singing.
I'm sure this will seem like sacrilege to the old school Arch Enemy fans that can't get into the band's second incarnation, but I think the band struck the right tone with The Root of All Evil (though Anthrax beat them to the punch with their similarly titled and identically themed The Greater of Two Evils). They're not trying to airbrush history. If that were the case I doubt they would have agreed to such elaborate reissues of Stigmata and Burning Bridges earlier this year. They're simply giving fans a chance to hear studio versions of some of the old songs with the current lineup - not to mention more modern technology and production values. Having Fredrik Nordstrom (Dark Tranquillity, In Flames) producing and Andy Sneap (Nevermore, Testament) mixing and mastering the album doesn't hurt either.
As I expected, the songs all sound great. I'm a fan of both versions of Arch Enemy, so I was really looking forward to this album. Gossow sounds amazing as always, and the band does their part to breathe new life into these old songs. I still prefer the original versions, but it's still cool to hear these remakes. I was a little disappointed that they didn't include new versions of "Sinister Mephisto" and "Burning Bridges", as those are probably my favorites from the Liiva era.
For those who think the Liiva albums are the only Arch Enemy albums worth owning, The Root of All Evil is not going to change your mind. Those who only enjoy the Gossow albums will hopefully look at these older songs in a new light, and will maybe even go back and check out the original albums. Arch Enemy fans that enjoy both eras of the band's history are the ones who will get the most out of this release."