Arch Enemy – Root of All Evil
(Phoning it in today. I wrote a review for this CD last year sometime, and I’m just copying and pasting it here, even though I know it contains information that I’ve already mentioned in early Arch Enemy post’s. But this is my project and I reserve the right to recycle whenever I want.)
Well, here I am sitting in Highland Park on a rotting old bench seeing if I can bang out another one of these things. I was hoping for a picnic table and some shade, or maybe a tree to lean against, but it appears that this park doesn’t have tables in this area, and all the trees have sod surrounding them, so if I chose to sit against one, my ass would get dirty as fuck. Oh well, chalk it up to as a learning experience. Next time I do this, I’ll remember to drive to the park, and bring my chair…though now that I’m sitting here, I’m thinking about moving to a different spot, mainly so I can see my screen better and not be in direct sunlight. Maybe after I finish this. (Edit: almost immediately after I wrote that I ended up moving to some shade under a tree, risking a dirty butt. It was worthwhile decision.)
Today’s random album is Arch Enemy’s ‘Root of All Evil’ CD, a collection of songs from the band’s first two records before Angela Gossow joined the bands, re-recorded with Angela vocals. A decision though not necessarily a bad one, but unnecessary, but I get it. I’m assuming the thought process went something like this; many people only started listening to the band after Angela joined the band, and don’t bother with the albums before her joining. But there are a lot of good tunes from that era of the band that they still like to play live, so why not re-record them with the benefits of better production and with a voice that many more fans find more familiar. At least that is what I suspect someone in the organization thought when they decided to do this record. Either way, that is the direction the band decided to go on that particular album cycle. And I have to say it works, at least for me, because I would never have bothered with the earlier stuff, if it wasn’t for this CD, in fact even though I own one of the earlier records, I couldn’t tell you a song from it. And to be honest, todays listen is the first I’ve listened to this CD in probably 6 or 7 years. I bought this CD right after I moved back to NY in 2009, and it was right on the edge of me caring about this band, so I never really spent that much time with it.
I first came across Arch Enemy back in 2002 when I saw the video for ‘Ravenous’ on MTV 2, and immediately I was hooked. I remember it clearly; I was up visiting my parents for my cousin Jennifer’s wedding, and I was staying up late watching TV when the video came on. Though I was already a couple of years into my metal revival phase at this time, I still wasn’t too impressed with a lot of the new of the new metal that was coming out. But I remember being immediately taken by the thrashy guitar intro to ‘Ravenous’, and when the vocals kicked in, and I saw that it was this adorable woman doing some of the best death metal growls I had ever heard, I was sold immediately. The melodic guitar solos were only the icing on the cake.
Unfortunately, I forgot what the name of the band was rather quickly, so it was a while before I owned anything by them. About a year later I was handed a Century Media compilation record that had ‘Ravenous’ and ‘Heart of Darkness’ on it. I think I was less impressed with ‘Heart of Darkness,’ so it took me a while before I was willing to spend the money any of their CD’s, especially at full price.
In fact, I don’t think it was until around 2005 when I was trying to be a death metal vocalist in my band that I bothered to buy one of their records, ‘Anthems of Rebellion’ and I wasn’t that impressed with it. Don’t get me wrong; I thought it was a good record; I just wasn’t that enthralled by it. It wasn’t until a couple of years later when I was working at DISH Network that I decided to spend more time with them, and I bought ‘Dooms Day Machine’ that I got into the band.
By this time Angela was my celebrity crush and I think I loved the band more for the fact that she was their singer than it was about the music. Now, of course, that’s not quite true, because without the skill level of the musicians of this band, no singer, no matter how cute she is will result in me buying everything they put out.
What I loved about this band was their focus on killer death metal riffs contrasted with their melodic guitar solos and harmonies with Angela’s aggressive death metal vocals on top, creates a dynamic I find compelling. And for a couple of years there, I ate up everything I could get my hands on by this band. They were everything I wanted in a metal band.
But for whatever reason, I eventually started to care less and less about them, and a lot of other metal bands too. I suspect that a huge part of it was when I moved back to NY in 2009, I started hanging out with my friends from high school, who weren’t as into metal as maybe my friends in Pittsburgh were. Hanging out them rekindled my love and appreciation of classic rock and progressive rock. Another contributing factor is after a while a lot of these bands records all started to sound the same to me. Unless they do like what Opeth did and take a complete left turn 20 yrs into their career, after a while, it seems you’re listening to the same record over and over again. And my interest in them wanes, and I just end up sticking with the one or two albums that got me into them in the first place. That is what happened with this band. Though I have listened to their last two studio albums in their entirety a couple of times, I never went out and bought them, and have no interest in listening to them Spotify either. They’re just not where I’m at right now when it comes to music.
But who knows, there may come a time in the future where I am all of a sudden obsessed with a new wave of metal bands that sing to my thrash sensibilities and I’ll find myself revisiting all these old Arch Enemy albums and loving them even more. I honestly find it less likely to happen, but you never know.