Thursday, July 21, 2011

Arch Enemy - Khaos Legions

Album after album I try to like Arch Enemy but it just doesn't happen.  Khaos Legions is no exception. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to listen to it twice now and I can't make it more than 5 or 6 tracks in.  It's just not my thing. The whole thing just sounds so clean, polished and over-produced.  I'm not some kind of DIY purist or troo kvlt Black Metal devotee but I do lean towards albums that I can at least envision outside of a studio.
No one can doubt that Mike Amott is a very talented guitarist and songwriter. And there is also no doubt Angela Gossow has a serious set of pipes. But that doesn't make the album pleasing to me. A few years ago I was more impressed with the band due to the female "death metal" vocals. But it was more of a novelty than anything. Since then, I've been introduced to a plethora of extreme female vocalists that I find much more interesting/talented (Grace Perry, Kat Katz, Amber Valentine, Laura Pleasants, etc)
I think of Arch Enemy as metal for not quite metalheads. I wouldn't expect a Nickledick fan to like it but other than Gossow there isn't really much that is all that extreme about it. Melody abounds and there is really nothing wrong with that in and of itself but the way it's packaged in Khaos Legions just doesn't do anything for me.
There is obviously a market for this because they do sell lots of records. But you could look at it this way, Arch Enemy are like supermarket vegetables. All shiny and perfect and consistent and they look good on the shelf, ready for consumption by the mindless masses. But I prefer my veggies from the roadside stand. They might not look as nice, they might have some dirt on them, but you are more engaged with the farmer (music) and they have more flavour!
(Take this review, omit Angela Gossow and Mike Amott, swap band names and bam! My review of In Flames - Sounds of a Playground Fading)
To put this in perspective, after I pushed this away, I listened to Disma - Towards the Megalith. Nothing sterile about that.

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