Arising from the crumbling wreckage of the legendary British Grindcore act Carcass, a truly great Death Metal band was born. That band is Arch Enemy, and their debut opus “Black Earth” [Century Media/Wrong Again Records] is an essential classic. Thankfully, this once extremely hard to find gem was reissued this year by Century Media Records.
Featuring the creative/guitar genius of Michael and Christopher Amott, as well as the apocalyptic growl of vocalist Johan Liiva. This Swedish outfit’s style is a cross between Deathrock and Swedish Death Metal with a strong melodic flair—somewhat akin to fusing early Sentenced with Konkhra. (It’s no wonder that this band is so great.)
The guitars have a killer groove, as blasts of Thrash frenzy are overlaid with flashes of virtuoso style solos. Liiva‘s vocals are superb—powerful, roaring, and crisp growls that have the traumatic clarity of a thunderclap. Arch Enemy is amazing.
Tracks of noteworthy greatness include “Idolatress,” “Bury Me An Angel,” “Eureka,” the crushing “Transfiguration Macabre,” and “Cosmic Retribution.” It also has two bonus tracks—covers of Iron Maiden‘s “The Ides Of March” (instrumental) and “Aces High.”
But my absolute favorite is “Losing Faith.” It’s a sublimely brutal cut about life (love) and the damage it does. “This life that I believed in, sentences me without mercy,” it proclaims. It also says, “Staring down the depths, of the mind once again, regret this way of living, retrospectives in the end, losing faith in heaven, now conform to hell, blindfolds of romance, this pain I can not bear.” This is the poetry of power-chords and putrefying dreams.
In final retrospect, this is one of the best Death Metal releases ever. And it’s the best reissue of the year. Even though it originally saw the light-of-day in 1996, time hasn’t dulled any of its glory. Stay savage. Farewell.
Related Bands: Entombed, Carcass, Carnage, Cadaver, Soilwork, Konkhra, Dominus, Night In Gales, In Flames, Vader, Dismember, Decapitated, etc.
Keep the faith, and the AGGRESSION. War.
Bill Vogel III
Email at: StrangeAeons@hatebox.net
Courtesy of Stranger Aeons Magazine.