Written By: Noam Asulin
Album review - Arch Enemy - Deceivers
Release date - 12.8.2022
Record company - Century Media
Genre - Melodic Death Metal
This is the 11th studio album of the Swedish melodeath band "Arch Enemy".
"Arch Enemy" was founded in Hamstard, Sweden. Originally it was a supergroup that included members from the bands "Carcass, "Armageddon", "Carnage" and more. The band was founded in 1995 by Michael Amott - the lead guitarist of "Carcass" and who was part of their album "Heartwork" and by singer Johan Liiva, both originally from a death metal band called "Carnage".
The band started to form adding guitarist Christopher Amott (Michael's younger brother) and drummer Daniel Erlandsson.
The group's debut album "Black Earth" was released in 1996 and already then Michael Amott took the lead, writing most of the songs on the album, playing lead and rhythm guitar, bass guitar, producing and mixing for the album. In 1999 bassist Sharlee D'Angelo joined the band, while in 2000 vocalist Johan Liiva left the band and was replaced by German singer Angela Gossow, who in 2012 decided to retire from singing and moved to manage the band. Angela was the one who strongly recommended the Canadian Alissa White-Gluz as a singer, then the vocalist of "The Agonist".
The entry of Alissa White-Gluz into the band in 2014 and the album "War Eternal", which was also released in the same year, set new standards, when at the same time a significant reinforcement player was added in the form of Jeff Loomis, guitarist of "Nevermore", who replaced Nick Cordle, "Arsis" guitarist, who was called to flag as a replacement for Christopher Amott, who is currently the guitarist of the Swedish band "Dark Tranquility".
So far the band has released three albums with Alissa White-Gluz, including the reviewed album.
Upon joining the band, Alissa White-Gluz brought something new to the band that was not present during Angela's time. Clean singing which in my eyes only adds to the diversity and sound.
"Deceivers" provides us with more of the same melodic death metal that we are used to getting from the band, strong riffs, soaring lead guitars, and death vocals, all of which, we have already gotten used to getting from "Arch Enemy", especially after Alyssa and Jeff Loomis joined the band. But still, this album feels a little different to me. Alyssa's vocals are exceptional as always, but this time the songs seem to have been written to give her the space she's always needed and she uses that space to the fullest, with incredible singing abilities that have simply improved miraculously from the previous albums. It is especially enjoyable to listen to Alyssa sing her clean vocals that add such important diversity to the band's sound.
The band has released six singles from the album so far, the first "Deceiver, Deceiver" was released in October 2021 and the last "The Watcher" was released on August 14, 2022.
The album starts with "Handshake With Hell" and there's a reason for that. The band knew very well why it was necessary to open the album with this song. "Handshake With Hell" shows what this album is going to sound like and sets the tone for what we're going to get next. Heavy, fast, heavy guitars and with infectious solos. This is one of the band's longest songs. One of the first things you notice when you listen to it is Alyssa's singing and growling abilities. They simply improved and for me she is the added value of the album that makes it one of their best so far. It's a kicking song and very pleasant to the ear.
The eighth song "Spreading Black Wings" has not yet been released as a single, but it is a very special song written in memory of Lars-Göran Petrov, the lead singer of the band "Entombed", who died in March 2021 from cancer and is only 49 years old.
The album maintains a very high level of writing and performing ability throughout and as I mentioned it is, in my opinion, one of the band's best so far, but that is with the exception of two sections that in my opinion fall short of all the rest.
The first, is the instrumental piece "Mourning Star" which, despite its melodies, is, in my opinion, a kind of "filler". It is not new that "Arch Enemy" incorporates instrumental sections in its albums, but mostly these tracks add to the flow of the album or are meant as interludes between the songs, and as such, they have meaning and are interesting to listen to. This is not the case with "Mourning Star", which sounds a bit casual and unrelated to the album.
The second, is the track that comes right after it - "One Last Time", which nevertheless manages to excite a little, especially in the solo during the C-Part.
In conclusion, most of the album, as a whole is very melodic and yet very heavy, perhaps the band's heaviest ever. Alyssa continues to improve and proves how good she is, both in the clean vocals and the powerful growls, which in my opinion show how versatile she is. There is no doubt that this is a classic "Arch Enemy" album, with Michael's solos being a kind of "sound signature" associated with the band. However, songs like the opening song "Handshake with Hell" show that the band is interested in developing and presenting slightly different sides of themselves and that is worthy of appreciation in my opinion.
The band's drummer, Daniel Erlandsson is my favorite drummer. It's hard for me to explain why, but I really relate to his style of playing and I really enjoy his powerful and precise drumming. Daniel is also responsible for the effects, and the keyboards, he co-produced the album and is the band's guitar and bass technician, so he turns out to be a kind of multi-talent whose contribution to the band is tremendous.
Before ending, I must refer to the album cover, which in my opinion is a bit boring and one-dimensional, and does not at all indicate the material inside. I would expect such a beautiful, dynamic, rich, and powerful album to have a cover that would attract the eye with its color and diversity.
"Deceivers" by "Arch Enemy" is a tight and good melodic album that will surely be a pleasure for every fan of the band, but also for everyone who loves the genre. In my opinion, this album is easily one of their best so far...