The hint of some new directions

By now everybody is aware of Arch Enemy, and just what they’re capable of in the realm of melodic Swedeath.

Even if the last couple of albums with Angela Gossow lost some of their bite, the introduction of fresh blood in the form of current vocalist Alissa White-Gluz helped the band re-grasp their former ferocious selves.

Opener ‘Set Flame to the Night’ gently welcomes you to the album with a great hard rock riff that leads into a missing 80s NWOBHM solo towards the end. Straight after ‘The Race’ comes to kick the wall down, a pure thrash rager mixed with their Swedeath roots and Michael Amott’s trademark fast fretwork.

The pace is kept up across the opening bevy of tracks with ‘The World is Yours’ really sticking out with a very subtle, underlying Iron Maiden guitar tone giving the song a feeling of cleanliness. The keyboard re-introduces the riff after a short breakdown towards the end, creating a great focal point.

‘Murder Scene’ opens with a great rumbling bass riff ahead of another power metal-inspired sounding song; in fact, much of this album sounds almost power metal like musically, with only the vocals keeping the melodic death feel. Even that is touch and go on a track like ‘Reason to Believe’ that begins as a genuine ballad before it shakily decides to attempt a transition but with Alissa’s gruff shout over it.

While I cannot find enough praise for the melodic guitar playing that courses throughout this album courtesy of Michael Amott and newest addition Jeff Loomis, the intricacies started being distracting towards the end of Will to Power as the quality begins to dip into repetition and simple, clichéd lyrical themes.

This isn’t a bad album, starting out particularly strongly before it gets repetitive from the halfway mark, but there are some new directions hinted at such as keyboards and clean singing that may rejuvenate Arch Enemy in the future.

1. Set Flame to the Night
2. The Race
3. Blood in the Water
4. The World is Yours
5. The Eagle Flies Alone
6. Reason to Believe
7. Murder Scene
8. First Day in Hell
9. Saturnine
10. Dream of Retribution
11. My Shadow and I
12. A Fight I Must Win