Make no mistake about it, Michael Amott knows what he is doing and will sacrifice everything to make Arch Enemy the world’s most successful commercial melodic death metal band.

The departure of his brother, Chris Ammott, seemed to be a blow to the camp, but he was soon replaced by ex-Arsis axe-slinger Nick Cordle. Cordle doesn’t miss a note here and leaves nothing to desire.  The big blow that sent shock waves across the metal universe this Spring was the announcement that Angela Gossow was stepping down to focus on  managerial duties for the band.  Who could ever replace her? Introducing former The Agonist vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, who does a fantastic job in filling the huge shoes that her predecessor created.  Her gravely death growls go head to head with the legacy that Gossow created and breathe new life into the band.

One thing I noticed after the first few listens to the first album with the reconfigured lineup, War Eternal, is that it has a more symphonic, almost gothic, feel to it at times including flashes of Ammott’s Carcass roots here and there.  It’s inevitable, but fitting.

After the sweet-but-evil introduction of “Tempore Nihil Sanat (Prelude in F Minor)” the band cuts to the jugular with “Never Forgive, Never Forget.”  Its galloping tempo and razor sharp riffs are a perfect introduction to the new band members, and it highlights the talents of the entire band in traditional Arch Enemy form.  The title track is heavy as hell, with a riff that will hooks from the start.  White-Gluz’s vocals are perfection for this formula. Although the song never strays from the band’s traditional  formula, it seems new and fresh.  “As the Pages Burn” really puts the exclamation point on her strength on vocals.  “No More Regrets” is a bit more melodic, but with a  familiar galloping tempo and an atmospheric, almost prog, feel.  “You Will Know My Name” is perhaps the most accessible and melodic track on War Eternal.  It’s slower, but no less heavy. “GraveYard of Dreams,” a light and dreamy instrumental, splits the album in half. “Stolen Life” brings back the Arch Enemy of old with everything expeted from this band.  “Time is Black” is a favorite, hearkening back to Ammott’s Carcass roots in it’s heaviness, melody and seething evil.

Arch Enemy are poised for world domination with War Eternal, and make no mistake , they will accept nothing less!

War Eternal is out now on Century Media Records.

Rating: 5/5 Stars