Arch Enemy’s tenth album, Will to Power, has all the makings of an incredible metal release. Founder and former Carcass guitarist Michael Amott remains at the helm, and his fret board acrobatics are complimented by guitarist Jeff Loomis (formerly of Nevermore). Vocalist Alissa White-Gluz continues to prove her mettle whether accenting melodic passages or gurgling amid rampant chugs, and drummer Daniel Erlandsson and bassist Sharlee D’Angelo demonstrate impeccable execution on the bottom end.
Despite this perfect storm of talent and stand-out tracks like “The Race” and “The Eagle Flies Alone,” Will to Power falls short. How so? Amott utilizes melodic six-string passages that recall his work on Carcass’ legendary Heartwork album, but rather than creating intense twists and turns amid death and destruction, they are plied in concert with ultra-accessible song structures. “Reason to Believe” is the best song that Sebastian Bach and Skid Row never recorded in the ‘90s, and “Dreams of Retribution” is a contrived rallying cry for the disenfranchised. While some of the aforementioned aspects of Will to Power are inherent in Arch Enemy‘s trademark sound, the ferocity the band displayed as recently as 2014’s War Eternal has clearly been subdued.
Heavy metal for the Hot Topic crowd? That’s a bit extreme for Arch Enemy, but the truth is that there is too much melody and too little death on this “melodic death metal” band’s Will to Power.
Will to Power is out September 8 on Century Media Records. Buy it here!