As female metalheads, we acknowledge that men dominate our scene and personally I’ve never had any issues with it. They have created works of art that will endure a lifetime, served as the soundtrack to some of our favourite moments, and influenced us greatly. However, when a woman is creating heavy metal that can compete with the best of the best, we are immediately proud.
Angela Gossow, the original lead singer for the Swedish melodic death metal band Arch Enemy carved a path for many. As Gossow fronted the band from 2000-2014, this covered my seminal listening years and I loved the moment where many would say ‘wait, this is a female singing?!’. Canadian Alissa White-Glutz took over the vocal reigns in 2014 and she had big shoes to fill but has done so effortlessly. Gossow still remains a business manager for the band, and no doubt has watched on proudly as Alissa carries on the legacy.
Releasing 6 singles before the full album could make many question if Arch Enemy has dropped their strongest songs leaving the fillers behind, but this album is all killer, no filler!
Opening Arch Enemy’s 11th studio album Deceivers, is Handshake with Hell, the intro builds and you’re instantly picturing lights illuminating a stage as they all enter. It is a blindingly heavy track, an opener to show the world they are not here to mess about! To the tail end of the track, the drums of Daniel Erlandsson are stripped back momentarily for Alissa to show off her clean vocals.
Deceiver, Deceiver will make all those who partake in circle pits rejoice. It’s fast, it’s heavy, and only lets up to get heavier. Somehow Arch Enemy has perfected making the headbangers, the circle pit runners and the singers in heavy metal crowds happy within a single track. Alissa’s vocals keep blowing me away, from the low gutturals to a higher pitched scream they have only grown stronger over the years. Deceiver, Deceiver was released in October of 2021 and has a film clip to match. At the time, the album had not yet been announced and was released along with House of Mirrors and marketed as standalone singles.
In The Eye of the Storm was the first track I heard from the new album and I could go to battle with this song. As Alissa bellows ‘The chase is on, the traps are set..’ even sitting at my desk, my fist is high. Released on July 14th, the track already amassing half a million streams. This one was written for a live setting, and personally, I cannot wait to experience it.
The combination of two of metal’s most loved axe men Jeff Loomis and Michael Amott creates an atmosphere only possible by a true musical connection.
My stand-out track on the album will have to be The Watcher. It’s aggressive and fast, giving Erlandsson a chance to really show off. The verses are thrashy leading into melodic choruses, where the guitars harmonise with the vocals before a quick tempo change that would make power metal fans extremely happy. The outro flows beautifully into Poisoned Arrow a brief guitar lick offers the listener a momentarily dip in the assault from the first 4 tracks. The song is constructed as a story and flows and ebbs superbly.
The doom that Spreading Black Wings provides is true Arch Enemy. Each member is a true professional playing their instrument to near perfection, and this creates a seamless track where they are as one. Too many times metal bands are pushing the lead guitar to the front, or the vocals over the drums yet the production on this album is fantastic. Producer Jacob Hansen has worked with artists such as Volbeat, Amaranthe, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Epica to name a few. He even lends his vocals to Sunset Over The Empire.
The final two tracks are not here to carefully deliver you to a peaceful conclusion. Arch Enemy is not done with us yet! One Last Time nearly feels more cheerful. The chorus would be crisp, high notes if Arch Enemy were any other band, but Alissa is not any other vocalist. Her loud, heavy vocals remain consistent throughout, barely dipping to murmur ‘patience is running out, It’s wearing thin, seems like I’m slipping, losing ground’, the collaboration between Alissa’s vocals and the guitars continues to impress me. Sharlee D’Angelo, Arch Enemy’s bass player, is considerably more noticeable in this track and has always been a backbone of the band’s low end.
Jeff Loomis’ superb leads on the final song, Exiled from Earth, add a lot of richness and vibrancy. I can see this being a terrific ending for the live performance because it simultaneously appears to wind things down and leave you wanting more at the same time. It is anthemic and approachable, like most of this record.
I am so glad I gave Deceivers a listen because it is all I could have hoped for in an Arch Enemy record. Being a metal DJ for so long temporarily turned me away from them, but this is a perfect reunion. Deceiver is a terrific album that honours Arch Enemy‘s past and shows off its continuing strength.
It is such a strong record that has greatly reignited my enthusiasm for the group and look forward to their return to Australian shores as they have not been here since 2018 appearing on Download Festival and accompanying headline club shows.
May Arch Enemy’s new album Deceivers be the soundtrack to your weekend with your air guitar strapped on tight.