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Album Review // 2022-08-17

Arch Enemy

Deceivers

Released: 2022-08-12


It's crazy - this band is 25 years old. Arch Enemy is a great name for a band with an aggressive message. Makes me think of the last boss in a game, which obviously has qualities that make them difficult to beat.

Written during the pandemic, the band felt they needed to be working on this album to pull them through. With a focus on making good, memorable songs, not just being fast, or heavy. 

Moving through three vocalists may have lost and gained them some fans. I like the attitude of the band being a group effort, and not just about Alissa, which makes sense to me. But on the subject of Alissa, I think she is where she should be. She seems to fit in well with the music, and with the band.

Deceivers, the album name is something everyone can identify with. Was the band thinking of anyone specifically, or were there many that could fit this description?

Album Art

The two faces look very uninviting and untrustworthy. One like a mask at a masquerade (which I have never found appealing, only creepy), and then the demonic-looking horned creature, also a symbol of a figure not to be trusted. The two-headed snake seems like a representation of opposition, both heads with their own brains, wanting different things. The woman on the right is in distress. It is interesting how her face looks like it can be peeled right off, indicating that though she seems upset, she is also being deceptive. Makes me think of the warning I was given as a child about how looks can be deceiving. The most beautiful thing to look at, could actually be the most terrible, ill-intentioned thing. I think this style of artwork makes it feel old, and three-dimensional. It makes it feel like we are looking at sculptures.

Mood

Though the mood of the lyrics is fairly dire straights, one where you want to leave the place you live because the state is so bad, the presentation is that of a story unfolding. I picture a street narrator or raconteur telling stories to the people passing by with great conviction. The people are unsure if they should believe the stories because they sound chilling if taken literally, but the story is told so well that they keep the thought in their minds as they walk by. 

Vocals

I feel like these vocals are very stable, and unwavering. They are also pretty predictable. The majority of the time the presentation is growly (both high and low growls). Alissa shows her higher vocals in House of Mirrors, and her singing voice in the opening song, Handshake With Hell, but nothing made me feel surprised here. She was solidly her. Limited background chanting, as head in Spreading Black WIngs, which isn't my favourite, but was short-lived. I, personally, like the higher growling she does in this song. It works very well with the music. Very well enunciated, so you can actually make out the words here, even during growls.

Music

The music is always moving forward, never stuck, though the pace does change. The guitar riffs seem to bring an upbeat nature in many songs. There is no denying talent here. I am not big into solos, and some songs felt like back to back solos, but hey, why not, if you can do it? Though I have to admit, in some songs, such as The Watcher, my favourite part actually was the solo. There is a catchiness that feels very tied to rock music, sometimes it sways into epic territory and makes me think of power metal (such as in The Watcher).

Handshake With Hell

It seems like a fantasy of leaving the world as we know it, fleeing pain and regret, and going to the underworld.

Down here for eternity
Where fire and ice meet
You burnt the world above
We rule the world beneath

And after all is said and done
Before a new day has begun
Bid your worries all goodbye
Flee the pan, into the fire!

Deceiver, Deceiver

We have all been deceived in our life. Deception is so planned and carefully laid out. That is probably why it hurts if you fall prey to it.

Deceiver, deceiver
My head still spinning from your Judas kiss
Deceiver, deceiver
Not one thing about you I will miss

You put on a great act, I'll give you that
Go on and take a bow you despicable rat
Accept the applause, you king of whores
This is your grand finale

In The Eye of The Storm

Sounds like the storm is some kind of control that could overtake you, if you aren't vigilant. Let's face it, there is always someone trying to be in control, take over.

The chase is on, the traps are set
Won’t let them drag me back there again
The ball on that chain, it bears my name
To tame the beast in me
I still believe in life before death
It fuels the fire in me

I will run ’til I die
Under these black skies
Tyrannic law, a razor claw
In the eye of the storm

The Watcher

The rebel angel makes me think of Satan or a fallen angel. Staying with the theme of this album, this angel is probably a symbol of great deception, maybe looking and presenting beautifully. It seems to be the end of all things, including this watcher.

Don't fear the watcher, sentinel from the skies above
The rebel angel sees through all of us
Beware the watcher, the earth is erased in flood
The rebel angel laughs and falls at last
At last

Poisoned Arrow

I think this is taking about some kind of relationship that could be trusted at one point, but now it is poisonous, and an arrow, which together are designed to kill.

Silent shadows a broken dream
Empty picture that we became
Know where it's needed the stories in her eyes
A crack in the mirror too many lies
Deep footsteps mare the snow
Traces of yesterday where it went to go
We never meant to cause pain or sorrow
Now every word a poisoned arrow

Is it worth hiding from or even dying for 
Feeling is gone

Sunset Over The Empire

I think this speaks to the fact that there is always corruption in a group of leaders. There is always a way someone is trying to gain, and it isn't necessarily thinking of the better good.

Words turned to war, brother fighting brother
Another false truce, as the people die
The fate of the nation forever changed
Behold - the fiery end is nigh
Behind closed doors, corruption wins
The power echelon prepares their task
One step forward, two stabs in the back
Revolution is a mere change of masks?

House of Mirrors

Now it seems you are under surveillance. Maybe we are questioning our part in things? Are you also a deceiver? Maybe there is something you want to hide?

To open is to invite the unknown
Into flood your once square home
The walls silently watch you
Are you watching them back?
Windows to the souls surround you
What escapes when those panes crack?

Unhinge the future
Shut out the past
Winners and losers
Fiction and fact

Spreading Black Wings

Seems to be about feeling pressure to be a certain way or have a certain set of beliefs or values. Maybe you can't trust others. You would rather be set apart and separated from it all, and do your own thing.

Tired of living on my knees
Could I be set free, be the real me
I can't breathe, I can't see
I can't touch, I can't feel

Open my eyes to the divine lies, the power lies within me
Not in worship of idols
I am my own authority

One Last Time

Maybe you have been in a situation time and time again. This time is the last one you can muster up motivation for. Or maybe it is better for you to do something, even trying something detrimental.

Frustration, stagnation
Don't dream too big, you might hurt yourself
Just stay in light 

Patience is running out, it's wearing thin
Feels like I am slipping, losing ground
I got to break free, get out of these chains
I got nothing to lose and everything to gain
The future is the guide, it's calling out my name
One last time

Exiled From Earth

Maybe not feeling like we belong is comforting. Makes me think of driving off into space without enough oxygen. You aren't going to get too far.

We are standing face to face with a century of mistakes
Our coup de grace our exodus 
Embers, coal and rust

Now we are nomads
With nowhere to go
Exiled from earth
Racing extinction
Sapiens' deathblow
Once kings
Once kings, now cursed

Playlist Pick

The only surprise here was that this was a little more rock-oriented then I expected it would be. But I think the band met their goal of having well-made songs, many of which are memorable. Just on a personal note, it's not what I am looking for overall.

Sunset Over The Empire will make it to my playlist because It seems to be exactly as long as it should be, the solo is short and sweet, and I think the riff goes well with the vocal lines.

Overall Rating
4

Readers' Average Rating
3

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