As a long time Arch Enemy fan, I was anxious when I heard news of the recent lineup changes and caught wind that a new CD was in the works. But considering new recruits Alissa White-Gluz is an absolute powerhouse, and Nick Cordle can shred harder than most guitar wielding Virginians, I had incredible hope for the album. Unfortunately, my expectations were too high, War Eternal was not quite the invigorating surge of energy I had anticipated.
War Eternal sticks to the rigid recipe that Arch Enemy uses in most of their music, causing songs to blend together and drag on even though, tracks such as "You Will Know My Name" and "As The Pages Burn", are catchy and ruthless enough to have even the biggest hater attempting to scream along. "Time Is Black" will infect you with a darkly bouncy riff that works surprisingly well with the obligatory ridiculous guitar solo that always finds itself 3/4ths of the way through an Arch Enemy song. Alissa shows off her chops in the title track, proving her highs are just as brutal as her lows and the chorus, demanding: "remember who you are" is unforgettable. As bold of a statement as this song is, we won't be forgetting it anytime soon.
Although the band stuck to their formulaic song structure and was less adventurous than I would have wanted, Cordle and Amott certainly brought their A-Game with face-melting guitar solos. White-Gluz drops her signature operatic cleans that she used in The Agonist and adopts a vocal style that is akin to that of her predecessor. The melodic, almost symphonic, death metal coupled with her raw growls mix beautifully.
All things considered, War Eternal still is worth a listen, and there are definitely a few gems to look out for - I just wish their music was revitalized by the new lineup. As much as I enjoy their sugarcoated signature melodic death metal, I wish they would break free from the shackles of their comfort zone and be more risky when writing.
01. Tempore Nihil Sanat (Prelude in F minor) (intro)
02. Never Forgive, Never Forget
03. War Eternal
04. As the Pages Burn
05. No More Regrets
06. You Will Know My Name
07. Graveyard of Dreams
08. Stolen Life
09. Time Is Black
10. On and On
12. Down to Nothing
13. Not Long for This World