ARCH ENEMY: THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL (2009)
1) The Root Of All Evil (Intro); 2) Beast Of Man; 3) The Immortal; 4) Diva Satanica; 5) Demonic Science; 6) Bury Me An Angel; 7) Dead Inside; 8) Dark Insanity; 9) Pilgrim; 10) Demoniality; 11) Transmigration Macabre; 12) Silverwing; 13) Bridge Of Destiny.
Uh… well, this certainly does not sound bad, but the point of this record must have either been to simply buy some time in preparation for «bigger things», or to show the world, once and for all, just how much they really care about their old vocalist. Apart from the short atmospheric intro, all of the tracks are re-recordings from the Liiva era, naturally, with Angela on vocals instead; an idea possibly triggered by the successful inclusion of Liiva-era material on the band’s latest live album as well, where, under Angela’s command, it sounded well in harmony with the rest.
Predictably, all of the songs are very well played (seasoned fans will tell the minute differences, but my own taste buds have not been so finely developed for the likes of death metal), the track selection is strong (concentrating on Burning Bridges for obvious reasons), the production is far cleaner and clearer than whatever they used to achieve ten years before, and Gossow does all the songs justice in her gossowian way.
Still, the idea strikes me as somewhat unethical. I never cared much for Liiva as a vocalist, and thus, have no reason to be on the same level of ire as «hardcore» fans who think Arch Enemy «sold out» when they «hired that chick», but these songs were as much his as they are of the Amotts (and much more his than Angela’s). It is one thing to go on singing them in concert — that’s what the fans want, after all — it is quite another to re-record them in the studio, a gesture that could easily be interpreted as an invitation to throw the band’s pre-Angela past out of the window, leaving a few echos as souvenirs. Forget about Greedo shooting first — this is like a new edition of Star Wars in which all of Alec Guinness’ scenes have been completely replaced by re-shot sequences with a much-aged Ewan McGregor, «for the sakes of coherence, continuity, and credibility throughout the series».
Of course, the analogy is poor if you agree with me that Gossow is a much more interesting vocalist than Liiva could ever have hoped to be; so did they really need to rub it in the noses of the fans, instead of letting bygones be bygones? I do not think I get the point of this album, and if I do, then it might indeed be «the root of all evil», and, in any case, I give it a perfect thumbs down — for moral reasons, probably the first time ever in a heavy metal band review. Let’s just pretend it never existed and move on.
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