ARCH ENEMY: TYRANTS OF THE RISING SUN (2008)
1) Intro / Blood On Your Hands; 2) Ravenous; 3) Taking Back My Soul; 4) Dead Eyes See No Future; 5) Dark Insanity; 6) The Day You Died; 7) Christopher Solo; 8) Silverwing; 9) Night Falls Fast; 10) Daniel Solo; 11) Burning Angel; 12) Michael Solo; 13) Dead Bury Their Dead; 14) Vultures; 15) Enemy Within; 16) Snowbound; 17) Shadows And Dust; 18) Nemesis; 19) We Will Rise; 20) Fields Of Desolation / Outro.
If there is anything the world really needs in a time of economic crisis and universal depression, it is another live album from a formulaic heavy metal band, recorded in Japan. For Arch Enemy, it was already the second one, but this time, the scope was different — two CDs fully matched with a DVD, making it easier to headbang to the tunes in all the proper places, and making you wonder at the cultural significance of Ms. Gossow's makeup.
Although Rise Of The Tyrant gave them a «punny» clue about how to title this new recording, it is somewhat unfortunate that they did not release it an album earlier — this way, the setlist is predictably tilted towards their latest promoted effort, and I would much rather have them play 'My Apocalypse' and 'Out For Blood' than 'Night Falls Fast' and 'Vultures'. But what the heck, at the bottom of it all, Arch Enemy always play the same way, so it's either complaining about the total futility of the record — or just enjoying it for its power, precision, and dedication (the latter especially: even at their most boring and predictable, Arch Enemy are so dedicated to their craft that this can sometimes help overlook the lack of hooks).
What you do get to hear is a little bit of Angela's «natural» voice — yes, she does have one — as the frontlady is responsible for most of the banter. Whether you would like to hear her sing in that voice is a different matter — after all, that would make her sound no different from anyone. You also get to hear Michael and Christopher Amott with solo improvisations (brother Chris, playing in an echo-laden, Gilmour-style manner, gets my preference over brother Michael and his power metal pathos), and the drummer guy gets a nice brief rhythmic turn as well.
Highlights would include the opening number ('Blood On Your Hands' actually gains extra power by Angela letting the audience chant the "REMEMBER!" bit); the show-closing double punch of 'Nemesis' and 'We Will Rise'; and the old Liiva-era material, like 'Silverwing', that Gossow predictably delivers with as much confidence as she handles everything else. But apart from that, there is little, if anything, to tell. None of the live versions fall flat next to studio performances, but the setlist is questionable, which is why the album will probably not work as a reliable introduction to all the strong sides of the band. Bloodthirsty fans, though, will not want to miss it.