Album Review – Arch Enemy “Khaos Legions” 2011

  If you’re worried about the slightly juvenile artwork and the Anarchist-Lite pretensions* of the press releases and photography, don’t be. Khaos Legions is Arch Enemy’s best album in years, channeling the spirit of Wages of Sin and providing focused, face-melting material for all to enjoy.

All the pieces are in place for a classic AE record. Angela Gossow’s vocals are big, bold and more processed than ever – a possible consequence of the physical strain her chosen style places on her diminutive yet determined body. Amott-powered riffs and solos soar and attack throughout the 14 tracks as the band drops some serious quantity as well as quality. In particular I give full marks to a sequence of tracks beginning with single “Yesterday is Dead and Gone” which blasts its way through five more songs without relenting for a moment. Any of those songs are top-20 material for an Arch Enemy tour, especially “City of the Dead”,  with a retro-vibe that would be at home on any of the Johan-era albums for its sheer ferocity and complexity. 

Too much fun to shelve as pretentious prog-thrash and too skilled to be dismissed as pedestrian, Khaos Legions is an early contender for the Class of 2011. 9 out of 10 

*It’s nice to see a bigger metal band paying at least lip-service to any sort of political agenda (Fear Factory is another), as opposed to the generalized misanthropy currently in vogue.

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