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Burning bridges in the third album of arch enemy and there best up to yet.
It features mike ammot who delivers some of his carcass style leads and his brother chris with his yngwie malmsteen style of playing. The music is akin to at the gates but mostly late style carcass but more melodic .
The bassist out of mercyful fate also features on this album and delivers some serious punch. Fans of megadeth should also like this.
Alongside In Flames Whoracle and Slaughter of the Soul by At the Gates, Burning Bridges by Swedens Arch Enemy is one of the quintessential albums of the then-burgeoning melodic death metal genre. Melodic death consciously combines the brutality of traditional death metal with a more melodic edge, mainly achieved through the use of harmonious dual guitars inspired by heavy metal of the 1980s and with less focus on intensive percussion.
Michael Amott formed Arch Enemy after the demise of English death metal pioneers Carcass in 1996, and each album furthered the direction hed been pushing since 1990. Appearing on Burning Bridges are vocalist Johan Liiva, who would be replaced by a female singer after proving disappointing on tour, Sharlee DAngelo on bass and Daniel Erlandsson, brother of Cradle of Filths drummer Adrian, on drums. To complete this weird travesty of the nuclear family, Michaels dual guitar accomplice is his brother Christopher.
Burning Bridges stands high above the increasing number of melodic death bands spawning in its wake, and still sounds distinctive despite the hordes of imitators. For a start, Liivas vocals dont follow the basic, inaudible death metal growls of his contemporaries, but are more akin to guttural yells, if you can imagine such a thing. He cites the late Chuck Schuldiner from Floridas legendary Death as a key influence. The aggression is more pronounced, and you can hear all the words hes um, singing.
The drums are surprisingly powerful for melodic death, resisting the dilution thats often caused by mixing in classic heavy metal elements. Combined with the vocals, these preserve the albums brutal edge. The Amott brothers guitars act as a sort of Jekyll to this Hyde, delicate and slow. The only slight downside is that many of the solos and melodies end up sounding very much like the type of non-distinct generic high-pitched rock guitar of TV shows, adverts and films. I dont know whether this is due to the albums production or not, and it certainly doesnt detract from the effect the band are going for, but it does amuse me a great deal. These TV guitars are most prominent in tracks 4 to 6, with a bit of a taster in the extended solo of track 1.
Just as death metal vocals shouldnt deter prog rock fans from enjoying Opeth and the puppets shouldnt put off sci-fi fans from watching Farscape, fans of heavy metal with an emphasis on melody may be pleasantly surprised by bands like Arch Enemy, even accounting for previous bad experiences with death metal. The vocals and drums are still there a little, keeping the faith, but the whole thing is greater than its parts, and the albums pace never particularly fast, almost grinding to a halt in the final track.
1. The Immortal
2. Dead Inside
5. Demonic Science
6. Seed of Hate
8. Burning Bridges
With the exception of the title track, the songs on Burning Bridges all follow a similar style: medium speed melodic death metal led by guitars which then solo a bit. Theres enough variation to keep things interesting for the most part, with Dead Inside owing to In Flames early days, Silverwing bordering on 80s hair metal, Seed of Hate focusing on the otherwise neglected bass, and the power duo of Demonic Science and Angelclaw veering more towards thrash-style aggression with raspy vocals. Opener The Immortal really sets the general tone of the album very well, getting straight into a powerful riff between the guitars and drums and featuring an extended and nicely evolved solo to lighten things up. Theres even something like an orchestra barely audible towards the end, possibly synthesised, foreshadowing the violins of the final track.
For some reason, the even numbered songs on this album happen to be my particular favourites. This is probably due to their focus on harmony over brutality, melodic over death, Iron Maiden influence over Slayer. In fact, Dead Inside features a pleasant high guitar section that briefly sounds suspiciously like Maidens early classic Phantom of the Opera, though its primary riffs belong firmly in the genre that produced In Flames Subterranean E.P. Seed of Hate sounds a lot like Iced Earth, seemingly taking hints from the Dark Saga and Something Wicked This Way Comes albums, but I can forgive it for its focus on bass lines. Silverwing is the afore-mentioned hair metal track, and is really where the TV guitars are at their full force, in the five or six distinct, impressive and immensely air-guitarable riffs and solos throughout the song. I dare you to resist! The drums are nice and upbeat for a change, making this song pleasantly fast but not daunting, and although death metal purists would potentially dislike this song for its obvious inspiration in 80s heavy metal, this only improves things for me. I really am a lost cause.
Pilgrim has one of those riffs youre sure youve heard before, and is again generic metal fare, but was probably unavoidable. As is typical with metal, the lyrics attack the church and some of its members, but never really say anything negative about religion itself. This track is overshadowed by Demonic Science which, although annoyingly repetitive and about twice as long as it should be, does the aggression thing pretty well. The Slayer influence is obvious, especially in the guitars squealing off at random tangents and the palm-muted riffs, but this makes the whole thing suitably hellish and fun. But still not too fast. The end of the song once again veers into prime time TV solo territory. Angelclaw begins deceptively jolly and light before revealing that its actually an inferior copy of Demonic Science, although its saved from pointlessness by some creative and subdued use of dual guitars.
The album closes with the soothing Burning Bridges, the bands experiment with doom metal, the likes of which Amott would have been familiar with when he lived in England. The snails pace, violin accompaniment and slow, echoing drums make this sound like a My Dying Bride wannabe, but its still a pleasant song to unwind to. My only problem with this song lies in the vocals, which still go for the same grave-spitting ferocity as elsewhere in the album but sound a bit weak at such a slowed pace. Once theyre out of the way, the song simply plays out for a while until they cant be bothered any more and the record skids to a halt, using that very old sound effect cliché.
Burning Bridges is a very cool album, Arch Enemys best, but there are bands out there playing similar music of a much higher quality. Amotts work in Carcass elevated that band above the grinding riffs and sick lyrics of its early years to one of Britains most notable metal bands, but his side project of sorts with Arch Enemy ceases to be creative at pretty much this point. For an album that strives to combine existing sounds and morph them into something entirely new and credible, the influence of specific bands (conscious or accidental) is a little too obvious in places, and they dont all sit well together. The TV solos Im so fond of may infuriate the purists, but Im a sucker for nice guitars. The pace of this album may also not be quite up to the speed some people expect for death metal, but it all works perfectly. Another band thats very big in Japan.
This album repeats what At the Gates did with Slaughter of the Soul, and neither band holds up to the work of In Flames during that period. Nevertheless, the vocals are good, the drums equally so, and the bass even gets a look in at track six. As for the guitars, I think Ive already dealt with those in far greater detail than is strictly necessary. Its something of a sad irony that Liivas bitter lyrics in the final song, in which he accuses someone of betrayal and back-stabbing, likely mirrored his thoughts when he was later kicked out of the band in 2001.