Album Review: ARCH ENEMY Will To Power
War Eternal took on new changes in the band’s sound and chemistry, proving to be an energetic good time. Alissa White-Gluz introduced a new edge of lyricism to the band, while the group continued to show their ability in creating powerful and vibrant instrumentation. It is with this in mind that Will To Power (Century Media) acts as the next step for Arch Enemy, as they amp up their sound and musicianship to new highs.
Will To Power includes another new addition in the line-up, with that being ex-Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis. While the entire record is an instrumental treat, the most powerful aspects are the guitar work of Loomis and Michael Amott. In practically every song, each musician presents outstanding melodies that blend with brutal rhythms, creating a mix of pure brutality and a sensational catchiness. Drummer Daniel Erlandsson and bassist Sharlee D’Angelo also contribute an immense drive and adrenaline to the material. It is in Will To Power where we find White-Gluz taking a much stronger lead in the band. That isn’t to say in War Eternal her talents ever lacked, but there is a much more powerful essence of taking the reins with the album's instrumental force.
After a catchy introduction in “Set Flame To The Night”, the band shifts themselves into high gear with “The Race”, bringing back an energy that is similar to old-school Arch Enemy. The drumming clashes forward with a relentless flow as the guitar rhythm rides on waves of searing riffs and delicious melody. From the moment the music kicks off, White-Gluz lashes out with sharp gutturals that pack grit. The track shoots forward with this drive, ending on a vibrant guitar solo. “Blood In The Water” takes a steady approach in pacing each instrumental component. The rhythm allows for White-Gluz’s voice and lyrics to come with more of a spring, the guitar leaping in at times with bright moments of melody. The track is a happy middle ground between straight forward crunch and bursts of melodic solos.
There’s a mix here of the personal to the political when it comes to lyrics, and while portrayed in a fairly straight forward fashion, at times they can come through quite poetically. One of the strongest examples of this is in “The Eagle Flies Alone”, where White-Gluz shares some of her views on religion and empowering herself. The song opens with some piano keys and minimal guitar playing, rising into a triumphant flow. The drum beat steadies itself behind each guitar note, building tension as the vocals eventually kick in. It is lines such as, “I don’t believe in Heaven/ I don’t believe in hell […] This world is full of lies and deceit/ I have felt betrayal, cut so deep/ Suffered defeat, only to rise again," that pack a direct emotional hit to one’s core. The track lets loose a sonic aura of inner strength and drive that reflects the pure bliss of the instrumental chemistry.
“Murder Scene” kicks things off with a killer bass groove, to then instantly shifting the flow into a wild pummel of drum beats and guitar shredding. The combination brings the music back to that classic Arch Enemy sound, that while White-Gluz provides her own style, she also channels a vocal inflection that is reminiscent of Angela Gossow's work. The song rides to a roaring adrenaline that climbs higher and higher with energy and adrenaline. “First Day In Hell” takes on a new approach that drops the tempo down, giving a militant-like sound. With a well-paced progression of drum beats and bass playing, the guitar work comes out to give off a sinister tone.
Will To Power is able to take those parts that were interesting in the band's previous record, and expand them into superbly catchy and fun moments. The drum and bass work hold the foundation for a consistent weight and pounding rage, while the guitars continuously create utterly enchanting melodies and savage riffs. White-Gluz has also built upon her voice to spread across more styles and tones, while also offering a variety of storytelling through her lyricism. With this new addition to their discography, Arch Enemy continues to demonstrate how they are one of the genre’s most talented acts, creating music with remarkable force and excitement.