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Arch Enemy ‎–Covered In Blood cd


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Us pressing with different cover artwork

Time passes, the world changes, but some things remain constant and unassailable. Heavy metal has endured for more than four decades because its spirit is eternal, and few bands embody the intensity, integrity and lofty artistic ambitions of the genre with more dazzling aplomb than Arch Enemy. Formed in Sweden in the mid-90s by former Carcass/Carnage guitarist Michael Amott, this most explosive and proficient of modern metal bands have spent the last 20 years propagating an unerring creed of technical excellence, songwriting genius and thunderous, irresistible live performance, accruing a huge global fan base along the way. The band’s core musical philosophy hasn’t changed much since I started the band, says Amott. It’s still about creating intense heavy metal with extreme vocals and a lot of melody in the guitars. We’ve always loved writing and meticulously crafting the best songs possible, that’s main motivation for us. When Arch Enemy released their debut album Black Earth in 1996, death metal was stagnating and in desperate need of a kick up the ass. Amott’s blueprint for the purest of metal strains proved an instant underground hit, both in Europe and Japan, and almost single-handedly resurrected death metal as a viable art form with mainstream potential. With the 1998’s sophomore effort Stigmata, Arch Enemy marched purposefully towards a new millennium with a rapidly growing reputation. 1999’s Burning Bridges added to the band’s momentum, their razor-sharp blend of brutality and epic melody becoming more refined with each creative step. But it was in 2001, when original vocalist Johan Liiva stood aside and mercurial front woman Angela Gossow stepped in, that Arch Enemy truly took off. Released in 2001 in Japan and nearly a year later in Europe, Wages Of Sin showcased a revitalised line-up and newfound gift for immortal anthems. Covered In Blood features all the covers the band have recorded since the start of the band. The covers recorded during the early days of the band’s career see the unit playing with some heavy metal standards such as Aces High and Symphony Of Destruction. Outside of some faster-paced orchestration, added blast beats and a slightly dirtier guitar tone from Michael and Christopher Amott, there are few surprises, both with choice and delivery of the covers chosen. As Arch Enemys career evolves, the choices for covers gets a little more adventurous. While, again, covers of tracks such as The Oath and The Zoo are slightly beefed up and hyper-charged, the choice of source material makes for a fun final output when filtered through the bands coating of crunchy rhythm riffs, shredding solos and Gossow’s guttural growls. There are also some fun nods to the band’s extended family in the back half of the record. Most notably a fairly traditional cover of Incarnated Solvent Abuse, from Amott’s days in genre pioneers Carcass, and a ferocious cover of The Book Of Heavy Metal in a nod to former live guitarist Gus G. ‘s time in Dream Evil. The record’s real experimentation comes during the first half of the track sequencing, all from the current line-up. Though the band does not mess with the orchestration of the eight ’80s hardcore covers in a row–obviously the guitar performances from Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis are way more competent than anyone that performed on the original tracks–the opening four tracks of Covered In Blood are the most interesting tracks for fans to dig into. The group cracks the code of Shout, by ’80s pop greats Tears For Fears, by opening with a riff sequence reminiscent of Led Zeppelins Immigrant Song, and layering in a traditional delivery of the chorus underneath White-Gluz’s growls. MIike Oldfields 1983 synth-rock hit Shadow On The Wall is reimagined as an industrial-metal dirge. It would have been easy, and lazy, for Arch Enemy to do a traditional cover of Judas Priest Breaking The Law, but instead they go for a mid-tempo crunch approach to the intro and choruses of the tracks, reserving the speed for the verses. In a way, it may have been a mistake to sequence the record in reverse chronological order as the most interesting cover variants are front-loaded, though one can see the logic in starting everything off to make Covered In Blood an easier experience to get into for modern-era Arch Enemy fans. But for longtime fans of both Arch Enemy and the heavy metal genre, the remainder of the compilation will still be crowd pleasing. It’s not an important release that needs to be sought out urgently, but the little peaks at the evolution of the band’s line-up still makes Covered In Blood a fun little curio for completists.

Track list:
1. Shout-Tears For Fears cover
2. Back To Back-Pretty Maids cover
3. Shadow On The Wall-Mike Oldfield cover
4. Breaking The Law-Judas Priest cover
5. Nitad-Moderat Likvidation cover
6. When The Innocent Die-Anti-Cimex cover
7. Warsystem-Skitslickers cover
8. Armed Revolution-Skitslickers cover
9. Spräckta Snutskallar-Skitslickers cover
10. The Leader (Of The Fuckin Assholes)-Skitslickers cover
11. City Baby Attacked By Rats-G.B.H. cover
12. Warning-Discharge cover
13. The Zoo-Scorpions cover
14. Wings Of Tomorrow-Europe cover
15. The Oath-Kiss cover
16. The Book Of Heavy Metal-Dream Evil cover
17. Walk In The Shadows-Queensryche cover
18. Incarnated Solvent Abuse-Carcass cover
19. Kill With Power-Manowar cover
20. Symphony Of Destruction-Megadeth cover
21. Aces High-Iron Maiden cover
22. Scream Of Anger-Europe cover
23. Starbreaker-Judas Priest cover
24. The Ides Of March-Iron Maiden cover

Additional information


Century Media Records

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