Arch Enemy Doomsday Machine

Hype can be a band’s worst nightmare. While the new ones from As I Lay Dying and the Black Dahlia Murder may have been snoozers, the other most-hyped album in metal right now is pretty damn good. Personally, I was right on board with Arch Enemy for the first couple albums, then found the melodic metal to get a bit stale and kind of cheesy a handful of albums in. That’s blasphemous to say, considering ex-Carcass guitarist Mike Amott can still come up with excellent thrash riffs like the best of them, and on Doomsday Machine he manages to almost single-handedly reinvent the guitar solo into something that actually doesn’t make me want to kill myself. So on this sixth album, it’s basically more of the same but they’ve managed to revitalise their sound a bit, adding in some toe-tapping maturity, along with the usual balls-out shredding. I’m still not crazy about Angela Gossow’s vocals, but as with a lot of metal, it’s not vocals we’re tuning in for; in Arch Enemy’s case, it’s all about the chops, and there’s no shortage of those here. (Century Media)