For Fans Of
I think it’s important to point out that I hardly consider myself an authority on death metal. As much as I enjoy a limited foray into the heavier side of things, I’d never really considered metal my thing. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Khaos Legions, Swedish metallers Arch Enemy’s eighth studio album, but it left me incredibly impressed and engaged, and most definitely a converted fan. Inspired, heavy and rebellious, Khaos Legions is top quality thrash-tainted death metal from a long enduring band.
Among those less familiar with the band, Arch Enemy are mainly known for the fact they have a female vocalist. But don’t let that put you off- Angela Gossow’s vocals are heavy, deep and brutal, and there’s far more to the band than just a snarling, sexy frontwoman. Intricate, violent guitarwork underlays Khaos Legion’s sweeping harmonies, intense metallic crescendos and diverse rhythms.
The first of three instrumentals, opener ‘Khaos Overture’ brings the album to a fierce start; layers and layers of guitars, drums and siren sounds get the energy developing. ‘Yesterday is Dead and Gone’ is everything you want from a metal track- guttural screams and rapid guitar progressions, with perfectly subdued cadence in between. ‘Bloodstained Cross’ shows off the band’s evidently brilliant musicianship. The heavy sweeping guitars blend seamlessly with rapid snare, and varying tempo between verse and chorus. ’Cult of Chaos’ is a highlight- dark, rapid and headbang-inducing. ‘Under Black Flags We March’ and ‘No Gods, No Masters’ are irresistibly melodious, and incredibly accessible even to the newest of metal fans like myself. Khaos Legions may not be as heavy as seasoned death metal fans might be wanting from the band, but it is undeniably brilliant quality music, and Arch Enemy’s ability to create engaging melodies amongst the chaos of metal is a testament to their talent as a band.
Disappointingly though, most of the stand-out tracks on Khaos Legions are at the beginning of the album, and the quality starts to lower a little toward the end. There are a couple of throwaway tracks that I felt the album could do without (the album does come in at a whopping 16 tracks), and that makes for some weaker moments.
Khaos Legions is a cohesive, formidable melodious death metal album, from a band of very capable musicans. At the heart is Gossow’s powerful vocals, commanding and engaging, pulling the chaos of the tracks together beautifully. Despite its downfalls, Khaos Legions is a highly enjoyable metal foray, and whilst fiercely heavy and anarchic, is awesomely accessible for the less seasoned metal fan.
1. Khaos Overture (Instrumental)
2. Yesterday Is Dead And Gone
3. Bloodstained Cross
3. Under Black Flags We March
5. No Gods, No Masters
6. City Of The Dead
7. Through The Eyes Of A Raven
8. Cruelty Without Beauty
9. We Are A Godless Entity (Instrumental)
10. Cult Of Chaos
11. Thorns In My Flesh
12. Turn To Dust (Instrumental)
13. Vengeance Is Mine
15. The Zoo (Scorpions Cover) (Japanese Bonus Track)
16. Snow Bound (Acoustic) (Japanese Bonus Track)