Albums written in 2020 continue to flow in and each one packs complex emotions, powerful songwriting, and a lot of care when it comes to development and production. This is especially true for international metal band Arch Enemy and their latest release Deceivers. The band faced many challenges in recording this album with members being spread out between two continents, but they persevered and the result is epic. This release has everything fans love about Arch Enemy including cinematic orchestral passages, dynamic vocals, and crushing riffs but with even more developed techniques and musical mastery. Deceivers is an album that only Arch Enemy could have created and it may be their best yet.
The album opens with anticipation filled tremolo electric guitar before crashing into something heavy, fast, and magnetic with insane drumming and Alissa White-Gluz’s signature vocals that switch between clean power metalesque singing and harsh death metal growls. This opening track “Handshake with Hell” shows White-Gluz’s impressive vocal range and gives a perfect introduction to anyone new to Arch Enemy. The juxtaposition between her two vocal styles creates something enticing and awesome. The energy is held high from here with more speedy tracks including the title(ish) track, “Deciever, Deciever.” An insane amount of energy is packed into this song with blast beats, viciously growled vocals, and catchy riffs showcasing band founder and lead guitarist Michael Amott’s talents. An array of metal influences is heard throughout Deceivers including extreme, death, tech, power, and gothic. This diverse blend with the addition of cinematic instrumental moments, and a mix of vocal techniques, is what makes Arch Enemy who they are.
My favorite track of the album is “Spreading Black Wings” which has compounding riffs that show a bit of a doom influence. It is a mid-tempo track that is perfect for some elder metalhead headbanging as well as fist throwing with some anthemic “hey, hey”s thrown in. This would be an extremely fun song to hear/see live. The track closes with dramatic synths and choral vocalization. It is haunting and beautiful and adds to the robust atmosphere that Arch Enemy creates. The following track, “Mourning Star,” is an under two minute musical interlude that carries this feeling and offers a moment of peace before the fury resumes in the final two tracks. The songwriting in this album is brilliant with perfect track placement that helps the album tell a story and cultivate an ambience that is unique and captivating.
Though Arch Enemy has been around for decades, each release brings something a little different and their discography never grows tired. 26 years in the making and 11 studio albums under their belts, the band is without a doubt impressively established. Deceivers feels like a masterwork as it is perfectly performed with a confidence in their own brand and uniqueness that feels stronger than ever. Arch Enemy certainly knows what they are about and embracing their style is what makes Deceivers (in my opinion) the band’s best work yet. I am excited to see how they will take this level of power and turn it into more amazing music. It will be interesting to see what they create next but I know it will make old fans happy while attracting new fans, and be absolutely killer.