Review: Arch Enemy “Covered In Blood” [Century Media Records]

Review: Arch Enemy “Covered In Blood” [Century Media Records]

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Bands always played covers. It can be a tribute, some kind of starting point for a band, anything you want. Arch Enemy isn’t an exception: for a long time, they play cover for their favorite bands and they do it with pleasure. So, in 2019 the time has come to put all the covers they ever played in one big cover album named Covered In Blood.

There are 24 covers in an album for various bands that in some way inspired Arch Enemy, or rather its founder Michael Amott. Track list includes many classic metal songs from Megadeth, Judas Priest and Manowar, but there are also some unexpected covers for Scorpions and Europe. The only exception is a cover for “Shout” from 80-s Synthpop band Tears For Fears (in 2000 Disturbed gave a second life to this song), which opens an album. Also, Michael Amott wrote a comment for every song and explained why did the band choose to cover it.

It is noteworthy, that Arch Enemy gathered covers for all time of their existence, so we can hear not only Alissa White-Gluz, but also Angela Gossow and the first band’s vocalist Johan ‘Liiva’ Axelsson in Covered In Blood.

No doubt that all covers made in Arch Enemy style: melody, solid guitar riffs, technical solos and growl vocals. Though, sometimes this approach played an evil joke, and well-processed cover sounds like nothing, but I’ll talk about it later.

In my view, the band did a punk stuff really great. Eight short covers for some Swedish (Moderat Likvidation, Anti-Cimex, Slitslickers) and British (GBH, Discharge) bands keep an original anger spirit. Arch Enemy tried to re-create a raw sound and played simple punk riffs without solos and other unnecessary things. Also, Alissa’s vocal gave more aggression to the songs.

Covers for “The Zoo” by Scorpions, “Back To Back” by Pretty Maids, “Incarnated Solvent Abuse” by Carcass and “The Ides Of March” by Iron Maiden are also sound good. Manowar‘s “Kill With Power” is not bad too: low guitar tune and famous Angela’s roar made this song brutal.

But the covers for “Breaking The Law”, “Symphony Of Destruction” and “Aces High” sound real bad. By the way, in 2017 Michael Amott played “Symphony Of Destruction” with Megadeth: Dave Mustaine invited him to stage during their show at “Symphony Of Destruction”. But it seems that a willing to make a song darker, heavier and more brutal, as I mentioned above, played a bad joke and something went wrong: “Symphony Of Destruction” and “Aces High” still recognizable but lost their original spirit and charisma. Well, what about “Breaking The Law”, Michael tells: “At a band rehearsal while preparing for the War Eternal album, we had a conversation about which songs no band should cover because they are simply too classic, too famous, and maybe they’ve been done to death. “Breaking the Law” was one of the songs we talked about. We started jamming on it just for fun, during which we stumbled upon a way of playing the legendary anthem with an Arch Enemy vibe.” But in the end the song sounds not like a cover, but like a very technical (Amott and Jeff Loomis are great guitarists) and powerful, but totally faceless Arch Enemy song “based on” Judas Priest classics. Or is it me that so accustomed to an original and hardly accept new visions? With this, another Judas Priest cover “Sentinel” sounds quite good.

Anyway, an album isn’t smooth, with its pros and cons, but it’s quite interesting. Old fans would happy to hear previous vocalists, and those who listen to Arch Enemy not for a long time (or came to the band because of Instagram photos) can hear how the band sounded before blue-haired era.

Covered In Blood will be released on January, 18 via Century Media Records.

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