With Arch Enemy I have a love-hate relationship which I can’t explain so easily. Another live release from them, the sixth in their history. You can’t say they are few. They have them somehow divided, as there are two live CDs, two live DVDs and two live CD/DVD, as is this show in Wacken Open Air 2016.
But what difference does it have from last year’s “War Eternal: Tokyo Sacrifice”? Not much in fact. The setlist for a start is pretty much the same. In Tokyo they played eighteen songs while in Wacken fourteen. The difference is that they took out seven songs from Tokyo and added three in Wacken. So, most of the set is the same. But in order not to seem like they offer less material in this year’s release, the seven songs that they took from Tokyo they put them as bonus footage here. I don’t know for you, but it seems like a very unprofessional job to me.
As for the band, some things are for certain. They kick ass on stage. They are with absolutely no doubt excellent musicians. All of them. It’s more likely to find a needle in a haystack than to find a flaw in their show. What can you say for Amott, for the genius Loomis or for the amazing rhythm section of D’Angelo and Erlandsson? Alissa White-Gluz is an excellent frontwoman and the Enemy have found an ideal replacement for the beloved Angela Gossow as in some parts she is better than her predecessor. The problem of course is not their performance on stage, it never was, but how a show of them is satisfactory in the end.
Let’s also see the rest of it. The audience is the classic one you will see in a festival. Some hands raised in the air and that’s all. I’ve said before that a big open stage like this one in Wacken produces a better result for the band but loses a lot of its dynamic from the crowd who are usually bored as fuck. A glimpse to the songs from Tokyo and the differences will be seen in an instant, because a club filled with fans of the band in much more energetic. Finally, the bonus material isn’t nothing special as there is a small behind the scenes footage and the video clips from “War Eternal”.
A release that is good, but it’s not the best DVD that you can see. This band has released better stuff in the past and in general it doesn’t give you something different compared to the one from last year. Maybe my objection with them are because they have tremendous potential as musicians in order to leave us speechless and still they haven’t achieved that. Time will tell if they will achieve that.