Album number eleven for the international line-up of Arch Enemy (Sweden, Canada, USA), third with Alissa White-Gluz behind the mic and second with Jeff Loomis on guitars. “Deceivers” comes five years after “Will To Power”, with an interesting but unusual for them cover, no big surprises (I don’t know how many expected this) but with interesting and well-written music.
Of course, some may raise an eyebrow when listening to the awesome opener “Handshake With Hell” due to the extended use of clean vocals by Alissa, but those who remember “Reason To Believe” from the previous record, know that Arch Enemy will occasionally do it too, because they have a singer with many capabilities. Of course, the whole album doesn’t go like that. Something similar happens in “One Last Time” but this time with whispered vocals.
Standouts are “In The Eye Of The Storm” with its catchy rhythm and excellent melodic lead towards the end, “The Watcher” for its epic refrain, “Sunset Over The Empire” for the same reason and “Exiled From Earth” which closes the record. With the sole exception of “Spreading Black Wings” which didn’t say much to me, I find that “Deceivers” in general has no weak or indifferent moments as it kept my interest undiminished from start to finish.
As for the musicians, I won’t say anything that hasn’t already been said. Alissa is a beast, Amott/Loomis are shredding their guitars and D’Angelo/Erlandsson’s rhythm section is capable of knocking down walls. But the most important thing is that they have written awesome, high-level compositions with all the known elements (aggression, speed, melodies, classic heavy influences) that their melodic death metal style has. The truth is that I found “Deceivers” unexpectedly good. For me, the best they’ve released since “Rise Of The Tyrant” back in 2007.