Here you are, Arch Enemy's new lyric video for "As The Pages Burn", which I must warn you sounds absolutely nothing like Arch Enemy so keep an open mind (at least for the first two minutes):
Okay, my opinion if you care to hear it... The lyrics really rub me the wrong way. Don't ask me why, because all I can think of is that they're just really generic sounding, like there was not too much thought put into them. As a writer and vocalist who writes lyrics, this bothers me like a messy house bothers a neat freak.
In the past, Alissa White-Gluz has written some good lyrics here and there, but this one just wasn't her best. Oh well.
Another thing that bothers me as vocals go is the monotony of her growls. Angela Gossow and other female screamers have produced guttural sounds that are also infused with the same multitude of energies and feeling one can convey with a clean voice. Inflections translated despite the muddiness of the pitch, so it was never the same old boring "rah rah rah".
Alissa, to her credit, is used to employing growls only as a supplement to her cleans.. when she was with The Agonist, anyway. I can imagine having to go full-on guttural is a bit of a transition for her, and no doubt she'll get better with time and by going out of her usual comfort zone. As of right now, though, I'm not feeling it. It was a bit stale.
As for the music, I don't know who contributed most to this track, Arch Enemy or Alissa (as she has proclaimed herself main creative force of The Agonist in her letter to fans vehemently protesting that she never wanted to leave the band and blaming them for dropping her when she was "willing to stay"), but it sounds absolutely nothing like Arch Enemy as we know it.
It's more as if someone mixed A7X with generic black and thrash metal elements with a solo or two slightly reminiscent of traditional AE. It's thrown together, and that's as plain to see as the lyrics on the screen.
Mind you, this is pretty darn good for being thrown together. Honestly though, with all the hype surrounding it I half-expected it to be somewhat noteworthy. It just didn't hit that mark for me. It has all the trappings of a band with too many resources and recognition, with none of what made us love them in the first place - a scenario which seems to have striken a great many heavily-successful band regardless of genre.
Of course, it could just be that they're under the wire to put out teaser material by their label, which accounts for the rushed feel (for me) of the tracks they've released so far. Then again, they could just be trying to beat The Agonist to the punch as it seems a bit of a release war has begun between them (amicable parting my ass). If the latter is the case, that would be one more reason for me not to like either fucking band.
Fuck the politics and shit-slinging in music. Fuck the people who have the money and talent to create good stuff and instead waste it on mediocre material.
Still, I will hold out hope for the rest of the album as I've been fans of both Alissa and Arch Enemy for a long time. I still dug the first track - even though it was a little predictable, it was Arch Enemy and it was fucking fun. So we'll see. Good luck to them.