[schema type=”review” name=”Arch Enemy – Covered in Blood” description=”Label: Century Media Records” author=”Sarp Esin” pubdate=”2019-01-18″]
Is there anything that can be said about Arch Enemy that hasn’t already been said? The melodeath legends’ repertoire and the fact that you have immediately pictured at least the lead singer (past or current) the instant I said the name speaks for itself. Having carved themselves a sizable niche in metal consciousness, Arch Enemy is now back with their covers album, aptly titled Covered in Blood.
Yes, it’s a covers album.
The obvious out of the way first: it’s Arch Enemy and what they play is basically melodeath, no two ways about it. This means a softer but by no means lighter touch than regular old death metal, has a bit more emphasis on speed and is overall brighter and is more polished. This, the slickness of the sound doesn’t mean that they pull punches, even when covering the ever-so-coverable Tears for Fears song, Shout. Far from it, Arch Enemy bring the sound that fans know and love, adding galloping riffs and bass to double bass attacks, overall forcing the pace wherever humanly possible. Alissa White-Gluz is also in top form, delivering growls and cleans with the same skill and dedication and at times she is also joined by Angela Gossow herself.
This is well and good, but the thing is, I don’t think Covered in Blood was intended for anyone other than Arch Enemy fans. Those looking to check out the band are very unlikely to pick up a covers comp, and fans are very unlikely to not at least check this one out. Me, personally, don’t see the point, mainly because I believe the concept is fundamentally flawed.
By this I mean the obvious question: why should I listen to Arch Enemy’s covers compilation? One look at the tracklist and the first question I ask is: Do I really need to hear covers of these songs when I can just listen to the originals? Do I need an “Arch Enemy vibe” rendition of Symphony for Destruction when I can just pick up Countdown to Extinction and listen to the original? Or spin Powerslave to revisit Aces High or better yet, listen to the Rob Halford / Babymetal rendition of Breaking the Law for the obvious novelty value or just break out British Steel? I’m not knocking Arch Enemy for paying homage in the way that they are, but I am knocking them for revealing how they’ve also hoisted themselves from their own petard by their choice of tracks.
See, metal covers of pop songs work when the band takes good care of the source material because of the contrast between the original song and the metal rendition of it. But I find the metal renditions of other metal songs redundant by design, metal renditions of rock songs somewhat extraneous (exceptions do not disprove the rule) and the fact that Skitslickers get not one, not two (which is what Iron Maiden got) but four covers and these were arranged in a row ridiculous. Instead of listening to this hour-long, 24-track exercise, I would recommend you pick up an actually original Arch Enemy album instead. Hard pass.
Michael Amott – guitars, bass
Daniel Erlandsson – drums
Sharlee D’Angelo – bass
Jeff Loomis – guitars
Alissa White-Gluz – vocals
Christopher Amott – guitars
Johan Liiva – vocals
Angela Gossow – vocals
Nick Cordle – guitars