Reviewed: November 2020
Released: June 2002, Toy’s Factory
Reviewer: Buddy H
No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. I did not accidentally transpose the 2’s and 0’s in the release date. This is not a new release. Rather, I have the honor and pleasure of reviewing one of my all-time favorites!
My first exposure to the Amott brothers was completely by accident. I was browsing the CD section at my local Circuit City (R.I.P.) and stumbled onto the mark down clearance section. An interesting album cover caught my eye. I had never heard of this band before but, for $4.99, why not give them a try? The album was WAGES OF SIN by Arch Enemy. From the opening piano intro of “Enemy Within” to the final piano outro of “Lament Of A Mortal Soul”, I was astonished, amazed, and forever hooked on all things the Amotts were involved in. I began researching Michael Amott immediately and stumbled onto Spiritual Beggars. Success! I then researched Christopher Amott and discovered Armageddon. Their first two CD’s were great, but drastically different in style and substance. I expected yet another style change with their latest release, THREE. What I did not expect, as I popped the disc into the carousel, was an album that would grab me and never let go!
As one would expect, the production is phenomenal, allowing every pick stroke and drum strike to be heard with amazing clarity. Daniel Erlandsson and Tobias Gustaffson are an astonishing rhythm section, delivering a flawless performance. Christopher unequivocally proves that he is a guitar force to be reckoned with. The riffs are thick, meaty and plentiful while the solos are executed with surgical precision. Vocals are handled, quite capably I might add, by Christopher as well.
The album starts out with the short bombastic intro, “Gathering Of The Storm”, which is just a teaser of what is to come. Christopher is just warming up! As soon as the last decaying sound effect of the intro fades, they absolutely flood the speakers with a wall of sound to start the next track, “Burn The Sun”. After briefly building the song, adding layer upon layer of instruments, the song erupts into a face melting riff fest with pile driving double bass drums and, of course an amazing solo. The attack doesn’t let up as the next track, “Stranglehold”, kicks in with a blistering pentatonic lick and contains one of the album’s most infectious choruses. The onslaught continues with the galloping, “Heart Of Ice”. All instruments are perfectly in synch – not one millisecond off, as they build the song masterfully before breaking into the simple but highly effective sing along chorus. “Well Of Sadness” starts as a slower psychedelic acoustic number that is heavily influenced by Pink Floyd. The song pace picks up and ends with a nice bit of staccato soloing. The 2ndhalf of the album contains everything the 1sthalf contained – superbly crafted songs with virtuoso performances by every member of the band.
Christopher Amott made a bold statement with this release. For those of you looking for something a little different, I urge you to check this one out. Even nearly 20 years later, this album has aged remarkably well and doesn’t sound the least bit dated.
1. Gathering Of The Storm
2. Burn The Sun
4. Heart Of Ice
5. Wall OF Sadness
6. Rainbow Serpent
7. Winter Skies
8. Final Destination
9. Spirit Kiss
10. The Contract
Christopher Amott – Lead Vocals and all Guitars
Tobias Gustaffson – Bass Guitar
Daniel Erlandsson – Drums