Arch Enemy – Deceivers

Spread the metal:
Arch Enemy - Deceivers
Arch Enemy – Deceivers

Reviewed: October 2022
Released: 2022, Century Media
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Simon Wiedemann

Arch Enemy are a melodic death metal band from Sweden who released their eleventh studio album, ‘Deceivers’, on 12th August 2022 through Century Media. They have also unleashed three live albums, three video albums and four EPs. The group’s members have played in acts including Carcass, Armageddon, Mercyful Fate, and Carnage, to name a few. Carcass/Carnage axeman Michael Amott founded AE with vocalist Johan Liiva. However, the latter has since between replaced by Alissa White-Gluz.

Wow… What an intro to the album. ‘Handshake With Hell’ starts off with a rapid higher pitched tapping pattern, then dramatic and drawn out, lower power chords join it creating a very metal wall of sound. It’s a similar compositional style to Yngwie Malmsteen’s epic ‘Playing with fire’, just without the speed picking. Then the song accelerates in an instant, taking you completely by surprise. Then you get more soloing! Surprise again! Finally, the screamed singing enters which gets followed by a clean delivery. As the band are female-fronted, maybe it would have been better if clean vocals were used more often for the sake of novelty. The screams on the other hand sound pretty much exactly like male screeching. Am I suggesting I wanted softer, more girly screams? Well, it’s worth a try at least. 

Perhaps there are a little too many ideas in HWH, in that the calmer clean guitar section is so vastly different than the preceding material it does sound a bit confusing. Having said that, on repeated listens it does grow on you, and if there’s a better way to discombobulate you (in a good way) I’d like to hear it. Then the furious guitar shredding comes back! In that respect, the band can be compared to classic, ostentatious Megadeth. There is a clear sense of structure, but yeah, just a little OTT, for some. Maybe. Following track ‘Deceiver, Deceiver’ has a tight and mechanical Fear Factory style start (think their ‘Slave Labour’) which is followed by further contrasting tempos, but they are all heavy so the sound isn’t so extreme. That’s perhaps for the best as you can only be discombobulated so much. The blast beats at the end are done very nicely. When in short bursts, like they are here, they actually add to the song without getting annoying. Arch Enemy have the common sense most similar bands are lacking. Of course if you overuse an idea it gets boring. (Right? Actually you may not agree). ‘In The Eye Of The Storm’ sounds like early In Flames. Pretty much in every way in fact, so maybe some more genre fusing would be appreciated there. 

‘The Watcher’ starts off with some anthemic Hammerfall chord progressions before switching to some VERY fast and tight power metal/thrash. Again, the band know when enough is enough and slow things down when the time is right. They then speed up? Yep, but then they slow down again. I wasn’t expecting that – discombobulation in a slightly different way. As the genre name ‘melodic death metal’ suggests, you get plenty of melodic guitars that bring to mind acts such as Helloween, and it speeds up again. Very well done. The song ends with those Hammerfall style chords, and who doesn’t like them? The group may be a bit cheesy at times, but not here. ‘Poisoned Arrow’ begins with clean guitars that bring to mind Metallica’s ‘Welcome Home Sanitarium’, before going back to the classic metal just a little too soon, maybe. Adding another underdeveloped style, you get a few seconds of choirs at the end of ‘Spreading Black Wings’. That was random, if anything. However, when it comes to head scratchers, that was by far the worst offender. I guess it does follow reasonably well into soft, short instrumental ‘Mourning Star.’ 

To conclude, the singer certainly has a fierce growl for a lady. Is she prone to sore throats? I don’t know. Whatever the case, she is proof that women CAN sound like deranged escaped mental patients if they really want to. The guitar solos in the album are all awesome. Some are more melodic than others, but you know what? Even the shredded sections are melodic too, technically speaking. How shredded are the average shreds on a scale of one to ten? One being BB King, and ten being Michael Angelo with his band Nitro? I’d say 6 to 7. A sweet spot for me, anyway. Arguably the most effective riffs are the faster ones, as the mid-tempo open string chugs get a bit tiresome at times and could do with more spice. Chromatic runs (think mid-paced Slayer) do up the interest as do mixes of power chords and fuller chords, but when it seems everyone in the world abuses such chugs, you wonder when it will end. This is definitely an exciting album for the most part, but perhaps (perhaps) it was slightly overambitious at times. Even so, recommended! 


1. Handshake With Hell
2. Deceiver, Deceiver
3. In The Eye Of The Storm
4. The Watcher
5. Poisoned Arrow
6. Sunset Over The Empire
7. House Of Mirrors
8. Spreading Black Wings
9. Mourning Star
10. One Last Time
11. Exiled From Earth

Band line-up:
Michael Amott – Guitars, backing vocals
Daniel Erlandsson – Drums
Sharlee D’Angelo – Bass
Alissa White-Gluz – Lead vocals
Jeff Loomis – Guitars, backing vocals