Arch Enemy: The Root of All Evil

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Arch Enemy: The Root of All Evil
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Arch Enemy: The Root of All Evil
Melodic Death Metal
Century Media Records
September 28th, 2009
Release length: 52:22
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Well, here we have another one of those kick-you-in-the-gut type releases, but this time from Arch Enemy. As many know, The Root Of All Evil is a compilation release that features thirteen tracks from the band’s material before vocalist Angela Gossow started up as the vocalist of the group. This collection is not really a necessary release, and is in no way in homage to the original vocalist (as some bands will claim the re-recording of material with new members is for), making one wonder why the band even decided to do this. Was it for the fans? Was it for the money? Who knows, but it’s clear that these tracks vary compared to their originals.

Right from the start you’ll begin wondering exactly what it was when Arch Enemy decided to record this release. With the start of “Beast of Man”, we are greeted with such insanely distorted vocals that Angela basically sounds like a man doing gutteral, which basically destroys the entire reason for the release if the band wanted to do something like “update” their back catalogue. This is easily the worst track off the entire album because of it, as these distorted vocals just sound absolutely horrendous against the music. And then, as if the band didn’t want to re-record the vocals after realizing how big a screw up it is, that distortion is gone and we’re back to having Angela pull regular vocals again with some distortion that is not needed, but doesn’t necessarily destroy the songs.

Of course the tracks do not sound 100% dead on to the originals. Yes, the songs are being performed the same way, but they clearly sound like modern Arch Enemy and much heavier then the original releases thanks to a much clearer production quality. This is where the fans seem to really tear apart. Yes, the newer crisp audio used does seem to take away from the originals, making some of these tracks feel rather lackluster compared to the classics. Fine examples of this would be “Diva Satanica”, “Dead Inside” as well as “Dark Insanity” which seem to just don’t come off as heavy as the originals. However, it does work for some of the tracks, like “The Immortal” and even “Bury Me An Angel”, so not all the tracks suffer from the polished sound. It seems that the band even tries to use a little more distortion then what they have been using on their previous full-length releases, which does help the music out, but in many cases not by much.

However, it’s the vocals that simply cannot stack up against the originals, leaving much to be desired for the dedicated fans who followed the band from their first release. Newer fans, however, will be delighted to hear these tracks recorded properly instead of hearing some rather poor sounding live recording of classic tracks as a bonus release. Again, the proof lies within the track “Beast of Man”, as well as “Demonic Science” which has vocals that sound almost as if some mental patient went up to the microphone and screamed the words as randomly high pitched as possible. Honestly, as you progress through here you start to notice varying vocal distortions used, even some slightly different production quality on them here and there, some sounding a bit muffled whereas other tracks have higher and clearer vocals. For example, “Diva Satanica” sounds as if it is at a nice level, but many other tracks don’t have the same kind of distortion used, and then “Bury Me An Angel” even seems to have a lower production quality on the vocals, causing them to sound distant.


The only reason the limited edition version exists has to be to take more money from their fans. There’s really no need for this aside two key differences between this and the standard jewelcase version. First of all, you get a patch. That’s right, you get a patch in this one, which clearly didn’t cost much to make at all. And then you get three bonus tracks, which are live editions of the songs “Bury Me An Angel”, “The Immortal” and “Bridge of Destiny”. While this would be an alright reason to buy these, it’s just another kick to the gut since these three bonus tracks are simply the audio only of the songs that appear on the band’s 2006 live DVD Live Apocalypse. So, unless you seriously want that patch, spending extra cash on the Limited Edition version of The Root Of All Evil is absolutely ridiculous since you can get these tracks with the video on an already released DVD which you can probably pick up rather cheap through used retailers in your area, as well as on-line.


Let’s face it, this is a release that never should have come to light. While Arch Enemy doesn’t go so far as to completely obliterate their classic material and alienate their fanbase like Exodus did with the re-recording of Bonded By Blood retitled Let There Be Blood, it’s still not the best release. All concepts of stealing money from the fans aside (with the exception of the live bonus tracks discussed), this release really just doesn’t do the classics justice in most cases. Sure some of the tracks on here do benefit from the re-recording and sound more enjoyable then the originals, but there’s just plenty of material here that should never have been touched in the first place. From starting off with various vocal distortions and qualities, almost as if the band were testing the waters on a few tracks and couldn’t afford to re-record the re-recorded vocals the way they should have been recorded in the first place, as the way the fans know Angela’s voice. The Root Of All Evil is something that no fan will really miss.

01. The Root Of All Evil (Intro) – 1:06
02. Beast of Man – 3:45
03. The Immortal – 3:47
04. Diva Satanica – 3:48
05. Demonic Science – 5:24
06. Bury Me an Angel – 4:25
07. Dead Inside – 4:24
08. Dark Insanity – 3:25
09. Pilgrim – 4:50
10. Demoniality (Instrumental) – 1:40
11. Transmigration Macabre – 3:33
12. Silverwing – 4:22
13. Bridge of Destiny – 7:53
14. Bury Me An Angel (Live) (Bonus Track) – 4:22
15. The Immortal (Live) (Bonus Track) – 4:34
16. Bridge of Destiny (Live) (Bonus Track) – 7:36
Overall Score: 2.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by personal funds.