(7/10) Quo vadis Arch Enemy? This is the main question after having listened to the band's newest longplayer "Will to Power", an album that showcases a band that's in a potential transition phase. On the one hand the new record includes a brutal song entitled "The Race" which reflects Arch Enemy with 100%. Heavy riff, filigree leads and Alissa White-Gluz at her best is what characterizes this metal anthem.
Since this is the first song, following a short intro, you could easily think that this album is another milestone in the band's history, but if you have listened to the single release "The Eagle Flies Alone", you know that there is a counterpart on the album too. This song might not be a real downer, but it shows the band from another angle and perspective. Especially in the chorus things become mainstream and exchangeable. Alissa White-Gluz' growls are the best that comes with this song and partly helps to get Arch Enemy out of the jam.
And if this would not be enough, the following "Reason to Believe" takes to approach even to a next level. The tune begins calm, with White-Gluz singing instead of growling. The joy that comes with it is the fact that she can sing very well and maybe should make more use of this talent. And, as with "The Eagle Flies Alone", it's the song itself that sounds uninspired, not reflecting Arch Enemy as we know them from days when songs like "Nemesis" and "Under a Black Flag We March" hit the metal scene like a sonic wrecking ball.
All the mentioned surprises even more, knowing that the album is the first one that includes with Jeff Loomis a real guitar wizard. You can listen to his filigree contribution on the album but it stays a mystery why the band didn't make use of his superb songwriting skills too. It feels like a missed opportunity.
Fortunately there are also songs like the mentioned "The Race" on this album, which gives hope and also the aggressive "Murder Scene" shows some 'will to power'; a category "My Shadow and I" also belongs to.
"Will to Power" is not a homerun. The record is a solid base hit and future will tell if the album will help the band to score another run. Quo Vadis Arch Enemy?
- Set Flames to the Night
- The Race
- Blood in the Water
- The World is yours
- The Eagles Flies Alone
- Reason to Believe
- Murder Scene
- First Day in Hell
- Dreams of Retribution
- My Shadow and I
- A Fight I Must Win
Label: Century Media
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Release Date EU: September 8th, 2017