When bands as revered and consistent as Arch Enemy are more than 10 albums into a heralded career, it’s understandable that fans may expect little more than a solid set of anthems that doesn’t deviate too much from the norm. Deceivers lives up to its billing by delivering another robust, familiar effort, but with a few unexpected additions.
Handshake With Hell kicks things off, Alissa White-Gluz displaying her huge range with righteous and emotive clean vocals as the band unleash one of their most anthemic moments to date. As opening statements go, it’s quite the bombshell. And while the rest of the album doesn’t veer as drastically from the tried’n’trusted formula, there are still moments to surprise and enthral. The familiar militaristic march and call of Sunset Over The Empire and House Of Mirrors offer up all the classic Arch Enemy ingredients, marking ex-Nevermore shredder Jeff Loomis’s most prominent participation since joining the band as he swaps exuberant leads with Michael Amott.
Yet it’s the numerous tweaks that stand out, such as The Watcher’s folk-tinged opulence and the power metal fusion of In The Eye Of The Storm. The powerhouse rhythmic duo of Daniel Erlandsson and Sharlee D’Angelo drop the tempo for the affecting elegance of Poisoned Arrow before the unsettling yet undeniably massive atmosphere of Spreading Black Wings adds another texture.
While One Last Time is steeped in power, its earnest melodic hook sees Amott channelling his inner Neal Schon. Such was the blinding quality of Arch Enemy’s early 00s heyday that all subsequent releases have been met with an unfair weight of expectation. But yet again, not only does Deceivers earn its place in one of the most reliable discographies in modern metal, it does so by being among the bravest and most entertaining to date.