Arch Enemy - Burning Bridges review



Reviewer:
9.4

442 users:
8.23
Band: Arch Enemy
Album: Burning Bridges
Release date: July 1999


01. The Immortal
02. Dead Inside
03. Pilgrim
04. Silverwing
05. Demonic Science
06. Seed Of Hate
07. Angelclaw
08. Burning Bridges
09. Diva Satanica [bonus]
10. Hydra [bonus]
11. Scream Of Anger [Europe cover] [Japanese bonus]
12. Fields Of Desolation '99 [Japanese bonus]


Burning Bridges is the 3rd full-length from the Swedish metallers in Arch Enemy. It is the last album to feature vocalist, John Liiva. Whether Gossow is superior to Liiva is a highly debated issue, but we all know Liiva is way better (good to get that out of the way). Liiva is often criticised for having a weaker voice than Gossow and I have to admit his performance on Stigmata was below par, but this is due to him having problems with his voice at that time. Still it's a good album. You know, new AE is re-recording songs from the Liiva period which I think is fucked up, because why would you want to re-record perfectly fine songs? Let me tell you, I heard their attempt to re-record Beast of Man and it sounds horrible! Oh well, let us go back to the review, shall we.

Arch Enemy is known for playing very thrashy melodic death metal. That is highly evident as the first track "The Immortal" throws you off-guard with ferocious riff-attacks from the twin guitars of the Amotts. Even for being a solid song, it is mostly a tribute to fast, awesome thrash, the best is yet to come. "Dead Inside" follows up and immediately showcases the Amott brothers ability to create memorable riffs. The song keeps steering towards point B, swinging between melody and brutality, with Liiva supplementing with harsh growls/screams.

Then we are greeted with a fair-enough intro of the song "Pilgrim", with a solo that teases you with the greatness of the rest of the song. Again, thrash riffs at the verse building up towards the chorus. At point of appearance, the chorus takes you on a highly memorable ride. And when you thought the song could not possibly top that, a solo of storey-high epicness appears. But is Arch Enemy ready to play the fillers already? Nope they are not. "Silverwing" starts of at point blank with a beautiful riff, worthy of remembrance until the world ends in a terrible black void. Fly on .. silverwing .. fly with me .. stay free .. silverwing .. the chorus goes as you are entranced in the beautiful lead guitar work of Amott (this has to be Michael right?). As with the last song "Pilgrim" the last part of the song is supplemented with a wonderful solo, which will make you feel like you are indeed flying.. on a silverwing.

So far, so good. "Demonic Science" leaves the silverwing feeling and presents a "meaner" attitude, if you will. Perhaps not overall as memorable as "Silverwing", but damn sure close, which is proved by the multiple solos (at least three!), so hey if you like solos look no further. We are at track number 6 and it's called "Seed of Hate". A somewhat weaker contribution overall, it has a more serious approach. Armed with whispering in calm interludes and steady rhythms contrasted by powerful growls, it's a different, but still an okay song. In "Angelclaw" Liiva's exchange between shrieky and growly vocal styles makes for an interesting schizophrenic feeling. It's very melodic and includes a highly unsuitable galloping solo near the end.

Lastly, "Burning Bridges" stands out of the other songs by being played in a doomy tempo, but it is in no means a weak link. Imagine walking through a destroyed city, everything that remains are ruins and burning buildings(/bridges?), you are the only person there. You feel that? That's pretty much what you feel like after being devastated by Arch Enemy's Burning Bridges.

In my opinion, this is the best Arch Enemy album and will most probably not get surpassed in the near future. It includes some of the most memorable melodic death metal songs ever created. This album is cold hard evidence that you can pull off the notorious combination of melody (and MAN how melodic!) and brutality, while not giving up any intensity or catchiness. The Swedes fronted by Liiva backed up by the Amott brothers seemed to be at top of their game. Oh well, so much for nostalgic praising.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9

Written by GamlaSonn | 05.09.2009


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 17   Visited by: 171 users
05.09.2009 - 14:33
Warman
Erotic Stains
I agree, probably the best Arch Enemy album!
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05.09.2009 - 14:42
BloodTears
ANA-thema
Burning Bridges is definitely a landmark in Arch Enemy's history. As for being their best album, we all have our opinions, but it might be one of their "best inspired" albums, so to speak.

Certainly in terms of consistency and overall combination of the songs, it won't be easy to surpass.

Congratulations on your second review
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.


My Instagram
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05.09.2009 - 17:30
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
I found the opening paragraph overly opinionated, in spite of the fact that I agree with most of your points. Then you finish up with what seems like an attack on the band's current line-up more than it seems you are finishing your review, which would be better suited as a forum discussion. Nonetheless, there are definitely great melodies that support the overall "brutality" of the album; whether or not Liiva is a stronger vocalist is irrelevant.
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Prettier than BloodTears.
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05.09.2009 - 18:24
GamlaSonn
Written by BloodTears on 05.09.2009 at 14:42

Burning Bridges is definitely a landmark in Arch Enemy's history. As for being their best album, we all have our opinions, but it might be one of their "best inspired" albums, so to speak.

Certainly in terms of consistency and overall combination of the songs, it won't be easy to surpass.

Congratulations on your second review


Thanks for your opinion :]

Written by Troy Killjoy on 05.09.2009 at 17:30

I found the opening paragraph overly opinionated, in spite of the fact that I agree with most of your points. Then you finish up with what seems like an attack on the band's current line-up more than it seems you are finishing your review, which would be better suited as a forum discussion. Nonetheless, there are definitely great melodies that support the overall "brutality" of the album; whether or not Liiva is a stronger vocalist is irrelevant.


You're right, they are highly opiniated and some people might get offended by it. Sure, maybe if I were to write a strictly objective and formal review I would write it otherwise, but I just felt like writing a casual review and threw in some of my thoughts to soften it up
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05.09.2009 - 18:31
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Fair enough. It's a good review, but I felt like the overall opinions kind of took away from the objectivity.
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Prettier than BloodTears.
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05.09.2009 - 19:27
-N-
I agree ,burning bridges is a very good album
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05.09.2009 - 21:01
lord artan
I agree too
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06.09.2009 - 06:02
Paradox0
Unasuming Madnes
Nice review. I has planning once to do one for this but you beat me to it. Mostly agree with you except for one thing. "Seed of Hate" is one of my favorites of of the album. It's actually one of the most emotionally outputs from Arch Enemy in the vocal department.
Aside from that, the second half of "Angel Claw" although starting out menacing, turns into this weird happy solo which makes me think of Michael Amott and Johan Liiva going down a wedding aisle together (and yes, Liiva is in the gown). This solo always made me and my friends chuckle.
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07.09.2009 - 13:10
Powerslavex
Alexskywalker
The song burning bridges magnificent
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17.09.2009 - 22:20
GamlaSonn
Written by Paradox0 on 06.09.2009 at 06:02

Nice review. I has planning once to do one for this but you beat me to it. Mostly agree with you except for one thing. "Seed of Hate" is one of my favorites of of the album. It's actually one of the most emotionally outputs from Arch Enemy in the vocal department.
Aside from that, the second half of "Angel Claw" although starting out menacing, turns into this weird happy solo which makes me think of Michael Amott and Johan Liiva going down a wedding aisle together (and yes, Liiva is in the gown). This solo always made me and my friends chuckle.


Hey man, thanks. Funny story about that solo on "Angel Claw", now I always think of that when I hear the solo.

*thoughts drift* They're so happy togheter..
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24.09.2009 - 21:48
Vikingocalypse;
Account deleted
First of all, you didn't need to bring up the root of all evil, especially right in the very first paragraph (and it didn't need to be mentioned at any point since this review is for burning bridges). Also, the beast of man song you heard is a demo, so obviously it's not going to sound as good as the final mix. Mentioning Angela was also unnecessary. When you're reviewing an album, the topic should be the album itself. It's nice to look outside the box sometimes, but not in this case. A review should fixate entirely on the album, not a controversy surrounding the band's line-up.

Paragraph 2: Arch Enemy never played thrash metal, they're a branch of melodic death metal, now sometimes known as Gothenburg metal. Michael Amott did have some influence from slayer and the whole thrash metal movement, but never actually included thrash metal riffs in any of his guitar playing. That is why he joined Carnage, he was sick of the whole "and justice for all" hype. (Read more about that in the book: Choosing Death)

Another thing you should have had a closer look at is Burning Bridges was the start of their mainstream career. That is why they released Johan, because they wanted a vocalist that is highly skilled enough to keep them on the path they moved (or moving at that time) into with full confidence. Whether that was the wise choice or not, that is what happened.

In contrast to their first two albums, burning bridges is much faster and the songs are much shorter. That is something factual that should have been compared to Stigmata along with his vocal-recording without a throat infection.

Rating-wise, Burning Bridges is a phenomenal album, but Black Earth, Wages Of Sin, and Stigmata (for me at least) will stand before it. Therefore, I personally would have rated the album a 7.5 average.
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18.12.2009 - 08:51
Uirapuru
Liver Failure
Amazing album. Not a 9.4, but it sure deserve a high score. Pinnacle of Arch Enemy discography IMO... it does not get better than this.
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member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
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18.12.2009 - 10:20
GamlaSonn
Written by Guest on 24.09.2009 at 21:48

First of all, you didn't need to bring up the root of all evil, especially right in the very first paragraph (and it didn't need to be mentioned at any point since this review is for burning bridges). Also, the beast of man song you heard is a demo, so obviously it's not going to sound as good as the final mix. Mentioning Angela was also unnecessary. When you're reviewing an album, the topic should be the album itself. It's nice to look outside the box sometimes, but not in this case. A review should fixate entirely on the album, not a controversy surrounding the band's line-up.


Didn't know it was a demo, my apologies then.
You're right I didn't need to do it, but I liked it this way. Reviews doesn't have to be by the book everytime.

Written by Guest on 24.09.2009 at 21:48

Paragraph 2: Arch Enemy never played thrash metal, they're a branch of melodic death metal, now sometimes known as Gothenburg metal. Michael Amott did have some influence from slayer and the whole thrash metal movement, but never actually included thrash metal riffs in any of his guitar playing. That is why he joined Carnage, he was sick of the whole "and justice for all" hype. (Read more about that in the book: Choosing Death)


I didn't say they played thrash metal, it just sounds like the incorporate thrash elements togheter with the Gothenberg melodism - the faster pace and thrashy rythms.

Written by Guest on 24.09.2009 at 21:48

Another thing you should have had a closer look at is Burning Bridges was the start of their mainstream career. That is why they released Johan, because they wanted a vocalist that is highly skilled enough to keep them on the path they moved (or moving at that time) into with full confidence. Whether that was the wise choice or not, that is what happened.


They wanted a vocalist who was more outgoing on the stage, appearently. His voice is/were excellent! I guess you cash in a lot more money having in a sexy frontwoman

Written by Guest on 24.09.2009 at 21:48

Rating-wise, Burning Bridges is a phenomenal album, but Black Earth, Wages Of Sin, and Stigmata (for me at least) will stand before it. Therefore, I personally would have rated the album a 7.5 average.


All right. Black Earth and stigmata definitely has a lot of classics, but as a whole and because of the perfect melodic riffs I prefer BB.
Oh yeah and I should hear the re-recording of Stigmata, it'll probably be a lot better.
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19.12.2009 - 00:54
Vikingocalypse;
Account deleted
My goodness that was so old....
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19.12.2009 - 05:18
GamlaSonn
And now it's new
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05.07.2011 - 17:12
Valentin B
Iconoclast
Pilgrim, which is one of my favorite AE songs of all time, seems to have the exact same guitar riff on the chorus as Blue Oyster Cult - Astronomy.

It sounds so much like an intentional reference/sample, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't meant like that.
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Sing me a song, you're a singer
Do me a wrong, you're a bringer of evil.
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14.08.2011 - 15:24
Kuroboshi
Good review, but yeah, maybe a bit to nostalgic. However, I concur with your opinion that this is the pinnacle of their musical career. Except from "Anthems of Rebellion", their subsequent albums are really boring, with the exception of some song hear and there.

Especially, I can't stand "Wages of Sin". Ok, the opener owns, but after that, it's just so uninspired and predictable. Just needed to get that of my chest.
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