Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions Is Chaotic At It’s Best

Stand out tracks:

“Yesterday is Dead and Gone”; “Bloodstained Cross”; “Under Black Flags We March”; “City of the Dead”; “Cruelty Without Beauty”; “Cult of Chaos”; “Vengeance is Mine”; and “Secrets.”

Partial Track Breakdown

“Bloodstained Cross” is, like many of the tracks here, a straight-forward melodic death metal song… until about the three minute mark when it shifts gears to become a transcendental and inspiring track with a beautiful guitar bridge.

“Under Black Flags We March” opens with a sick, slow bass riff and a steady beat. The guitar riff that soon afterward enters is slow and powerful, accompanied by a wicked marching cadence on drums. It sounds like an Arch Enemy of the past, only down tempo.

“No Gods, No Masters” sounds like the track you’re going to listen to with a few buddies (hopefully some tattooed hotties) in the basement as you smoke a few joints. It features a basic hard-rock guitar riff, but the lyrics are nothing but positive: “I am who I am, take it or leave it/A rebel at heart/No gods, no masters/The time has come.”

“City of the Dead” – how can you not love the Middle Eastern intro? After that it’s just full-on speed metal with death growls.

“Through the Eyes of a Raven” is a slow, groove-metal track that breaks down into tribal-like drumming at about 45 seconds before breaking into some killer power metal and a very hard-rock mid section. The outro features a sweet-ass Spanish guitar after an extended guitar solo and one last guttural series of growls.

“Cruelty Without Beauty” is possibly the toughest, if not the darkest, track on Khaos Legions. With a Slayer-like intro followed by some killer riffage with some Zack Wylde influence, and some truly evil vocals before hitting double time, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t the most powerful song on the album.

“Cult of Chaos” – Was that a bit of Metallica in the intro? OK, so this track is also tough with it’s furious pace upfront, but it slows slows way down half way through, providing some more heavy riffing and another killer guitar solo. I think I hear some Eddie Van Halen in there somewhere as well.

“Vengeance is Mine” – no, not the Alice Cooper song. This one demonstrates some speed metal soloing that Mustaine would be impressed by.

“Secrets” has an anthemic intro reminiscent of KISS, and, for me, that’s not a bad thing. However, it might not be the best song to close out the album (damn those Japanese* with their import editions).


The Verdict: [rating:3.5]

I like Arch Enemy, but only consider myself a moderate fan, and in light of that I’d only recommend Khaos Legions to, at the very least, like-minded individuals. If you’re not a fan, or have never heard Arch Enemy, pass on this album and get some of their earlier work for a better example of their talents. Nonetheless, I think this is an exceptional album worth a fans attention.

*The Japanese edition of Khaos Legions gets a Scorpions cover, “The Zoo,” and an acoustic version of Snowbound.”


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