Arch Enemy – Covered In Blood
Album Review By Adam McCann
Century Media Records – 2019 – Melodic Death Metal
Following the commercial success of 2017’s ‘Will To Power’, the latest Arch Enemy studio album, the band have decided to capitalise on their downtime by adding to their career spanning boxset ‘1996-2017’released early last year with ‘Covered In Blood’; a retrospective homage to the bands which inspired the Arch Enemy sound. As with their recent boxset, ‘Covered In Blood’ features Arch Enemy covers which have been recorded throughout their history from the recent Alissa White-Gluz era, through the bands Angela Gossow and Johan Liiva incarnations.
Yet, as with all albums made up solely of cover versions; the main question is always: “cool, but is it worth it?” and expected, the Liiva and Gossow era cover songs contains the usual European heavy metal mainstays of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest coupled with some worship at the altar of Europe and Scorpions and there’s no surprise that band leader Michael Amott pays tribute to his former band Carcass with a cover of ‘Incarnated Solvent Abuse’. Furthermore, the White-Gluz era song choices add a more eclectic mix with covers ranging from Mike Oldfield to Tears For Fears to delving into Sweden’s hardcore and crust scene with Anti Cimex, Shitlickers and Moderat Likvidation.
With this collection, the one issue that becomes apparent is that Arch Enemy are very good at what they do, but that does not necessarily mean that it transposes well to the music of other bands; ‘Breaking The Law’, ‘The Zoo’ and ‘The Oath’ all contain the wall of sound, death metal chugging with the melodic repeating motifs, but with these songs it just does not work rendering them almost unlistenable; whilst ‘Aces High’ sounds like a poor version of Children Of Bodom covering Iron Maiden. Furthermore, the addition of ‘Shout’ by Tears For Fears seems to only reinforce the cliché that melodic death metal and gothic metal bands should cover this track. However, there are times where this works well with ‘Symphony Of Destruction’, ‘Incarnated Solvent Abuse’ and the hardcore songs being the stand out tracks with the musicianship being superb.
This leaves the answer to the original question being, no, ‘Covered In Blood’ is not really worth it and once heard, the album will never need to be heard again and therefore it is reserved almost entirely for superfans of the band and those with the explicit need to complete discographies.
Rating : 27/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann