After an uncomfortably long wait, Arch Enemy fans and guys who have an unreasonable crush on Angela Gossow have cause for much celebration with the release of Khaos Legions. Long avowed practitioners of exquisite guitar soloing and melodic finesse, Arch Enemy deliver a familiar aural selection on their umpteenth album. Khaos commences on a cheesy note with the campy Khaos Overture, a pseudo intro that ends with a sound byte of spoken word awfulness before lead single Yesterday Is Dead And Gone lets loose. The first savage salvo of Khaos Legions is a solid Arch Enemy tune whose merits won’t be lost on fans who’ve drooled over the quintet's music since the Angela debut Wages of Sin. Ms. Gossow sounds as harsh as ever amid a backdrop of twisting, intricate guitar play from the Amott brothers and the peerless Sharlee-Daniel rhythm section.
Having seen Arch Enemy live during their maiden concert here in the Philippines (a disappointment in terms of attendance), this writer knows what it's like to feel the brute force of the Amott brothers' twin guitar wizard magic. It's basically the two of them who save Khaos Legions from its worst moments, which are sad to say quite numerous. See, the problem with this album is a handful of songs merely stew in the usual Arch Enemy juices. The sucky parts begin around City of Dead, a rather forgettable thrash metal romp filled with Ms. Gossow's fiery enunciations. The latter half of the album fares much worse, with a couple of forgettable instrumentals thrown in to fatten the encumbered track list. Khaos Legions really could have done without such lukewarm fare as Cult of Khaos, Through The Eyes of the Raven, Vengeance Is Mine and Thorns In My Flesh.
On the flipside of these awful cuts are several potential classics that are very welcome additions to Arch Enemy's live set. No Gods No Masters, Under Black Flags We March, the climactic closing track Secrets and Bloodstained Cross are timeless Arch Enemy songs whose anthemic energy elevates them to the realm of crowd pleasing hymns. A precious gem also graces the album titled Cruelty Without Beauty; a rare death metal entrée whose glimmers of Six Feet Under and Immolation prove a welcome surprise.
Being their longest album to date, Khaos Legions deserves a cherished place in the German-Swedish fivesome's storied discography.