Melodic Death Metal trend-setters Arch Enemy guide listeners on a unconventional journey through metal and punk history with their latest release, Covered in Blood.
Consisting of 24 tracks, Covered in Blood highlights heavy metal standards like Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” and Iron Maiden’s “Aces High,” as well as unconventional tracks such as punk band G.B.H.’s “City Baby Attacked by Rats.” Judging by the tracklisting, its evident that Arch Enemy selected songs that encompassed their influences. Surprisingly, these tracks also allowed Arch Enemy to display their collective talents and inject their signature melodic death metal sound into these established songs.
A perfect example of this would be the album’s opening track, “Shout.” Originally recorded by 80’s the group Tears for Fears and covered by Disturbed on their 2000 debut album, Arch Enemy have taken this established song and have reinvented it with their blend of guttural vocals and frantic yet concise guitar riffs.
This emphasis on reinvention is the primary theme of this album, as each of the songs chosen is transformed from their original versions. This transformation is achieved by either increasing the tempos of the songs with drummer Daniel Erlandsson’s breakneck double bass patterns, or by amplifying the tone of the songs with singer Alissa White-Gluz’s brutal vocal delivery.
With 24 tracks, this is quite a lengthy offering from the band, and the album does seem to drag towards the middle of the album. The punk covers from G.B.H. and the Shitlickers, though they sound great, sound out of place amongst the Scorpions and Megadeth covers that follow. Perhaps if Arch Enemy had split this album into two volumes, one designated for metal and the other for punk, then it would have sounded more cohesive and not drawn out. This wasn’t an album that I could listen to in one sitting, despite my best efforts to stay focused. This isn’t a knock against the content, which is a stellar collection of songs, but rather the placement and flow of the tracks.
Covered in Blood is a worthy addition to Arch Enemy’s discography, despite its lengthy run time and haphazard tracklisting. However, this record best serves as a appetizer to whet listener’s appetite while we wait for another brutal, aggressive album of original work from these melodic death metal veterans.
Verdit: 4 / 5