Arkangel "…Is Your Enemy" CD

Posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2008 @ 6:54am » permalink

Arkangel - ...Is Your EnemyHonestly, for some reason I've lost touch with what GSR Music has been pumping out for the last year or so, and thus didn't check out the latest release from Arkangel until last week, when I started pulling out a bunch of my old Belgian metalcore CD's for the first time in a few years. I think this disc hit the streets back in the summer, but I didn't really pay attention for some reason – I think there was a part of me that just didn't expect Arkangel to still be vital. They've been noticeably less prolific than some of their fellow Belgians over the years, but god damn if they haven't somehow managed to be the only band from that scene that's never released any weak material in 10+ years, because just like 2004's "Hope You Die by Overdose", this shit is absolutely fucking vicious. They haven't lost an ounce of their power: From the inimitably scathing vocals to the increasingly dark and textured metalcore underneath – complete with plenty of the speedy, death metal-infused riffing they birthed in the late-90's; sickly churning midpaced rhythms accented by slow, sinister dissonance; and even some piano and acoustic passages! It's extremely fucking rare to see songwriting quality improve over time for bands of this nature, but that has absolutely been the case with Arkangel, as these last two full-lengths easily surpass their late-90's output in terms of balancing overall ferocity and relentless intensity with tangible feeling and memorably explosive emotion. What can I say? I'm absolutely impressed. I was a moron to overlook this album, even if just for a few months…

Arkangel "13th Hour"

Huge props to GSR Music as well for getting their releases up on iTunes (iTunes Plus, no less), which is where I grabbed these jams. More labels need to make that shit happen, man. It's so much faster, not to mention cheaper, than dealing with international mailorder. Awesome.

Purchase:
@ Interpunk (CD)
@ RevHQ (CD)
@ iTunes (mp3)

41 Comments...

  1. inhalexhale says:

    Not as good as "Hope you die…".

    But god dammit, this is fucking Arkangel. Even when they go full metal, they are the best deathcore band Europe has offered. Bolt Thrower, anyone?

  2. Wow, new Arkangel! I hadn't been paying attention, either. This clip was pretty good.

    iTunes Plus – I hadn't heard of that until now. Does one need iTunes to use/buy from it?

  3. anonymous says:

    Dead man walking is a classic.

  4. AVERSIONLINE says:

    Yeah, iTunes Plus is the same as buying from the regular iTunes store, it's just that the files you get are of a higher quality and they're unrestricted. But if you prefer to use a different program/portable player to manage your mp3's, you could technically buy from iTunes Plus, then use iTunes itself to convert the purchased tracks to mp3's from m4a's without really losing any sound quality.

  5. Carlzilla says:

    I didn't like Hope You Die… very much. I do however think this, as well as every other album they've released is awesome stuff.

  6. metalmike says:

    this band has been worthless for a long time. ever sense they sold out their lyrics went from amazing to fucking horrible. they are the vegan strife. First two releases are amazing and their last album and this one just make me cringe. Even if you don't count the lyrics the music is soso at best.

  7. AVERSIONLINE says:

    That's total horseshit. I can kinda-sorta almost understand being bummed that they "sold out" the straightedge thing or whatever, but the difference is that Strife's post-"sellout" material was actual crap. The last two Arkangel albums display BETTER songwriting than the EP/"Dead Man Walking". Don't get me wrong, all the Arkangel stuff is great, but… you can't say the new music sucks and old stuff was "amazing", as they're not that incredibly different. Just doesn't make sense…

  8. Chris says:

    That's "sXe" fans for you: even if the band put out an absolute masterpiece, they'd still say it's crap because the band "sold out". Somebody should lace these fuckers' juice with some vodka so they'd shoot themselves from impurity and spare the reasonable people their narrow-mindedness.

    Anyways, speaking of GSR: have you checked out Knuckledust's "Promises Comfort Fools" yet? It's like a punch in the kisser, "mate".

  9. Nail_Bombed says:

    Yeah, that new K'Dust album is pretty nifty. They've stepped up their game quite a bit as of late.
    Waiting for the new Arkangel to hit Ireland… ordered it a month back. Still one of the most vicious metal/hardcore bands out there.

  10. svein says:

    I thought "hardcore" was about following your heart. Stepping away from something 'cause it's no longer where you're at isn't selling out, sticking around and playing a role to appease your peers is. Fuck a guy who berates a band for moving on.

    With that said, I didn't particularly feel this song. Ultra-badass cover, though.

  11. metalmike says:

    First of all lyrics are a huge part of the music. And when the band started they were a huge animal rights based band. Thats what the focus of the lyrics were on. And now they arn't vegan so they don't have the feeling or what have you anymore. And I tried to give them a chance musically even though I knew they didnt give a shit about what they were all about before. And their last albums songwriting IMO was not so hot. And this new one is a little better but not much. I feel the songwriting on their older shit was way better. They have alot more "energy" with the songwriting with their older stuff. The new stuff doesn't have the feel anymore. And now it seems way more generic to me.

    And no fucking shit people change. What people would realize if they would pull their heads out their asses is it would be like if for say Watain started singing about jesus and saying that they love jesus now. Its fucking stupid IMO for a band to keep going when their entire band is based around something that they don't care about anymore.

  12. inhalexhale says:

    They were just fucking straight edge, the lyrics' focus wasn't animal rights. In fact, if it wasn't for the anti-meat eating rant on the booklet, I wouldn't even know they' re vegan.

    Anyway, enough with this nonsense, I honestly cannot see how one doesn't like the lyrics on "Hope you die…", which are close to perfect holy terror. If people would just listen to the music instead of chit chatting about who's "true" or not, maybe Arkangel would have their well-deserved recognition.

  13. Carlzilla says:

    Inhaleexhale, you must have never really paid attention then. While not every song was about it, they had A LOT of animal rights songs. Fearful Eyes, Evilization, etc. etc. It was certainly a main theme in their lyrics.

    I'm not saying I care that they "sold out" because I don't believe in that crap. It's a personal life choice, and has zero bearing on anything outside of their own lives (or at least it should). This is coming from a vegetarian (for over a decade now), and someone who is sXe (although I don't really use that term to describe myself due to the stigma it seems to carry with it).

  14. metalmike says:

    Its obvious people are ignorant to the past of this band. But they were never a sxe band. And their first two releases were all about militant direct action and animal rights. I always thought that was obvious. Most people wrote them off along time ago because of them not being vegan anymore and because apparently they were really shitty dudes. Apparently the singer used to beat his gf. Even if the latter wasnt true. I wouldn't listen to the band cause the lyrics and music don't do anything for me.

    As far as the music. Sure its similar. But that doesn't mean its as good or any good. The original guitarist and songwriter quit back in 2000 or 2001. Sense then the new guitarists have just tried to emulate their old sound. And they do a fairly good job at it. But I don't feel its all that good.

  15. Anonymous says:

    so we shouldnt listen to arkangel now because they used to be all about animal rights, and because supposedly they were "really shitty dudes" ? (do you know them personally or something, why the hate?) you dont like them and it seems you dont want anybody else to like them either.

  16. mike says:

    "…Is Your Enemy" > "I hope you die of overdose". This album brings a lot of sinister atmosphere that's absolutely fantastic. Songs like "13th Hour" make you wanna commit suicide hahaha… Really dark stuff.

    Post as much pics with booze and white lines as you want. Nice boys don't play rock n' roll hahaha… It's all good.

    Two original members are still veggie and vegan I believe, so that makes them more die-hard than 95% of the haters who were like 10 years old when the band started.

    To sum up, great album, period.

  17. AVERSIONLINE says:

    The last time I posted about Arkangel someone made similar allegations about the band members. Always a treat. I have no idea what's true and what's not and I don't care. In this day and age anyone can make up a story about anyone and post it online and it can become "truth" as the years pass, even if it was completely fabricated.

    I'd also be interested to know if those complaining about the band's change in lyrical message ONLY listen to bands whose lyrics align closely with their own personal beliefs and interests. Because if so, you must listen to a rather small circle of artists. If not, then why does it matter in this particular case?

    Oh, and Michel Kirby is the fucking man. Dude has been in so many killer bands it's just ridiculous…

  18. mike says:

    Andrew, I totally back you up on Michel Kirby.

  19. metalmike says:

    ok so I talked to a friend of mine who is from that area and appearantly he wasnt the one beating his gf it was another one of the bands they were friends with.

    Anyways…. basically what it comes down to without writing a book. Back in 99/2000 Arkangel was one of my favorite bands and had some of my favorite lyrics. I lilsten to alot of bands that I don't aggree with at all lyrically. I listen to everything from devourment to DMX. But Arkangel was one of the few bands that spoke about veganism and militant direct action. The music also happened to be really good as well. When the dudes changed the whole idea of the band and the guitar player quit. I lost interest. The lyrics don't do anything for me anymore and the music in my opinion is a watered down version of its original self. Personally I think they should have changed their name. End of Story.

  20. mike says:

    No offence Mike, but fuck that "I think they should have changed their name" tune. It's kinda cool they're not ashamed where they came from and instead of trying to hide the past behind a new name, they're confronting the people who diss'em (i.e. two last albums' titles and a couple of lyrics deal with it too).

    When I go to see them live and I want to hear both the old and the new stuff.

  21. metalmike says:

    just because you arn't ashamed doesnt mean you don't look like a fucking tool. I don't give a shit what they think or what you think is cool.

  22. Dichatomy says:

    Downloaded and gave it a listen. As is common for me with a lot of the stuff posted, it didn't really do it for me (but I keep coming back because there is stuff that I do like). But there was something in it that made me decide to see what else they had to offer. After all, few bands can be properly introduced with one song.

    So, off to Myspace I went and listened to what's on their profile – not bad. Maybe not something that would replace the usual suspects in my playlists were I to buy an album by them, but still something that might fit in with what I do have.

    Now, it doesn't matter if the band is/was vegan and chooses/chose to include socially aware lyrics in their songs. To each their own. I've no problem with that sort of thing, so long as it doesn't get preachy or condescending. And sometimes, it doesn't take much to reach that point and become a turnoff.

    Maybe they realized that. Maybe they decided to back away from the stuff they covered earlier in their recorded career and do something else. Maybe it just happened. Whatever the reason, that's not cause to shit all over the band for not "staying true to their roots", or whatever other bullshit cliche you want to conjure up.

    Seriously, how many band can continually push their views on listeners time and time again? It gets old. Sure, some will stick around, but if you're hearing the same things over and over, but with different riffs, beats or words to it, what's the point? I'm sure not everyone who listens to Arkangel agree with all they have to say. They listen because they like the band. Same can be said of the fanbases of christian bands, black metal bands, bands labeled "sXe", hardcore, or what have you. There will be the devout followers of whatever the band believes in, sometimes to a fault. And then there will be those who like the band just because they like the band. Simple enough, no?

    Now, I don't know Arkangel's history, so I don't know why they changed direction lyrically. Unless you're in the band or close to them, one can only speculate. But my first guess, even though I'm not familair with them, is that it was time to move on to different ground. Why hate them for doing so?

  23. AVERSIONLINE says:

    This interview is quite old, but I highly recommend reading it. It sheds some light on many of these topics and attempts to show just how outlandish and longstanding some of these bullshit internet rumors really are:

    http://dordingull.com/hardkjarni2/vidtol/arkangel.php

  24. mike says:

    Anyway, I love people who will go to great lengths to make numerous comments on a band "they don't care about" haha…

    They have a new killer shirt design up on GSR. Pick it up if you can afford it.

  25. jim fuckin winters says:

    from what i can recall their 2nd disc was just some wanna-be thugged out moshcore.
    i know they toured the US, albeit somewhat unsuccessfully, all the while making plenty of enemies here just as they already had in Europe.
    i gave up on this band after that first disc, musically and otherwise.

  26. frans says:

    it's pretty funny how after 10 years the mere mention of Arkangel still stirs up drama even across the ocean. If you ask me the fact that they're a bunch of violent, deranged drug users makes them a lot more metal.

  27. Marcus Garvey says:

    if you're posting gossip and rumors about a band and then you have to come back to correct the factual inaccuracy of the stories, that pretty much says it all. nice song posted here. thanks for another great writeup.

  28. r. says:

    Without the ideals the band was preaching about before and a better song writing that "fits" the metal scene in 2008, the end result is a 13-in-a-dozen quality metal/metalcore band amongst a swaaaarrrm of deathcore/metal/metallic hc bands with incredible musicians.
    There is no way you can say this new one has bad song writing, but it DOES NOT have the power and rage from the first two. "…is your enemy" will DEFENITALY be praised by metal magazines around the globe, but that's exactly what they were aiming at. Not that that is a bad thing, but if i want to listen to metal i just put on Slayer or whatever. If i want to listen to hc i used to spin Arkangel, but not anymore….

  29. AVERSIONLINE says:

    Again, that doesn't make a great deal of sense, because the ONLY thing "hardcore" about even Arkangel's earliest work was a certain degree of those lyrical themes – which even still were being approached from a darker and more apocalyptic angle that's not particularly tied to "hardcore".

    And maybe it's just me, but I would soooooo much rather listen to a band be pissed off and rage-filled regarding general life and inner personal topics than I would animal rights and all that. I'm a long-time vegetarian and I love Earth Crisis and all that, but… I mean, really? Are you people all that much more moved by bands screaming about socio-political bullshit than the trials of everyday life?

  30. r. says:

    No, I am not. Bands who sing about general life/inner struggle always move me more than apocalyptic lyrics tied to animal liberation. The new Arkangel does neither or so it feels. the lyrics (contents aside) are not that important anymore as they used to be. I guess you can call it "growing up" music wise. I mean, who wants to sing semi naieve lyrics that are blown out of proportion when they're 30, right? I think it's about the reasons why Arkangel exists nowadays. They want to make solid metal(core), while the focus from a their two first records wasn't only about that, but to incorporate a certain ideal and hc-feel. I dunno, i'm probably talking bollocks here.
    All i know is that Arkangel has turned into a laughing stock over here (Belgium) with most hc kids. Too much stupid stuff going on probably. Anyway, Aversion always has had good taste, so let me try this record out once more…..

  31. Anonymous says:

    "man, aversion thinks its good, so i HAVE TO like it", dude its not for everyone, just move along if you dont like it.

  32. r. says:

    Thanks for your contribution to the Arkangel thread.

  33. california says:

    Anonymous retard above should take his own advice. If he doesn't like comments made on this post, why can't he just move along?

  34. jim fuckin winters says:

    i love that this shit has even gone this far.

    Socio-political bullshit and trials of everyday life are basically one and the same.

    back int the day, i honestly only gave these dudes any time based on the fact that appeared at least to be about something… veganism obviously. when i heard the second record, which seemed to come out years (and members?) later and at the time it just reeked of another thug-beatdown trend thing, and when i read the lyrics…'nuff said.
    but i'll give this a listen just in case i missed something since.

  35. AVERSIONLINE says:

    I've definitely never gotten a thug/beatdown vibe from Arkangel at all. Not saying some wouldn't perceive those characteristics depending on what they associate with such terminology, but… I always think Bulldoze/Fury of Five type stuff when I think about those two words, ha.

    And yes, insane that this has gotten so many comments and gone down this path…

    I'm not complaining, though!

  36. jim fuckin winters says:

    it was most likely my disappointment clouding any objective listening at the time i heard it. who knows.
    my mis-use of the terms 'thug/beatdown' were an apparent generalization and if i were to re/define it i could almost see xMaroonx or Heaven Shall Burn falling into a similar category but… maybe i'm way off base.

  37. svein says:

    If it ain't beatdowning thuggery I sure as shit don't need it. All good music is either about 1) revenge, 2) telling the listener to shut the fuck up or 3) revenge.

  38. T Young says:

    Every story I hear about this band (and Kickback for that matter) makes me like them more. Infamy should be everywhere in hardcore, and it is.

  39. inhalexhale says:

    Speaking of which, the new Kickback, besides being record of the year, has more gruesome lyrics than ever. I haven't yet decided if I hate myself for loving them, but I have to ask for a review here as well.

  40. Fred says:

    Ok, so I saw them for the third time last Friday, and they were just awesome.

    Really tight and powerful, Baldur at his best, lot of mosh pit action, violent dancing, a couple of featurings from Moules of Backstabber … the show was great !

    I already like the last cd but the songs are even better live.

    Then Kickback took over, because they were headlining the show, and it was just insane. 45 minutes of pure violence and hate, that was the most violent show of the year.

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