Armageddon - Captivity and Devourment
Listenable Records
Melodic Technical Death Metal
10 songs ()
Release year: 2015
Listenable Records
Reviewed by Alex

Somewhere in between Arch Enemy’s full-length albums at the end of the previous century then guitarist Christopher Amott decided to start his own side project called Armageddon. The reasons for that move are obviously not known to me, whether Christopher wanted to see what he could do with his own lineup, or there were ideas which did not fit Arch Enemy. In 1997 Crossing the Rubicon was released and, I have to make an admission here, it is the only Armageddon’s album I own to date. After that melodic experimental death/thrash gem, the band, reportedly, went power metal, and I wasn’t that much into power metal anymore when the new century rolled around. So, to me, albeit incorrectly, Armageddon remained frozen not only in time, but also in style, due to an aforementioned self-insulation.

If you were a closer follower of Armageddon than me, you should be pleased to hear that Christopher Amott has resurrected the project with Captivity and Devourment to be released early next year. Yet, if you enjoyed some of those interim power metal albums, you will be disappointed. In fact, when you hear the opening title track you may think that Armageddon has gone in the technical death metal direction, throwing out an opening barrage of Suffocation-like riffs, and continuing throughout with body slams and crazy breakneck leads, to close that song out with expansive swimming guitar licks, Arch Enemy signature around Stigmata and Burning Bridges, and what must be Christopher Amott’s specialty.

Wetting the appetite for something extraordinary, Captivity and Devourment does not entirely continue this way, however. Many other tracks on the album straddle the interesting line between older Arch Enemy (where melodies weren’t so obvious to merit radio play, but did not have to be teased out either) and something bearing the touch of commercial modernity. Rough verse on Rendition is complemented by melodic cleanly sing chorus, and dark stomps of Equalizer and Giants contrast with softer melodic portions, so you can invoke metalcore references, strictly speaking. Yet in the hands of Christopher Amott and the rest of the Armageddon crew these genre confines seem misplaced, because complexity of the guitars dazzles constantly (Conquer, Rendition), just like it did 17 years ago on Crossing the Rubicon. Steadier pace of Locked In and heavy treading in Thanatron are bound to raise some mosh pit gatherings, and then numerous bridges, licks and arpeggios just leave your head spinning.

There is still some fascination with the cosmos topic, causing some track to veer in the experimental direction. Fugitive Dust is synth laden and futuristic, smashing Thanatron opens up with a dark acoustic flamenco piece, and acoustic skilled string flattering in instrumental Background Radiation is supposed to summon notions of Geiger counter ticking along at a deadly clip. The stories of Captivity and Devourment are told mostly in dual vocal style, one throaty growl and the other more at higher tone, akin to reptile hissing, yet legible.

I will be honest and say this is not entirely what I expected (there are no The Juggernaut Divine or Astral Adventure here), and there will be haters who will hate this album. Not mid-era Arch Enemy reincarnation, but not an attempt to quickly cash in either, Captivity and Devourment is a fine collection of songs, many of them standing on their own, as a good example of what creative mind equipped with high quality sound can create. As far as an exact definition of the genre Armageddon plays in on the album, I would leave it up to you to judge.

Killing Songs :
Captivity and Devourment, Thanatron
Alex quoted 80 / 100
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