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Black Earth, Featuring (Most Of) Arch Enemy’s Original Line-Up, Release Two New Songs

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It’s hard to write about Black Earth without going crosseyed, but I’m gonna give it a shot.

Black Earth is 3/4ths of the Arch Enemy line-up that made that band’s first album, also called Black Earth; 4/5ths of the Arch Enemy line-up that made that band’s second album, Stigmata; and 5/5ths of the Arch Enemy line-up that made that band’s third album, Burning Bridges: vocalist Johan Liiva, guitarists Michael and Christopher Amott, drummer Daniel Erlandsson, and bassist Sharlee D’Angelo (Martin Bengtsson, who played bass on Stigmata, is not involved, thus leaving the window open for another version of Arch Enemy, called Stigmata and featuring Bengtsson but not D’Angelo, to emerge). That means that Black Earth actually has more original members of Arch Enemy than Arch Enemy does (for the two of you who don’t know, Arch Enemy’s current vocalist is Alissa White-Gluz, and their current guitarist is some guy named Jeff something). There’s a reasonably clear line of reasoning behind calling Black Earth ‘Black Earth’ and not changing Arch Enemy to something else and letting Black Earth be Arch Enemy. But still, from a chronological perspective, calling Black Earth ‘Black Earth’ and not ‘Arch Enemy’ feels a bit like if Van Halen decided to make records with David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, but the Hagar version kept being called ‘Van Halen’ and the DLR version was now called ‘Fair Warning’ or something.

With me so far?

Great! So having cleared all that up…

Black Earth have released an album called Path of the Immortal in Japan, which Metal Injection tells me “features remastered tracks from the early records alongside two brand new songs recorded in 2018 at Studio Fredman with producer Fredrik Nordström.” Those two new songs — this version of Arch Enemy’s first in twenty years — are called “Life Infernal” and “Burn on the Flame,” are now available below for your streaming, and in my opinion, they’re both pretty goddamn motherfucking awesome.

Still, I’ll be interested to see what the fan reaction is here. As much as I like those early Arch Enemy releases, complaints that subsequent vocalists Angela Gossow and White-Gluz were inferior to Liiva always smacked of misogyny to me; I don’t think one of them really does a better Cookie Monster than the others. The only valid complaints about the Gossow/White-Gluz years, then, is that the production is somewhat more polished. Which these new Black Earth songs are as well. So are people gonna bitch about these?

Listen to “Life Infernal” and “Burn on the Flame,” then head to the comments section to bitch or not bitch as you see fit. No word on when/if Path of the Immortal will be released in other parts of the world, but I did hear a rumor that next year Gossow will return to Arch Enemy, only they’re gonna call it Wages of Sin, because they still need to call Arch Enemy ‘Arch Enemy.’ I’m kidding. I hope.

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