On their 11th album, international supergroup Arch Enemy deliver a master class in melodic death metal. With members spread out across Europe, Asia, and North America, the band managed to write and record Deceivers during the pandemic. “In some ways, it was business as usual, and we entered a deep artistic zone during the writing process,” guitarist and band co-founder Michael Amott tells Apple Music. “But this time, it was almost crucial for our mental health because when we were making this record, there was so much negativity and uncertainty in the world. I think we all needed this project to give us a focus and a purpose, and I think you can hear that in the album.” Below, Amott and vocalist Alissa White-Gluz comment respectively on the tracks for which they wrote lyrics. “Handshake With Hell” Alissa: “I like to let the music set the mood, and in this case the mood was classic heavy metal! What better time to include some powerful belting? Plus, the chanting in the bridge is an interesting feature. I wrote the lyrics based on the current climate of disillusioned personal importance and power. It has been a crowd favorite during our live show.” “Deceiver, Deceiver” Michael: “This song is an all-out attack on every level. Musically, it connects the dots between my old punk roots and the heavier thrash/death music I grew up with. The words to this song are mean, nasty, and relatable. I mean, we’ve all been deceived, lied to, and betrayed once or twice in our lives, haven’t we? We recently opened our live show with this in North America, and it was an absolute blast to feel how much it connected with the audience.” “In the Eye of the Storm” Michael: “I really enjoy the thunderous groove and melody of this one, and I’m excited to play it live. While writing the words, I was vibing off the music and created a little movie in my head about escaping a very bad situation. But I’m keeping it vague and ambiguous. Read into it what you will.” “The Watcher” Alissa: “This is a fast, angry song, and I love to play with phonic elements on tracks like this. These super-staccato vocals are quite challenging but so much fun. I borrowed lots of imagery from old literature to create a pretty complex environment. I wanted it to read like a rebellion against Scripture, and it’s the only song on Deceivers that includes this many literary references.” “Poisoned Arrow” Michael: “This one started out as a death-metal ballad almost, but it was a little too similar sounding to ‘Reason to Believe’ off our previous album. We reworked the song, and it turned into what you hear now. I would say that this is Arch Enemy at its most melodic, with a healthy dose of melancholy in the lyrics.” “Sunset Over the Empire” Michael: “We had parts of this song for many years—I remember jamming on the verse riff with Daniel [Erlandsson, drums] well over 10 years ago. Sometimes that’s how it is—you just can’t find the right context for the musical idea, and it’s never a good idea to force it. Anyway, finally it all came together for this one in a big way. I love the aggression and big, epic chorus with the chant. The lyrics talk about disillusionment regarding real change in corrupt societies around the world—sadly, a subject that is always relevant, maybe more so now than ever?” “House of Mirrors” Alissa: “The haunting, spiraling sound of the opening guitar riff immediately inspired me to write something psychological. The way the chorus settles into a perfect head-banging tempo and groove while the melody builds tension is the perfect lyrical companion, highlighting the way humans become comfortable with the familiar, regardless of how disturbing that might be. The metaphor of the house functions to symbolize the way we are both sheltered and trapped in our own minds and bodies.” “Spreading Black Wings ” Michael: “This is a unique song for Arch Enemy for a couple of reasons. To begin with, it doesn’t feature a single guitar solo, and it’s actually the first time I wrote a lyric about the Devil, Lucifer himself. I had fun playing around with the words, trying to avoid the worst clichés on the topic. Ultimately, it turned out to be a song about believing in yourself and, essentially, being your own god—which has always been my personal philosophy. At the time of writing this, my old friend LG Petrov [ex-Entombed] was battling cancer and, sadly, ended up leaving this world. I added the line, ‘Do not fear to tread the left-hand path’ as a nod to him, and the song is dedicated to his memory.” “Mourning Star” Michael: “We have a tradition of featuring shorter instrumental songs on our albums, with the intention of adding dynamics and tension to the overall picture. This one was written mostly by Daniel, but I had a small part of adding some extra spice to it and went a bit Ritchie Blackmore on the solo.” “One Last Time” Michael: “I remember putting together a demo of this with Daniel during a writing session in early 2020. The song felt powerful then, and I still dig it a lot. Lyrically, it’s an uplifting theme about overcoming struggles, ignoring the naysayers, and it never being too late to make a positive change in your life.” “Exiled From Earth” Alissa: “I felt it was important to give the climate crisis the spotlight for at least a moment on this album. Nihilism is at an all-time high, with good reason. We are all aware that it may be too late to reverse the damage we have caused, and that we are responsible for our own mass extinction. I wanted to take this wealth of hard truths and create something beautiful instead—the soundtrack to a marching exile from the planet we destroyed.”

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