First remastered re-release of the debut full-length album by the cult Swedish Melodic Death Metal band.
During the time of recording Black Earth, Arch Enemy was more of a solo project. Michael Amott wrote all of the songs and played bass guitar on the album. Although Johan Liiva is cited as playing the bass, Michael later stated in an interview that he had it credited that way to make it seem more of a "band effort". Christopher Amott, who was attending music college at the time, only contributed his leads on the album, leaving Michael to record all the rhythm tracks.
"Black Earth" underscores Thrash and Death Metal's debt to Punk, but the Power Metal influence is quite evident as well, and for all their bombast, the tunes on this album are fairly hooky and relatively accessible. Fronted by original singer Johan Liiva this album marked the starting point of a band which should later become one of the biggest of its genre flawlessly combining technical, dueling guitars and a previously unheard mixture of melody and aggression – an alchemy that redefined the limits of Melodic Death Metal. “Black Earth” was the hour of birth of a trademark sound, which helped the band to quickly solidify their reputation as one of the genre’s elite and kicked off a unique success story within the Metal realm!
Of course, longtime followers of Arch Enemy will debate the merits of their early output versus what came later. Some headbangers prefer the gruff-voiced Liiva over his replacement Angela Gossow; others will counter that Gossow was an improvement over Liiva. At any rate, "Black Earth" was a promising debut for Arch Enemy and is among the Swedish combo's more consistent and memorable efforts!!
Expanded Edition re-issue features 12 rare previously unreleased tracks!
Savage Messiah Music/Century Media, 1996/2013 (9982431). Made in Germany. 180 g vinyl.
Tracklist LP 1:
1. Bury Me An Angel 3:40
2. Dark Insanity 3:16
3. Eureka 4:43
4. Idolatress 4:55
5. Cosmic Retribution 3:59
6. Demoniality 1:20
7. Transmigration Macabre 4:09
8. Time Capsule 1:09
9. Fields Of Desolation 5:31
10. Losing Faith 3:16
11. The Ides Of March (Iron Maiden Cover) 1:45
12. Aces High (Iron Maiden Cover) 4:24
Tracklist LP 2 (Live In Japan 1997):
1. Dark Insanity 4:00
2. Transmigration Macabre 4:16
3. Idolatress 5:15
4. Cosmic Retribution 4:12
5. Eureka 4:41
6. Drum Solo / Losing Faith 3:53
7. Fields Of Desolation 6:20
8. Bury Me An Angel 3:55
9. Aces High (Iron Maiden cover) 4:41
Total playing time: 113:20 min.