Armageddon

Embrace the Mystery + 3

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This two-for-one set combines the second and third albums released by Swedish metal band Armageddon, whose guitar-wielding leader, Christopher Amott, subsequently decided to retire the project in order to focus on the increasingly successful group he shared with his older brother Mike -- Arch Enemy. Nevertheless, with the possible exception of their first album, rightfully ignored here, Armageddon were a more than respectable entity in their own right, and their sophomore outing, Embrace the Mystery, in particular, boasted a compelling mix of timeless metal anthems and surprisingly accessible hard rock tunes, powered by the interplay between Amott's guitar heroics and excellent lead singer Rickard Bengtsson. Following the latter's departure, the band's sound became more predictably metallic on their obviously named final offering, Three -- where Amott's voice also evoked a few too many memories of John Sykes' Blue Murder and, at times, even Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society -- but its songs were still quite memorable, for the most part, if slightly more derivative. And to sweeten the deal on this two-disc package, Century Media procured three bonus cuts for each disc in the shape of two demos and a cover for each album; the first being Iron Maiden's "Die with Your Boots On" and the second Mercyful Fate's "Desecration of Souls." Combined with the wealth of quality tunes sprinkled throughout both albums, it's abundantly clear that Century Media decided to reissue them based purely on musical reasons -- not as some sort of favor to appease their Arch Enemy clients, the Amott brothers.

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