I know they aren’t referring to themselves in the title of their new album, but please, indulge me – there’s nothing deceptive about the new Arch Enemy album. As ever, they deliver exactly what you’d expect from one of their latter-day albums – a finely tuned take on the concept of ‘death metal as easy listening music’ – with scarcely a deviation from their self-propagated norm to cause much more than a flicker across the consciousness of the listener.

Part of the problem might be Jacob Hansen‘s rather anodyne production, which renders even the heaviest metal here rather toothless. In The Eye of The Storm, for instance, which harnesses a bit of Accept‘s mid eighties pomp, would be a pretty rousing anthem were it to have been treated to a raw, Michael Wagener-styled knob-twiddling effort. What it actually gets puts it into the same area as described by myself when talking about the recent Kreator album, viz, ‘HammerFall with grumpy voices’.

Bassist Sharlee D’Angelo appropriates the opening riff of The SkidsInto The Valley to introduce Sunset Over The Empire, which prompts a bit of short-lived excitement, and vocalist Alissa White-Gluz adds some soulful clean vocals to opener Handshake With Hell, but apart from that, thrillseekers are going to have a pretty thin time of things with this album. Guitarists Jeff Loomis and Michael Amott are, of course, amongst the best on the planet in their chosen fields, but even they struggle to ignite mundane material like House of Mirrors, appealingly chugful rhythm guitars notwithstanding.

At the end of the day, it should be stated that Deceivers isn’t a bad album by any means; indeed if it’s your first contact with Arch Enemy you’ll probably think it’s rather good. But there’s just no spark here, the element of danger given the band by former vocalist Angela Gossow seems now merely a figment of the mind, replaced by the packaged rebellion of doomy nuggets like Spreading Black Wings, a song which is inoffensive in itself until you remember that you’re listening to the band that produced genuinely thrilling melodic death metal only a decade or so ago.

If you’re the sort of metal fan who has reached the age where dinner parties now make a more attractive proposition than a night on the turps in a fleapit rock club, then this album will provide an ideal sonic backdrop to your next soiree; if you still crave a bit of dirt under the fingernails, can I take this opportunity to direct you to the latest Werewolves album…

Deceivers releases on August 12th