Published on February 2nd, 2017 | by Justin G.
Armageddon: Crossing the Rubicon – Revisited
As disappointing as it was to see guitarist Christopher Amott leave Arch Enemy, it was a very good thing when he relaunched Armageddon, the melodic death metal turned melodic metal (and back to melodic death metal) band he started at the turn of the century. After delivering a more than worthy comeback album in 2015’s Captivity and Devourment, Amott and company set their sights on the 1997 Armageddon debut Crossing the Rubicon. The album has been out of print for nearly two decades, and was only available in Japan when it first came out, but instead of simply reissuing it, Crossing the Rubicon – Revisited is a brand new rerecording of the album.
I’m generally in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” camp when it comes to rerecordings, and Crossing the Rubicon definitely was not broken. I assume label complications prevented a straight reissue, which would have been very well received. That said, Crossing the Rubicon – Revisited is one hell of a melodic death metal album. The original album came at the height of the Gothenburg melodic death metal scene, so the songs have that now-classic approach. Think early Arch Enemy and At the Gates, with thrashy riffs, power metal-worthy solos and razor-sharp harsh vocals.
Crossing the Rubicon – Revisited does seem to breathe new life into this album. Part of that is the current production values, but the vocals seem to fit better on this version. Antony Hamalainen is a massive presence here, and he helps connect the new Armageddon album to their early sound. The atmospherics and keyboards seem way more prominent on this version, adding depth to the songs and again tying it to Captivity and Devourment.
I’d still really like to have a proper remastered reissue of Crossing the Rubicon one day, but this new version is surprisingly effective. I’d say it’s mandatory if you missed the album the first time around, and a worthwhile purchase even if you do own the original. And if you’re not at all familiar with Armageddon but are into bands like Arch Enemy, At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity and Mors Principium Est, Crossing the Rubicon – Revisited makes a great introduction.
Edition Notes: In addition to the rerecorded album, Crossing the Rubicon – Revisited includes the new (I think?) song “Nothing is Nothing.” No version – original or rerecorded – of the Iron Maiden cover “Die With Your Boots On” that appeared on the Japanese pressing of Crossing the Rubicon is present.
Summary: I still want a reissue, but in the meantime this will do.