Hailed by many as one of the better heavy/thrash metal bands out of Sweden, Arch Enemy's cast is hardly comprised of unknowns.
The band's first album was released through the now-renamed Wrong Again Records, which was owned by a certain Per Gyllenback - the singer of Deranged.
Following his sudden departure from Carcass, guitarist Michael Amott had joined Deranged in the studio to contribute leads to their MCD. The band was formed in January of 1996 after Michael Amott and Liiva discussed getting together again with the purpose of playing some heavier material like 'the good old days.' With time finally allowing, a brother and a drummer were recruited and the result was indisputable.
The band signed to Century Media soon and settled for a slightly more conventional sound - albeit still with above average song writing. Burning Japan was initially a Japanese-only release, which was given further distribution after the demand became clear.
With the advent of 2001 and forced departure of Liiva from the fold, the band sought replacement from a hitherto unknown German singer/journalist who had interviewed the band earlier and followed up by sending in a video performance of herself. Rumours dogged the band that Gossow was romantically involved with a certain band member however despite the aforementioned story. The relationship between Mike and Gossow was later officially acknowledged.
Wages Of Sin was released in 2001 in Japan and a year later elsewhere. The band and its management were reportedly in sharp disagreement over the contractual terms with the label. Arch Enemy supported the album through opening slots with Nile after refusing an offer to tour with Hypocrisy. Further rumours had the band touring with Dark Tranquillity in 2002. Arch Enemy took part in Japan's Beast Feast 2002 on December 14th and 15th at Makuhari Messe Event Hall in Tokyo alongside Slayer and Motörhead.
Arch Enemy's sixth album, entitled Anthems Of Rebellion, appeared in July, 2003. Andy Sneap in England produced it. The band participated in several festivals in that summer. A tour with Nevermore (cut short due to a bug-infested tour bus and the need to rest before hitting America) and another with Hate Eternal followed. The band was given the chance to open for Slayer in the autumn of 2003 as well. In the spring of 2004, the band had to publicly apologize for dropping off the Weapons Of Mass Destruction tour, which featured Machine Head and God Forbid. The band had offered conflicting reasons for once again cancelling a tour. Simultaneously, the band's Japanese label Toy's Factory released a six-track EP entitled Dead Eyes See No Future on June 9th to coincide with the band's Japanese tour. Later in the year, the "Japanese-only EP" Dead Eyes See No Future was released in the rest of the world. Fans worldwide could expect the EP, featuring the title song, cover versions and live songs, in November. The band finished working on the Doomsday Machine album in April, 2005. The band also re-signed with Century Media Records where guitarist Mike Amott would also license music from his own label, Savage Messiah Music.
With the departure of Christopher Amott, in order to lead a normal life and pursue college studies, the band played a string of US and Canadian dates and OzzFest shows with guitarist Gus G. and then recruited Fredrik Åkesson of Talisman, John Norum, Krux and Tiamat fame. The band, Chimaira, Hate Eternal, God Forbid and Nevermore (on select shows) toured as part of the Jagermeister sponsored co-headlining bill in April of 2006 in Canada and the USA. The trek included a stop at the New England Metal And Hardcore Festival on April 29th. Arch Enemy's Live Apocalypse DVD was also soon completed. It was a two-disc release with the main show being from The Forum in London, U.K (December '04). Christopher Amott returned to the band in March, 2007 following an 18-month absence. The band next completed work on its next album, entitled Rise Of The Tyrant, which was the follow-up to 2005's Doomsday Machine. The band had once again enlisted producer Fredrik Nordström at Sweden's Studio Fredman, where the band had recorded all of its albums since Wages Of Sin (2001). In an interview with Closeup magazine in late summer of 2007, Mike Amott discussed the possibility of a Carcass reunion. Apparently, the band minus drummer Ken Owen, had even rehearsed. Plans were shelved pending the completion of Arch Enemy's touring cycle in support of its album Rise Of The Tyrant. Sister Sin, Leaves' Eyes and Mercenary were opening for the band at the latter band’s December Tyranny Tour 2008. The band was not managed by Sanctuary beginning 2008. Gossow took over the band’s management at that point. The Tyrants Of The Rising Sun: Live In Japan CD and DVD was out in November. The band undertook a Latin America Revolution Tour 2009 in late April including trips to Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico. Century Media Records issued a compilation called Manifesto Of Arch Enemy in Europe next. The CD featured live versions of Blood On Your Hands and Taking Back My Soul. Arch Enemy, Suffocation and Winds Of Plague were touring Australia in November of 2009. The band would release a new album, entitled The Root Of All Evil, on September 28th, 2009 through Century Media Records. The album was mixed and mastered by Andy Sneap with the band’s drummer, Daniel Erlandsson, engineering. It was a rerecording of material from the band’s first three albums with Gossow singing. In 2010, Arch Enemy guitarist Christopher Amott was working on a solo album called Follow Your Heart. It was reportedly psychedelic rock. Arch Enemy would play its first show on the Faroe Islands at the 2010 edition of the G! Festival. Arch Enemy was headlining the concert on July 16th. Arch Enemy was booked for the Magic Circle Festival IV @ Metalcamp. Other confirmed acts included Manowar, Holyhell and Crosswind. Magic Circle Festival IV @ Metalcamp took place in the summer of 2010 in Tolmin, Slovenia on July 11th. The band asked Sabbat to drop off its November 2010 UK shows after the latter band decided to tour the UK on its own in August.
In early 2011 Arch Enemy was at the Sweet Spot Studio in Sweden recording a new album due in June through Century Media. The album was being produced by the band and engineered and mixed by Rickard Bengtsson. The group picked Khaos Legions as the title for its new album, which was due in May through Century Media Records. The CD was recorded at Sweet Spot Studio with engineer Rickard Bengtsson. The band was scheduled for Germany's Summer Breeze festival in August. Arch Enemy played in Casablanca, Morocco on May 15th. Arch Enemy teamed with Amnesty International in order to raise awareness level for human rights abuses and social injustices worldwide. During the band’s headlining Canadian and U.S. tour, called North American Khaos 2011, Amnesty International was present helping to create awareness for its campaigns. Guitarist Christopher Amott left Arch Enemy again in late 2012. He was completing a solo album. Arch Enemy’s statement stated that Christopher was not a fan of extreme metal any longer. Arch Enemy recruited 26-year-old American guitarist Nick Cordle of Arsis. Canadian thrashers Titans Eve, which had released a demo called Life Apocalypse, was booked for a European tour with Arch Enemy in October of 2012. This would be the band’s first European tour and would see them perform in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France and Spain for the 10 show dates. Apparently, Arch Enemy singer Angela Gossow supported Titans Eve’s opening slot. Arch Enemy would perform its 2002 album, Wages Of Sin, in its entirety on December 6th, 2012 at Circo Volador in Mexico City.
ARCH ENEMY - WAGES OF SIN - CENTURY MEDIA
Contractual disputes resolved (although label biography omits explanation) Wages Of Sin reaches North America a year after invading Japan. No surprise, the album is all it has been touted. Arch Enemy's speed/thrash metal takes a more aggressive approach and shuns the more power metal approach of Burning Bridges. New singer Angela Gossow is no Minnie Mouse and is inspired by guitarist Michael Amott's former band Carcass. She shrieks and yells with power. Take a look at her TOP 5 in a previous issue to see she's no poser either. Arch Enemy's Wages Of Sin - Savage Messiah excepted - is a brilliant album adorned with fantastic musicianship, aggressively metallic vocals and a strong production. The only things standing in the way of this album and perfection are the trivial lyrics and a juvenile cover art. Wages Of Sin is the best Arch Enemy output since Black Earth.
ARCH ENEMY - ANTHEMS OF REBELLION - CENTURY MEDIA
The much-anticipated new Arch Enemy album, Anthems Of Rebellion, is here. The band's second full-length outing with singeress Angela Gossow is like the band's last album Wages Of Sin, but - very much like label-mates Nevermore - incorporates some modern and not necessarily metal influences (mallcore, etc.).
Another intro later the disc kicks in with a thrash metal attack, a slower guitar wizardry followed by a patented Slayer riff. Angela's vocals have taken on a more sinister tone, as if confident in her own abilities, she's taken it upon herself to go the route of evil. It is as if Mortiis has reverted back to black metal and is fronting Arch Enemy.
A more melodic tone starts We Will Rise. The song could have originated from the Wages Of Sin sessions except for the sample and the synthesizers which clearly draw off power and take away potency. This is the first of several harbingers of more foreign influences taking the band away from the land of metal. The vocals are given effect by being recorded on multiple tracks. Let me spend a few moments praising the production handiwork of Andy Sneap now. The sound is sharp, ballsy and up front. The drumming, in particular, captures both intensity and a live feeling. The question though never was Sneap's capability to capture a powerful sound, but whether he will guide a metal bands towards a more commercial mallcore/hardcore sound. On the other hand, bands visiting Sneap probably demand that touch.
The next song is another with a gratifying linear attack. It is complemented by a majestic guitar escalation which is rudely all but ruined by the synthesizers. One can optimistically say that Dead Eyes See No Future is an anti-war song, something that is indicated by the military drum march.
Instinct's troubled start is compounded by the cynical mallcore-ish guitar tone. Less please! In fact, less to the point of banishment, please.
The vocals may be menacing on Leader Of The Rats, but the rhythm, solo and sound of this song all reek of misplaced commercialism and yield to the mainstream. Say it is not so! And it mostly is not, but these crossings clearly have found a home with Arch Enemy.
Exist To Exit is a slower song which is quite mundane. The song outlasts its usefulness four minutes into the track at which point the band introduces the damned, and by now annoying, keyboards instead of cutting both their loss and the song.
Marching On A Dead World is a short instrumental reminding me of Motley Crue's God Bless The Children Of The Beast, and then it is off to meet Despicable Heroes, a pressure-cooking death metal boiler reminiscent of Wages Of Sin. It also features deeper vocals again. The track is only two minutes long.
End Of The line is loud, serious and powerful again. The Amott brothers practice throwing metal riffs at the listener once more before weaker chants are introduced with normal male vocals in the background. The male backing vocalist repeats the phrase 'end of the line' prompting one to wonder why he doesn't take the hint and take off.
Dehumanization has more of the regular male vocals (talk about role reversal) and is followed by the short track Anthem. The conceivable title track is a second instrumental which has nothing musically to do with Rush. In fact the minute-long instrumental could have been on an Ozzy or Queensryche album.
Saints And Sinners is a good Whitesnake album and also another angry Arch attack on the senses. The album-closer introduces a louder bass presence and an ultra-melodic, almost dreamy guitar sequence.
Anthems Of Rebellion is a good album from a very good band. Unfortunately, it seems that the band has somewhat tired of remaining within the halls of metal purity, opted to lessen the number of solos and guitar duels and instead introduced foreign influences and parametres into the fray. - Ali "The Metallian"
ARCH ENEMY - DEAD EYES SEE NO FUTURE - CENTURY MEDIA
Dead Eyes See No Future is a new EP by Swedish juggernaut Arch Enemy featuring the lead track, here performed with lead and backing keyboards, live versions of Burning Angel, We Will Rise and Heart Of Darkness, and covers of Manowar, Carcass and Megadeth. The Mini-CD is nothing to get too excited about. Releases like this, after all, are products of marketing plans to keep the band in the public's eye, sell a few more records and fulfill contractual obligations. All the same, Arch Enemy is still one of the better bands out there. How long will it maintain that position, given the infiltration of mall-reeking undynamics, adulation by corporate media, presence of synthesizers and so forth, is another discussion. - Ali "The Metallian"
ARCH ENEMY - DOOMSDAY MACHINE - CENTURY MEDIA
A new Arch Enemy album is a cause for celebration. The band has been established as one of the most credible in the extreme end of the musical spectrum which when coupled with the incredible musicianship of the collective members has transformed the Swedish/German quintet into a global metal powerhouse. With that kind of power comes responsibility and the inevitable peril that the band will either buy into its press and rest on its laurels or worse bend over for commercial fulfillment and attempt to pass over the very community that gave it everything it enjoys. That very scenario was one that the four boys and one girl hinted at with the release of their last album, 2003's Anthems Of Rebellion, which encompassed so-called modern sounds or, in essence, mallcore and Ozzfest tendencies in order to appeal to the fickle mainstream crowd.
Now comes 2005 and the docking of Doomsday Machine sees the band hint at the latter scenario at first glance, yet confirms its desire to wisely stick with its heavy metal fan base upon closer inspection. This is a sensible move for the band as the history of bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath et al demonstrates. Going back to the 'at first glance' aspect of this album the cover artwork of Doomsday Machine appears timeworn and hackneyed. What, you don't say, another skull on an album cover and in full monochrome! There is more detrimental testimony to come. The inside sleeve reminds us that the band is appearing this year at Ozzfest and has appeared on MTV2 and Jagermeister tours in the past. With friends like this, or in this case, with promotional departments and management like this...
From there it is on to the music and it is here that the band regains its destiny with a series of songs that are more in the vein of Wages Of Sin, stylistically speaking, than the cynical Anthems Of Rebellion. The melodies are in place, the shredding continues in brilliant fashion courtesy of Amott & Amott and singer Angela Gossow ensures the extremeness runs as unabashed as ever with her piercing roar up front. Nemesis is one hell of a vicious riff monster and not coincidentally the album's video track. Machtkampf is both heavy and melodious as only these guys can muster. Taking Back My Soul reinstates Arch Enemy's thrashing credentials.
Truth be told though, the proportion of singing is below average with the band concentrating on instrumental passages. In addition, much of the material is mid-paced, the hackneyed electronic samples persist on alternate tracks and Arch Enemy continues to amuse itself, and a few reviewers, with the odd plagiarized melody blatantly put in place for all to hear.
Arch Enemy has to battle raised expectations stemming from its past discography, members' pedigree and the fans anticipation that the five may be the next major band on the heavy metal scene. It is a tough assignment and ordinarily enough ammunition to shoot any band's career in the foot. Arch Enemy though is up to the challenge. The band has pulled back from the abyss of mallcore wimpdom and regained its footing. Having said that, it has also failed to deliver that certain knockout punch which should have propelled it all the way to glory seeing how much of the album is comprised of material that comes across more as a collection of riffs (and slow or mid-paced ones at that) rather than rigid and compact songs positioned to become classics. More of that however hopefully later... - Ali "The Metallian"
ARCH ENEMY - RISE OF THE TYRANT - CENTURY MEDIA
Rise Of The Tyrant is the type of title typically tied with '80s metal bands. Is the Swedes' newest, and eight full-length overall, album a revisiting of the sound of bands like Jag Panzer, Omen or even going further back Judas Priest? Well, no. Rise Of The Tyrant is really a mixture of the band's output with vocalist Angela Gossow. The music has all the hallmarks of 2001's Wages Of Sin, 2003's Anthems Of Rebellion and 2005's Doomsday Machine.
The album once again features brother guitarist Christopher Amott who had left the band for a couple of years to clear his head and study a bit, but that does not mean that the songs are replete with solos as Wages Of Sin was. Guitars are, of course, king (or tyrant) in this band, with the music having more guitars per square centimetre of recording tape than an Yngwie Malmsteen orgy, but one has to practically wait until song six to hear a good old Ach Enemy dual-guitar solo attack. Speaking of song six, which is the title track, the album's title literally refers to ancient Rome and Emperor Caligula. Great riffs are found on Revolution Begins (wasn't that Anthems Of Rebellion?). I Will Live Again and The Day You Died feature calmer moments while the band even gropes into Classical pieces towards the end of the album. That is also where Vultures reside. The album's closer is the pick of the litter with all the components that make Arch Enemy so good, namely screaming guitars, double bass drums, rapid solos and heaps of melody. Gossow, in turn, has eased her foot off the effects pedal for a more natural growl. She is still far from being a great singer, but at least is not reaching into a bag of tricks to supplement and elevate herself or her growls.
Arch Enemy is a great band that has so elevated the game that an album like this would earn it only a seventy or 'good' rating. Most bands would kill to have an album like this. Still, the Swedes could do with a few new ideas, stronger vocals and by all means more lead trade-offs. As for the band's habit of joining corporate tours, hanging out with Machine Head, the beeps on this promotional album and the censor of the word 'fuck' on the band's corporate bio.. well, they can all fuck right off. - Ali "The Metallian"
ARCH ENEMY - THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL - CENTURY MEDIA
Man, these re-recording albums never work and, as mentioned in several other reviews that deal with this ilk, these kinds of records open up a huge can of worms amongst the die-hards who question their favourite band’s motives for fucking with the classics. Okay sure, Angela’s been singing the Johan Liiva material live for almost a decade now but that’s no reason to re-write history and I surely don’t believe the specious party line, i.e. “the fans don’t seem to know the old songs so we’ve got to introduce those tracks.” Not in this day and age, when any song ever recorded is available at the click of a mouse. The Root Of All Evil (how clever) is but a stop-gap release using an old idea that is always considered a mistake in hindsight; while Arch Enemy has flawlessly re-created its classics here (and how could the band not? These are its own bloody songs), while listening to early classics Bury Me An Angel or Transmigration Macabre you can’t help but get the feeling that this kind of catalogue re-tooling is akin to some sort of Big Brother-esque, revisionary history re-shaping in order to ensure Arch Enemy’s own version of its legacy. Sad. - David Perri
Ever heard of Eucharist? Then you should be familiar with the name of drummer Daniel Erlandsson. Ever heard of Carcass, Carnage or Spiritual Beggars? Then you should be familiar with the name of guitarist Michael Amott. Furthermore, those familiar with either Carnage or Furbowl should remember the name of vocalist/bassist Johan Liiva. Add to this impressive line-up Michael’s younger brother Christopher on second guitar; give yourself a monicker like Arch Enemy and you instantly have a Swedish super group. But, how is the music? Fast and heavy, one hundred percent pure and certified metal. Imagine a faster and harsher Slayer with Mike Amott’s trademark solos and a couple of shots of heaviness and you’ll know you want to get their debut album, Black Earth, on Wrong Again Records. Ali “The Metallian” gets Michael Amott to answer a few questions from his home in Southern Sweden where he currently is taking a short, but well-deserved break. – 1996
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Tell us about the formation of Arch Enemy. Your line-up is more than a mere coincidence, isn’t it?
MIKE AMOTT: Arch Enemy was formed in early ’96 by myself and Johan. We hadn’t seen much of each other in the last couple of years, but we started talking over the phone about doing a musical project together again. We started jamming straight away and the stuff we were coming up with sounded really cool. So, we decided to continue what we had started and also to look for a suitable drummer and second guitar player, which were found in Daniel Erlandsson and my brother Christopher Amott. We signed a deal with the Swedish label W.A.R. and recorded the album in Studio Fredman in Gothenburg.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Could you elaborate on your departure from Carcass, which, at the time, were at the height of their success? You went on to form Spiritual Beggars, one of your current bands. What is new on that front and what else have you been up to over the last couple of years?
MIKE AMOTT: The reasons for me leaving Carcass were mostly musical. Basically, I was bored with the whole Carcass situation, but I must add that I have a lot of respect for the guys and I had a great time playing with them. All the touring and travelling was a lot of fun and definitely a learning experience.
Spiritual Beggars has been a perfect way to release all that stuff that I had bottled up inside me whilst I was playing with Carcass. I am not quite sure how well the band has been doing commercially. We put out our second CD, Another Way To Shine, in Europe through Music For Nations recently and we’ve only had good reviews. We played the Dynamo Festival in Holland with Slayer, Venom, et cetra. That was a blast!
Apart from doing Beggars, I’ve done loads of writing. Maybe I‘ll do a solo album in the future. That would be a challenge. I did some leads on a Deranged mini-album, but I can’t say I am happy with that session.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: How is the solo material?
MIKE AMOTT: The material is diverse; it’s a little bit of everything that I am into. I might try to record it, but that’s for the future.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Your brother, the band’s second guitarist, is a new name to the scene. How did you guys get in the same band?
My brother has not played on any other albums previous to Black Earth, so I guess he is new to the scene, as you say. It is simple why he is in the band. Christopher is an awesome player and I wanted a second lead guitarist in the band so we could have harmonies and lead guitar trade-offs because I love that shit. I am very pleased with his contributions to the album. He has his own band going as well, Armageddon. They’ll be recording a demo soon. That is one band to definitely look for.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: I find it interesting that both yourself and Johan have reverted back to heavy music after a period of what I thought was incurable wimpiness.
MIKE AMOTT: Personally, I stopped thinking in those terms a long time ago. Music is such a vast and beautiful landscape that to stay in one place all the time would not only be boring, but incredibly foolish.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Did you contact other labels or was W.A.R., by virtue of its proximity and connections to yourself, the only label you approached?
MIKE AMOTT: We didn’t bother contacting any other labels; W.A.R. was the only label we wanted to do this with. We have a great working relationship with the W.A.R. people. They’re cool guys. They were into doing it a hundred percent from the first rehearsal tape onwards. W.A.R. has been really supportive all the way and given us everything we wanted and needed to get this album together. It really is a blessing to work with a label that, as well as being professional on the business side of things, are also true music fans.
ALI “THE METALLIAN”: Let us hear in more detail about the individual songs on Black Earth.
MIKE AMOTT: Well, a brief guide to the album would go something like this: Bury Me An Angel is one of my personal favourites on the album. The opening riff is an old one of mine that I originally wrote for Carcass. Christopher and I wrote a nice harmony for the chorus – some pizzicato arpeggios in the bridge leading to my solo. It’s one of those songs that I after a few months of wearing out my advance tape still enjoy very much. Dark Insanity is the first track that I and Johan wrote together as Arch Enemy. It’s pretty much a straightforward thrashing metal attack. Eureka is a mid-tempo song with some melodic guitar parts and a good performance from Johan in the vocal department. Idolatress is the only song on the record that features a groove similar to the stuff we used to do in Carcass in the 80s - a bit of a retro feel and a lot of fun to play. Cosmic Retribution is a fast track with a lot of energy. I co-wrote this one with Johan and then Christopher came up with the acoustic guitar part, which gave the whole song a new dimension. The lyrics are a futuristic view of our planet and its inhabitants. Demoniality is an instrumental doomy riff I’ve had lying around for ages. Transmigration Macabre is another fast song with a slight Slayer-esque feel to it. The lyrics came naturally to me when we had completed the music. The riffs demanded a twisted lyrical content. Time Capsule is a short acoustic piece with the lead guitar setting the mood for Fields Of Desolation, which is also a favourite of mine on the record. It’s a perfect example of when music and lyrics jell into a perfect union. The songs ends with a dramatic solo played by Christopher, and a slow fade which I think creates a real epic finale., but also leaves the door open for another chapter.
This interview initially appeared in Pit Magazine No. 18.
If you enjoyed this, read Hearse
"So you are that Ali!" The caller at the other end of the line is Michael Amott the man behind Sweden's rising metal band Arch Enemy. He is calling a good half an hour earlier than agreed and has been going over the web site. Having absorbed the band's latest tour-de-force, entitled Wages Of Sin featuring new singer Angela Gossow, and given it the Metallian seal of approval it was time to speak with the band, dig a little deeper and find out more about the latest developments with the guitarist and founder. But first things first. Having conducted the first Arch Enemy interview in 1996 armed with an advance tape of the band's debut Black Earth, I asked the man if he recalled that early chat. Ali "The Metallian" interviewed Michael Amott on one wet Sunday afternoon - 31.03.2002.
"So you are that Ali! I remember it was for Pit Magazine." Yes and having followed Arch Enemy from those early days it's great to be here some six years later speaking about an album as good as Wages Of Sin. Be that as it may, let me ask, are we chatting about an old album?
Hmmm (laughs)...it's still really fresh to me. It's just come out in North America and Europe. But I don't really listen to our own albums that much. So I am not burnt out on it. Well, I was rather worried when things got dragged out with the release of the album. But it happens in this business. There's ups and there's downs. We are really psyched that it's out. We have been touring for three weeks in Japan and we did a showcase at the Troubadour in Hollywood. It was really uplifting and really cool. Now we are playing two shows on the East Coast of the USA.
Were those the very first shows in support of Wages Of Sin? If so, how did it feel given how you were on stage with a new singer and new songs?
I guess I was a little bit nervous especially because it was in L.A. and we had never played the West Coast before. When Century Media told us they are putting together a showcase in Hollywood I was wondering who would want to watch us in Hollywood (laughs)! I was expecting like 50 industry people clapping their hands. But the place fits 350 and they crammed in 500 people. There was a queue right around the block when we arrived in our van from the hotel and I was like 'oh my God!' I couldn't believe it. I am more scared of playing the small shows where the crowd is not so enthusiastic. It's been very cool playing the songs with the new line-up. We are so much stronger visually and musically. I feel more relaxed with our new singer than the old. I always stress myself out. I never worry about the actual playing. I am a good guitar player and the whole band consists of really good players. We rehearse plenty. I am stressed about the technical stuff, like will this gear work or the hired back-line - stuff that the crowd never notices.
Stuff the crowd does notice is the one year delay with the release of the album. The album has been ready for over a year and indeed released in Japan since last spring. Michael, what transpired during this time?
It's just business crap. We are represented by Sanctuary Management in England. They are out there fighting for us and obviously I know what's going. But I am not one-hundred percent involved politically or emotionally. I try to stay away from that stuff because it's pretty boring. I don't know if we shopped the album with other labels. There was an argument going on and we renegotiated the deal. Our manager wanted to make the deal more beneficial for the band and the label didn't always agree. Then they got really nasty and shut down the communication for six months. In the meanwhile there's a band with an album sitting out there and getting forgotten after a while. I don't take it that hard. I am not bitter - it's just music. It destroys you if you start getting negative. It's all politics.
Speaking of the band situation, what were the series of events leading to the departure of your former singer Johan Liiva? Was there a risk you considered recruiting Angela Gossow not only for being a newcomer, but also for being a female?
I like to say firstly that life is all about taking risk. You don't really live unless you take risks. There was a bigger risk, as far as the band's popularity or career, if we had maintained the same line-up. That would have been our downfall. There just wasn't the needed creative spark from our (old) singer. The creativity and the input were missing. Arch Enemy was becoming a 'guitar players' type of a band. We needed somebody to add more intensely, vocally and visually to the band and be a fighter. We didn't go out looking for a female singer. We went out looking for the best singer we could find and it happened to be a woman.
Risk? Yeah, I think so, maybe. But it felt good. It worked out absolutely. Personally I was expecting a fifty-fifty reaction from our fan base. But it's been ninety-nine percent positive and only one percent who loves the first album and will not listen to anything else. You gotta have that one percent. (Sometimes) I am like those guys too when it comes to other bands.
Speaking of Gossow, what happened to her voice last year? Specifically, when she lost her voice, were you concerned given her recent status in the band?
That was a concern for all of us. We had to cancel several shows. Ultimately it didn't harm us that much because we had all the business stuff going on and we didn't have an album out everywhere to promote. Everything has worked out. It was a drag obviously, but she went back to her native Germany and she's been working with vocal coaches and improving her vocal technique. She's even more brutal now that when she started with the band and on the album.
Apart from the two US festivals what are the latest developments with the band?
There are all kinds of ideas for touring coming together. We will be confirming several European festivals for June and also announcing plans for US and Canada in May. We just want to get out on the road.
Any line-ups you can mention?
I have heard so many rumours. I mean when we announce stuff it is one-hundred percent sure. There is always talk and suggestions. One tour that was suggested for Europe was with Samael. We were offered the tour and there were discussions going back and forth. Then it was announced on the web and promoters were supposedly offered the show, et cetra. Then when we ended up not doing the tour, we had Samael fans contact us and ask why we didn't do it! With the Internet most of the time the news is not even true. At least there is interest out there for us!
The album itself is what we should concentrate on next. What is note-worthy is that the album is so accomplished while being a pure metal album. How hard do you work on your songs?
So many bands mix other stuff into metal. Suddenly they want to be Depeche Mode or something. That's cool, and I am not a complete die-hard metal freak, but when it comes to writing Arch Enemy music I want to do it with guitars, bass, drums and vocals and not add other stuff. That's the challenge for me. That and keeping the vocals and music on the extreme side of things. That's where I want to be.
The seeds of the songs come easily. It comes through just jamming and doesn't take long between Chris (Amott Arch Enemy guitarist) and me. We come up with riffs and melody sitting around the practice room. We are one of the few death metal bands that actually jams and it's because everyone's accomplished as a musician. We improvise around different themes and there is no strict formula at that point. Then we tape the stuff and we take it home. Then it becomes more complicated and we get into arrangement. I am really big on arrangement. We like to streamline things as much as possible. We add little intricate parts. An example is on Ravenous which took more time than a songs like Dead Bury Their Dead. Ravenous has much more guitar and intricate stuff in it. It feels like what the fans want is what we want. Remember how Master Of Puppets was with all the guitars? That's how Arch Enemy is with guitars, crazy stuff and a lot of harmony, et cetra. This time I also wanted to keep it darker and more brutal. In the past we would add a lot of melody but, in retrospect I don't think they fit the mood of the music. We did it because we could - that's all. I think we are getting pickier with what we put into our songs.
It is also a personal opinion that Wages Of Sin is superior to your prior effort, 1999's Burning Bridges.
I think so too. I don't think Arch Enemy will ever get softer than Burning Bridges. It turned out a little too soft which sucks. We just made a more conscious decision (this time) to get harder and more extreme.
Getting deeper into the album, what's the purpose behind the longer intro?
What's the purpose of any intro? I mean, I hate intros. We never had one before. We usually go straight, bang, into the heaviest song. This time we were doing everything differently and we thought we might as well have an intro to set the mood. The piano being played is the same melody that reappears in the chorus later - it's played at double the speed on the guitars. We wanted to be a little bit more intricate production-wise.
Andy Sneap was a big part of making the album louder. He mixed the album, but he should have been credited with co-production. When Daniel (Erlandsson Arch Enemy drummer) and I took the tapes to England he took our tapes and turned everything upside down! But so much happens in the mix.
Michael, why don't you expand on the other songs?
Savage Messiah is one of my favourites. We tuned it further down than the rest of the album. We also did that for Behind The Smile. I like the heavy vibe of Savage Messiah. The intro is also good. It reminds me of South of Heaven or something. I also play through the voice box - the Bon Jovi thing - and that sounded pretty cool. There is also some choir stuff on the keyboards happening there. It has a clean middle-section which goes into an Eastern vibe.
Speaking of Behind The Smile, that too is a different song.
That's the songs nobody likes I think. Nobody ever mentions it. But I am totally into it. On every album we have a song which is different. For example, on Burning Bridges the title track was like a doom metal song. I like adding stuff to ensure that not the whole album is the same. I like every song to have it's own personality and life. I think albums which you know every song will be the same and the next song is more of the same are boring in the long run. With Arch Enemy we will always be fast and heavy, have lots of crazy guitar work and feature brutal vocals but there is always room for growth to try a couple of different flavours. Behind The Smile is groovier with bent notes. I got it from Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song. Some people are saying it sounds like Nevermore, but we got it from Led Zeppelin. Then it goes into a neoclassical (sic) melody like Bach. Those are melodies which I came up with and Chris needed up playing for he could do it better. We are so mature now that we play for the song.
So you are not Oasis?
No, no no. We are really good. We are quite different players too. We have developed in different directions, but are still both metal.
What gear do you guys use?
We use all kinds of stuff. We are pretty basic. We don't use huge racks. We get all the distortion from the amps and the tubes. We use Angel and Peavey 5150's. On the albums you always hear a mix (of equipment). We always use four rhythm guitars and double the solos. We usually use around 30 channels. I don't know why it ends up being that many. I used to record albums on a 16-track and that was fine. But now with the digital stuff there are infinite possibilities. With some bands it ends up being too much. They overdub all the time. You don't really gain much by overdubbing and adding stuff all the time. We keep it focused.
Let's me ask a couple of questions regarding the band's releases. Will you release the Burning Angel EP here?
It's only a Japanese EP. There is nothing there that isn't on the Century Media double disc set. Everything is the same all over the world now. We kept Lament Of A Mortal Soul for the European and North American markets because we knew the album will appear later in those territories.
What about the rumour that the current line-up is re-recording your debut album Black Earth?
I have heard that too. Per, previously of Wrong Again records, has re-released it through his Regain Records. We didn't give our approval for it and so we consider it a bootleg! We had extra demo and rehearsal tracks plus photos and video footage of the making of that album and I wanted to release the definitive version of Black Earth. I wanted to put out a classy and re-mastered edition. He has gone ahead and released a shitty and bad-sounding version. But that's the business. When the cat is out of the bag it's out. But hey, I am not bitter (laughs again). I believe in karma. Everyone's going to get what's coming to them sometime.
What about the Burning Japan - Live 1999 CD? Will that see a release here?
It might be. I don't know. It's not really that interesting to us anymore. It's not featuring the current line-up you know. It might end up appearing because Century Media really seem to want it. But we are not that eager. At the time we wanted a world-wide release. But with a new line-up we are not so eager. You are right when you say it was a closure for one chapter of the band. We are so much bigger in Japan - number one extreme metal band - and it's a big deal there. That album sold more than many other bands' studio albums - the last Arch Enemy album live with Johan!! Here it wouldn't do that well. But sometime down the line it would be cool for it to come out. I don't really care that much either way. Right now I am looking forward.
Let us look to the future then. Are you working on new songs? If so, in which direction is Arch Enemy headed? Amott is in a jovial mood.
It's going in the direction of Creed. We've got a real Christian message in there (laughs again). No, it will be extreme and heavy. It will be Arch Enemy, hopefully with a twist. We have about five songs done. We will write another ten songs or so. This way we will have a selection to choose from. We write more than required and put the best stuff on the album. Everyone writes a weak song once in a while. I don't care who the band is. We are trying to avoid that. The new stuff is really fast, extreme and metal. The songs don't have words yet and are instrumental. We will do a mega-session of a few weeks when we will put everything together. We have to get it out for the first half of 2003.
Will you once again head into Studio Fredman?
I am not too sure. I know that I would like to work with Andy Sneap again. He really pushed Wages Of Sin over the edge and I am really impressed with that. I don't want the Burning Bridges hard rock sound. I want a sound that totally crushes and is modern. I don't want to wave the flag of eighties metal. I want to be extreme and in your face.
Michael, let's take the rest of our chat and discuss your personal activities. What is new on that front?
Well I am not involved with Candlemass anymore as their original line-up has reformed. I saw their reunion show. All their older albums are re-released with bonus material. They are totally killer and will play several European festivals. Arch Enemy is more my focus now and I can't keep doing this and Spiritual Beggars. I am not King Diamond. I don't have his energy. It's also not fair towards Arch Enemy to compromise. Especially now with Arch Enemy's new line-up and the interest it has garnered we will be on a whole different level. I want to give Arch Enemy the attention it deserves. Spiritual Beggars is a side-project. I love doing that seventies guitar sound, it is a part of me, and we have a new album in the vaults. It's not mixed yet, but it will come out around September. We won't really tour too much for it. Arch Enemy is definitely taking over.
What about your previous band-mates of Carcass. Are you in touch with them?
Yes, I am in touch with a couple of them. Bill Steer is in Firebird. That's a real seventies hard rock band a la Cream and Led Zeppelin. It's really good and really high quality. His last album was on Music For Nations. Jeff Walker has quit the music business. He has short hair and looks very tidy. The official story is that he's working the night shift in a morgue dissecting dead babies.
What is he really doing?
I don't know, I don't want to say really. I think he works in a bank. He denies people mortgages and stuff all day. Ken Owen has recovered from his coma from what I was told. He was in a coma for a year due to a brain hemorrhage. He will never play the drums again. I believe he's in a wheelchair. It's depressing for someone at that age. At least he's alive! Many cool metal musicians have died on us recently.
While on the topic of Carcass, I ask Michael Amott if he is getting paid his due royalties.
Is that a joke? I don't know anything with what goes on with that. I have a publisher and get the money for that. But for the actual recording royalty for the album it's been many moons since I got anything from Earache.
Michael, that about covers the questions I intended to discuss with you. Thank you for your time and the opportunity to chat with you.
No problem Ali. Thank you and hopefully it won't be another six years before we speak again.
The quintet of singer Angela Gossow, guitarists Michael and Christopher Amott, bassist Sharlee D'Angelo and drummer Daniel Erlandsson will spend the entire spring and summer of 2002 touring. They hope to record a new album in the autumn of 2002 to be released by Century Media in early 2003. Wages Of Sin is available in the Americas and Europe via Century Media and in Japan via Toy's Factory.
It has been three years since we last brought you an Arch Enemy interview. The time was ripe to get guitarist and band leader Mike Amott on the telephone in order to update you on what he and singer Angela Gossow, drummer Daniel Erlandsson and bassist Sharlee D' Angelo are up to and discuss the band's recently-released album Doomsday Machine which is now out on Century Media. - 05.08.2005
METALLIAN: Mike, last we spoke was in 2002 on the occasion of the release of the Wages Of Sin record. You followed that release up with Anthems Of Rebellion which garnered some negative reaction for its questionable sound. Is Doomsday Machine's improvement back to what made you successful in the first place a reaction to that criticism?
MIKE: In a way you are reading too much into it. We don't really care what people say. First and foremost we make this music for ourselves. Every band goes through different stages in their development. The main focus in Arch Enemy has always been extreme metal. With Anthems Of Rebellion we backed off a little bit. The arrangements were more straightforward and there were less guitar solos. That was an interesting album to make. I think Doomsday Machine is a kind of a reaction to that. We missed playing the more technical music with the melodies and the solos when we went on the road for Anthems Of Rebellion. We got bored with that material pretty quickly. We wanted to have a strong focus on melodic guitar works and stuff people know us for and made us Arch Enemy when we started writing material for Doomsday Machine.
We want to be different. We don't want to be like every other band. We have this talent in the band, it is a kind of knowledge of metal and our roots are in classic and traditional metal. We know what we are doing with our guitars, so why not do it? There is a lot of confidence in the band. It is great to be in Arch Enemy right now.
METALLIAN: Subsequent to the release of Anthems Of Rebellion you defined metal fans as "bitches", while Angela went so far as, albeit perhaps indignantly, admitting to selling out. Was the band upset at the time?
MIKE: No, because Anthems Of Rebellion was our most successful album. Every album has been a step up and we have sold more with each new release. The concerts are getting bigger, the tours are getting bigger and so is everything else. I cannot complain really. Ozzfest is going well and everything is positive. It is a short blast. We perform in front of a whole bunch of people who have never heard of us. We get a strong reaction. We are very successful. I thought we might be too different because we are the only true metal band on that stage. There are bands with a metal influence, but they don't have the traditional guitar work that we have. We also don't have the 'god cop/bad cop' vocals. We just have screaming vocals. We don't have a 'boy band' chorus. I thought maybe people will throw us off the stage, but it has proven to be the opposite. We are having a lot of success. People are ready for Arch Enemy. The reason I called metal fans "bitches" is because metal fans moan a lot. They are like (affects a nagging voice), "Oh, these guys have sold out. Only the first album is good and the rest is crap." You know that, right?
METALLIAN: Of course, I am their leader.
MIKE: The scene is very traditional and very conservative. It is cool. I like being a part of it. I am the same, you know. I spend hours talking about Metallica or those kind of bands.
METALLIAN: So, what is the story behind the new album and the title Doomsday Machine?
MIKE: We just wanted a powerful title for the album. It had stuck with us. I had written the title down a couple of years ago. It is a line from the lyrics of the song Dead Eyes See No Future. It picks it up from there. The new album is not a concept album like Anthems Of Rebellion was. It is a collection of songs, although one wants to give each album a sense that encapsulates the whole thing.
METALLIAN: The cover design seems uninspired. A skull on a metal album is not exactly innovative, is it?
MIKE: (Jokingly) you don't like metal? I really wanted a skull on the cover. I have never had that! I deserve my skull now. I earned it and it is a damn good looking skull if you ask me.
METALLIAN: Notwithstanding that, Doomsday Machine's sales have already taken off. Would you say that you are conscious of your success?
MIKE: I do, I do and more and more. I appreciate what I have accomplished. When I was a lot younger and just started out I didn't appreciate all the things. Things just happened and I took them for granted. Nowadays I am very appreciative of what we have accomplished with Arch Enemy and I am proud of that. Moreover, I feel great that Arch Enemy is an extreme metal band that carries the flag. We have not incorporated hiphop or dress in stupid clothing. You know what I mean? OK, maybe we dress in stupid clothes from time to time, but every album we have done has been super heavy, down-tuned and full of heavy riffing, solos, double bass drums and screaming. That is where our hearts lie collectively as a band. To become more and more successful is the way it should be, I think.
In the mid-'90s I didn't have much going on and there didn't seem to be an obvious option for me because what I wanted to play wasn't popular at all anywhere. There was no audience. I was working at a record store and I thought, well, maybe I should go back to school and forget about this whole thing. Then I formed Arch Enemy and, slowly, it has been growing and growing. Now it is better than ever before. Life is a weird journey and you never know where it is going. Nowadays it feels exciting to play metal. I love it. Metal is in my blood.
METALLIAN: Speaking of life journeys and going back to school your brother Christopher is reportedly taking a sabbatical from the band in order to go back to school. Can you describe the circumstances behind his decision and what the band is planning to do to fill the void?
MIKE: He decided he wants to try something different. He was thinking about this on the last couple of tours. He wanted to do something different. He has never done anything different (than the band). He has gone straight from living with our parents to going on tour. He has never tried the 'normal' life. He is doing some preparations for university and he hopes to study something to do with music. He just wants to have a taste of that and stay off the road for a year or so. Then we will see what happens. I don't have a problem with that. It is not such a big deal to us. It might be to some other people. There is no bad blood between my brother and me. It is not like the well-publicized Sepultura thing. I talk to him online every other day.
METALLIAN: is there a chance that he will not return to the band?
MIKE: We don't know right now. We are going to tour our asses of for this album. We have an 18-month campaign ahead of us. The Ozzfest is just the beginning of that. We needed a banjo player to fill his spot. We have a guy right now and we will see what happens.
METALLIAN: Why did you choose guitarist Gus G. of Dream Evil and Firewind fame? Is he going to be a new and permanent fixture?
MIKE: I don't think Gus will tour with us the entire year. We are talking to a bunch of different guitar players right now. Gus is the guy who was up for coming over and doing Ozzfest. I am really grateful for that. Gus was the first guy I called and we needed someone quickly.
METALLIAN: Is Bill Steer from Carcass someone you have contacted?
MIKE: No, Bill is not into this music anymore. Those guys have not continued playing at that level. They have kept performing for many years. People ask me about a Carcass reunion and that is what I tell them.
METALLIAN: As a concept, do you find that band members are interchangeable? In other words, anyone can leave Arch Enemy or any other band and the band itself should keep marching on?
MIKE: To some degree band members are interchangeable. All the band I have been into have had line-up changes all the time. Things happen and you have to ask yourself what the core of the band is and what the ambition is every time something comes up. The question is are we having fun and if you are not having fun you should not do it at all.
METALLIAN: On a differnt note, what about the contention that Arch Enemy cancels shows too often? You have cancelled one-off shows in Buffalo, Ozzfest dates, pulled out of festivals and European and American tours et cetra.
MIKE: We recently cancelled one show and that was because our bus broke down. We have had quite a lot of bad luck. We have also risen very quickly as a band. We went from the underground to being one of the most successful extreme metal bands. Some bands do a three-week tour every second year and go back to their day jobs. We don't do that. We do this every day. We work really hard. We have played many shows and done many tours. When you tour as much as we do then you run into health problems and other stuff. Shit happens. There are no drug problems. That is not a problem.
METALLIAN: Thanks for addressing the concern, Mike. How about we talk about a couple of the new songs?
MIKE: Nemesis is one of my favourites. It has a very fast pace. It is driven by the double bass drums which I always like. It is also very melodic, although it has brutal verses. I like it a lot. It is like a perfect song. It is the perfect Arch Enemy song. I really wanted to have that song pushed into people's faces first. I thought the record company might want to push a more commercial song that is mid-tempo, but they totally got off Nemesis. They wanted it to be the radio and the video song. I thought that sounds good. It is the song that is being played everywhere now.
Machtkampf is another song where we tried to blend the brutality and the heaviness. It has a classic metal approach and riff. We don't really have melodic vocals so we work with the guitars to underline the melodies. I hear other bands doing it, but nobody does it as well as Arch Enemy.
Taking Back My Soul is another one of my favourites. It has some quite heavy old Megadeth-type riffing. Old Megadeth is one of my inspirations. Their riffs were different in the early days. When I was a young metal kid I picked up on that a lot. I played along to Megadeth and that is in my blood. That actually is the song that is going down well with the Japanese audience. It is technical. The players that we have in the band are monsters. Daniel, for example, plays with such feeling and precision and that goes for every member. We are the creme de la creme of the extreme metal scene. The way I view it is that it's all about confidence. I spent every day of my life dedicated to my craft, metal and Arch Enemy. We are very into song. Arch Enemy, for me, is extreme metal and about good songs.
METALLIAN: Finally, here is a question that we should address for entertainment purposes. There is a band out there which was formed after Arch Enemy called Arch Nemesis, a name which means arch enemy. Aside from the band names' similarity you now have a song called Nemesis.
MIKE: That is a coincidence. I have hear of them. I have seen their name on the Internet. It would be funny if someone thought they were buying an Arch Enemy CD and bought their album. Someone would be in a store thinking what the name of that 'Arch' band was and picks up their CD. They have got a good idea then! There you go, we are doing a little promotion for them.
METALLIAN: Thank you for the interview, Mike.
MIKE: The Doomsday Machine is coming, Ali. You better be ready. This is just the beginning for us...
For more information on the Swedes and for photographic updates of their tours head over to www.archenemy.net. Watch this space for all updates, of course.
Another year, another accomplished Arch Enemy album, right? Well, yeah, but that is nothing to sneeze at. Then there are newer potential fans that might not yet have heard the band or have a vague idea of the band's potential. Ali "The Metallian" spoke with Michael Amott who along with brother and guitarist Christopher Amott, singer Angela Gossow, bassist Sharlee D'Angelo and drummer Daniel Erlandsson comprises the quintet. The newest album is called Rise Of The Tyrant and available now! So buy it (but first read the interview). - 01.10.2007
METALLIAN: Michael, which city are you in right now?
MICHAEL: We are in Cleveland today.
METALLIAN: That is such a coincidence. The last time we spoke you could not tell which city you were in which is so 'Spinal Tap.' Cleveland is also the first place I associate with Spinal Tap for obvious reasons.
MICHAEL: That must have been while we were on Ozzfest. With that festival you usually are not in a city. You are out in arenas in the middle of nowhere.
METALLIAN: Michael, your brother Christopher has returned to the fold just in time to record the new album. Seeing that he missed the touring for the last album and how, according to Angela, he is more into jazz than anything else how much is he into the group nowadays?
MICHAEL: I think he is into the band more than before now. I don't really know what Chris likes. He likes different types of music. Metal is one of them. He is into Arch Enemy though for sure.
METALLIAN: Is it necessary to be into metal when you are a member of a heavy metal band?
MICHAEL: I listen to metal! I am still inspired by the old stuff I grew up listening to. I also find out about the old bands that I missed when I was growing up. I like the older sound; the older metal. I like the original metal sound. I find that inspiring. I like the originators of the thrash scene for instance. I listen to Judas Priest, Accept, Mercyful Fate, Slayer, old Metallica and old Megadeth.
METALLIAN: Why does Rise Of The Tyrant feature less solos and leads playing off one another?
MICHAEL: I think it has more actually! It is more active on the guitar front. It is more intricate and has more guitar arrangements. There are more melodies and guitar solos on this album. That was something we were going for on this album. We wanted to make an album that was action-packed.
METALLIAN: Vultures, which ends the album, is probably the best song on the album.
MICHAEL: Yeah, a few people like that song. It is a mid-tempo song and has a great melody. That is a song that Chris and I wrote.
We put a lot of thought into the arrangements and the flow of the albums. We do that every time. I like to think we always end our albums in a strong way. I love that song. It is also the longest song. It has a miniature epic feel to it.
METALLIAN: Were you deliberately going for a Classical angle with the inclusion of the instrumental, Intermezzo Liberté?
MICHAEL: I think that is part of metal. I think metal is the meeting of Classical music and hard rock/metal. I grew up listening to many bands that were experimenting with that style in the '80s. I have always liked that. That instrumental is actually the guitar solo piece I was playing on our last heading tour. I just rearranged it.
We have always had Neoclassical on the album. There are some bands that have too much of that. They are rooted in that style too much and become a little boring. For us, it is something we add as flavour.
METALLIAN: Given how you are a veteran of the scene, where do you think metal is going as a music or sound?
MICHAEL: Many things are called metal now that I wouldn't necessarily consider metal. It is not my type of metal anyway. There is some confusion it seems. So many things are called metal now that I would not consider metal. Since metal has been almost dead in some territories, like in America, now everything is metal. I think there are some ingredients that you need to be metal and those bands… I don't know what makes them metal. It doesn't kick my ass, but I am not the target audience for emo, fashioncore, whatever. So I cannot really complain.
I like some of the bands we tour with and I don't like some of the others. Most of them are, however, nice people.
I don't know where it's all going. Surely, the United States' fascination with Swedish metal must be dying out now. I think all the At The Gates riffs have been used. And all the Meshuggah riffs. There is a lot of fusion now. Most bands are a fusion of hardcore with metal. In America you find a lot of Pantera influences. That is considered 'old school' metal in America. A lot of people listening to metal got into it ten years ago. Pantera used to be a huge band then. I always try to look to see what is going on and we do the opposite of that. We could be much bigger - if we had done what other bands are doing - but we are too aware of where we come from for that. I always saw it as my mission to have this blend of brutality and melody in the way that melody comes from the guitars. I don't think having Angela singing cleanly or having emo type lyrics or raps works. I have seen so many trends come and go. When I was in Carcass people would absolutely laugh at us for not including electronic beats and for having guitar solos. People thought that was funny. Now everyone wants to play guitar solos again. It is hard to predict what will become popular.
I haven't heard our sound being copied that much. That is because it is actually quite hard to do. You have to be at a certain level to play like we do. Some bands have a signature style and some bands will never be copied. You have to copy the ingredients not just one thing from that band. People sometimes tell me a band is influenced by Arch Enemy, but I don't really hear it.
Many bands influenced us. One of those bands is Mercyful Fate. The way we start the song Vultures or when the drums come in influenced by the album Them. We take little things like that, but it becomes boring when you take everything from someone else. We mix it up and hopefully we get an original sound at the end of it.
METALLIAN: Do you ever see yourself becoming an elder statesman of metal or a figure like Gene Simmons or Ozzy Osbourne who are as active outside music as they are with music?
MICHAEL: I don't really think I have the business mind for that stuff. Maybe I would do it, but in different ways. I think everybody wants to make money from their work, but there are certain ways that are tasteless, I guess. I mean I was a huge Kiss fan growing up. I still enjoy Kiss' old stuff, but basically now you see Gene Simmons stuff and you try to ignore that. It is too much. It is not music-related. It is about some way to make more money.
The band's website is at www.archenemy.net