Arch Enemy
1996
Sweden
Music group
From the prolific stronghold of Sweden, the exalted Arch Enemy emerged in their first incarnation in 1996 and quickly became another quality export from Scandinavia.

Since their emergence onto the worldwide scene, the goal of successfully enveloping traditional twin leads and guitar solos within a death metal context has been met a thousand fold. Arch Enemy have persistently challenged and redefined the limits of melodic death metal with their trademarked alchemy of aggression, melody, technicality, brutality, exceptional musicianship, and their stunning live performances.

The career of founding member and self-taught musician Michael Amott is in and of itself an illustrious and intense workshop in musical genealogy and history. In addition to his previous tenure as a guitarist in Carnage, and as a guitarist and songwriter with the mighty Carcass, he is also active in the psychedelic doom band Spiritual Beggars.

While Arch Enemy is virtually full of legends (brother and fellow guitarist Christopher Amott played in Armageddon; singer Johan Liiva came from Carnage; the ubiquitous Sharlee D'Angelo is currently in Mercyful Fate; drummer Daniel Erlandsson played with In Flames), it should be emphasized that the band's advanced technical proficiencies and flawless songwriting-not their musical pedigrees-are what have sustained them through four meticulous and charismatic albums.

When Black Earth debuted in Europe in 1996, it was universally hailed as a milestone in Swedish Death Metal debuts, an amazing feat for a new band who never even circulated a demo. Recorded and mixed in nine days and produced by the celebrated Fredrik Nordström (Dimmu Borgir, In Flames, At The Gates), it showcased their broad spectrum of influences and helped re-establish a faith in the importance of melodious riffs that had been noticeably dwindling.

In 1998, the band fashioned another offering under Fredrik and Michael's guidance that became Stigmata. An album that was a scorned ode to the timelessness of hate, making Terrorizer Magazine proclaim:
"Here is a beast of many heads, under the unifying banner of crushing Neo-Death done the Swedish way. The ease of performance and height of execution Arch Enemy delivers promises to wipe your slate clean."
A haunting combination of Black Earth and Stigmata, 1999's Burning Bridges was at once intricate and devastating. Fredrik Nordström and Michael Amott once again documented the natural evolution of Arch Enemy's sound.

Particularly noteworthy were how the beautifully lingering yet aggressive guitar passages from the Amott Brothers cascaded over the turbulent and punishing rhythms of Sharlee D'Angelo's bass lines and Daniel Erlandsson's drumming, proving to be an exceptional blend of classic metal, death metal and traditional thrash in a psychotic testament to the uncompromising viciousness of death, leaving everyone bloodied & shaken and nothing less.

Relentlessly busy in their promotion for Burning Bridges, Arch Enemy successfully toured the United States with Nevermore in 2000; toured Europe with In Flames, Children Of Bodom, and Dark Tranquillity in Fall of 1999; performed at the 1999 Dynamo Festival in the Netherlands; co-headlined a show in Santiago, Chile with HammerFall 1999; made a one-off appearance in London with Cradle Of Filth in 1999 and also triumphantly toured Japan three times, where they recorded and released Burning Japan Live to exclusively thank the country for their phenomenal support.

With such incredible anticipation building for their next studio album, fans were left understandably bewildered when vocalist Johan Liiva was replaced.

Rumours were flying about who would succeed the newly vacated vocal throne, and in a completely unexpected turn in their own musical direction and setting a noteworthy precedent for bands of their calibre, the members of Arch Enemy unveiled German singer Angela Gossow as Liiva's replacement, who is as irrefutably beautiful as she is talented.

Beginning her career in Germany in 1991 singing for two extreme death metal bands, Asmodina and Mistress, Angela is unquestionably the most aggressive female vocalist in existence, leading Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles to state:
"Her performance is nothing short of staggering, giving many of her peers serious competition if not putting them to shame entirely."
The fearlessness exuded in the delivery of her incredibly powerful and clearly accentuated vocals (in the vein of Death's now sadly departed Chuck Schuldiner and Carcass' Jeff Walker) has refocused the band into such a different direction that the dark energy and aggressiveness of Wages Of Sin crowns them with a firebrand that secures their authoritative position in the worldwide extreme metal scene.

Arch Enemy consolidate their worldwide succes after 'Wages of Sin' with 'Anthems of Rebellion'. The musicians have managed to come up with another impressive album. According to founder Michael Amott:
"There is an abundance of heavy riffs, thick harmonies, ripping solos, frantic drumming and sick screaming - all over this album!"
The new album indeed is (again) a culmination of hard work and unmatched musicianship, packed with crushing riffs, furious solos, catchy melodies, stylish harmonies, aggressive yet emotional vocal-lines and intelligent lyrics far away from the general metal-clichés.
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