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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Arch Enemy @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 18/02/2023

In Thrash Metal there are the Big 4. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax. Of the Big 4 in Melodic Death, Arch Enemy is clearly the Megadeth of their genre.

Heavy Metal is not merely a passion to its fans, it’s a religion, and in a religion – you do not turn up late to church. This was evident by how full The Forum was even before the opening act, Valhalore took to the stage.

Valhalore are described as an Epic Folk Metal band and Epic is the perfect adjective to describe how their set began. Sweeping orchestral arrangements gave way to thunderous drums that built to a crescendo of harmonized guitar melodies, complimented by the Celtic overtones courtesy of flutist, Sophie Grace.

Their music transcended the usual musical boundaries and managed to smoothly navigate its way between the violence of Black Metal and the earthy warmth of European Folk music. From the response of the crowd, you could see that they already have a strong presence and following in the local scene and frontman, Lachlan Neate had their full attention throughout the set. The rhythm section, comprised of Joseph Dipisa-Fiorenza (Bass) and Morgan Cox (Drums), was crushingly heavy and consistent.

A special (maybe slightly biased) mention has to be made to the guitar duo of Anthony Willis and Lucas Fisher. Both of whom I proudly recognise as brothers in the Ormsby guitar family. The guitars looked and sounded damn good and the finesse in which they played their instruments was the greatest endorsement one can give.

Europe might be the birthplace of Folk Metal but Valhalore showed that the Aussies are definitely on par with the big boys.

A massive banner covered the entire back of the stage and flags with Arch Enemy’s logo flanked the sides along with two Marshall stacks on each end. They began their set with Deceiver Deceiver off their latest album and man were they loud – very loud!

Alissa White-Gluz has such a presence about her that just oozes charisma and attitude as her voice tore its way through the songs and the audience. They followed this up with The World is Yours and the iconic, Ravenous from the legendary Wages of Sin album.

If there is a more sophisticated guitar duo than Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis in the metal scene today, I’m honestly hard-pressed to think of one. They play their guitars with a fiendish level of technicality that makes them appear more than mere mortals. There is no distinction between rhythm and lead roles, and absolutely no egos between them either. Riffs and solos cascaded flawlessly with a preternatural fluidity and together with bassist, Sharlee D’Angelo and drummer Daniel Erlandsson, they gave us a masterclass in showmanship and proficiency.

These days, any time a band shows up to a live gig with amps I always sit up and pay extra attention. Technology has now made it possible and much more cost-efficient for a band to omit amplifiers from their live shows. Therefore, those who choose to go the extra mile and use them, hold a special place in my heart. To the non-musicians this might seem like an insignificant detail but often it’s the sum of the most minute details that add up to make the largest impact.

The first time I heard Arch Enemy was 22 years ago when the album Wages of Sin (which has now gone on to be regarded as one of the cornerstones of melodic death metal) was released in 2001. The song Enemy Within captivated me and finally, after all this time, I got to see it performed live together in a mammoth 5-song encore that included, Burning Angel, Snowbound, Nemesis and Fields.

Sometimes we can hype things up in our mind and get disappointed by the result. However, on very rare occasions reality supersedes our imagination. Arch Enemy is one of those rare bands that has gone through various evolutions and has always come out the other side at the top of their game. This is just another beginning for them and I, along with legions of fans can’t wait to see what happens next.

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InterviewsTour Interview

Interview with Michael Amott (Arch Enemy)

ARCH ENEMY are bigger and better than ever.

Delivering a maelstrom of diamond-hard riffing wrapped around cinematic melodies, thunderous drumming and towering vocals, ARCH ENEMY are unstoppable and sound incredibly energized and they are headed back to Australia and New Zealand in February 2023.

Here’s how Kerrang hailed the band’s new album Deceiver s “Deceivers slays from start to finish and is essential listening for metalheads yearning for a soundtrack to wring their necks to.”

With Alissa White-Gluz out front for nearly ten years now, the guitar wizardry of Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis, and the thundering rhythm section of Daniel Erlandsson (drums) and Sharlee D’Angelo (bass), Arch Enemy sound fresh and hungry, continually proving they are masters of their craft.

“Arch Enemy were spectacular. Alissa is a ball of energy who never stops moving, jumping here and there, and headbanging her blue hair.” Metal Wani

“… the pure force that is Arch Enemy.” Heavy Mag

“Arch Enemy do PURE FU*KING METAL and they do it to the highest standard possible” Wall of Sound

ARCH ENEMY February 2023 Tour Dates

Sunday February 12th – AUCKLAND – Powerstation

Tuesday February 14th – Adelaide – Governor Hindmarsh

Wednesday February 15th – BRISBANE – Tivoli Theatre

Friday February 17th – SYDNEY – Metro Theatre

Saturday February 18th – MELBOURNE – Forum Theatre

Sundy February 19th – FREMANTLE – Metropolis

Presale: Wednesday 12 October at 9:30 AM AEDT

General public on sale: Thursday 12 October at 11:00AM AEDT

Tickets from: https://davidroywilliams.com/tours/arch-enemy-2023/ or https://metropolistouring.com/arch-enemy-2023/

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Album ReviewReviews

Arch Enemy – Deceivers

As female metalheads, we acknowledge that men dominate our scene and personally I’ve never had any issues with it. They have created works of art that will endure a lifetime, served as the soundtrack to some of our favourite moments, and influenced us greatly. However, when a woman is creating heavy metal that can compete with the best of the best, we are immediately proud. 

Angela Gossow, the original lead singer for the Swedish melodic death metal band Arch Enemy carved a path for many. As Gossow fronted the band from 2000-2014, this covered my seminal listening years and I loved the moment where many would say ‘wait, this is a female singing?!’. Canadian Alissa White-Glutz took over the vocal reigns in 2014 and she had big shoes to fill but has done so effortlessly. Gossow still remains a business manager for the band, and no doubt has watched on proudly as Alissa carries on the legacy.  

Releasing 6 singles before the full album could make many question if Arch Enemy has dropped their strongest songs leaving the fillers behind, but this album is all killer, no filler!

Opening Arch Enemy’s 11th studio album Deceivers, is Handshake with Hell, the intro builds and you’re instantly picturing lights illuminating a stage as they all enter. It is a blindingly heavy track, an opener to show the world they are not here to mess about! To the tail end of the track, the drums of Daniel Erlandsson are stripped back momentarily for Alissa to show off her clean vocals.  

Deceiver, Deceiver will make all those who partake in circle pits rejoice. It’s fast, it’s heavy, and only lets up to get heavier. Somehow Arch Enemy has perfected making the headbangers, the circle pit runners and the singers in heavy metal crowds happy within a single track. Alissa’s vocals keep blowing me away, from the low gutturals to a higher pitched scream they have only grown stronger over the years. Deceiver, Deceiver was released in October of 2021 and has a film clip to match. At the time, the album had not yet been announced and was released along with House of Mirrors and marketed as standalone singles. 

In The Eye of the Storm was the first track I heard from the new album and I could go to battle with this song. As Alissa bellows ‘The chase is on, the traps are set..’ even sitting at my desk, my fist is high. Released on July 14th, the track already amassing half a million streams. This one was written for a live setting, and personally, I cannot wait to experience it.

The combination of two of metal’s most loved axe men Jeff Loomis and Michael Amott creates an atmosphere only possible by a true musical connection.  

My stand-out track on the album will have to be The Watcher. It’s aggressive and fast, giving Erlandsson a chance to really show off. The verses are thrashy leading into melodic choruses, where the guitars harmonise with the vocals before a quick tempo change that would make power metal fans extremely happy. The outro flows beautifully into Poisoned Arrow a brief guitar lick offers the listener a momentarily dip in the assault from the first 4 tracks. The song is constructed as a story and flows and ebbs superbly. 

The doom that Spreading Black Wings provides is true Arch Enemy. Each member is a true professional playing their instrument to near perfection, and this creates a seamless track where they are as one. Too many times metal bands are pushing the lead guitar to the front, or the vocals over the drums yet the production on this album is fantastic. Producer Jacob Hansen has worked with artists such as Volbeat, Amaranthe, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Epica to name a few. He even lends his vocals to Sunset Over The Empire. 

The final two tracks are not here to carefully deliver you to a peaceful conclusion. Arch Enemy is not done with us yet! One Last Time nearly feels more cheerful. The chorus would be crisp, high notes if Arch Enemy were any other band, but Alissa is not any other vocalist. Her loud, heavy vocals remain consistent throughout, barely dipping to murmur ‘patience is running out, It’s wearing thin, seems like I’m slipping, losing ground’, the collaboration between Alissa’s vocals and the guitars continues to impress me. Sharlee D’Angelo, Arch Enemy’s bass player, is considerably more noticeable in this track and has always been a backbone of the band’s low end. 

Jeff Loomis’ superb leads on the final song, Exiled from Earth, add a lot of richness and vibrancy. I can see this being a terrific ending for the live performance because it simultaneously appears to wind things down and leave you wanting more at the same time. It is anthemic and approachable, like most of this record. 

I am so glad I gave Deceivers a listen because it is all I could have hoped for in an Arch Enemy record. Being a metal DJ for so long temporarily turned me away from them, but this is a perfect reunion. Deceiver is a terrific album that honours Arch Enemy‘s past and shows off its continuing strength. 

It is such a strong record that has greatly reignited my enthusiasm for the group and look forward to their return to Australian shores as they have not been here since 2018 appearing on Download Festival and accompanying headline club shows.  

May Arch Enemy’s new album Deceivers be the soundtrack to your weekend with your air guitar strapped on tight. 

Pick up Deceivers from your local JB HiFi or online here
Alternative versions are available here

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