Arch Enemy is a Swedish melodic death metal band, formed in 1996 by Carcass guitarist Michael Amott along with Johan Liiva, both originally from influential death metal band, Carnage. The band has released seven studio albums, a live album, three EPs, and a DVD (Live Apocalypse). The band was originally fronted by Johan Liiva; frontwoman Angela Gossow joined as lead vocalist in 2001.
With Johan Liiva (1996–2001)
Arch Enemy, the brainchild of Michael Amott (ex-Carcass, Carnage and Spiritual Beggars) was originally assembled when Michael Amott left Carcass. Guitarists Michael Amott and younger brother Christopher Amott (Armageddon) joined forces with vocalist Johan Liiva (ex-Carnage, Furbowl, Devourment) and then-session drummer Daniel Erlandsson (Eucharist) in what Michael Amott called "an attempt to merge melody with aggression and technicality."
The band's debut, entitled Black Earth, was released by the now defunct Wrong Again Records in 1996. It obtained a fair amount of success in Japan, achieving MTV rotation with their first single "Bury Me an Angel", as well as moderate success in Sweden. At this point, Arch Enemy was more of a "solo effort" than a full band: Michael Amott wrote all the songs himself, and even played bass guitar on the album, contrary to the album's liner notes, which listed vocalist Johan Liiva as handling bass duties. Amott later revealed that he had the credits listed that way to make the album seem more of a "band" effort. Many consider it to be the band's most aggressive album, a trait that was softened to some degree on its following releases, but never abandoned.
After the release of Black Earth the band switched labels, signing a contract with Century Media. In 1998 Arch Enemy released Stigmata, for which bassist Martin Bengtsson and drummer Peter Wildoer joined the band. This album obtained the attention of a wider audience, gaining popularity in both Europe and America. This was also the first Arch Enemy album to be released worldwide.
In 1999, Sharlee D'Angelo assumed the role of Arch Enemy's bassist, and Daniel Erlandsson was once again recruited to handle drum duties, this time on a permanent basis. Burning Bridges was released, and was soon followed by the live album Burning Japan Live 1999, which was initially a release limited to Japan, but later given worldwide distribution due to demands from fans. During the touring-cycle for Burning Bridges Sharlee D'Angelo was temporarily replaced twice, first by Dick Lovgren (Meshuggah, ex-Armageddon, ex-In Flames) and secondly, by Roger Nilsson (ex-Spiritual Beggars, Firebird, The Quill). Burning Bridges marked a shift in Arch Enemy's core sound, now opting for a more melodic approach, while still keeping the brutal heaviness of the first two albums.
In 2001 vocalist Johan Liiva was asked to quit the band. Michael Amott stated that the he wanted a more "dynamic frontman", and that Liiva's live performance was not up to par with the rest of the band. Liiva was soon replaced by amateur German journalist, and death metal vocalist Angela Gossow, who had given a demo tape to Christopher Amott earlier that year during an interview she had conducted with him. Gossow proved to be a competent singer and was received warmly by most fans.
With Angela Gossow (2001–present)
The first album with songs featuring Gossow was Wages of Sin, released in 2001. In December of the same year, Arch Enemy took part in the "Japan's Beast Feast 2002" concert, playing alongside Slayer and Motorhead.
Anthems of Rebellion was released in 2003 and brought some innovations, such as the use of a second voice singing in harmony, for example in "End of the Line" and "Dehumanization". In November of the following year, the band released the EP Dead Eyes See No Future, which featured live recordings, along with covers of Manowar, Megadeth and Carcass songs.
In June 2005, Arch Enemy finished the recording for their sixth album, Doomsday Machine. In July 2005, guitarist Christopher Amott left the band in order to focus on his personal life. He was temporarily replaced by guitarist Gus G. (ex-Dream Evil, Firewind), and then by Fredrik Akesson. Christopher returned on a permanent basis in March 2007, shortly before the band entered the studio to begin recording their new album with producer Fredrik Nordstrom (Who has produced for acts such as In Flames, Soilwork and more). Akesson would then go on to become Opeth's new lead guitarist in May, 2007. An album from Arch Enemy's earlier work, Black Earth, was reissued on April 24, 2007. Liiva's vocals are present on the album.
Arch Enemy's seventh album, titled Rise of the Tyrant was released on September 24, 2007 in Europe and September 25, 2007 in the USA. The album was leaked onto file sharing networks before the initial release, but lacked several elements of the final release.
Nikos Deja Vu