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Arch Enemy

Arch Enemy is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Halmstad, Sweden, formed in 1996. Founded by Carcass guitarist Michael Amott along with Johan Liiva, both originally from the influential death metal band Carnage. The band has released seven studio albums, a live album (Burning Japan Live 1999), two DVDs and three EPs. The band was originally fronted by Johan Liiva; frontwoman Angela Gossow joined as lead vocalist in 2000.

History

Early years and Black Earth (1996–1997)

Arch Enemy, the brainchild of Michael Amott (Carcass, Carnage, and Spiritual Beggars) was originally assembled when Michael Amott left Carcass. Guitarists Michael Amott and younger brother Christopher Amott (Armageddon) joined with vocalist Johan Liiva (ex-Carnage, Furbowl, 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.

Stigmata, Burning Bridges, and Gossow (1998–2000)

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 Lövgren (Meshuggah, ex-Armageddon) 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 original melodic death metal-sound upon being first heard from the first two albums.

In November 2000 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.

Wages of Sin and Anthems of Rebellion (2001–2003)

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 Motörhead.

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 2004, the band embarked upon Japan touring supported by a Japanese act Edge of Spirit.

Doomsday Machine (2004–2006)

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 Åkesson in September 2005. 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 Nordström (who has produced for acts such as In Flames and Soilwork). Åkesson went 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, with Liiva's vocals.

Rise of the Tyrant (2007–2008)

Arch Enemy's seventh album, entitled Rise of the Tyrant was released on September 24, 2007 in Europe and September 25, 2007 in the USA. Rise of the Tyrant debuted at number 84 on the Billboard 200 chart. This surpasses the Doomsday Machine chart entry, making it the band's highest charting effort to date. Gossow said the new album has more emotion and less double vocals, as well as less vocal processing, yielding a more "raw" presentation.

Arch Enemy played the Bloodstock Open Air Festival in August 2007, between Sabbat and In Flames, headlined by Lacuna Coil. Finntroll and the Costa Rican metal band Sight of Emptiness were also among the bands playing. They then performed on the Black Crusade tour at the end of 2007, with Machine Head, Trivium, DragonForce and Shadows Fall. With this, as Michael Amott reported on the band's website, "These will be the first European shows we do with Arch Enemy after the release of our new album".

On March 8, 2008, Arch Enemy filmed a live show in Tokyo, Japan for the live DVD Tyrants of the Rising Sun. Arch Enemy also co-headlined the Defenders of the Faith tour in April 2008 with Opeth and DevilDriver, while 3 Inches of Blood opened for them. They then headlined the Tyranny and Bloodshred tour in May 2008 with Dark Tranquillity, Divine Heresy, and Firewind as supporting acts.

The Root of All Evil (2009 onward)

In September 2008, guitarist Michael Amott announced that drum tracking was almost complete for a new album. It will include twelve re-recorded songs spanning the band's career before Gossow joined as vocalist, with some material pre-dating D'Angelo as their bassist. The album, titled The Root of All Evil, will feature re-recordings of songs from the first three albums by the band — Black Earth, Stigmata, and Burning Bridges — with Angela Gossow on vocals. In the first half of 2009, the band toured Europe and South America, and they also played at the annual Dubai Desert Rock Festival alongside Opeth, Chimaira, and Motörhead. Following the release of The Root of All Evil on September 28, 2009, the band will embark on an Asian and Australian tour, including their first visit to New Zealand, to be started at the Loud Park festival in Japan on October 17, other acts include Megadeth, Judas Priest, Slayer, Anthrax, Rob Zombie and Children of Bodom.

Band members

Arch Enemy Lineups
(1996)
Black Earth
  • Johan Liiva - vocals, bass guitar (did not play bass on Black Earth)
  • Michael Amott - lead and rhythm guitar (bass guitar on Black Earth)
  • Christopher Amott - lead and rhythm guitar
  • Daniel Erlandsson - drums (session)
(1997)
Stigmata
  • Johan Liiva - vocals
  • Michael Amott - lead and rhythm guitar
  • Christopher Amott - lead and rhythm guitar
  • Martin Bengtsson - bass guitar
  • Peter Wildoer - drums
(1998-1999)
additional Stigmata sessions
  • Johan Liiva - vocals
  • Michael Amott - lead and rhythm guitar
  • Christopher Amott - lead and rhythm guitar
  • Martin Bengtsson - bass guitar
  • Daniel Erlandsson - drums (now a full time member)
(1999-2001)
Burning Bridges
  • Johan Liiva - vocals
  • Michael Amott - lead and rhythm guitar
  • Christopher Amott - lead and rhythm guitar
  • Sharlee D'Angelo - bass guitar
  • Daniel Erlandsson - drums
(2001-2005)
Wages of Sin
Anthems of Rebellion
Doomsday Machine
  • Angela Gossow − vocals
  • Michael Amott − lead and rhythm guitar
  • Christopher Amott − lead and rhythm guitar
  • Sharlee D'Angelo − bass guitar
  • Daniel Erlandsson − drums
(2005-2007)
  • Angela Gossow − vocals
  • Michael Amott − lead and rhythm guitar
  • Fredrik Åkesson − lead and rhythm guitar
  • Sharlee D'Angelo − bass guitar
  • Daniel Erlandsson − drums
(2007-present)
Rise of the Tyrant
The Root of All Evil
  • Angela Gossow − vocals
  • Michael Amott − lead and rhythm guitar
  • Christopher Amott − lead and rhythm guitar
  • Sharlee D'Angelo − bass guitar
  • Daniel Erlandsson − drums

Current members

  • Angela Gossow − vocals (2001–present)
  • Michael Amott − lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1996–present)
  • Christopher Amott − lead and rhythm guitar (1996–2005, 2007–present)
  • Sharlee D'Angelo − bass guitar (1999–present)
  • Daniel Erlandsson − drums (1996, 1998–present)

Former members

  • Johan Liiva − vocals (1996–2000), bass (1996)
  • Martin Bengtsson − bass guitar (1997−1998)
  • Peter Wildoer − drums (1997)
  • Fredrik Åkesson − lead and rhythm guitar (2005−2007)

Session members

  • Gus G. − Touring Guitarist (2005), guest guitar solo on Doomsday Machine ("Taking Back My Soul")
  • Per Wiberg − keyboards on Wages of Sin and Anthems of Rebellion
  • Dick Lövgren − touring bassist (1999)
  • Roger Nilsson − touring bassist (1999−2000)

Discography

Studio albums
  • 1996: Black Earth
  • 1998: Stigmata
  • 1999: Burning Bridges
  • 2001: Wages of Sin
  • 2003: Anthems of Rebellion
  • 2005: Doomsday Machine
  • 2007: Rise of the Tyrant
  • 2009: The Root of All Evil
EPs
  • 2002: Burning Angel
  • 2004: Dead Eyes See No Future
  • 2007: Revolution Begins
Live albums
  • 2000: Burning Japan Live 1999
Compilation albums
  • 2009: Manifesto of Arch Enemy
Live videos
  • 2006: Live Apocalypse
  • 2008: Tyrants of the Rising Sun