|Formed by ex-Carnage, Carcass, and Candlemass guitarist Michael Amott (concurrently of Spiritual Beggars) with his brother Christopher (Armageddon), Arch Enemy took a straight-ahead approach to death metal reminiscent of Entombed or late-period Carcass, blending catchy, classic-style metal riffs with crushing grooves for an intense yet accessible sound. The group's charter lineup was rounded out by bassist/vocalist Johan Liiva (Carnage, Furbowl) and drummer Daniel Erlandsson (Eucharist, session work for In Flames); they released their debut album, Black Earth, in 1996. For their second album, 1998's Stigmata, Armageddon bassist Martin Bengtsson took over those duties from vocalist Liiva, while Armageddon drummer Peter Wildoer sat in for Erlandsson. More personnel turnover ensued, as Mercyful Fate reunion bassist Sharlee D'Angelo (also formerly of Witchery and Dismember) joined up for 1999's Burning Bridges, which also featured the return of Erlandsson. Wages Of Sin from 2001 found Johan Liiva departing and replaced by Angela Gossow.
After touring extensively across Europe and Japan, the band returned to the studio and released Anthems Of Rebellion in 2003. The EP Dead Eyes See No Future was released by the end of the year and featured a mix of cover versions and live tracks. The album Doomsday Machine landed in July of 2005 right as guitarist Christopher Amott announced he was leaving the band. Former Tiamat member Fredrik Åkesson replaced him, though the two would switch places again two years later with Åkesson leaving the band to join Opeth, and Amott taking back his spot on guitar. The band then released its seventh album, Rise Of The Tyrant, in 2007. The album would be Arch Enemy's most successful album to date, and they followed up the release by heading out on tours with Swedish metal giants Opeth and Dark Tranquillity. In 2009 the band looked back to its older material with The Root Of All Evil. The album featured tracks from the band's first three albums that were re-recorded with current singer Angela Gossow. Arch Enemy reported they were entering the studio at the end of 2010, planning to release their ninth album in mid-2011.
(Source: Allmusic, 22.5.2013)
"I think we took a 'more is more' approach to this record." says Arch Enemy guitarist Michael Amott when referring to Khaos Legions, the band's latest platter of mayhem. Not that they've ever tackled any aspects of their career with a half-baked attitude, but the approach was particularly important after four years of creative silence.
Khaos Legions was well worth the wait. A solid 14 tracks - 11 songs and three instrumental passages - it is an album that immediately recalls Anthems Of Rebellion and Doomsday Machine, considered by many to be Arch Enemy's two strongest outings to date. Loaded with the Amott brothers' trademark guitar shred, spearheaded by vocalist Angela Gossow's instantly recognizable hell-hath-no-fury delivery, all backed by the Sharlee D'Angelo/Daniel Erlandsson bass/drum high energy stomp, Khaos Legions features the band's trademark extreme metal execution coupled with some eyebrow-raising surprises along the way.
Eight studio albums and 15 years into their career, Khaos Legions is Arch Enemy's iron "You are here!" stamp that hits like a ton of bricks.
Simply put, no diehard Arch Enemy fan should go away dissatisfied. The tracks "Yesterday Is Dead And Gone", "Under Black Flags We March", "Thorns In My Flesh" and "City Of The Dead" are examples of the five-piece wrecking crew people have come to expect. "Bloodstained Cross" features Michael and Chris Amott exploring new shred-head territory, while "Cruelty Without Beauty", "Cult Of Chaos" and the scathing "Vengeance Is Mine" feature some of the most aggressive work from the band to date.
"Through The Eyes Of A Raven" is easily the band's most adventurous song in years, progressive and dark, and with what Amott describes as having "a Scandinavian feel to it, with a melancholic Nordic thing going on in the chorus." It is certainly a different side of the band, yet they retain every ounce of trademark aggression.
The biggest surprise is the bordering-on-death-rock "No Gods, No Masters" a definite echo of Arch Enemy's anthem "We Will Rise" that is guaranteed to raise the ire of some fans as it is embraced by others.
Press all over the world hailed Khaos Legions as one of the best metal albums of 2011, and the band was featured on covers including Terrorizer, Metal Hammer, Aardschok, Rock Hard, Burrn, Inferno, Close-Up and many more.
Since the release of the album, Arch Enemy have played the biggest European festivals - including Graspop, Sonisphere, Tuska, Summerbreeze and more - and did an extended US tour (supported by DevilDriver, Skeletonwitch and Chthonic) followed by a European tour (supported by Warbringer and Chthonic). They've toured the world in support of Khaos Legions: Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and many other places you wouldn't expect a metal band to go.
In between, Arch Enemy found time to support Amnesty International and Peta2 with special campaigns that clearly show that they stand 100% behind their message - because action speaks louder than words.
In early 2012 Arch Enemy amicably parted ways with guitarist Christopher Amott. Christopher Amott was a member of Arch Enemy between 1996-2005 and again between 2007-2011. His replacement was found in 26-year-old American guitarist Nick Cordle from the US band Arsis. Michael Amott comments: "Nick was my first choice as he ticks all the right boxes for Arch Enemy with his musicality and technicality as well as his personality and dedication. Looking forward to having him join us on stage, the rehearsals have shown we have a devastating twin axe attack going on!"
Nick Cordle made his official recording debut in the latest Arch Enemy video for "Under Black Flags We March." Said Michael Amott: "We had a our new guitarist Nick Cordle throw down a little lick on the song and had audio master Andy Sneap remix the song a little…So, a few minor tweaks here and there to make it something special for this visual/sonic assault!" The Khaos Legions continues with more live activities in 2012, leading into a special DVD project to be announced soon.
(Source: Official website, 22.5.2013)