Arch Enemy is a melodic death metal band from Halmstad, Sweden, and formed in 1995.
Arch Enemy, the brainchild of Michael Amott (ex-Carcass, Carnage and Spiritual Beggars) was originally assembled from the ashes of legendary British gore-grind band Carcass. Guitarists Michael Amott and younger brother Christopher Amott were joined by vocalist Johan Liiva (ex-Carnage, NonExist) and then-session drummer Daniel Erlandsson (Armageddon, 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. More of a ‘solo effort’ than a full band at this point, 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. Michael 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 which was softened to some degree on their following releases, but which was 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, reaching popularity both in 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 permanent 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. 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 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 Michael Amott earlier that year during an interview she had conducted with him. Despite rumours of Gossow being chosen to join the band solely due to her romantic involvement with Michael Amott, she proved to be a competent singer and was received warmly by most fans.
The first album with songs featuring Gossow was “Wages of Sin”, released in late 2001. On 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 in the song “End of the Line”. 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 of 2005, the band finished the recording of their sixth album — Doomsday Machine. In July of 2005, guitarist Christopher Amott left the band in order to focus on his personal life. Christopher later stated that he “wasn’t feeling creative musically” in Arch Enemy, and that he “just wasn’t into (the band) anymore”. Christopher was then a music teacher in Sweden, and also attended a university. He was temporarily replaced by guitarist Gus G. (ex-Dream Evil, Firewind) and then by Fredrik Åkesson on a permanent basis.
In March 2007 the band’s official homepage stated that Christopher Amott is returning to Arch Enemy with immediate effect, in time to appear on their next album, Rise of the Tyrant, which was released on September of 2007.
More information at http://www.archenemy.net/