No matter where you look in music press over the past years outlet after outlet have been praising the work of the brutal Arch Enemy. Their lives shows have been described as brute force and their latest album Deceiver was called a work of slaying art.
Mind you the band have overcome some things that would sink some artists – including a dramatic line-up change – but to their credit they have just seemed to shake them off. 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 and now they are heading to our fair shores – which gave me the perfect opportunity to sit down with Michael Amott.
“This is really exciting for us to seeing that it is exactly five years since we have been there,” says Michael as we begin talking about how excited their Aussie fans are about the tour. “They feels pretty unreal in itself, but it really just feels great to be able to come back with a new album and starting to tour again after the past couple of years being pretty grim. If we were ever jaded about anything that is all gone and it has been replaced with excitement.”
“I think the first time we came to Australia was in 05,” he says reminiscing. “It was such a long time ago but I remember it blew us away. It was the first time any of us had ever set foot in Australia and we just found it amazing – the entire experience. We had been to Japan a couple of times and that was a really, really long way for us – from Europe – but then you get on another long flight, and you end up this country that speaks English and we had a lot of fans there – it was so cool.”
As Michael mentioned 2020 and 2021 were tough on the band but it was also a time when a lot of their fans found solace in the brutality that is Arch Enemy’s music.
“That was really nice we thought,” answers Michael when I ask him how he felt about people using the band’s music to get through some of the toughest times of their lives. “We tried to put stuff out there for them and we really tried to reach out to them. As a band we kind of set this goal to try and not get depressed and to try and work on the album. Myself I tried to stay away from social media during that time but hey I guess at least the music was there.”
That leads me to ask him about whether or not working on the new album during the pandemic changed the way they went about things. “Yeah, we did,” he agrees. “Since we have become a professional band we have always had to work to such strict deadlines. For the last fifteen to twenty years it has always been – the album must be delivered by this day, we don’t care if you only have three songs written, get writing because we need it because we already have all the tours booked and everything comes together.”
“There is always all this planning,” he continues. “You always find you have to plan so much into the future – the touring, the releases… everything really. So we have always had these really strict deadlines and yeah we have been able to do all these cool tours but then you would have to have an album out so you would do all this scrambling, and it always worked out and it can be fun because I like to work under pressure. But with this album we didn’t even know if touring was coming back. There were all these doomsday prophecies about the future of the industry so we just thought that we would make this album for ourselves – and we just enjoyed that as much as we could.”
“But I have to say at the end of the day I think we had too much time on our hands to make this record,” he adds laughing out loud. “I had always had this dream where people would say – Michael, when are you going to be able to write a masterpiece without any deadlines – and I thought that would be beautiful. But then when I found that you have an unlimited amount of time you can go a little crazy as well. In the end in just became a very drawn out thing – and that wasn’t really all our fault because there were logistical issues of having band members right around the world and we like to do things old school and we like to get everybody together into the studio while we are recording our parts just to get that face-to-face interaction. So, we were flying into Germany and then having to quarantine for two weeks before we got to head to the studio… so that took a while.”
Now all those issues are all out of the way – the album is out there and garnishing some amazing reviews and the band are about to be unleashed on their Aussie fans once again so using Michael’s own closing statement for our interview “get your arses out there and into the mosh-pit.”