Buried in the backyard—er, back issues—of the Disposable Underground ’zine archive are a couple of brief features that aren’t easy to find in the issues in which they originally appeared. For your convenience, here’s one on Arch Enemy, originally in issue #29 from 2004.
Anthems of Rebellion came out on Century Media in 2003 and the Swedish band is doing well by it. A good balance of faster and slower and mid-paced songs on album is important to Arch Enemy, as shown by the new album. It’s definitely an improvement over the last full-length, Wages of Sin, featuring stronger material and improved vocals.
Still, the band is keeping its feet on the ground. “There’s musicians that I still look up to, like Slayer for example,” says guitarist and founder Michael Amott. He remembers when he was 17 and first discovering the underground tape-trading scene. “I get teased a lot because of the goals I had” when he first started, he reveals with a chuckle. “I wanted to record a professional demo and get it reviewed in a magazine.”
Taking a look at his career, it’s not one to sniff at. After playing on the important Carnage album Dark Recollections and also being in other bands, he joined Carcass and appeared on Necroticism – Descanting The Insalubrious and Heartwork. Appearing on the program Power 30 on MuchMusic, Carcass’ drummer Ken Owen explained that while Carcass was rehearsing in England after the latter recording, Amott “put a band together over there [in Sweden] while he was bored and it became more interesting for him to do that rather than Carcass, so he quit. Just before the album came out.”
Arch Enemy began in Halmstad, Sweden in 1996 and is certainly is an important band, with the albums Black Earth, Stigmata, Burning Bridges, Burning Japan Live 1999, and then the two albums mentioned above. Coming back to the new one, the band has a video for “We Will Rise.” In it, Viking warrior types are running around waving red flags while the band plays with the gothic countryside behind. “We filmed that video in two locations, in Stockholm and an island called Dark Island,” he laughs. “We were filming in a cave and I was playing the guitar solo along with the music, miming, and when they started waving the flags they disturbed all these bats that came flying out of the cave. I wanted to lie down and get away from them, I was very scared, but the film was expensive.” The director yelled at him to keep playing despite these pissed off creatures around Amott’s head. Now that’s commitment to metal!
Arch Enemy is also committed to its back catalog, making sure with future headlining gigs to play a track off of every album. “When I see a band and they only play the new stuff, I get a little bummed.” That’s the right kind of attitude, keeping the fans in mind. Keep Anthems of Rebellion in mind for your next CD purchase.