Live Review: Arch Enemy - Billboard

7 May 2012 | 11:48 am | James O'Toole

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Tonight's Arch Enemy show is the last of a short Asian and Australian tour. Before the band appear the stage is bathed in light from three very bright LED video screens, and colourful messages of rebellion, images of conflict and art from latest album Khaos Legions flash across the screens as the introduction of Khaos Overture blares forth from the front of house speakers. The near-capacity crowd crackles with energy as the screen images ramp up the anticipation and, when the razor-sharp riffs of Yesterday Is Dead And Gone erupt, the show opens with a bang.

Pint-sized blonde screamer Angela Gossow takes the stage in skin-tight black leather pants, a black jacket adorned with anarchy symbols and a black tank top daubed with the words 'Resist, Rebel, Reclaim' in white font, summing up the show's theme of rebellion. Gossow has a larger than life presence, prowling the stage as her demonic vocals tear through the speakers, but the musical anchor of the band is Michael Amott. His lead guitar parts are flawless, fluid and precise. The melodic lines he wrings from his guitar provide colour and contrast to the onslaught of Gossow's aggressive vocals and the pummelling assault of the band and are a massive part of Arch Enemy's sound. Whether ripping out lead lines full of feel and emotion or chopping out heavy rhythm parts alongside hulking bassist Sharlee D'Angelo, Amott makes it look easy and is one of the best guitar players in metal.

Arch Enemy have their pacing down pat, knowing exactly when to pause then forge ahead again, keeping the energy up. Gossow has the stage to herself when they take a couple of brief breaks and she thanks the crowd for being out late on a weeknight and, “Not giving a fuck about tomorrow!” Gossow says she wants us all at work the next day with our necks sore and heads slumped from head banging. In keeping with the overriding theme, she then whips up the crowd by condemning world leaders. She asks if we like ours, and in answer to our negative reaction proclaims all politicians to be “cheating, lying cunts!” Fist pumping, horn throwing and roars of approval predictably ensue. 

During the high energy set there are some good individual performances, with Daniel Erlandsson's short and punchy drum solo featuring lightning-fast tom rolls and bass drum work. Likewise, new boy Nick Cordle's guitar solo after Dead Eyes See No Future allows him a chance to shine. Cordle suits the band extremely well and his playing rivals that of Amott. Both guitarists have excellent tone and work together seamlessly, as their harmonising leads during No Gods, No Master demonstrate.

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After an encore of Snow Bound, Nemesis and Fields Of Desolation, Arch Enemy return to the stage to take a group bow, throw out guitar picks and shake hands with the hardcore fanatics still gathered at the barrier. Tonight's show is a killer performance by a band in great form.