ARCH ENEMY, DEVILDRIVER, SKELETONWITCH, CHTHONIC @ Club Nokia, Los Angeles (9/27/11)

The North American Khaos 2011 Tour had a metal genre for everybody – black, thrash, nu, and melodic metal were all represented nicely.

CHTHONIC has gained quite an increase of popularity in the U.S. since their first go around at Ozzfest in 2007, and that notion was proven by the rabid crowd that showed up early giving full support to the “Orient metal” from the Far East.  The band performed tracks mostly from the new album, Takasago Army, and new tracks like “Takao” and “Southern Cross” went over tremendously well in the live setting. Vocalist Freddy Lim owned the crowd with his enthusiastic charisma and wowed onlookers whenever he pulled out the er-hu to accentuate why CHTHONIC stands out as a unique band.

After their set, CHTHONIC took time out to sign autographs for their fans. While this was happening, SKELETONWITCH was putting on their thrashy best, performing songs off their new album Forever Abomination. Their fusion of thrash and death metal had the pit moving and energy flowing.

The crowd began to get a bit antsy when DEVILDRIVER came on, and while they had a sparse legion of fans, most of the crowd either sipped on their beers, looked indifferent and bored, or dispersed into the smoking area.  Frontman Dez Fafara pumped his brand of nu-metal into the audience, but as a whole, everyone was ready for Angela and Co. to destroy the place, as a large percentage of fans were sporting their ARCH ENEMY shirts proudly.

ARCH ENEMY always writes their music with the live setting in mind, and a mixture of sweat, hair, and screams filled Club Nokia once the band came out. I’ve seen ARCH ENEMY plenty of times, and one thing’s for sure – they’re ALWAYS clean, tight, and energetic. With a vast array of songs to choose from, the set included tracks from the Angela era albums, as “Enemy Within,” “Ravenous,” and “Dead Eyes See No Future” sounded extra brutal live.

Angela nailed every high scream, low growl, and fed off the energy of the crowd. All the catchy hooks and choruses were sung loudly by members in the audience, and the band always gets a great reception from L.A. crowds. The themes of unity, pride, freedom, and rebellion were represented with “No Gods, No Master,” and ARCH ENEMY’s anthem, “We Will Rise.”

During the songs, the band had screens with visuals and lyrics, which were entertaining to watch. The band was firing on all cylinders – the Amott brothers played note for note on each melodic solo, Sharlee D’Angelo provided the brutal low end, and Daniel Erlandsson blasted his kit with precision and power, unlike some baby tapper drummers in the scene. Their hour long set didn’t drag at all, and “Nemesis” closed out yet another great set by these melodic death metal masters. ARCH ENEMY is always a treat to watch live since energy, professionalism, and fun are always words that come to mind when they perform. Until next time!

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