Greetings and salutations from sunny California! Once again, another amazing National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention has come and gone! There were a few surprises along the way, and as always, we had a great time checking out all the gear!
Dependability is crucial to any band’s fanbase and 2017 did not disappoint. All of the bands that we’ve come to depend on for great music more or less delivered the goods. One band stood out to us all were the death metal gods from Yonkers, New York, IMMOLATION. They continue to stand as a pillar for metal with their unending well of creativity and longevity. Atonement blew us away with its complexity, ominous atmosphere, and inventive brutality.
Enjoy our lists of our favorite albums of 2017. And remember: Buy or die!
Loud Park festival is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year. The two-day festival is set to for October 10-11, 2015 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Juggernauts in the Japan, ARCH ENEMY will be headlining the Ultimate Stage on the first night. To celebrate the occasion, the band will be joined by former/original members, Christopher Amott and Johan Liiva.
Time to book those flights to Japan!
Unlike everyone else, we waited until 2014 was actually over to recount our favorite albums. It’s been a great year for extreme music with a healthy amount of excellent releases. We saw the return of legends in GODFLESH and AT THE GATES as well as welcome returns from long recording breaks in BEHEMOTH and MAYHEM. And who can deny the GHOST B.C.-like popularity explosion of Japan’s BABYMETAL? Crazy shit. Metal is certainly a diverse genre.
For 2014, the APESHIT goons did not have any unanimous or semi-unanimous album of the year (i.e. 2013’s CARCASS‘ Surgical Steel). But MAYHEM, BLOODBATH, GODFLESH, and TRYPTIKON were near consensus picks. Sorry, ENTOMBED A.D. didn’t make it here.
Big news out of the ARCH ENEMY camp: Guitarist Nick Cordle is out of the band as guitar extraordinaire, Jeff Loomis, will join the band as live guitarist. However, before Jeff joins up with the band’s current tour, original guitarist, Chris Amott, will take over Nick‘s spot for the rest of the U.S. tour. Now, who doesn’t want to catch the band on tour? Awesome.
Check out the official statement from the band and Jeff Loomis here.
So big news over this album is the debut of new (female) vocalist Alissa White-Gluz (ex-THE AGONIST). Did you really think that ARCH ENEMY would ever replace Angela Gossow with a male vocalist? C’mon, man.
So how does Alissa stack up? Her voice is stronger than Angela‘s. Thus, you don’t hear the blatant studio magic used to cover for the shortcomings in Angela‘s abilities. As War Eternal progresses, it is easy to grow weary and tired of Alissa‘s vocals because they are simply not that good, and her vocal inflections and patterns are repetitive. Don’t get me started on her laughable, over exaggerated facial expressions and stage moves.
On the other hand, as can be expected, the instrumental components of War Eternal are as rock solid and as technically proficient as they’ve always been. The band stays true to their trademark melodic death metal sound. Expect much of that killer ARCH ENEMY-level musicianship. There are many absolutely fine riffs and solos. You cannot deny those melting, sweet Amott-style melodies. While Nick Cordle is no Chris Amott, he gets the job done.
Overall, War Eternal is what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. As longtime metal warriors, we know one thing: Michael Amott‘s music is something that is always worth checking out. (Century Media Records)
Do you remember the first time you heard ARMAGEDDON‘s Crossing the Rubicon? So awesome and it still holds up to this date. Then do you remember listening to the band after band leader/guitarist Chris Amott took over on vocals and they went on the prog rock/metal path? So after a long hiatus and his exit from ARCH ENEMY, Chris Amott has resurrected ARMAGEDDON and now, they’re playing death metal again.
Check out their lyric video for the song “Captivity & Devourment“:
Pretty damn good!
ARCH ENEMY has announced that vocalist Angela Gossow has stepped down and has been replaced by Alissa White-Gluz of THE AGONIST. You didn’t really expect the band to replace her with a male, did you?
Angela Gossow comments:
“Dear ARCH ENEMY fans, this is not easy to tell you…I have decided to step down from being ARCH ENEMY‘s voice of anger. After 13 years of pure fucking metal, 6 studio albums and countless tours through five continents, I feel the need to enter a different phase in my life, be with my family and pursue other interests. I will however remain business manager for ARCH ENEMY, and I will continue to develop my artist management roster.
“I am staying true to my heavy metal roots, just leaving the spotlight so to speak. I am passing the torch to the super talented Alissa White-Gluz, whom I’ve known as a dear friend and a superb vocalist for many years. I always thought she deserved a chance to shine – and now she’s getting it. Just like I got that chance back in 2001.
“I want to thank all ARCH ENEMY fans, our labels Century Media (worldwide) and Trooper Entertainment (Japan), our dedicated road crew, and in particular Michael, Daniel and Sharlee for their love and support throughout all these years. It’s been one hell of a ride! We conquered every situation, made it through thick & thin together in the most exciting and rewarding time of my life. Thank you all for being there with me on stage, in front of the stage, and backstage. You have touched my heart, and I hope I was able to give something back to you. I am grateful for the wonderful memories – I will cherish them forever!
“I am looking forward to the next decade of ARCH ENEMY madness! Right now I am listening through rough mixes of the new studio album and I am blown away! 2014 will see a renewed ARCH ENEMY at the top of their game. I am proud to be part of this ARCH ENEMY chapter, albeit in a different way – revving up the engines behind the scenes. I hope to see you in front of the stage; I will join you there this time. Let the killing begin, once again!”
Alissa White-Gluz comments:
“I am very honored and happy to announce a new chapter in my life and musical career beginning now; I have joined forces with one of my all-time favorite and globally respected bands, ARCH ENEMY. ‘Wages of Sin‘ was the first metal album I ever bought, and it was love at first listen. It is not often that you get a phone call from your favorite band asking you to join! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such amazingly talented musicians whom I also consider great friends. I look forward to being able to write and perform at a whole new level now with ARCH ENEMY! Music is forever, metal is limitless and this is only the beginning!”
Band leader Michael Amott comments:
“We are eternally grateful to Angela for all her passion, hard work and talent. Her legacy is tremendous and will always be a big part of the band’s history. We feel great pride in what has been achieved in the past, but also look forward to new battles and new victories. We welcome Alissa with open arms – and we hope you will have open ears. We might have just created our most wicked metal opus yet with our upcoming album ‘War Eternal’!”
If someone were to tell you that Earth Blues is a near perfect record for what it is, that would be an accurate statement. One would be hard pressed to find anything wrong or bad about it. Everything is what it should be.
Eight albums into their career and SPIRITUAL BEGGARS are right in the pocket. Perfect chops and production only lead one to look to the songs to determine one’s enjoyment level. The twelve songs on Earth Blues are wonderfully diverse, rockin’, and proudly carry on the sound of 70’s rock. Will it change your life? That’s probably going too far but it easily fills in the gaps in your classic rock collection.
Look, it’s pretty simple – you either love 70’s rock or you don’t. And while there are some up and coming bands that play this general style, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS are at the top of the mountain. (Inside Out Music)
ARCH ENEMY have parted ways with guitarist Christopher Amott in an amicable split. Christopher Amott was a member of ARCH ENEMY between 1996-2005 and again between 2007-2011. The following is a statement from the band:
“We thank Christopher for the time he’s worked with the band and of course wish him the very best in his future endeavors.
“Thankfully, there is no drama behind the scenes here. This is the best way forward for all involved. Christopher simply does not feel at home with playing extreme metal anymore.
“We have already chosen and rehearsed with a new guitar player and we will complete the ‘Khaos Legions‘ 2012 touring cycle as planned. We are highly motivated and look forward to continue spreading our music around the world!
“Finally, our deepest thanks go to the ARCH ENEMY fans, whose amazing support and belief inspires us ever onward.”
Here is what Christopher Amott posted on his Facebook page:
“Hi everyone, I have left ARCH ENEMY to pursue my solo career. I’m gonna continue to be very active in music, working with all kinds of styles – this does not rule out metal. I have just recorded a new solo album set to be released in April. Keep an eye on this page for updates, I’ll try to be here more often. / Chris“