Guitarist Michael Amott of Swedish / American / Canadian metallers ARCH ENEMY spoke to GuitarWorld.com about the departure of the band's lead singer Angela Gossow and addition of Alissa White-Gluz, formerly of THE AGONIST.
"It was a very tough and emotional experience," Michael said. "It took a while to decide if we were just going to stop the band. But we realized that we still love playing and have a lot of music in us. But where would we go singer-wise?"
Amott admitted that he was concerned about how the ARCH ENEMY fans would react to such a significant lineup change, explaining: "I was worried more last year. Back when we were putting [the new ARCH ENEMY album 'War Eternal'] together, and I was sort of like, 'Okay, it's not going to be Angela singing. It's going to be this new girl.' Alissa's really great, but still, it's somebody different. Metal fans don't really take to change that well… I knew it had to be really good. We had to step it up and deliver something really special this time. So I put a lot of work into the album and the writing process. It was very very rigorous and went on for much longer than what we usually do. We did a lot of pre-production and demos. So I think at some point last year, I was thinking more like, 'Hmm, I wonder how people are going to react to this.' But once we'd done it and we'd completed the album and filmed the video and we did all the stuff, I was just ready to get the news out there. I was kind of over it. When it's done it's done...and I'm really proud of it. And the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive so far. I was expecting it to be more like 50/50, but it's been a lot more positive. [laughs]"
Asked what led Angela to leave her role as singer and focus on the band's management, Amott said: "Well, she's been managing the band since 2008. It's worked out very, very well for us. It's been a lot more successful than when we were with a professional, sort of big management company. Suddenly we were making money and everything was working out for us. She's definitely really good at that and it's something she really enjoys doing as well. As far as the actual singing part, I don't think it was an easy decision for her."
He continued: "It wasn't such a big surprise, really, when she said she finally wanted to bow out as a front person for the band and singer, because the writing has been on the wall within in our camp. But, you know, the fans really idolize her and she was a very iconic front figure and she was like the first woman in a successful metal band doing it at the level that we've done it. But it took a while for us to get our heads around what we were going to do, like, were we going to stop the band? But then we realized we actually love playing and we've still got a lot of music in us. But where would we go singer-wise? All these songs are written for a woman to sing. And are there any other woman out there who are really strong, and Alissa was the first one we thought of. But I didn't know if she'd be up for it or that she'd be interested, but when we found out that she was, that all sort of happened as well. She came over here and we did some demos with her as well and stuff like that. I have to say the first rehearsal with Alissa was really strange… She sounded so awesome, but I was thinking, like, you know, I wrote this song for Angela and now somebody else is singing it, and it just felt weird. But she sounded great. But it felt, I don't know, weird. And then I called the other guys later that evening, the other guys, original guys, Sharlee, the bass player, and Daniel, the drummer. They brought it up as well that it felt so weird. It took some getting used to. So I can understand for fans it's gonna take time for some people to get into this. The bottom line is that I think the album is fantastic, and she is… It was either continue with a new singer — and luckily we found someone totally awesome — or stop the band. And I guess we just wanted to keep playing, really."
ARCH ENEMY played its first show with Alissa White-Gluz on May 23 at Turbohalle in Bucharest, Romania. Fan-filmed video footage of the concert can be seen below.
Swedish/German/American extreme metallers ARCH ENEMY are recording their as-yet-untitled eighth album for a tentative late spring/early summer release via Century Media. The CD is being laid down at a few different studios in Sweden.
"We tracked drums at Fascination Street Studio, and we've been recording guitars and bass in another room," ARCH ENEMY guitarist Michael Amott tells Decibel for the magazine's March 2013 issue (see cover below). "We'll do the vocals in a third studio, and the mix and mastering will done by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street."
He adds: "It's all going according to plan; it's been running very smoothly. Vocals and [a] few guitar solos left to do, and the mix, of course."
As was the case with 2011's "Khaos Legions", the ARCH ENEMY members are producing the new album themselves.
"We have a clear vision of what we want to sound like, and we can achieve it without outside producers and input, so this works for us," Amott explains.
Regarding the musical direction of ARCH ENEMY's upcoming CD, Amott tells Decibel: "This album is actually very different from 'Khaos Legions'. All of our albums have had their own vibe, and this one will be its own entity as well. Lyrically, it's a much more personal record, and musically, I feel the songs have more dynamics and depth than ever before. There's certainly very heavy and aggressive metal taking place, but there's also another level of melody that excites me. There's a wide spectrum of variety in the material; they're all unique to me and I'm excited about all of them at this point. A couple of the songs feature real strings, and it'll be interesting how our fans will take to that. I am pretty sure they'll love it!"
ARCH ENEMY's 2012 tour of South America and Mexico was professionally filmed for an upcoming DVD and Blu-ray. German production company Filmefahrer Pictures, known for its work on "2012 - The Movie" and THE VERY END's music video for "A Hole In The Sun", filmed the shows, conducted interviews with the bandmembers and shot backstage footage, fans and other incidentals during the tour.
"Khaos Legions" sold around 6,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to enter The Billboard 200 chart at position No. 78.
The band in 2012 amicably parted ways with guitarist Christopher Amott and replaced him with American musician Nick Cordle (ARSIS).
Raymond Westland of Ghost Cult magazine recently conducted an interview with bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker of reactivated British extreme metal pioneers CARCASS. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ghost Cult: Can you talk us through the point CARCASS reformed to the moment you actually started to work on the new album?
Walker: We got together in 2007 when Bill [Steer; guitar] finally agreed on doing a couple of gigs. We didn't play any gigs that year, because I walked away from the whole thing, due to certain business arrangements I wasn't happy about. In 2008, the whole reunion thing came about. It was never meant as a long-term thing. Then 2009 came about and we got more and better offers coming in. Same thing in 2010, including a couple of events and venues we hadn't played before. Last gig we did as CARCASSwas in August 2010 with Michael Amott and Daniel Erlandsson of ARCH ENEMY. That was the closure on the whole reunion thing, becauseMichael made it explicitly clear he'd be too busy with his own bands to even consider doing anything in the future with CARCASS. At that point, we hadn't discussed doing anything beyond the whole reunion thing, so that was quite a relief. At some point, Bill contacted me about whether I'd fancy doing anything with Dan Wilding, who was a member ofABORTED when they toured the U.S. Bill has a thing with drummers and he wanted to do something musically with Dan. As for me, I was really prepared and willing to do more music with CARCASS back in 2009. When you're in a band with Bill Steer, Michael Amott and Daniel Erlandsson, it would be wasting a great opportunity not to. Daniel would have made himself available if we would continue doing music with CARCASS, but when push came to shove, he had to make a decision and he decided to stay with ARCH ENEMY. It wasn't really a matter of choosing for him. If he stuck around for longer, a CARCASS album would have been around sooner perhaps.