Fresh from their slot on the second stage at this years Ozzfest tour, as well as the release of their successful CD Doomsday Machine, Swedish thrashers Arch Enemy are out on the road for a short headlining tour in support of the new album. Along with All That Remains, Mnemic, and A Perfect Murder, the band made their last stop of the tour in New York City at Irving Plaza for a night of loud and aggressive Swedish thrash, technical death metal, and US metalcore. SoT's Pete Pardo, Suzanna Paradise, and Ken Pierce were on hand for the festivities, and bring this concert report.
Pete Pardo: Another night in New York City, another band filled night at Irving Plaza. For whatever reason this venue seems to like to start the shows after 8PM, even with 3 or more bands on the bill, which is especially a pain considering that you are guaranteed to get out extremely late, even on a work night, which this was. While we actually missed openers A Perfect Murder, we arrived just in time for Denmark's Mnemic to hit the stage. As with their set a few months ago opening for Meshuggah, Mnemic seemed to have really hit their stride with new singer Tony Jelencovich, and played with plenty of fury and thunder on this night as well. However, there seemed to be a lot of problems on stage with the band's monitors, which really pertubed the singer, who proceeded to scream at the sound men before kicking his monitor clear off the stage? Thankfully, fellow SoT'er Ken Pierce was able to dive out of the way in the photo pit in front of the stage where we were positioned. Usually you have to be aware of crowd surfers coming at you from the audience over the barricade, not monitors being hurled or kicked from the band on stage! Thankfully, nobody was hit with the flying piece of equipment, and the band finished their crushing set, but Jelencovich was quickly escorted out of the venue after the band got off the stage. I'll admit, it was the first time I have seen such a scene, and the band all laughed about it later, but it was interesting nonetheless.
All That Remains are a band that have been making some waves on the US metalcore scene, originally due to the fact that they feature former Shadows Fall singer Philip Labonte. However, with the release of This Darkened Heart in 2004, these guys are starting to make a name for themselves based on their music alone. The band plays technical and brutal metal mixed with hardcore aggression, and their music is layered with slabs of crunching guitar riffs and angry growls and shouts. The crowd was a pretty even mixture of the metalcore and death/thrash fan (not sure who put this tour together) and most were definitely into the band, as a raging pit was going on for the majority of the set.
Whether it was due to the fact that Arch Enemy was just in the area on the Ozzfest tour, or plainly that this was a late show on a Monday night, there only seemed to be around 500 or so people at the club this night, which I thought was a little sparse considering how hot Arch Enemy is at the moment. Still, it's a good crowd for a metal show, and each and every person was jammed up as close to the stage as possible for Arch Enemy when they came on stage at 11PM to a thunderous applause. This band is as tight as you can get, and they came out with a bang to "Nemesis" off the latest CD. Led by the gorgeous yet devilish Angela Gossow on vocals, who can wipe out just about any other death metal singer , male or female, with her growling delivery, the band then ripped into favorites old and new with amazing precision. The crowd loved every minute of it, as the moshers and crowd surfers were surging with such intensity that the floor looked a living, breathing being with all the bodies crashing about. New guitarist Fredrik Akesson seemed to fit right in alongside mainman Michael Amott, who has one of the sweetest and most killer tones on the metal scene, not to mention he's a technical monster as well. They played plenty of killer songs from much of their discography, and the crowd ate it all up and sang along, moshed, and air-guitared along to every one of them. All in all, a great show, proving that Arch Enemy are a force to be reckoned with in the metal world.
Ken Pierce: This year Ozzfest featured one of the most dynamic bands to come around in a long time. Sweden's Arch Enemy are masters of Metal and possess probably the most intimidating of all female singers in their roster. Angela Gossow is a beauty to behold but she does not rely on soft melody or operatic style and instead gives you guttural growls that seem to come from the pit itself. The show at Irving Plaza was among their first run of headlining shows and it would place them with a couple of interesting bands. Joining the group would be A Perfect Murder, All That Remains and Mnemic. The venue itself is great for a band like this as it has a larger capacity than B.B. King Blues Club might afford and there are levels to wander around on should you feel that need. My problem with the venue is the late start time and doors that I have encountered of late. With 4 acts on the bill there is no reason to only open the doors at 8pm. This makes the headlining band get on very late and cause people who have late out of state trains or work in the morning to miss more than they can see. Opening the doors at 7:00 is a smarter move. Let's hope they change this sometime going forward.
A Perfect Murder- I was not able to see this band as I was unsure of the timing for the night and ran a little later than planned. I make mention of them and list their site in case anyone wants to look into them on their own.
Mnemic- Immediately following the "Fury Of The Fall" show where the group was a part of the support for Meshuggah, Mnemic was set to give you a dose of their Metal. As I referenced in my Meshuggah review the bands new singer Tony had brought them to a different level and now offered a more brutal take on the old songs. However tonight while the music sounded great it seemed as though Tony was having a problem with his stage monitor. Back and forth he went having techs run onto the stage and make adjustments. I saw this all first hand being down in the photo pit taking pictures for you to enjoy. Suddently his face tensed and leg raised as he kicked the monitor right off the stage. The audience was at safe distance but I was right in front of it but moved like a jackrabbit in order to not find myself hurt. Apparently the photo pit can also be as crazed as the mosh pit, I was just unaware of the fact going in. From there the band continued into a killer set that featured more aggressive versions of songs found on "The Audio Injected Soul". I look forward to a new recording from these guys as I think Tony has changed their music just so that it can appeal to a larger vein of hard core Metal heads. Expect this album in the early part of 2006 according to announcements online.
All That Remains-This was my first exposure to this band and while I thought they should have gone on before Mnemic I still thought they were doing a great job. I am not a big fan of Metal Core but I surely don't discredit it as there is some fine talent in these ranks. According to fans they were playing most of the their album entitled "This Darkened Heart" so if that is the case I need to look into it. The band mixes a lot more traditional styled Metal into their songs than some of their peers for this genre seem to showcase and it is that difference that made them more interesting for me to see.
Michael Amott of Arch Enemy
Arch Enemy- I had only been following the music of Arch Enemy on CD and Video never catching them live when they came around on Ozzfest or solo performance and tonight I would see the error of my ways. The club was not as crowded as I had expected yet this was a Monday night and now it was almost 11 PM, and believe it or not people do have to get up for work or school. It sucked for those that had to bail for when the group came onstage it was an assault from start to finish. Those who are aware of the band can attest that while a stunner in looks, Angela Gossow is ferocious as a front person. The fact that she does not rely on the opera style in any sense gives hopes to a new and different generation of female singer both experienced and aspiring. She commands the crowd with an intensity that some male singers should watch and see how it can be done. Musically Arch Enemy is a band on fire and on their recent album "The Doomsday Machine" one can find their ears racked thanks to the twin guitars of the Amott Brothers and the drumming of Daniel Erlandsson and bass of Sharlee D'Angelo. In the live sense this would be no different in sound however one of the Amott's would not be present. It was not long after the album that Christopher Amott decided to no longer tour and instead focus on other interests in his life. In his place would be Fredrik Akesson who would do a stand up job to say the least. Top to bottom the Arch Enemy set was a brutal display of their power and for the audience that was able to be in attendance at this point they certainly felt the impact with every note. There were solos from all members except Sharlee and that surprised me to see the new member showcased so prominently so early in their tenure. Often they are relegated to the back at first, not in the case of Arch Enemy. The band played a lot of great songs as you can see by the posted list and among them were my favorites of "Ravenous", "Dead Eyes See No Future" and "We Will Rise". I hope this will not be the last time that I catch this band in a headlining set and I hope for their return very soon. Seeing them on an Ozzfest is nice, but the early bands get so little time that you cannot appreciate them enough. If the lackluster attendance was due to Ozzfest then I think those Metal heads need to check their pulse and see if the Metal blood is still pumping.
This was really one of those overall great shows and every band performed admirably and to a great response. I ran into a few members of Mnemic outside and Obeast was very happy to see that I had made it past "monitor drama" unscathed. Believe me folks I gave Tony some considerable shit about that, and he was really cool and apologetic. It was just one of those nights and as a result I learn to also watch out not only behind me but in front as well. Ahhhhhh Metal. Does one get this anywhere else? I don't think so.
Approximate Set List
Taking Back My Soul
Dead Eyes See No Future
Bury Me An Angel
We Will Rise
Dead Bury Their Dead
I Am Legend/ Out for Blood
Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy