Look, we know it’s nearly Christmas, but that doesn’t mean that the relentless touring machine at the heart of heavy metal has stopped yet. Kreator and Arch Enemy have only just finished a punishing double-headliner tour. We sent Pete Long along to headbang himself senseless at the London leg of the tour.
6 things we learnt while watching Arch Enemy and Kreator in London:
Thrash Hits verdict: A more-than-slightly mental project masterminded by Epica guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen playing crazy symphonic extremity and featuring many guests? Marvelous! Mark and guitarist Frank Schiphorst (also of Symmetry) kindly agreed to introduce us to their new project.
30 May 2011
by Tom Dare
Several genuinely massive heavy-as-fuck songs that sound like they expect to be played in arenas, furious thrashy riffage, stellar shred and the scary German lady being scary -that’s good enough to forgive the fairly high filler content on an Arch Enemy album, right?
Remember that volcanic ash cloud that balls’d up every plane flight in Western Europe earlier this year? Tom Dare does – the bloody thing stopped Arch Enemy coming to town. Last weekend he busted down to their rescheduled gig.
I have a dream. That one day, rock writers may go to a gig at The Kentish Town Forum and not bitch about sound problems. That every band will come on and sound crystal clear and at a respectable volume. That day is not today, however – and is probably further away than the day The Horned One toddles off to work driving a snow plough whistling ‘I Feel Pretty’ – but most of the bands come as close to overcoming these problems as you could really ask of them.
Given the pedigree of the band’s members, and given the fact that this is their fifth record over the last twelve years, it is perhaps surprising that Witchery are not better known than they are. After all, if you are comprised of current or former members of The Haunted, Arch Enemy, Merciful Fate and Opeth, you might expect a tad more attention than they’ve received thus far.
The Root Of All Evil
28 September 2008
by Tom Gibbons
No-one could accuse Arch Enemy of not making the most out of their back catalogue – this year alone has seen them re-release Burning Bridges and Stigmata, as well as Manifesto, a Best-Of compilation. But the band have gone perhaps a step too far with The Root Of All Evil. You’ve got to wonder if they just thought “fuck it, why not release yet another batch of re-hashed melodic death metal ‘classics’ and split the cash”?
Portuguese goth-metallers and leading Iberian users of eyeliner, Moonspell, have been added to the line-up for Bloodstock 2009.
They’re the latest name to join the UK’s heaviest metal festival (let’s face it, you ain’t about to see Pendulum at Bloodstock any time soon) that’s taking place once again at Catton Hall, Derbyshire, on August 14-16.
Reformed Carcass have been re-releasing their back catalogue and playing every metal festival around this year. Bob Mulhouse meets Michael Amott – the man responsible for practically the whole of modern extreme metal.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” says Michael Amott, guitarist with Carcass (temporarily) and Arch Enemy (permanently). “We had our first show the other night – and there were some fuckups, but it was basically fine. “Y’know, my motto has always been ‘Loud, wrong and confident’. There were some little things where your brain goes, ‘Hmm, what’s next?’, but you throw a few shapes and you’re OK!”
Carcass, for those who’ve been hibernating for the last two decades, are responsible for a hell of a lot. Starting life in parallel with Napalm Death, whose early grindcore sound evolved out of the underground punk scene in the early ’80s, the band recorded two albums of grind for the Earache label before Amott joined them in 1990.
Mike, a British-born Swede who had got to know the band through the tape-trading scene, was a perfect recruit for them, already playing in a death metal band, Carnage, which he’d formed on the back of his love of punk and extreme metal.
Watch the video to ‘Heartwork’ by Carcass
“I started with Kiss, then moved towards the Sex Pistols and Discharge,” he recalls. “I loved anything with shouting and lots of aggression. As a young kid I was into the speed of it, so when Metallica came along it just clicked for me: they had the aggression and speed of hardcore punk with the tightness, heaviness and guitar tone of metal. Then I was into Slayer – and from then on, it was all about trying to find the next, most evil band, which took me into the death metal scene.”
“It was great,” he adds, “because we were all 16 or 17 and finding out about Morbid Angel and Obituary when they were just doing demos. Death’s first album came out then, too, and there was all the German stuff – Kreator and Destruction – which I loved and which also fed into the death metal movement. It was crude, not as well played as the American stuff, and therefore it was much more harsh and violent, which I loved. I thought ‘Fuck yeah, this is it!’”
However, Amott was also a huge fan of hard-rock guitarists such as Michael Schenker and John Norum of Europe – and brought a newfound melodic awareness to the band. The first Carcass album on which he appeared was Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious (1991), which featured a prototype of what we now recognise as melodic death metal.
Watch the video to ‘Incarnated Solvent Abuse’ by Carcass
Fans were split between shock at the departure of the old, grindcore style and elation at this new, technical sound – but almost two decades later, Necroticism is almost universally recognised as a classic.
After another album, the superb Heartwork (1993), Amott departed to Arch Enemy, where he remains today. Carcass themselves split three years later, but demand always remained strong for a reunion – and with the international melodic death metal scene now a commercial reality, there’s been no better time to do it than now.
“I don’t hold myself responsible for anything!” laughs Amott modestly – but we know better. Carcass changed everything, if you were a death metal fan – see them while you can. The reunion won’t last forever.