Arch Enemy

Live at the House of Blues in Hollywood, California

February 09, 2010

The set began with an epic keyboard build as the screen that obscured the stage rose to reveal the band's huge banners and screens emblazoned with images from the newest release, "The Root of All Evil". The drummer, Daniel came out first followed by the bassist, Sharlee. In turn the two Amott brothers, Christopher and Michael came out to a tumultuous roar from the crowd. Finally Angela, with her platinum locks, took the stage to an even louder response.

The first song of the set was "Immortal" originally released on "Burning Bridges" and more recently redone with Angela singing on "The Root of All Evil". I have never seen them before so it was impressive to finally watch them in action. Angela is deceptively attractive for how aggressive her delivery is, which I think is part of the initial draw their band holds for both male and female fans. Their competence retains those fans well after this shock wears off, however.

"Revolution Begins" was next; its signature opening notes immediately drew a response from the fans. I personally love this song off of "Rise of the Tyrant", which is their latest release of all new material. I thought it was one of the best songs of their entire set. It has a slightly slower pace in terms of drum and guitar assault and this gives Angela a chance to shine even stronger. This song is a great anthem with a powerful motivational statement lyrically, as well as awesome driving music.

After their second song they followed it up by going back to the album Angela first joined the band on, "The Wages of Sin". The song was "Ravenous" and Angela stood hunched forward with her hair in front of her face for this intense delivery.

Having already covered songs from three of their albums, the next song came from one of my favorite albums of theirs overall, "Doomsday Machine". They did "Taking Back My Soul" off of this masterpiece which they immediately followed with "My Apocalypse" off that same album. "My Apocalypse" was definitely my favorite song of the set. It was just awesome. They had the cool, almost industrial, samples during the chorus and I have had this song stuck in my head since the show. I just keep listening to it and singing along, it was exactly how I had hoped it would be live.

They did "Silent Wars" off of "Anthems of Rebellion" next and with this song they officially had touched every album since Angela joined the band. Everyone but the drummer left the stage and he proceeded to beat out a quite lengthy drum solo incorporating electronic style beats and samples in addition to the standard drum kit.

When the band came back to the stage they did "I Will Live Again" off of "Rise of the Tyrant" which was another one of my top songs of the set. While I love every album they have done with Angela, I really think that "Rise of the Tyrant" is their best album to date, which shows they are growing with skill and cohesion with each release.

They went on to do "Dead Eyes See No Future" off of "Anthems of Rebellion” after which Angela took a moment to address the crowd. She said that it was fitting to end this tour here in Los Angeles as she played her first show with Arch Enemy in this city at the Key Club quite a few years ago. She said how she was so scared she was shitting her pants back then but not anymore.

Angela said that Arch Enemy had existed far more years back than 2000, when she joined, so she selected the next song off their debut album "Black Earth" from 1996. The song was "Bury Me an Angel", also recently redone on "The Root of All Evil". She stated that the song was a ballad but by most bands' standards, this song was heavier than they'll ever get.

After the ballad, everyone left the stage for a moment but Christopher Amott soon came back out to do a very unique guitar solo which started with an almost spaghetti western style twang to it and then built into a more conventional metal sound. When he finished, his brother Michael swapped the stage with him and did his own solo, which was building and moving like many of the instrumental interludes and intro's throughout the albums. Eventually the bassist came out and joined in, followed by each of the other musicians until Angela came out which lead them directly into "Dead Bury Their Dead" off of "Wages of Sin".

This gave way to the last song of the set, "We Will Rise" off of "Anthems of Rebellion", which is a powerful song and was really well done live. It was hard to imagine the entire set was over, they were so good, the time just disappeared. The band left the stage and the crowd began their chants.

Arch Enemy reemerged as an epic keyboard intro blended into the guitarists' sound. Angela introduced each of the players and then they broke into "Nemesis" which is definitely one of the fan-favorites. The crowd all sang along, myself included, to this hit off of "Doomsday Machine". The song flew by and then an instrumental keyboard piece swelled as the band left the stage again.

They came out seconds later without their instruments and proceeded to greet fans and toss accessories into the crowd. The fans surged for drumsticks and guitar picks but it seemed that they would kill each other when Angela took a towel, lifted her shirt to mop sweat off of her abdomen and then tossed it into the crowd. The band took one final bow and headed off stage.

The show definitely lived up to my high expectations and cemented their place as one of my favorite metal acts. "Pure Fucking Metal" indeed.

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