Arch Enemy

Live at Club Nokia in Downtown

Los Angeles, California

September 27, 2011

First off, I would like to say that I am a huge supporter of Arch Enemy and that I love this band very much.  I was really impressed with their new album and loved every song, so when I saw that they were touring in support of "Khaos Legions", I was literally jumping up and down with joy.

After saying that, I would like to say this was an awesome, yet quirky show in terms of what went down and that I don't think any of the other cities had quite this experience, but who knows?

The concert started out with much anticipation on the audiences' part, as instead of the usual insane banner, they had a smaller white screen stretched high above the band.

As the initial recorded intro kicked in loud and strong, the audience went wild. This was the full intro from the new album and lead into "Yesterday Is Dead And Gone", as it does on the album. This was a kick ass way to smash into the set. "Heed your war cry!", is the anthem resounding out of this blast of musical ministry for the damned.

I got pretty swept away so I lost track of all the songs played, but I think the second song was "Ravenous" and for sure the third song was "My Apocalypse" which is one of my favorite songs. I was stoked to be in the photo pit for this one!

The band left the stage a few times as they had some technical problems. Angela came out and talked to us a bit which was really cool. I have never seen her speak, only do her awesome metal thing, and I was really impressed and moved. She explained how they always blow a piece of gear in LA, and tonight it was the "invisible keyboard player" as she put it. She insisted they didn't need it but they tried to fix it, so she spoke.

The tour was cosponsored by Amnesty International and she said this was one of the few organizations she openly supports and talked about the fact that as metal heads, we are a minority, but no matter how ostracized we feel from the norm, there are people a million times worse off in the world. They are not allowed the simple freedom of enjoying metal music or wearing metal shirts. This wasn't her only soliloquy but I will get to the next one in a moment.

They went on to perform a diverse set, playing most of my favorite songs from their discography. My favorite of the night was with out a doubt, "Under Black Flags We March", off the new album. It has such cool guitar work, it almost reminds me of Ministry with its crazy hooks that skim the surface of driving industrial grooves.

They had thematic imagery on the projection screen for nearly every song. Some songs just had the circular piston logo, but most had highly stylistic animations to go with the song, sometimes including lyrics and imagery to resonate with the meaning. It was a nice touch but I wish the screen had been a bit bigger behind them, but having done this for bands on the road myself, I entirely understand the venue constraints and difficulty involved in this endeavor.

They did a few older songs like "Dead Eyes See No Future", and "We Will Rise", both of which were awesome. Of the new material they also did "Blood Stained Cross", and another highlight was when Angela came out to introduce " No Gods, No Masters". She said that this next song was dedicated to another minority, and that was women.

There were a lot of females here this night, as I am sure Angela is an impressive role model and figurehead to women almost as endearingly as she is the intense desire of all the males in the audience. She went on to say that she grew up as a nearly solitary female in the metal scene and hence became a tom-boy.

She said her only wish was to grow a beard like the lead singer of Death and a pair of balls too. She said that she had a big set of balls on her chest compared to the size of man's balls and that "No Gods, No Masters" was dedicated to all the women in the audience. She also said that it would be the best life ever to meet someone at a metal show and be headbanging to Morbid Angel when you're both 80, "dreams can be that simple".

Their pinnacle, classic songs were of course played; "I Am Legend/Out For Blood", was a pillar in the middle of the set and the encore of the show was the excellent instrumental "Snow Bound", leading directly into the mammoth, "Nemesis" to conclude the epic evening.

"Snow Bound" is a perfect example of how Arch Enemy stand out from anyone else in this genre, in that they are capable of hugely moving pieces, demonstrating their extreme artistic talent. Despite the energy of the extreme metal scene, the emotional charge and intricacy of this song swept the house and everyone stopped for a moment, taken somewhere peaceful, right before the next blast of insanely powerful riffs.

At times, both Amott brothers and Shirlee on Bass, would raise the necks of their instruments in unison. and bring them down in time with the next kick of riffs. You could feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. I thought it was an awesome show, and really enjoyed hearing Angela speak a bit as well. I especially loved the new material and I got to hear a lot of my favorite songs from past albums as well.

My only complaint is that this venue sucks. The sound is no where near as good as the House of Blues and the beers are freaking insanely priced! Add to that the pillars running throughout the viewing area and you have a difficult place with odd energy.

I still think it was worth going in every way but thanks to Obama being at the House of Blues the day before to ask for money, they end up at NOkia. I really wish the metal tour promoters would write this one off.

I can't tell you enough how captivating the brother-duo guitar masters are in and of themselves, but add to that an insanely driving bass and drum core, and top it off with Angela, who is captivating in her own right, being such a giant in such a small frame. She is hugely inspirational, and desirable, due to this ability to show the power of her spirit beyond her physical container. Arch Enemy once again proved to be one of the best live events of the year. They just plain kicked ass.

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