October 27, 2014 Arch Enemy triumphant return to NYC 10-24-14 w/ Kreator & Huntress
Over the past decade, one of the most pronounced Melodic Death Metal bands to dominate the scene has been Arch Enemy. Hailing from Sweden, the band was born with the idea of combining brutality with the melodic side of Metal for an unstoppable force; crushing everything in its path. While the cast has altered over the years, most recently vocalist Angela Gossow stepping down after a decade of dominance, Arch Enemy marches on. Coming to supporters’ surprise, the farewell to Gossow was a bittersweet one, and now former The Agonist vocalist Alissa White-Gluz takes the throne; making her debut on Arch Enemy’s ninth studio album titled War Eternal. After much conversation of what to expect from the rebirth of Arch Enemy, the announcement of their return to North America slated for the fall 2014 with Kreator, Huntress, and Starkill, created an overwhelming sense of excitement. As a package uniting the old guard of Extreme Metal with the present and future, on Friday October 24th chaos was about to ensure at Best Buy Theater in the center of midtown Manhattan.
With Starkill not scheduled to perform, up first was California’s Huntress. Founded by lead vocalist Jill Janus, Huntress has made a steady climb in Metal ranks since their inception in 2009. Signed with Napalm Records in 2011, the following year saw the release of their debut album Spell Eater and, riding the wave in 2013, they followed up with the acclaimed Starbound Beast. Spending the summer of 2013 on Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, the band has continued to tour regularly as they strike interest with their traditional epic Metal sound and style. Taking to the Best Buy Theater stage with tremendous energy, Janus belted out “Spell Eater” with ease; taking the audience by surprise. Overwhelmed with her powerful, yet enchanting vocals, spectators cheered as they went on with “Destroy Your Life” and “Zenith.” Blazing through, on lead guitar, Blake Meahl provided plenty of melody as guitarist Eli Santana’s crunching Thrash-like riffs had hands banging and Metal horns in the air. As Janus flocked around the stage with confidence, Huntress’ final offering “I Want to Fuck You to Death” received a roar of support. Huntress pays homage to the pioneers of Metal while providing a fresh touch to the sound that the modern scene surely should embrace.
Following a brief intermission, allowing fans to check out merchandise and have a few drinks, Germany’s Kreator was ready to take control of the night. Returning to North America a little less than a year after their unearthly tour with Overkill, it was clear New Yorkers missed the Thrash titans as they came out full-on with Kreator hats, t-shirts, and sewn-on patches. Often overlooked and under-appreciated, Kreator is a band which has invented some of Thrash’s best music since 1982. Now thirteen records deep, after the release of 2012’s Phantom Antichrist, the band continue to prove they are one of the genre’s elite. Beginning with 2001’s “The Patriarch,” a swell of enthusiasm flowed through the air of the room and by the time they completed “Civilization Collapse,” Kreator was already chanted aloud. As vocalist/guitarist Mille Petrozza summoned a circle pit on the floor as classics like “Extreme Aggression” and “Endless Pain” mixed in with favorites from 2005’s Enemy of God. Held together by the battery of Ventor Reil’s drums, Speesy Giesler on bass, and guitar riffage of Sami Yli-Sirniö, the atmosphere was thick with blackish undertones, but aggressively fierce. It was a welcomed reunion indeed as Petrozza expressed his love for New York and even gave the city a tour premiere of Phantom Antichrist track “Mars Mantra.” Sprinkling in the dark gem “Phobia,” fans screamed for more and Kreator gave them all they could ask for with “Hordes of Chaos (A Necrologue for the Elite)” and signature standout “Pleasure to Kill.” This was a performance that Metal fans of all ages could enjoy and raise the question when Kreator will return stateside again.
Given a moment to recollect themselves as the hands of time ticked by, all that fans could talk about was what they were expected or hoping to expect from the return of Arch Enemy. Following a three year absence from touring North America, the stakes were high and Arch Enemy were ready to deliver as the symphonic horror-like opening of War Eternal’s “Tempore Nihil Sanat (Prelude in F minor)” echoed through Best Buy Theater. One by one, guitarist Michael Amott, bassist Sharlee D’Angelo, guitarist Nick Cordle, drummer Daniel Erlandsson, and vocalist White-Gluz came out and the volcano erupted with “Enemy Within.” White-Gluz immediately grabbed the throat of the venue with a shattering scream and adrenalized stage presence no one could deny. As they went into new song “War Eternal,” it could be seen around that even the skeptics could not help by loose themselves in the shredding melodic storm of Amott’s guitar work and brutality of White-Gluz voice. Showing they did not want to give anyone a chance to even blink, the speedy double bass of Erlandsson had the crowd moving for “Ravenous.” Keeping control of the audience, White-Gluz had everyone at her mercy as they responded to her every command; making for a spectacular feeling of unity among the Metal masses.
As the set battled on with “Revolution Begins” and “My Apocalypse,” the true shining moments came when White-Gluz bellowed through new songs “You Will Know My Name” and “As the Pages Burn.” Showing they have crafted one of their most complete albums to date with strong melodies and well-structured song compositions, White-Gluz’s voice meshed flawlessly and it really was exemplified live. With careful song selection clearly brought into the equation by Arch Enemy, they went on into “Dead Eyes See No Future,” “Dead Bury Their Head,” and rebellious anthem “We Will Rise.” As Amott dazzled with his crafty finger work, the passion poured out making for powerful, ear-tingling, and emotional riffs.
Playing out like a theater show, after a brief exit, instrumental “Khaos Overture” re-introduced the band; launching the encore with “Yesterday Is Dead and Gone.” Seeming to most as if they were abiding farewell after “Blood on Your Hands,” Arch Enemy surprised with a second encore featuring the blistering “Nemesis” and oldie “Fields of Desolation.” More than holding her own through the catalogue of Arch Enemy’s past, White-Gluz had a night to be remembered by all. Her impeccable delivery matched by her lively use of the stage proved that she is the perfect choice for the future of the band. The 26-date tour blazes on, leaving only wowed concert goers behind. Arch Enemy are back and the eyes of the Metal world need to experience the rebirth immediately.