Arch Enemy w/ Divine Heresy and Dark Tranquility

Monday, 16 June 2008

I was really looking forward to his show. I had seen Arch Enemy a few times in the past, but they were always one of the support bands on the bill, and never seemed to get quite enough time on stage. Their latest offering, Rise Of The Tyrant, has been in my current rotation for some time now, and I was totally looking forward to finally hear some of these songs live. So with all that being said I have to admit that my expectations for the show were pretty high. Fortunately Arch Enemy did not disappoint.

Fighting my way through the sold-out crowd and toward the stage just after Firewind wrapped up their set, (unfortunately I missed them) I thought I had walked straight into a wall until I realized it was none other than Dino Cazares of Divine Heresy, who was up next. As I said "excuse me,” all I could think was, "Man, that guy is a fucking mountain,” looking at him I couldn't help but wonder who would win in a Steel Cage Death Match between him and Testament front man Chuck Billy. That's another show all together however, so I digress….

As they launched into their approximately thirty-minute set, the first thing that caught my ears (and almost made them bleed) about Divine Heresy was the guitar playing of the already mentioned Cazares. His tone tonight was even more brutal then anything I have ever heard him play with either Fear Factory or Brujeria, and he made every song extremely heavy sounding. Bass player Joe Payne and drummer Tim Yeung were also providing a wall of sound, and together with brand new vocalist Jake Veredika, Divine Heresy proceeded to put on a Death Metal clinic. Everyone in the now-packed Slim's was pretty much going crazy, and as Verdika said, "I wanna see some Braveheart shit going on!!" while guiding the bodies in the pit into the "Wall Of Death," the place just fucking erupted. Every song of the set sounded pretty damn awesome, but if I had to pick a highlight of the set it was definitely "This Threat Is Real.” Divine Heresy are also very real. Go see them.

Now normally I'm not really into the "melodic" Death Metal bands, but I gotta admit that the next band of the evening, Gothenburg's Dark Tranquility, put on a pretty awesome set. Vocalist Mikael Stanne has a pretty amazing set of pipes, and his death metal growl during "Terminus" and "Focus Shift" was a nice contrast to the melodic yet heavy guitars of Nickas Sundin and Martin Henriksson, who provided a two-pronged guitar attack. "The Wonders At Your Feet" sounded amazing, and much heavier live, even as Stanne belted out the melodic chorus. Although the crowd wasn't quite as frantic as they were during Divine Heresy's set, Dark Tranquility clearly had everyone under their spell, as evident by all the headbanging in unison that was going on. By the time Dark Tranquility wrapped up their set with "Final Resistance,” I was pretty damn impressed.

All I can really say about Arch Enemy is that they absolutely kicked ass from beginning to end. From "Blood On Your Hands" to "We Will Rise" and every song in between, Angela Gossow and company commanded the stage the way few bands can. Gossow conjured up the voice of a woman possessed tonight, and despite telling the crowd about the massive burrito that she ate before the show, and how it wasn't "sitting right,” she simply ruled all, and had the entire place eating out of her hand. Brothers Michael and Christopher Amott were shredding on their guitars, while trading their most technical riffs effortlessly, while ex-Mercyful Fate bassist Sharlee D'Angelo and drummer Daniel Erlandsson kept it all together. Older AE classics including "Nemisis,” "Enemy Within” and "Dead Bury Their Dead" sounded even better than I remembered, while songs from Rise Of The Tyrant, including "The Last Enemy,” "I Will Live Again” and "Revolution Begins" were just as ass kicking live as they are recorded.

The band blazed though damn near twenty songs and by the time they were done Slim's was a hot, sweaty, smelly mess, just as it should be when death metal tornado like this comes to town. While watching it all unfold I have to say that I gained a whole new level of respect for Arch Enemy, and I consider myself lucky to have witnessed them in their prime. Hopefully I will be able to do so again soon!


Arch Enemy – Rise Of The TyrantBuy it NOW on Amazon.
Divine Heresy – Bleed The Fifth! – Buy it NOW on Amazon.

“Blood on Our Hands” by Arch Enemy – [mp3]
“Failed Creation” by Divine Heresy – [mp3]
“Savior Self” by Divine Heresy – mp3]


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