London's Bridges Are Burning
Arch Enemy (supporting Cradle of Filth)
at the Astoria, London, England on December 18, 1999

by: Paul Schwarz
One day before the gig, I got the chance to talk to Mike Amott in person down at Century Media's offices in London. As he is a former member of Carcass (my personal favourite extreme metal band ever), and his current band have released one of my favourite albums of this year [CoC #41], I jumped at the chance to meet the man in person. Included is a short Q&A which provides some updates on Arch Enemy [for a more in-depth interview, see CoC #41], and speculation on how their first ever UK gig would go. A review of the show follows the interview.

CoC: So this is the first time you've been in London?

Mike Amott: Yeah, with Arch Enemy. Yeah, it is. We were really

excited about it when we found out. We got the offer as

special guest to Cradle of Filth, it's great.

CoC: Were you surprised?

MA: Both yes and no... our drummer Daniel [Erlandson], his brother

[Adrian] is playing for Cradle now, so I guess maybe that has

something to do with it. But it is great, it was a great

opportunity to come to England; not many bands of our style get

to come over here. Not many tours actually make it, they tend to

stay in Europe. So this is like a one-off, and it's cool.

CoC: But you'd like to come back if the response is good and what

have you?

MA: Yeah, it would be great.

CoC: In terms of sort of the fan base, where do you think/feel is

really good for the band? Where do you get the best crowd

responses and all that?

MA: Our biggest market without any shadow of a doubt is Japan. We are

the biggest extreme metal band in Japan.

CoC: That's pretty considerable.

MA: Well, yeah, it's a different situation over there than it is in

the rest of the world. We're kind of more established there, so

that's good. But South America, we did that at the beginning of

the year and that was really good. Good fun. Germany is great.

CoC: And the Dynamo thing went well.

MA: Yeah, that was cool. I mean, it is all kind of spread out, we're

not really popular anywhere, apart from Japan. We sell a few

records here and there, you know, what we're trying to do with

the _Burning Bridges_ album is kind of raise our profile

throughout Europe, because before that we'd only focused on

Japan, really. So, I think we've succeeded to some degree: more

people seem to get into that last album.

CoC: I'd say _Burning Bridges_ was the best thing you've done.

MA: Well, yeah, it was for us as well, and I'm still quite happy with

that album. We've already started writing stuff for the next

album. We recorded a live album in Japan as well. So, we're going

to mix that pretty soon. I don't know if that will come out here,

it's probably not that much in demand. The demand is there,

definitely, but maybe not here, we're not that established,

really, you put a live album out anywhere here and [nothing].

CoC: Yeah, there's always a contingent who listen to them and a

contingent who object. <laughs> I don't know, they're enjoyable,

especially with bands who do early albums (not really your case)

which aren't very well produced: it provides an opportunity to

re-do your own work.

MA: Yeah, that's true. A few extreme metal bands do them. Vader did

one.

CoC: They did a _Live in Japan_ [CoC #36], but it got released

everywhere. But the thing that always happens with Vader is that

you start with _De Profundis_ [CoC #17] being released in Poland

in '95, Europe in '96 and America in '97. Everytime there is

enough demand that eventually they domestically release

everything. I don't know why they didn't just do it originally.

In terms of playing with Cradle of Filth, who are really big, do

you find it surprising that, apart from the connection with the

drummers, while they're a -big- black metal band...

MA: -The- biggest.

CoC: ...you're in the sort of death metal / heavy metal vein. So, do

you think it is going to be kind of difficult to convince the

audience?

MA: Yeah, I think, not saying anything bad about Cradle of Filth, but

from what I understand, a large part of their appeal with their

fans is the image, it is a big part of the whole thing: it is not

just music. We don't really have that, it is just music, really.

CoC: And of course Cradle of Filth are quite trendy at the moment, so

there will probably be a lot of people there who haven't even

been exposed to _Heartwork_-era Carcass [one of Mike's former

bands --Paul].

MA: Yeah, but we're really looking forward to it. We're just going to

have to go out there and be as good as we can be. It's going to

be fun. <laughs> I mean, you know, if fifty people in there

really thought it was a great gig and go out and buy the CD,

that's great. I always take the attitude that if you're not the

biggest band in the world, you at least act like one: we're going

to go out there and kick ass.

CoC: You have a good stage presence, Charlee's always fun to watch.

MA: He's not in the band anymore.

CoC: Oh no. When did he leave?

MA: We kicked him out.

CoC: When did you kick him out?

MA: Two weeks ago, we've got a brand new guy. He's going to do this

show and the American/Canadian thing in January and then we'll

see what happens.

We shall indeed, but for now I can give you the verdict on Arch Enemy's first UK performance, and it is -certainly- positive. Though it was somewhat obvious that the band had been given no time for a sound check and, as expected, the Cradle of Filth-based audience didn't exactly give Arch Enemy much of a chance, Arch Enemy still pulled off a great performance. Letting rip with the double kick drum thud of "The Immortal", the band pounded through a _Burning Bridges_ heavy set consisting of some of that album's best moments ("Dead Inside", "Angelclaw"), and filled in the gaps with a choice few _Stigmata_ [CoC #32] cuts. Charlee D'Angelo's replacement played his part well, while Johan Liiva was a focal point on stage with his hand extending stage movements and gaping giving the experience character. The brothers Amott were as metal as you could ever wish for, even playing the occasional solo or lead leaning on each other in that oh-so metal fashion. Unfortunately, no songs from the _Black Earth_ debut were brought out to give the crowd a kicking this evening, but all the same Arch Enemy were a positively vindicating injection of head-down death metal destruction and heavy metal melodic manipulation. If they could get a longer set and slightly better deal with sound check arrangements backstage, I predict that Arch Enemy would absolutely slay. In any case, if they're coming to a town near you, do not pass up the chance to see them in their full blazing glory.

(article submitted 5/3/2000)


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