Interview date

September 2007


Nightfall In Metal Earth
Yann G


Partial restranscription of interview released together by french webzines "Nightfall In Metal Earth" and "Aux Portes Du Metal".

Thanks a lot for accepting this interview.

Hello, my name is Michael and I play guitar for the band ARCH ENEMY.

I'd like to come back to the Doomsday Machine period. Today, when you're looking back on this record, are you still satified with it ? Satisfied of what he brought to your music and to your experience ?

Yeah, I still like that album, yeah. It's a very heavy album, it's very different from the new one "Rise Of The Tyrant". "Anthems Of Rebellion" and "Doomsday Machine" are connected and represent an era of the band. With "Rise Of The Tyrant", probably we moved to the next phase, to the next era. "Doomsday Machine", I like it a lot, it's much more simpler than "Rise Of The Tyrant".

Just a word about Christopher ? Everyone remembers that your brother Christopher was involved in the "Doomsday Machine" writing process. He announced his departure from the band after that. Now, we're happy to see him coming back in the band. Can you please tell us more about this comeback ?

He joined the band when he was a teenager, he had no real perspective live outside of the band. He only knew the band life. Then, he wanted to try something else. The rest of us had different experiences outside ARCH ENEMY before. I think he liked his experience inside the band, he's been doing different things for 2 years but he realised he wanted to play metal again. It's a good thing that an original member is back, he's part of the orginal writing team, he's my brother, I hate him :-)))...

Let's talk about your new album "Rise Of The Tyrant". Is it a concept album ? What are the themes you developed inside it ? Why did you choose this title ?

I don't think so, it's not a concept album, not a full concept album. I think that every album we have ever done have all a sort of a thread, a sort of a loose concept. I like to have a theme I can work with because that's easier for me to put all the things into place. We started to write the track "Rise Of The Tyrant", that's a great title. We wrote the other songs and then it became the album's title because it really fits. Our songs deal with power, with corruption, tyranny.

You were talking about the song "Rise Of The Tyrant". In the introduction, we can hear someone threatening another guy.

It's from the movie "Caligula", it's basically about the Rome emperor. He's a complete megalomaniac. He's totally crazy, he's explaining to the senators "I'm more than just a man, I'm a morning star, I'm a God", he's asking them to vote for him as a God. I think it's interesting because this kind of behaviour happened 2000 years ago and that's still going on today. There have always been tyrants, maybe today they're not so obvious but they're still there I think.

You played in Carcass. Your music changed a lot since there. On this new album, your solos sound heavy and very melodic, no more thrash like before. Do you think it's a natural evolution ? Do you think you'll keep on evolving ?

I don't know... I think that my solos have always been melodic. When I joined Carcass, a lot of people accused me to have brought this into Carcass. It's just my style and I guess that yes, I am evolving :-))) ... Maybe I'm more and more melodic album after album. I have a huge fascination for melodic guitar playing, brutal stuff come also natural to me. The objective of the band from the first day was to mix thrash and death, extreme voice, heavy playing with quality guitar playings like Michael Schenker, Uli Jon Roth. That was the idea to mix these 2 worlds. I like the opposites, I like to mix the opposites, I like a very agressive voice with a melodic guitar solo. To me, the contrast makes it work, that's exciting. In some bands, everything is melodic, melodic vocals, melodic rhythms, that's boring to me. I like to have this contrast. Because if we had a melodic power singer in ARCH ENEMY, we would be one in a million. But now, there's only one ARCH ENEMY. Maybe we're not the most successful band in the world, we're not totally unique but at least we put influences from everywhere.

Angela's voice is still more agressive on this new album than before. How does she succeed to have this strong kind of voice ? How does she manage to keep this potential during a world tour ?

She has to take care about her voice, she live quite a boring life I think... Drinking tea and going to bed early. Because she's a small person, she's a woman, she's fragile, she's not like a big guy. But I was very impressed by her performance on the new album, I think she's very cool. She really liked the music on this album, she was very inspired. It's like a physical thing the vocals.

You're going to tour to promote this album with Machine Head. Do you enjoy sharing the stage with this band ? How are the relationship between Angela and Machine Head now ?

Well, there were some bad words on both camps because we had to cancel the tour, we couldn't play with them. But that's all in the past now. We met them since there and everything is cool. There's no problem there. We look forward to the tour. I don't really know well their music, I never really followed them. I know only the best songs, the other guys know Machine Head's songs better than me. I look forward to being part of a big tour, that's a great mean of promotion for us. Sometimes you tour with a band you really enjoy, for example with Slayer, with Megadeth, with Iron Maiden. Dave Mustaine is my idol, I grew up with his music. That's very inspiring. And sometimes you tour with a band that is cool but who isn't your favorite one. But usually we have good relationship with everybody, even if they're not our favorite. Sometimes, during a tour, you learn to like the music because you hear it every night, like Lamb Of God. We toured with them in America and at the end, I liked their songs, I liked some of their riffs.

There's going to be a single before the album "Revolution Begins".

The single will be 2 songs of the album "Revolution Begins" and "Blood On Your Hands". One cover version of Queensryche "Walk In The Shadows" from the album "Rage For Order". Everyone in the band loves Queensryche except Angela who's not a huge fan. She prefers the death and the Carcass stuff but anyway she liked the Queensryche cover. Nobody expected we covered a song like this. The fourth song is a live song from South America, a live song from "Doomsday Machine". That's the single.

Will there be a video clip for it ?

Yes, we shot something live, very simple, in a club in London for "Blood On Your Hands". That's a very simple thing only for the Internet. And then we're shooting a big video for "Revolution Begins", we'll do it next week somewhere in Sweden. I love creating music, playing music, playing live, recording, being creative. But answering to interviews, recording videos, that's not what I enjoy the most, I have to do it. That's the job, we just come back from London, we had 6 or 7 photo shoots.

You made a lot of covers, you covered Queensryche, Manowar, Iron Maiden...

On the japanese version, there's a Kiss cover. We did "The Oath" from "The Elder" album. It's very funny because we adapt the cover to the ARCH ENEMY style, Angela's vocals sound very different from the original. It's more funny than if we did some covers of Death. We love to cover bands that are not brutal to make the songs sound more brutal. It's not something we take too seriously. Like the Manowar song, the american kids loved that song. They didn't know it was a Manowar song because they don't know Manowar. They know Killswitch Engage, Lamb Of God, Arch Enemy, In Flames. They said I love "Kill With Power" live :-))

I had a question for Angela but unfortunately she's not here. I wanted to ask her if she planned to cover the Manowar song "Woman Be My Slave" from the "Kings Of Metal" album.

Maybe "Man Be My Slave" :-) I think she would turn it around.

In which country does ARCH ENEMY have the greatest success ?

Japan loved the first album, it exploded there. Japan was ready for extreme vocals with classic metal. Maybe right now, in America, we're the most popular because "Doomsday Machine" had a great success. Also in Europe, especially in England.