Arch Enemy's "Tyrants Of Evil" Tour A Rousing Success
Band Photo: Arch Enemy (?)
For the first time in almost two years, Arch Enemy made their way to the United States to cause devastation using blistering melodic death metal. Touring in support of “The Root Of All Evil,” which included re-recorded Arch Enemy songs from the band’s first three albums, the band made their presence known at the Theatre Of Living Arts in Philadelphia on January 21st. The “Tyrants of Evil” tour was a monstrous package that not only included Arch Enemy, but up-and-comers Mutiny Within, technical death metal shredders Arsis and legendary thrashers Exodus. The show was strong from start to finish, and the audience that packed into the intimate venue ranged from respectful to outright ruthless at times.
For a band that hasn’t released their debut album yet, Mutiny Within has quite the loyal following. Most metal shows nowadays have a slim crowd for the opening bands, but Mutiny Within played to a surprisingly large audience. Their blend of power and death metal worked better than most would have thought. Even though they are a new band, the band’s live show is tight as hell. Vocalist Chris Clancy switched off between an operatic clean tone and a harsh bark that shook a few heads, while guitarists Brandon Jacobs and Dan Bage traded off flawless solos. Even the keyboard work was well done, avoiding the cheesy undertones that power metal is usually seeped in.
The band played several songs from their upcoming self-titled debut album, including current single “Awake” and “Suffocate.” The response was solid for the band, but a few metal heads were clearly not impressed. In what turned out to be the funniest moment of the night, a large, bearded man in a black Arch Enemy shirt actually dozed off during their set. It was the first time this writer had ever seen anything like that in all his years of attending shows.
Arsis brought a technical flair to the show when they stepped onto stage to crank out a new tune, “Forced To Rock.” A catchy and almost playful beginning quickly turned into a guitar exhibit for James Malone and Nick Cordle. Both guitarists shredded the hell out of their instruments for the entire 30-minute set, dazzling everybody with their crisp lead work. Of course, “We Are The Nightmare” got the best response from the crowd, as the song has become somewhat of an anthem for Arsis since 2008. Malone’s powerful raspy vocals were great, as well as his apparent need for somebody to buy him vodka shots after the set was over (not sure if anybody actually did, but it wouldn’t be surprising).
If there is one thing that Exodus can do, it’s igniting a live crowd like no other band out there today. With the opening notes of “Bonded By Blood,” the crowd exploded into circle pits and several individual mosh pits that continued for nearly an hour. There was nobody standing around; everybody was either running into each other or banging heads. There was even a wall of death near the end of the set that would have made Lamb Of God proud. Vocalist Rob Dukes was his usual humorous self, joking around between songs and coming out on stage wearing a New York Rangers jersey to the ire of the Philly crowd.
The band’s set-list wasn’t anything too shocking, but included staples “War Is My Shepherd,” “Strike Of The Beast,” and “Blacklist.” The band’s most recent album, “The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A,” was represented with the epics “Children Of A Worthless God” and “Iconoclasm.” The band ended the set with the catchy “The Toxic Waltz,” which was desired by the rapid crowd all night. The band did have to cut their set short by one song, “Shovel Headed Kill Machine,” but “The Toxic Waltz” was a good enough closer to leave everybody satisfied.
The wave of Arch Enemy shirts moved their way right to the barrier, as the lights dimmed to begin what would become 90 minutes of unrelenting death metal. Wearing a shirt that plainly stated, “F**k The Rules,” vocalist Angela Gossow growled and screamed her way through songs from all eras of the band, from “Bury Me An Angel” to “Revolution Begins.” Instrumentally, the band was flawless in their execution, as brothers Michael and Christopher Amott proved once again to be a pitch-perfect guitar duo, while Sharlee D'Angelo and Daniel Erlandsson kept a steady low-end on bass and drums, respectively. The mix was relatively fine, but Gossow’s vocals were a little low at times, making it hard to hear her amongst the rest of the band.
The crowd was relatively calm in the early part of the set, no doubt tired by the endless moshing during Exodus. However, as the set progressed, the crowd began to get lively, especially on the furious “Silent Wars.” While the recklessness wasn’t at the awe-inspiring levels that were achieved during Exodus’s set, Arch Enemy still had the audience in the palm of their hands. The Amott brothers and Erlandsson each had their own solo sections, while “We Will Rise” and “Nemesis” were the highlights of the night.
Having only four bands on the “Tyrants Of Evil” tour was definitely a good idea, as it gave enough time for Exodus and Arch Enemy to have a longer set. Mutiny Within is a promising band that has a solid live presence, while Arsis continues to astound with their guitar mastery. All the bands delivered rousing performances, even with the occasional sound/mixing issues. Hopefully, the states won’t have to wait another two years to witness Arch Enemy’s brutal splendor.
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