This Swedish death metal group has managed to remain true to their core sound through more than a decade of existence and frequent lineup changes, including the introduction of a female vocalist in 2001. Formed by former Carcass guitarist Michael Amott after that British gore-metal band broke up, the original incarnation of Arch Enemy was less a band than Amott's singular vision supported by other musicians. Arch Enemy's initial lineup included Amott and his younger brother Christopher Amott, both on guitar, vocalist Johan Liiva and drummer Daniel Eriandsson.
The group's first album, Black Earth, saw success mostly in Japan and Sweden. Follow-ups albums, while not as sonically heavy as the debut, were more of a group effort and had wider commercial appeal. Arch Enemy eventually built a loyal fan base which remained even after Liiva's replacement in 2001 by a German ex-journalist, Angela Gossow. Although female death metal singers are rare, Arch Enemy has continued to grow musically with Gossow handling the singing. The band released its most recent album, Doomsday Machine, in 2005.
Talk about grl power...with a capital Grr. Arch Enemy is one of the few death metal bands with a chick holding down the growl n' howl duties. Angela Gossow, brought on board in 2001 to replace Johan Liiva (formerly of Carnage), belts it out like nobody's business. It's rare to run across a band where female vocals are the heaviest part of the sonic experience, but that's the case with Arch Enemy. The guitar work is fast but generally melodic, tilting more towards heavy metal than the death subgenre, despite the archetypal death vocal style. It's a combination as unique and beguiling as the singer herself, although we wouldn't tell her that: She looks like she could kick your ass!