The Return of Arch Enemy

Arch Enemy is back on the road touring for the first time since 2019.
Arch Enemy is back on the road touring for the first time since 2019. Courtesy Arch Enemy
Playing in an internationally acclaimed heavy-metal band is similar to riding a bike at this point for Arch Enemy founding guitarist Michael Amott. At least that’s how he sums up the group’s return to the stage after a two-year-plus hiatus.

“I thought it was going to take longer to get back into it. It’s been two and a half years. I was thinking it was going to take a little while, [but] it’s like riding a bike, actually. I just didn’t remember their names, but we’re getting there,” he says with a laugh.

Arch Enemy is currently co-headlining a tour with Unto Others, Napalm Death and Behemoth. The North American Siege bill stops in Denver on Wednesday, May 4, at the Ogden Theatre. Arch Enemy will be promoting its upcoming album Deceivers, which is set to be released July 29, by playing a handful of singles from the band’s eleventh studio album. Being back on stage just feels right, Amott explains, and both the band and fans seem to be equally excited about it.

“We actually had planned to take 2020 off. We played our last show in December 2019 and said, ‘You know, we’ve just been in everybody’s face for such a long time now, we’re going to take the whole year off and slowly start to put a new album together.’ That’s what we did, but it turned out to be two years off for everybody, but that first year was kind of planned for us,” he says. “Having an international lineup proved to be the worst idea ever during the pandemic, but we made it work somehow. It was just a lot more time-consuming and complicated. It wasn’t very cost-effective, I guess, but it was what it was. We have a new album, and we’re back out there now. It feels good. It’s great to see the fans having such a killer time. The reception has been great to the new tracks.”

The three latest songs — “Deceiver, Deceiver,” “House of Mirrors” and “Handshake With Hell” — showcase Arch Enemy’s trademark sound, which blends traditional heavy metal with more melodic elements.

Alissa White-Gluz's soaring vocals, paired with the dual-guitar attack of Amott and Jeff Loomis, makes Arch Enemy one of the most unique extreme bands still doing it. It’s a sound the band has crafted and evolved over the past 25 years, says Amott, who has more of a death-metal background, given his early work with Carnage and then a three-year stint with Carcass.

“The new videos have millions of views on YouTube, and the streaming numbers are great. We’re very fortunate to have that. People really do enjoy the new material that we have out. It’s hard to pick a set list, of course, but we’re enjoying playing the new tracks,” Amott says, adding that Arch Enemy’s sound “is a combination of heaviness and melody."

"We just keep trying it in different ways," he adds. "I think we’re always expanding on that original concept of the band when it formed. I wanted to introduce more harmonies and melodies and quality guitar. That’s what we’ve been gdoing since day one. I think we’ve evolved, of course, over the years. We’ve established a style.”

A self-taught guitarist, Amott has been a musician for over thirty years, and Arch Enemy has been his longest-running band, despite several lineup changes throughout the years. When asked what keeps him and the band going, he laughs.

“It’s such a weird life, isn’t it?” he says before pausing for a moment. “At the core of it is that I just get really fucking excited about metal and writing riffs. That’s what drives it. I still get so excited about coming up with new riffs.”

Arch Enemy plays the Ogden Theatre, 935 East Colfax Avenue, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 4. Tickets are $45.
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