Arch Enemy releases new single with a new vocalist!
The melodic death metal band Arch Enemy has recently come out with major news that they have changed vocalists. Renowned and revered female screamer Angela Gossow has stepped down from the role after a 13 year career spanning 6 album releases. Angela will continue to work with the band in a managerial role.
So who is both ferocious and mad enough to fill this gaping void? Montreal’s straight-edge, vegan, cobalt-haired metal siren Alissa White-Glutz of The Agonist fame is who! Apologies for that convoluted sentence, it’s the most concise summary I could come up with. To coincide with this news Alissa has also released a shock statement of her own to say that The Agonist has now disbanded. Alissa will feature on Arch Enemy’s upcoming record War Eternal which is due out in June. The title track was released the other day as the opening single.
It’s difficult to know how to react to this as I’m a big fan of both ladies and their respective groups. Losing Angela from Arch Enemy and The Agonist altogether are two major blows in themselves however Alissa joining forces with Arch Enemy could well be a match made in heaven.
Anyways, on to the new song! It’s contemporary Arch Enemy at its best and not a far cry from their work on Khaos Legions. Crunchy riffs saturate the intro and verses and while it’s certainly heavy it would not be Arch Enemy without plenty of melody which is provided by some very clean guitar work on the choruses plus an extensive solo around the 2.40 mark.
So how does our new leading lady hold up? I had an idea of what to expect purely because I’m already very familiar with Alissa’s vocals but she never ceases to surprise and amaze. Some fans expressed concern that Alissa’s voice might be too ‘metalcore’ for Arch Enemy’s sound. This is probably owing to the fact that her previous band was often associated with that genre (can’t understand the association myself but whatever), anyone with doubts can lay their fears to rest… this is going to work just fine! Her deliveries are more feral yet higher in pitch than both her predecessors (not gonna lie, was never a fan of Johan), if Angela is a lion then this woman is a fucking banshee! However, to say Alissa is an outright improvement on Angela would be a serious disservice to the latter. I’d say the two ladies are on par with each other albeit wildly different.
In short, War Eternal is a really strong track and if it’s in any way indicative of the rest of the record then I’m very excited!
Talking a little more about Alissa, her USP is that she has great command of both harsh vocals and melodic singing. While she isn’t the only woman to incorporate both styles into her music she’s the only one, in my humble opinion, that genuinely excels at both. Alissa guest appeared on the Kamelot song ‘Sacrimony (Angel of afterlife)’ which featured Elize Ryd of Amaranthe on clean vocals while Alissa handled the harsh stuff. I’ve seen some very impressive videos of the band playing this one live with Alissa singing both roles essentially performing a beauty and the beast duet… with herself.
This brings up another question: will she employ clean vocals at any point for Arch Enemy?
Angela was not a fan of melodic singing in metal generally but also stated that growling ruined her head voice which was another reason she never sang normally while in the band. Alissa does not appear to be bound by either of these factors so I’m not ruling anything out. Also for any symphonic metal fans out there Alissa will also be featuring on the awesome Delain’s upcoming record The Human Contradiction. I’ve already heard a sample of the track in question and I’m more than optimistic. Check out Delain’s facebook page for the sample. Now if she could just guest perform on a Nightwish or Epica album too, I can always dream.
PS. To Alissa, in the statistically insignificant chance you end up reading this – PLEASE sing ‘Dead eyes see no future’ when you play in London. I’ll buy you a teddy bear or something… like a really big one!
By Al Westlake