Interview with Arch Enemy vocalist Alissa White-Gluz | By Kit Brown
Swedish melodic death metal powerhouse, Arch Enemy, aren’t exactly nervous about change. Whether they’re facing the loss of core members like former vocalist Angela Gossow and guitarist Christopher Amott or experimenting with various subgenres of metal, they have always pressed onward. With the addition of former The Agonist vocalist Alissa White-Gluz on their previous release, 2014’s War Eternal, and fretboard wizard Jeff Loomis—formerly of Nevermore and currently of Conquering Dystopia—during said album’s tour cycle, Arch Enemy have never had a more capable and confident group of musicians.
“I think confidence is a good word to use,” White-Gluz says. “All of us feel really strongly about the album, and we didn’t know that would be the case going in, actually, because we never know how it’s going to end up. At this point, this lineup of Arch Enemy has played over 300 shows together in a very short span of time. So, we got to know each other very well as musicians and as people. Of course, we influence one another just from being around each other so much, so I think that’s where all of that comes from.”
Arch Enemy released their 11th studio album, Will To Power, on Sept. 8 through Century Media Records. Fans of the band’s classic material will be delighted by the barrage of riff-work, but those hoping they will expand their sound to uncharted territories will also be pleased. Anyone looking for a solid slab of melodic death metal will surely be satisfied by tracks like “Murder Scene” and “The Race,” while fans of metal with a more progressive and cinematic slant will undoubtedly love “Dreams of Retribution” and the unexpected ballad, “Reason To Believe.”
“I’ve always done lots of different vocal techniques, so we all thought, ‘Well, why not use that?!’ Of course, we didn’t want to force it into a song, but for ‘Reason To Believe,’ it sounded really good and really right for that song,” White-Gluz says. “If it makes us a more complete metal band to have a ballad in our repertoire of songs, why not go ahead and do that? I never thought I should force [clean singing] into this band just because I can do it. Sure, I can do it, but it’s not necessary to make a good song. It’s only useful if it fits in the song.”
It’s no secret that Arch Enemy are firing on all cylinders in 2017, and their lead single and music video for “The World Is Yours” certainly proves it. Starting off with a blistering and thrash-laden assault, the song is an unrelenting metal banger. It was also the first taste fans were given of Loomis’ contributions on Will To Power: a dizzying and daunting batch of swirling solos that will leave even the most seasoned shredders scratching their heads. “Obviously, [Loomis] is a great asset to have because we know that he can play anything,” White-Gluz says. “There’s no fear at any point in a song where we’re like, ‘Is he going to be able to nail this part?’ Of course he is! He’s Jeff, you know?”
While Arch Enemy’s most recent lineup changes have been major, resulting in some alterations to the band’s sound, the roots of Amott’s musical vision are as vibrant and present as ever. “The way that Arch Enemy has always been structured is primarily with Michael Amott as the primary songwriter and sort of the leader of the band,” White-Gluz says. “He’s the musical director of the band, and that hasn’t changed. I think that, even though Jeff and I are relatively new additions to the band, but we also have our own styles. We’re just adding more tools to the toolkit as we go. It feels like an evolution, but not a complete change and abandoning the past in any way.”
Expect to see a lot of Arch Enemy in the coming months. The band’s co-headlining tour with Trivium—featuring support from While She Sleeps and Fit For An Autopsy—will begin in late October and run through early December, after which they will return to Europe to play select dates throughout January and February.