ARCH ENEMY Guitarist: ‘Nobody Really Sounds Like Us’

Joe Matera of recently conducted an interview with guitarist Michael Amott of Swedish/German extreme metallers ARCH ENEMY. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. “Khaos Legions” is the group’s ninth studio album overall. Did the writing and recording process differ in any way to how you approached previous efforts?

Michael Amott: No, it was pretty much the same way as every other album. We still do it the old, traditional way where we all get together and rehearse the band first, then throw our ideas out there. Then I will bring in some riffs and the other guys will embellish on that. This album was actually written over a longer period of time because we took a longer break between the last proper studio album, “Rise Of The Tyrant”, which came out in 2007. A four-year break is unusual for us as we’re used to having an album every two years or so. But that showed on this new record because this time we had a lot more material and ideas. There are a few instrumentals on the new album, too, something that ARCH ENEMY tends to do regularly. Why do you like adding these instrumental outings on your albums?

Michael Amott: It is because one of my favorite bands, BLACK SABBATH, would always have instrumentals, little pieces on their albums. Also, for me it is a very natural thing to do, and it is not something I think about. I am surprised that other bands don’t do it more often as well. Maybe it is because they can’t do it? To be honest, for us it is a way to build in some dynamics in our music, where we can really show a more romantic, delicate side of our musicianship. Since Angela‘s [Gossow] vocals are very hard-hitting, the instrumental thing gives it a bit of a breather so that when you begin the next track with a big fat riff full of power, it will hit you that much harder after having had a sweet caress from an instrumental. Aside from ARCH ENEMY, you also are in CARCASS and SPIRITUAL BEGGARS. What is the status with both of those bands at the moment?

Michael Amott: With SPIRITUAL BEGGARS, we made a new album last year, the first album we had made in five years. It is more or less a side project thing now, because all the other guys are involved in bands and have careers in music with their other projects. I had a bunch of songs I had collected over the years, so I decided we should make a new album, which was what we did. We went to Japan and Greece and are actually going to be doing four shows this summer. Touring “Khaos Legions” with ARCH ENEMY is going to be taking three years of my life, it is going to be very full on, so there is no time to undertake other projects. And I am not planning to do anything with CARCASS in that period either. Since we touched on the topic of instrumentals earlier, ever had the desire to some day record a solo instrumental album?

Michael Amott: You will never see a solo album from me. I just don’t like instrumental records. I am not a big fan and never have been. My favorite guitar players are those in real bands with singers. Players like K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton of JUDAS PRIEST, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray of IRON MAIDEN. They may not be the best players in the world, you know, like they’re not the Vais or Satrianis of the world, but I really can’t listen to that stuff. It bores me to tears, really. ARCH ENEMY has been labeled as a melodic death metal. Does that tag bother you?

Michael Amott: I don’t really care what people call us as it is not interesting to me. It’s like I don’t care whether people pronounce my name right, as long as they are saying it. I know what our music is, to me it is extreme metal, but we’re kind of a hybrid band as we fuse a lot of different styles of metal and hard rock into a unique style. Nobody really sounds like us. I haven’t really heard many ARCH ENEMY copycat bands. Our influences comprise such a wide spectrum of places that I don’t think people can get their heads around it. And we don’t have a recipe for our sound. We don’t have any formula. We approach every song as a unique entity which is one of our strengths. I don’t consider us death metal. I know Angela‘s vocals are very hard and extreme but they’re also very intelligible; you can actually hear what she is singing which is kind of rare. And death metal, to me, is not really famous for its great guitar solos. It is more famed for its insane and brutal riffing. Our whole approach such as the harmonies and the guitar solos come from a different musical world.

Read the entire interview from