s the enthusiastic response to tonight’s blistering 15-song, 75-minute set proves, there’s plenty of good to focus on at the moment. Anchored by the band’s longtime rhythm section of Sharlee D’Angelo (bass) and Daniel Erlandssson (drums), Michael and lead guitarist
Jeff Loomis – who just celebrated his three-year anniversary with the band – deliver a Gatling gun-like barrage of memorable riffs and blazing solos, while Alissa stalks the stage and bangs her head with purpose.
When asked about Alissa’s impact on Arch Enemy, Michael is quick to offer praise. “People were always saying in the beginning that it’s big shoes to fill, but I started saying that she brought her own shoes,” he says. “She’s a great singer, a great performer. She and
Angela share some similarities, which was great to have it somewhat consistent – but it’s also different, and I think it was different at the right moment.
I think we were getting stale there for a while, even though we didn’t want to see that at the time.”
He goes on to say that after the band’s final two albums with Angela, 2007’s Rise Of The Tyrant and 2011’s
Khaos Legions, it seemed to him as if
Arch Enemy had “plateaued”. “We were just cruising at a certain level,” he explains. “It was a nice level to be on, but we kind of felt that, ‘Well, maybe this is it – we’re not going to get any bigger.’”
When Angela told her bandmates that she wanted to step down, Michael