While in the last days of the Summer Slaughter tour 2015, Arch Enemy stopped in Tempe, AZ last week as the band prepares to finish their North American campaign before returning to Europe this week. But a shy attendance that wasn’t even the shadow of the crowd that received them last November while toured North America with Kreator was present last Thursday night at Marquee Theater. I came down to the Marquee on Thursday night after work to check out what it was left of the Summer Slaughter Tour 2015. I got into the venue as Veil Of Maya was wrapping up their set, which was quite enthusiastic, and had the crowd going. To my surprise, the venue wasn’t as full as you could expect for a Thursday night before school starts this week on a college town. Still hoping people would come for Arch Enemy, I set up camp on the left side of the venue. Born Of Osiris came to stage and with them a horde of hunger kids that screamed; Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! at the extend of their voice, It was quite different and funny.
After Born Of Osiris, Arch Enemy took the stage, but the crowd for some reason was smaller than the one that it was when I arrived. This time around their set was only 65 minutes, so It wasn’t room for a lot of songs like they are used to do on a headlining tour. Arch Enemy opened the show with: Yesterday Is Dead and Gone of the Khaos Legions (2011) album, followed by War Eternal out of their latest album War Eternal (2014). By the time they finished Ravenous out of their Wages Of Sin album (2001), everything was pointing out towards a more well-known set.
Their set continued with Stolen Life, a song out of the War Eternal album, that recently got a re-visit to include Jeff Loomis on guitar. Now, the stage chemistry between Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis wasn’t the same as how I felt it when he was with his brother Chris at their last show here last year. However, it was pretty fucking cool to see Amott teaming up & compliment so well with Loomis on stage, definitely he fits right on Arch Enemy‘s music. The show continued with My Apocalypse out of the Doomsday Machine (2005) album, Bloodstained Cross out of the Khaos Legions, and As The Pages Burn out War Eternal.
The set continued its pace of new/old song switch with Dead Eyes See No Future out of the Anthems Of Rebellion (2003), as few more people coming from the bar and the patio and made their way towards the front of the stage. Avalanche out of War Eternal, and No Gods, No Masters out of the Khaos Legions album were next. The band closed up the night with Dead Bury Their Dead out of Wages Of Sin, We Will Rise out of the Anthems Of Rebellion, and Nemesis from the Doomsday Machine record.
Overall, it was a great show that featured a lot of classic and new Arch Enemy material, most of them were the ones people are most familiar with. In the downside, the attendance during their set was short, I am not sure if this was because of the nature of these tour and the bands featured on it, which cater more towards a core-metal crowd, rather than a death metal crowd. I was pleased by Arch Enemy‘s set, and for how the Amott/Loomis team sounded live, which was amazing, and I definitely look forward to listen what they can do together, if they ended up featuring Loomis on the next Arch Enemy album.
Before their set, we had the chance to speak with Michael Amott of Arch Enemy about the Summer Slaughter tour, his partnership on stage with Jeff Loomis, new Spiritual Beggars material, his new guitar, and what is next for Arch Enemy
The Age Of Metal: With 4 dates left on the tour, how has been Summer Slaughter for Arch Enemy?
Michael Amott: Its been really good, it has been a different experience for us, because of a lot of different sounding bands. We are probably the band on this tour that is mostly rooted in heavy metal or traditional metal, thrash and stuff like that. So, there is a lot of flavors that are going on the tour, a lot of variety that has put us in front of a different audience. Alissa asks; how many has seen us before?, and how many are seeing us for the first time? Most people are seening us for the first time it seems.
TAOM: This is a different package of bands that approach metal differently, and that had different sounds like you just mentioned, but how has been the interaction with the bands that are within the tour? and are any these bands impressed you so far?
MA: I am not seen that much actually, because I tend to stay away throughout the day, I stay away as much is possible from the whole thing, and I just come and do my thing.
TAOM: Just to relax and stay away from the whole environment?
MA: Yeah, it’s very noisy, you get really tired, I rather save energy for our show.
TAOM: In terms of crowd reception, how has been the reaction of Arch Enemy from the younger crowds that came to Summer Slaughter?
MA: You know, I think we won some people, of course there is people that never gonna like Arch Enemy for whatever reason. We are happy, and doing great numbers in merchandise, and all that kind of stuff, good reactions to the shows.
TAOM: In comparison from the tour last year, how much the set list has changed?
MA: Quite a bit, as you will see it tonight. We are playing some songs that we didn’t play in the last tour. Its been a different shorter set here as we play only 65 minutes, where regularly we play hour and a half or something like that, we agreed to keeping it a bit short here, because it’s a long day and there is a lot of bands.
TAOM: Jeff Loomis joined the band almost a year ago. How has been the chemistry with him on stage?
MA: It’s been great on stage and off stage as well, we get along great, he is an old friend I known him for 15 years some like that. It just fits like glove you know, it’s a very relax situation.
TAOM: Are you guys writing together?
MA: Not too much yet, but we would get into that after the touring.
TAOM: He has some of progressive vibe in the way he approaches to music on his solo stuff, would some of like that be on Arch Enemy?
MA: That probably won’t come in to Arch Enemy, we have our sound. But I think that is gonna be fun, we gonna try to write some stuff together and I already written a couple of things on my own, and also with my drummer. There is gonna be a lots of music at some point.
TAOM: After a year of touring all over the world, how has been the response towards the new album, and Alissa as new vocalist.
MA: Its been overwhelmingly good, I was expecting a lot less to be honest, I was expecting maybe a more varied response to the new line up and to the new album. I knew we made a great album, but you never know what fans are gonna think. Fans don’t like change normally, but this time it just really worked out very well for us, and its been a very strong reaction, and I said that the new songs of the War Eternal album that we do live some of them get the best reactions of the night. Which is not true for every band that has ten albums out there.
TAOM: I notice, you have been playing with a new guitar. It’s that gonna be part of the Tyrant series?
MA: I think so, yeah. That is what we want to do now
TAOM: What is new with this model?
MA: I just changed the wiring a bit, it just got one volume now I used to have two volumes, its only a small change. Its pretty much the same
TAOM: would we see this model at NAMM 2016?
MA: I hope so, that would be fun. I want to be there as well, I think I might be there. I got a few different things that we are working on.
TAOM: Now, I heard that Spiritual Beggars is working on new material, what can you tell us about that.
MA: Yeah, We do a few more shows here, then we fly back to Europe. We playing on a cruise ship in the North Sea, a couple of shows on that boat, its like a smaller version of the 70000 tons kind of thing. Its organized through the Wacken organization I think. Then we get off that, fly to Turkey, play a festival in Turkey with Helloween and some other bands, then we fly back to Germany, and we play a show in Germany that is been postponed since early this year. Then that’s it, then we go home. I am home for about 6 weeks, I will be chilling out for 3 to 4 days, then we going to the studio with Staffan as engineer and producer, so that is gonna be a lot fun. I am looking for that, we got a bunch new ideas, we are gonna try to do it live together all in the room. So its gonna be a different thing.
TAOM: Michael, thank you very much for the chat, we are quite excited for the show tonight.
MA: Thank you.