at John Dee, Oslo, Norway, October 13, 2005


It was good to see that John Dee was packed already before the first support act, Engell , entered the stage with their halfway Metalcore, halfway Gothenburg Death Metal mix. The sound was pretty good and the band did a reasonably good job on stage, so the crowd seemed quite happy. After quite a nervous opening for the gig, without seeming to have those few smash hits that would take them into eternal stardom, the band seemed to have a solid handful of songs to offer. When singer Magnus Klavborn entered the stage with his one arm in a bandage, that, of course, also adds to the impression of a hard-working, idealistic, band. Despite a weird band name and some pretty ugly looking T-shirts, they may actually have sold at least some of them to the audience on this night.


Florida-based Metalcore hot shots Trivium was next on the bill, and they took off at warp speed with two pretty intense – and rather messy and annoyingly sounding – tracks at the start. The crowd seemed to appreciate what they heard, though, as there was a reasonable mosh pit going from the first “chug.” The band managed to add some more dynamics as they played on and the more melodic numbers were performed, and things got considerably more appealing after the first 10 minutes. Still, singer Matt Heafy did not sound very convincing – unfortunately, having a cool screamy voice is obviously a gift not possessed by all, some might say. Both he and the rest of the band played solidly, though, despite their very tender age (Heafy himself was actually born in 1986(!), with the rest of the band being not that much older).


As you may have understood already, this was not one of those nights where the support acts would outplay the headliner – Arch Enemy has always been a very cool live band with a downright incredible catalogue to choose from, experienced and highly skilled musicians, and a singer – whether it be Johan Liiva or Angela Gossow – who performs live with great authority (and not to forget a screamy voice, which sounds varied and musical). This was also the case today. The band took the packed club by storm from the opening riff of “Nemesis” and basically didn’t let go one second.

After “Nemesis,” “Heart of Darkness” followed, before things went completely bonkers with the trio of “Dead Eyes See No Future,” “My Apocalypse,” and “Burning Angel,” with the latter sporting maybe the loudest crowd sing-along of the night. After this drum whiz Daniel Erlandsson got to strut his stuff, and darn but this boy can play. With a mix of deadly precise Speed Metal and more progressive beats, he actually made his drum solo an enjoyable experience, and every experienced concert attendee knows that this is no easy feat. Michael Amott and Fredik Åkesson – the band’s new axeman following the departure of Michael’s brother Christopher – also had their stints in the spotlight, and both pulled off some very cool stuff — Fredrik being the more technical one while Michael went for his trademark melodic, half-cocked, wah wah sound. This young Swede has to be one of the freshest guitarist in the business today, and he should look to enjoy a bright, bright future.

Their latest release, Doomsday Machine, was, in addition to “Nemesis” and “My Apocalypse,” represented by “Taking Back My Soul,” “I Am Legend,” and “Skeleton Dance.” All five are kickass tunes, and judging from the response, it seemed like quite a few in the crowd knew the album. Other highlights were the magical “Diva Satanica” (during which the already bewitching Angela looked downright irresistible with her magic gaze, incredible appearance, and tight pentagram T-shirt, enhanced by a very cool light arrangement), “Ravenous,” “Bury Me An Angel,” and “We Will Rise,” with the latter bringing out the loudest crowd cheer of the night.

There’s only one complaint to think of with this show, and that is where the hell was Stigmata and Burning Bridges in the set list? These two are maybe the band’s two best releases ever, and have brought them thousands of fans throughout Europe, and they are not represented by one single track? Where was “Pilgrim,” “Silverwing,” “Dark of the Sun,” “Sinister Mephisto,” “Beast of Man,” “Bridge of Destiny,” or “The Immortal?” Shame on you tiny, tiny Swedes!

Except for that, this was a blast, though, and one of the concert highlights this year. Michael, Fredrik, Daniel, and the mighty Sharlee – you rule! And Angela – I’m in love with you, I think …


Heart of Darkness
Dead Eyes See No Future
My Apocalypse
Burning Angel
Daniel Erlandsson solo spot
Taking Back My Soul
Diva Satanica
Michael Amott solo spot
I Am Legend
Bury Me An Angel
Fredrik Åkesson solo spot


Skeleton Dance
Dead Bury Their Dead
We Will Rise
Fields of Desolation (excerpt)


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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