Arch Enemy and Nevermore
Live at the I-Rock Nightclub, Detroit, Michigan USA
Wednesday, January 19, 2000
This lineup is so metal, how could I not attend?! This show was at the
I-Rock nightclub, thankfully, so I knew it would be a similar evening to
the In Flames show a month ago. There were two opening bands, the first
being Cauldron from the Detroit area. Having seen them before, and being
rather unimpressed, I decided to try and miss them by arriving late. Well
I was late all right, thanks to the snow! All of the roads and expressways
were fucked, and there were several accidents along the way. But I slowly
made it in one piece, completely missing Cauldron and most of the second
opener, which was a death metal band from Houston, Texas, if I remember
correctly. Their name was Deep, I think. Arriving during their
second-to-last song, I must say these guys shred! They seemed to have some
Swedish death element to their music, like At The Gates or Dissection, but
they sounded different at the same time. I wish I would have been there
for the whole set.
Soon after their departure, Arch Enemy came storming on stage with a
new track off of their latest album "Burning Bridges" (I still
don't have the song titles memorized yet, so bear with me). I was in awe,
standing right in front of Michael Amott thinking "man, here is the
master! The one who contributed to such great bands as Carcass and
Spiritual Beggars! Here he is, right in front of me!" Mike had a bit
of trouble with his pedal right from the start, but quickly scrapped it,
which didn't affect his sound a bit. In fact, the entire band sounded
excellent tonight. And I was most curious to see Daniel Erlandsson's
performance. Being a huge fan of his now defunct band Eucharist, I have
come to admire his drumming very much over the years. And to see him live
was just thrilling! Clad in an At The Gates "Gardens of Grief"
shirt, the very same shirt I have, his playing was very precise, and he
often times threw in some odd cymbal hits to accent the music nicely. But
the best track to see him do was "Beast of Man", the leading
song off "Stigmata", just for those blast beat sections! This
was by far the best song tonight. But then again "Silverwing"
rocked my world too. At one point in the show I moved to the other side of
the stage to witness Christopher Amott's guitar acrobatics first hand. He
is another sight to behold! You can tell this dude is totally metal, from
the way he wields the guitar to his slick black leather pants! Vocalist
Jon Oliva was on fire, and enjoying it! He reminded me a bit of Lee Dorian
of Cathedral, from his facial expressions and arm movements. And as you
know, bassist Sharlee D'Angelo is now out of the band. In his place was a
new bassist, whose name is unknown to me. But he enjoyed himself very much
up there on stage and frequently rocked-out with Mike and Chris. Besides
"Silverwing", the band performed "The Immortal",
"Dead Inside", and "Angelclaw" off the latest album.
And in addition to "Beast of Man", "Tears of the Dead"
and "Bridge of Destiny" were done off of "Stigmata".
My only disappointment was that no songs off their debut album "Black
Earth" were played. But then again, that album is hard to come by, so
those songs may have just gone over people's heads. Overall, Arch Enemy
totally kicked ass! Thankfully Century Media picked these guys up and got
them to tour the U.S.! Now if they'll only get Opeth over here!!
In anticipation of Nevermore, I kept my spot right in front of the
stage, as Metal Church's first album blared from the speakers inside the
club. A great choice, considering that the Church are pure metal, and also
considering that both Nevermore and Metal Church are from Seattle. During
soundcheck, Nevermore guitarist Tim Calvert quickly grabbed his guitar and
fooled around off stage, playing some bluesy rock riffs, and even a very
abbreviated intro to Sabbath's "Fairies Wear Boots", which I
thought was ironic seeing that I had just gotten in the mail the long lost
Flotsam and Jetsam promo CD containing a cover of that very song. Drummer
Van Williams adjusted his kit himself, and tested things out by basically
soloing, which was very entertaining to watch. I thought it was strange
that both bands, and even the second opening band (I think), used the same
drum kit, with minor adjustments of course.
Soon the wait was over, and Nevermore commenced with the best opener
possible: "Next in Line"! What can I say? This song absolutely
crushed the earth! No messing around, just straight into the brutality!
Song after song, these guys just obliterated the crowd. Almost the entire
"Dreaming Neon Black" album was played, including the slow and
dark title track. Tim played so effortlessly, feeding those disharmonic
riffs to the crowd like they were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Being that I was right in front of his amps the whole time, I never could
really hear Jeff Loomis' guitar. And it was also hard to hear Warrel
Dane's vocals. But from what little I did hear, his voice seemed to be in
great shape. And it's an experience to see his facial expressions and
gestures put to his voice. This guy is intense! Bassist Jim Sheppard also
played with conviction, despite being injured the previous night. His
index finger was crushed in the bus door, and he was lucky enough to
obtain surgery that night. He played with three fingers on the frets, and
it was hard to tell whether or not he was in pain, or just getting into
the aggression of the music. And drummer Van Williams just demands
attention. Listening to the albums, you would agree that this guy rocks.
But wait until you see him live! Then you will really appreciate his
ability! I never really realized how truly awesome this guy is until this
night. He is extremely fluent with his playing, pulling quick tom rolls,
accenting cymbal hits, and crashes out of thin air. And it looks like it
is so effortless for him. He kept himself very loose, bobbing his head to
and fro and keeping his whole body in motion while playing. He is a very
energetic drummer. The show came to a violent close with "The Seven
Tongues of God", the only other track off "The Politics of
Ecstasy" played tonight. I knew Nevermore would crush live, but I
wasn't expecting them to be as good as they actually were! Do yourself a
favor and check these guys out! My only disappointment with Nevermore was
no "Battle Angels"!!! Damn it! When I heard that Nevermore were
playing a couple of Sanctuary songs on their last tour, I was really
looking forward to hearing some old songs. But they strictly played new
material. In fact, no songs off the debut album nor the "In
Memory" EP were played. Regardless, this show was one of the best
I've ever seen!
We've got a shitload of KILLER photos from the show.
So many were so cool that I couldn't even fit them into the above
review, so here they are. Click on the thumbnail to see the picture in
it's original size. (All photo credits
- Nathan Robinson and ©2000 METAL RULES!!)
ARCH ENEMY PICS