Starting life as something of an extreme metal supergroup helmed by former-Carcass lead guitarist Michael Amott, Arch Enemy have created their own niche in the heavy-music world with their fusion of melodic death metal and the arena-ready, classic metal sounds of the 70s and 80s.
While their first three records with frontman Johan Liiva gave them a respectable career in Japan and parts of Europe, it wasn't until the addition of vocalist Angela Gossow on 2001's Wages Of Sin that their international career exploded. Today Arch Enemy are arguably as big as they've ever been on the worldwide stage, with Gossow's replacement Alissa White-Gluz amicably stepping into the lead singer role in 2014.
With a 11 studio releases and almost three decades of history to their name, Arch Enemy have a huge amount of modern metal anthems under their collective belts. But what about the less raved about tracks? They've got some killer deep cuts across all eras – so what are they? Read on and find out…
A whip-cracking thrasher from 2003's Anthems of Rebellion, "Despicable Heroes" two minute beating is as straight to the point as Arch Enemy gets. No traces of melodicism here; just furious riffs, blitzkrieg drums and possessed vocals. Considering Anthems… is the album introduced a couple of more mainstream friendly tracks – "We Will Rise" for example – "Despicable Heroes" is a great example of how punishing Arch Enemy can be when they want to. Never played live and with low streams, it's a perfect way to kick off our list.
"In This Shallow Grave"
"In This Shallow Grave" is arguably Rise of the Tyrant's most underrated tune; the 2007 release is loaded with so many great tracks that our choice has been overlooked for far too long. Which is damn shame as "In This Shallow Grave" sees the group in full flight – heavy verses, a melodic, guitar-led chorus and that guitar solo section – man! It's the perfect example of the Amott brothers Chris and Michael's penchant for the blisteringly fast and the highly emotive. It's really everything you'd want from an Arch Enemy song, and deserves more appreciation from fans and artist alike.
We're going all the way back to Arch Enemy's 1996 debut Black Earth for "Losing Faith". It's a bobbing and weaving track, moving between two unique, riff-driven feels. One is almost bouncing, whilst the other is prime headbang fodder. Original frontman Johan Liiva puts out a solid – if not a little uninspiring – vocal performance, with the rest of the act carrying the lion's share of the song. A number that has yet – and unlikely to ever – to see the stage, it was also ignored when Arch Enemy re-recorded a bunch of their earlier material for The Root Of All Evil compilation in 2009.
A deep album cut from the excellent Doomsday Machine, "Matchkampf" – translating to "Power Struggle" – is a fist-pumping track that moves at a raging, almost violent pace. It's a powerchord heavy number, with very little of Arch Enemy's usual singing guitar – although the boys can't help themselves when the solo section pops up. It also a packs a nice key change at the tail-end of the song to keep things fresh. The last section of Doomsday Machine is overlooked, with the cracking "Matchkampf" being the most forgotten of the lot.
"My Shadow And I"
A classic sounding Arch Enemy number from their tenth full length – and first with uber-shredder Jeff Loomis – Will To Power's anthemic "My Shadow And I" should have been at the very least released as a single for the LP. It's first half is more in the band's more melodic vein, with the second packing a off-to-races tempo pick up, before a thumping half-time section cranks the heaviness up a notch or two. Rather than being given the film clip treatment, it's instead been tucked away towards the back end of the record, and has yet to feature in an Arch Enemy setlist.
"On and On"
Another latter-day choice, "On and On" is lifted from 2014's War Eternal – a record most notable for the debuting of current Arch Enemy vocalist Alissa White–Gluz. A big tune with a thunderous bridge and instantly memorable chorus, it's actually co-written by another debutant – one-time lead guitarist Nick Cordle. A strong track that seems to have been forgotten about as one of the lowest streamed from War Eternal, "On and On" almost sounds tailor-made for promotional play, but alas it wasn't meant to be.
"Seed Of Hate"
With definitely more than a nod towards Ozzy Osbourne's"Bark At The Moon", "Seed Of Hate" is a hard rocking, early days Arch Enemy classic. Penned solely by Christopher Amott, there's certainly more to the Burning Bridge track's Jake E Lee style main-riff – with a restrained verse passage and real ear grabbing chorus. Like the previously listed "Losing Faith", the uptempo banger was not redone for Arch Enemy's The Root Of All Evil nostalgia trip. Which is a shame, as it's a fun, underrated tune.
"Shadows & Dust"
Lifted from the superb Wages of Sin – Arch Enemy's first album with Angela Gossow – "Shadow & Dust" is tremendous track that has rarely been played by the band. The closer for the record's standard edition, it's such such a great melodic death metal song – basically the perfect example of Arch Enemy's sound. Great riffs, big chorus and singing guitar melodies – what more do you want from them? It's only sin is being on arguably their best full length, and thusly been overlooked for it's more well known brethren.
"Tears Of The Dead"
Taken from Arch Enemy's sophomore release Stigmata, the 1998 record saw them build upon the momentum from their debut Black Earth. Some great material on here, but a song that's been under appreciated for years is the excellent "Tears Of The Dead". It's got an epic feel to it, with loads of powerful riffs and melodies, and is one the high points from the Johan Liiva-era of the group. Perhaps it's only reason for being forgotten is due to the album's huge closer "Bridge of Destiny" having stolen our selection's thunder.
A deep cut cover of a deep cut original, Arch Enemy's take on Kiss' highly underrated barnstormer "The Oath" is an excellent example of tweaking a song just enough to make it your own. The heavy, fast-paced track makes for a perfect tune for our guys to tackle, and aside from the screamed vocals and lower-key, Arch Enemy keep their take on "The Oath" pretty damn close to the original. Laid down during the aforementioned Rise Of The Tyrant sessions; the huge, modern metal production works perfectly – and frankly, if you didn't know any better, you'd think that it's an Arch Enemy original. That is the sign of a great cover.
How did we go? Who's your favourite vocalist for Arch Enemy? What deep cuts didn't make our list? Let us know in the comments!