What a fantastic night. From the moment the doors opened you could feel the energy in the air, the line that stretched 100 metres down the street a testament to Arch Enemy’s soaring popularity Down Under in recent years.
Sydney locals Potion opened the night, performing to a well-filled venue. Chris Downey was incredibly tight on drums, providing a fantastic bedrock for the rest of the band to layer their unique mix of Doom and Stoner Metal, harsh vocals contrasting well with slow and catchy riffs to create a psychedelic Metal experience. An impressive set and audience given the young band’s recent formation.
Next up were We May Fall doing what they do best – loud, unapologetic, and authentic Post-Hardcore. Since their maiden full-length release in 2015 the band has had a large impact on Sydney’s Hardcore scene and it was easy to tell why. Masters of crowd engagement, a personal highlight was when frontman JJ Brady made a brief foray into the centre of the mosh pit to join some of the band’s die-hard fans, all the while shrieking his blood-curdling vocals that got the crowd’s heads going. The guttural scream of Stewart Harris on bass and backing vocals was a welcome surprise that added another layer of depth to the band’s sound and helped ground the intricate guitar work.
After being sufficiently warmed up the crowd was ready for the main event and cries for Arch Enemy began to fill the venue until the whole crowd was chanting the name of the Swedish masters of melodic Death Metal. From the opening chord of their set there was not a still body in the room, the sold out crowd enthusiastically headbanging to the hard-hitting riffs, relentless drum beats, and brutal vocals that have characterised the band for over 20 years. The setlist was a perfect mix of material from their latest release, 2017’s ‘Will to Power,’ as well as fan favourites including War Eternal and Nemesis which was used to close out the night.
Playing as part of Arch Enemy for the first time on Australian soil were Alissa White-Gluz and Jeff Loomis. Both new additions were received warmly by the Australian crowd, the former confirming she is more than capable of carrying forward the heavy mantle left by Angela Gossow and the latter cementing his place as an invaluable asset to the band and their sound. White-Gluz’s command of the crowd and dynamic stage performance saw her jump, kick and headbang across the stage and into the minds of the Australian crowd, her whirlwind of blue hair and fierce vocals stirring something deep and animalistic in the audience. Michael Amott, the driving creative force behind the band since its inception, gave a standout performance with note-perfect solos and flawless execution whilst Daniel Erlandsson and Sharlee D’Angelo were rock solid as always, ruthlessly attacking the rigorous rhythms of each song with ease.
A great show to return to Australia with after their six-year absence and a fantastic precursor to the rest of their four shows in Australia, I know myself and a legion of Metalheads look forward to the next time Arch Enemy rocks Sydney.
PHOTOS BY ANDREW MACLEAN
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