Review: Arch Enemy at House of Blues

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Swedish metal band Arch Enemy is known for having a female lead singer who growls like a dude. Or so I thought. Walking into the band's Thursday night show at the House of Blues in downtown Dallas, a bald-headed 20-something man told me, “Don't bother. There's some chick on stage, and you know that's a bad sign.” Clearly, he missed the hype in a bevy of metal magazines about Angela Gossow, Arch Enemy's blonde-haired, slight-framed singer.

Unfortunately, her live performance lacked power and presence. Typically, she enunciates well enough for those familiar with metal vocals to follow along. Thursday must not have been her night, though, as she appeared out of breath and became a bit garbled mid-set. (Maybe, like myself, she's suffering from allergies.)

On the upside, guitarists Michael Amott and Christopher Amott had the crowd (and this reviewer) awestruck. The men often converged at center stage to perform synchronized guitar solos. The two left the crowd agape with their feverish fret-board work, which harkens back to Swedish metal greats At The Gates and Michael Amott's former band Carcass.

The set closer, “We Will Rise,” was the one song that lived up to Arch Enemy's records. The band, clad in all black (it may be a Euro-metal dress requirement), stood in front of two banners featuring skeleton angels floating upward. When the tune's addictive blast beats kicked in, Gossow encouraged the audience of 350-ish fans to pump their fists in the air. The Amotts then peppered the piece with precisely picked guitar solos; while Gossow pushed herself through the song, offering up clear, deep growling vocals worthy of her prior praise. -- Chelsea Ide

Show highlight: Michael Amott, Angela Gossow and bassist Sharlee D'Angelo whipping their hair in circles together under dramatic red and white lighting during “We Will Rise.”

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