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Friday, March 21, 2014

The Legacy of a Predecessor Gives Birth to a Worthy Successor: My Thoughts on the Recent Changes for Arch Enemy

As a connoisseur of all things related to metal and heavy rock music, I am ashamed to admit something. You see, it's been a while since I looked into Swedish extreme metal veterans, Arch Enemy. I saw some of their live stuff last year and as always, have been impressed by their consistency and top-notch performance standard, something that is especially highlighted by vocalist, Angela Gossow, who is one of the iconic figures among vocalists of the extreme metal scene.

It came as a complete fucking surprise to me, literally an axe to the head, when I saw their latest music video, War Eternal. For a moment of sheer stupefaction, I thought Gossow had undergone some kind of perplexing makeover. Of course, this wasn't Angela Gossow, but rather, the all too familiar face of Alissa White-Gluz, known for formerly fronting The Agonist, but now holding the honour of leading Arch Enemy into their 2014 release, War Eternal, due for release this coming June.

Alissa White-Gluz is a very appropriate pick, and a reflection
on Angela Gossow's choice for a well-suited successor.
I have to say that I am personally impressed by the choice, despite what some of the fans are saying. Obviously many are also pleased with the choice and don't put it down, but this doesn't stop them from going on and on about how no one can replace Gossow. I agree, but the problem with that kind of rhetoric, straight off the first blistering riff paired with a hell-shattering growl, is the underlying assumption that Gossow is being replaced. Yes, technically, a void that she has left is being filled by other person, but Gossow's legacy with the band cannot be replaced. The new vocalist will forge her own place and influence within the band with time, if she sticks around, so let's give her another fourteen years--that Gossow had to her name as she became one of the most revered vocalists in the music scene--before jumping to hysterical conclusions.

There is no doubt in my mind that Angela Gossow could never be replaced, not with the kind of history and reputation she has established for herself. In fact, she's still very much Arch Enemy's manager, and more importantly, it was her choice to step down from vocal duties and pass the torch to Alissa White-Gluz. Unlike other situations where vocalists are fired and replaced, or situations where they quit with little notice, leaving the band to make an emergency pick from a small and often unsuited list of candidates. In the case of Arch Enemy, we're talking about a band leader, who continues to maintain her support for the band, and picks only the best and most apt successor to carry forth the vocal ventures with a project that she still continues to manage (Rosenberg, 2014). 

Some people say that Arch Enemy won't ever be the same without Gossow. I say that they're correct, but that it is ultimately irrelevant to the point that Arch Enemy has only begun a new chapter in their on-going history, and it is off to one fucking blistering start. I mean, check out the fucking video at the end of this post and then really question Angela's personal choice as to who would fulfil such a duty. One would be hard pressed against to deny that she's chosen the most worthy successors possible to carry on her work and in a manner that pays tribute to the distinct, tight energy and aggression that was Angela's trademark in the business.

Unlike other departures, this is a story of amicable growth, continues unity between a band that has actually grown as a result of a serious change brought on by the very member who is relinquishing her duties to someone who she considers worthy of the opportunity to take the band forward. It's truly a very extreme metal tale of a legendary predecessor and their personally chosen successor that is sure to become a lore of honour and pride for the metal scene someday.

Enjoy the stuff, folks. Because unlike other bands, Arch Enemy continues to deliver what they're good at delivering, even with a new face that was specifically chosen to make sure that their mission artistic mission remains intact going forward from a great legacy to greater times ahead.

Of course, I could be dead wrong--and given the fickle state of the scene--this presently promising arrangement could come to an unexpected or quick dissolution, so I couldn't give a damn about any purist shit heads who might get rubbed up the wrong way by the news and posts--such as this one--in support of such news. In fact, I hope that this entry does wind up the purists, because there are few things that amuse so deeply than a purist having a meltdown over trivial matters. In the meantime, I'm just content enjoying the same trademark Arch Enemy intensity that's earned them a sacred place and position of respect as both pioneers and front line artists of a niche scene and genre.

War Eternal by Arch Enemy


References

Rosenberg, A. (2014, March 17). Arch Enemy: Angela Gossow Out, The Agonist's Alissa White-Gluz In - Metal Sucks. Retrieved March 21, 2014, from http://www.metalsucks.net/2014/03/17/arch-enemy-angela-gossow-agonists-alissa-white-gluz/

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