Arch Enemy w/Exodus, Arsis, Mutiny Within – Jan. 27 @ The Phoenix

29 01 2010

When I arrived at the Phoenix Concert Theatre on Wednesday night, it was clear that it would take more than a massive drop in temperature to keep fans from  witnessing the generation spanning line-up that was the Tyrants of Evil Tour. With rowdy fans lined up down the street well after doors had opened, the excitement in the air was palpable. Unfortunately it was this same line which caused me and my accompanying party to miss openers Mutiny Within.

 Newcomers on Roadrunner Records, I didn’t need to see their set to know that they had done their job. If the immediate pit that opened up as Arsis hit the stage was any indication, this crowd was sufficiently warmed up. Although mostly unfamiliar with the band’s music, I had heard a lot about them while attending other shows throughout the years. All the cancelled Toronto dates on previous tours had caused quite a stir,  and I can imagine more than a few in attendance were half expecting Arsis not to show up. But show up they did, furiously pummeling and screeching their way though a 7 song set whilst barely stopping to address the crowd. Their thrashy brand of death metal was especially fitting for this package thanks in part to the blistering solos and high guitar melodies peppered throughout most of their songs. Closing song “In the Face of my Innocence” was especially neck wrecking and a definite high note on which to end.  

Next on the bill were the legendary Bay Area thrashers Exodus. We might be in the midst of a thrash revival, but these boys have taught Municipal Waste and Warbringer everything they know. It’s been 30 years since Exodus was formed but somehow their music still sounds relevant in today’s metal climate. Opening with the title track from their debut album “Bonded By Blood”, it is immediately apparent that they came here to tear shit up. Vocalist Rob Dukes, dressed in a New York Rangers jersey with Sean Avery’s name appropriately adorning the back, endlessly taunted the audience for bigger circle pits and more involvement. The fact that the majority of the audience wasn’t even born when Bonded By Blood came out didn’t seem to stop them from following Rob’s every direction, even when it meant splitting the room in half for a wall of death. Stand out tracks “Children of a Worthless God” and “Deathamphetamine” showcased the excellent riffing and frenzied solos of guitarists Gary Holt and Lee Altus while showing us just how much fun they still have getting up on stage night after night.

Metal might very well be a boys’ club, but Arch Enemy are proving otherwise. I’ve witnessed them live 5 times now, but tonight vocalist Angela Gossow spits and growls like I’ve never seen. She delivers songs such as “Ravenous”, “Dead Eyes See No Future” and “Dead Bury Their Dead” like a demon possessed. Never ones to disappoint, Mike and Chris Amott still have the tone of God (Satan) in their fingers. Where else but at an Arch Enemy show can you actually hear a room full of people singing along to a guitar solo? Experiencing the wonderfully haunting opening notes of “Snowbound” in a live setting were worth the price of admission alone. And while there weren’t many surprises in the set list, they did manage to span their entire career and throw in a Daniel Erlandsson drum solo for good measure. A personal gripe would be the omittance of Burning Angel, and perhaps I am Legend/Out for Blood.  The obvious talent on display combined with tonight’s ultra tight performance more than made up for it however, helping to cement Arch Enemy as a “can’t miss” live band.  As a guy I met at a gas station after the show said, “I can see why you keep coming back!”

Did you check out the show? If so, post your thoughts, opinions, etc in the comments below!

Mutiny Within – http://www.myspace.com/mutinywithin

Arsis – http://www.myspace.com/arsis

Exodus – http://www.myspace.com/exodus

Arch Enemy  –  http://www.myspace.com/archenemy

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