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It has been roughly ten years since Arch Enemy released their debut album 'Black Earth'. Quite a lot has happened thereupon, especially regarding the group's line-up... whilst Arch Enemy was more of a male-fronted "solo" effort by Michael Amott (Carcass, Spiritual Beggars) in the early days, it has grown into a full-blown female-fronted melodic extreme metal band. While they admittedly were originally known for morbidly chaotic distorted crunch, the Amott brothers began orienting towards more precise guitar tone as of releasing 'Wages of Sin' in 2001. The aforementioned album was also their first record to feature the group's newfound vocalist, German metal journalist and singer Angela Nathalie Gossow. Having such a rich past, it should be fairly effortless to fill a DVD or two - which is exactly what Arch Enemy does on 'Live Apocalypse', the band's first DVD release.
Live Apocalypse is a double-DVD release containing over four hours of material offering a cross-section of Arch Enemy's history. The main feature of this release is of course the live concert performed at the Forum, London. This eighty-minute concert together with the additional footage taken from their gig at Academy 2, Manchester feature songs from each Arch Enemy album, and the setlist could be regarded as some kind of a suggestion for a 'best of' collection. Overall, the band's performance is really tight on both sets, though Angela's voice breaks a couple of times at the Forum. Naturally there's also an impressive drum solo included to the set. However, what really makes Live Apocalypse worthy of fans' attention are the extras. Already the first disc contains extra live footage (the aforementioned Academy 2 concert) featuring the group's new guitarist Fredrik Åkesson, who replaced Christopher Amott. Furthermore, the second disc is full of behind-the-scenes material, interviews, promo videos, and above all four alternate multi-angle versions of three songs taken from the Forum concert.
The production on Live Apocalypse is rather good, although there are some differences in both picture and sound quality between the features (as with every live DVD release out there). The main complaint I have relates to sounds that occasionally got slightly distorted, but other than that there's not much reason to point one's finger at anything... except for the changes in volume levels between the promo videos, which is a bit annoying as one has to adjust the level of volume few times. All in all, the plethora of material should make Arch Enemy's Live Apocalypse somewhat coveted release that the majority of death metal listeners most likely fancy owning.
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- MAGE (August 13th, 2006)
"Ravenous (live)" video:
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