Ever since the release of their first album, Black Earth
in 1996, Arch Enemy
have enjoyed a strong and ever dedicated fanbase from the people of Japan, but it’s only now, in 2008, that they’ve decided to film a live DVD there to capture how special Arch Enemy
in Japan really is. Of course you can think what you like of the band, but it’s hard to deny they’ve earned their status as the leading Melodic Death Metal band for a reason; whether it be through their consistent songwriting, fantastic musicianship or great stage presence – all of which are on display here, on their second live DVD Tyrants Of The Rising Sun
In my opinion, the most important aspect of a live DVD is the setlist - simply put, the better the songs, the better the show. The setlist here is about as good as it gets – there are songs from virtually every album (Stigmata
being the only exception), and they are ordered perfectly so everything stays fresh and enjoyable. All of the classic Arch Enemy
anthems are present – tracks like ‘Dead Eyes See No Future’, ‘Burning Angel’ and ‘Nemesis’ totally soar, giving ultimate satisfaction to fans of the band. Also, to keep the middle section of the show interesting, there are three individual band member solos – one drum solo and two guitar solos, all running roughly 2 – 4 minutes.
And where would we be without the spectacular performance of each individual band member. It’s hard to pick a highlight, since everyone shines, but I think vocalist Angela Gossow delivers the best performance, really making the show what it is. Her standard growl is as powerful as ever, she displays a good range (lower pitch on ‘Night Falls Fast’, higher on ‘Dead Bury Their Dead’) and doesn’t tire at all. Guitarists Michael and Chris Amott churn out crushingly heavy riffs and sweet melodies, topped off with a least two solos per track, all performed to perfection. It seriously amazes me how they can solo so much and never become boring or repetitive. The rhythm section is great, keeping everything tight and interesting. Daniel Erlandsson is as good as can be behind the kit, never missing a beat, getting some awesome fills in and remaining powerful for the whole 20 song setlist. Bassist Sharlee D’Angelo adds the always necessary low end to the music, doing a good job with his slightly muddy tone and a few standout parts.
Everything else concerning the DVD is fine. It’s filmed in HD so if you’ve got a HD DVD player and TV the picture quality is pretty mind-blowing, everything is just incredibly crisp. The sound quality is perfect too; mixing done by Andy Sneap goes a long way I guess. Filming wise there’s equal coverage of the band members, while the focus doesn’t switch between them to often (ie every second, like some of the Iron Maiden
DVDs). The crowd are also good; very enthusiastic and energetic, even singing along to some guitar parts!
The DVD also features a 45 minute documentary of the band’s time in Japan, containing interviews with each band member. To be honest there’s not much to say about it; it’s got some fairly interesting stuff in it, but nothing you really need to see. It’s a nice way to relax after the concert I guess.
In conclusion, if you’re a fan or just interested in Arch Enemy
, you need to see this DVD. The band’s energy and performance are amazing, and while there are a few songs I don’t like, this DVD is a fantastic way to spend 2 and a half hours.