Thursday of last week, October 23rd, I headed up to the Baltimore SoundStage in, you guessed it, Baltimore, Maryland to catch Arch Enemy and Kreator. Starkill and Huntress also opened the show, but I couldn’t get up there in time to see them. In fact, German thrashers Kreator were already two songs into their set when I walked in. I did get a few shots during their third song though. Their set wasn’t bad, pretty typical for Kreator really. A mix of older classics with more popular modern songs thrown in. They had a ton of fog up there and their light show was very bright as usual. I ended up buying a Kreator bottle opener but the merch girl didn’t give me any change back so I ended up paying $10 for something that should have cost $3. After arguing with her about it for a few minutes (and failing to get my change back) the negative experience took me out of their show. They didn’t play their song “Flag Of Hate” either, which was a bummer, but otherwise the set was good overall.
Next up was Arch Enemy. This was the Swedish death metal band’s first US tour with new vocalist Alissa White-Gluz fronting the band, and not only that, the Baltimore show was the first date of the tour. I wasn’t sure what to expect, the band’s previous vocalist, Angela Gossow, left some pretty big shoes to fill. Arch Enemy was around before Angela joined in 2000, but they really rose to prominence once she joined the band. She was one of the first women to front any kind of death metal band, and she wasn’t just up there as eye candy either, she was really good at it. She could growl and had great stage presence and it earned the band many fans over the years. I didn’t love Alissa’s performance on the new Arch Enemy record, War Eternal, her voice seemed very flat and digitally tinkered with in the studio. However this night she really was incredible live. She had excellent stage presence and great energy, fans reacted immediately to her charisma, and her voice held up really well throughout the entire set. While she is certainly the main focus while the band is on stage she still made sure to step back and let guitarists Michael Amott (of Carcass fame) and Nick Cordle (a Virginia native) draw the audience’s attention from time to time. You could tell she had studied old Arch Enemy live footage as she used many of the same moves that Angela did, but Alissa had plenty of her own too. It was really fun photographing her not only because of her model-like looks but because she was always doing something on stage and I never felt like I was getting the same shot twice. The one thing I really didn’t enjoy much was when she instructed the audience to start pogo hopping in place, something you usually see at a pop punk show, not a metal show. I have to admit I was impressed overall though, and I think Arch Enemy fans are going to love seeing Alissa front the band for some time.
Below are some of my photos from the show. You can see these photos much larger, and many I didn’t even use here including both bands’ set lists, on Flickr by going here.