There's one question Michael Amott, guitarist for Swedish melodic-death-metallers Arch Enemy, is always asked whenever he's approached by longtime metal fans or does an interview with a music journalist.
That question? When the hell are Carcass, the legendary British grindcore band he played in during the early '90s, going to get back together and play some friggin' reunion gigs already?
"It seems like it never goes away — like this ghost that's always hanging over me," Amott explained of the band, which was formed by Napalm Death guitarist Bill Steer and drummer Ken Owen in 1985. "It's nice. It's a pleasant ghost, because [Carcass are] a band I'm proud of, because it was one of the better bands to come out of that style of music at that time. The band itself seems bigger now than when we packed it in [back in 1995]. I can't believe it."
But chances are Carcass could soon reunite in some form, he said. In all likelihood, it'll just be for a handful of reunion shows. Still, Amott isn't sure when it will happen, considering Arch Enemy are going to be taking up most of his time for the foreseeable future. The band's latest, Rise of the Tyrant, hit stores Tuesday.
"With [Carcass], you have four people who have all moved on and do different things now," he said. "For the last few years, I've been quite open about [my desire to reunite Carcass]. ... It's not a question of, 'Do I want to play this kind of music?,' because I still totally love metal. I would love to do it."
And the stars seem to be aligning already, according to Amott, who said the ex-members of Carcass did hook up last year to rehearse.
"We thought, 'Let's just try to get our schedules together, jam a little bit, and see if it's even feasible,' " he said. "The question always comes up in interviews, and we kind of all became intrigued ourselves, if it would actually work. So we met up, rehearsed for about a week, and by the end of the week, it sounded amazing. It could be done, but I don't know — with everybody's schedules [having] changed again, it kind of fell out of the picture. But it's definitely doable."
Then Amott dropped a hint: "Without saying too much, I think people should watch the Internet — something might happen next year, I guess." But the band wouldn't set out to write or record new material, because "the old stuff was just that good," the guitarist said. "It would just be a blast to go out and play those — dare I say it — classic tunes again, those riffs. It would be fun. Bill's guitar playing was amazing — he was one of my heroes before I joined the band. So yeah, I would love to do it again. I love that band, love the music. We'll see — maybe it would shut people up. Let's hope the Carcass can come back."
Amen to that.
For now, though, Amott is focused on Arch Enemy, who'll be on the road through October 13 in Hollywood — the last stop on their Black Tyranny Tour with Machine Head, Throwdown and Sanctity. After that, a headlining U.S. run will launch in either February or March, he said. The Machine Head tour has stirred up quite a bit of controversy following Live Nation's decision to cancel or move some of the gigs scheduled at House of Blues venues situated on Disney-owned properties.
"It was pretty shocking," he said of the move. "I could see why a company like Disney wouldn't want metal shows on their property, if I looked at it from their perspective — if I can sort of imagine how close-minded these people are. Still, I find it shocking that they'd cancel the shows and force bands to find other venues to play at on such short notice. It's very unprofessional and surprising."
Foremost on Amott's mind, though, is Arch Enemy's new LP, which the guitarist claims is the band's ultimate offering.
"It's just got the whole spectrum of our influences in there," he explained. "It's got the speed, it's got the heaviness, and it's also got tons of melody — lots of guitar melodies. We just decided to put everything into it and hold nothing back. It's very-action packed, with more intricate arrangements than on our previous couple of albums. It's a little bit faster, a little bit more uptempo. It's extreme, down-tuned metal with lots of guitar solos, fast drumming and a German woman [lead singer Angela Gossow] screaming all over it.
"I think this band has had an organic kind of growth," he continued. "Every album's been a little bit bigger, and every album has been a little bit more successful. It's been a steady build. It didn't happen overnight. We're not a mainstream band, so for us, it's about building a fanbase. We're in a good place. We're not the biggest band in the world, but we're not the smallest. We're somewhere in between."
Interestingly enough, Rise of the Tyrant features a sample from the 1979 film "Caligula," which Amott said was his idea.
"I've always been a movie buff, and when I was growing up, during my teens, I got into cult cinema, and that was one of the films you run into," he said. "I just remembered when we were putting the album together, I was looking at [frontwoman and girlfriend] Angela's lyrics and saw this theme of abuse of power, the dangers of absolute power, and tyranny and megalomania. And I thought it would be cool to have Hitler speeches or something in the song. Yeah, I thought about that for five seconds and figured it wasn't a good idea, what with a German singer and all. But I just remember that speech, where [actor Malcolm McDowell, as Emperor Gaius Germanicus Caesar is] kind of telling the Senate that he's more than a mere human being — he's a god. That's the ultimate megalomaniac, right?"
The theme is also present in the band's video for "Revolution Begins," which they worked on with director Patric Ullaeus (In Flames, Lacuna Coil).
"It's very big, very epic — very Arch Enemy," Amott explained. "It's us rocking out and a bunch of kids, who love Arch Enemy so much, they start a mini revolution. The lyrics are about how you can feel, in society, very sort of helpless, like you don't much of a say — you don't feel you have the power as an individual to change things. But the song's a call to arms, and the video reflects that. We're playing in a desert or something — it's a rock and roll video basically, and we all have nice, pretty hair."
The rest of the week's metal news:
Hardcore outfit the Minor Times will launch a tour with Engineer on October 12 in Rochester, New York. Dates are currently scheduled through October 27 in Binghamton, New York. The Minor Times released their second album, Summer of Wolves, in June. Vince Ratti (Bury Your Dead, A Life Once Lost) produced the album. ... The classic 1986 cult documentary "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" will be released on DVD on October 30. The 16-minute movie was filmed in the Capital Centre parking lot in Landover, Maryland, before a Judas Priest show and depicts interviews with fans about what it means to be metal. Capturing a slice in time, the movie depicts an abundance of mullets, leather, denim, spandex, perms, '70s Camaros and metal 'tude in spades. In addition to the original short film, the DVD features two hours of exclusive content, including commentary by directors Jeff Krulik and John Heyn, video sequels from the 2004 Trio TV series "Parking Lot," various outtakes and new interviews with rockers featured in the film. ...
It's hardly a surprise to see Boston's metal revolving door, Diecast, undergo another lineup change. The newest shift comes with the departure of bassist Brad Horion, due to what singer Paul Stoddard called in a statement "an unforeseen family issue." The band is currently looking for a player with the following qualifications: "pro gear, be able to play and sing, have great state presence, be able to tour nonstop, be trustworthy, have a great attitude and be able to pick up chicks for the rest of the guys in the band." Naaahhh, we made that last one up. The band hopes to find its new bassist before embarking on a two-month-long headlining tour in late October. For more information, e-mail DiecastSeeksBassPlayer@gmail.com. As they search for a member, Diecast will continue writing songs for their next album. ... Hardcore-metal warriors Terror will release the four-song EP Rhythm Amongst the Chaos on October 30. The disc will include guest vocals from Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks. ...
The new Death by Decibels Tour will feature Vader, Malevolent Creation, Cattle Decapitation, Light This City, Abigail Williams and Veil of Maya. The first show is set for November 17 in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, and the last will take place December 18 in New York. ... Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier appears on All Seeing Eye, the upcoming album by French experimental-metal band Klone. "We aim to tour as much as possible," the band said in a statement. "No doubt the release of the album will spread the word about us everywhere, which is really important because we've been working very hard to achieve that." All Seeing Eye is due February 26. ...
Zombi member Steve Moore will release his first solo album, The Henge, October 30. In a press release, the epic, five-song album was described as a "huge, sprawling, psychedelic, symphonic affair" that mixes "ambient dronescapes and soaring, beat-driven melodies with Moore's patented, cinematic brand of keyboard virtuosity." Or, as Moore said, "The album is meant to be viewed as a small step in a new direction, exploring some of the more ambient, drone-oriented ideas I've written over the last couple years." ... While we're in dreamland, ambient-metal band Jesu, which feature ex-Godflesh frontman Justin Broadrick, will release a new EP, Lifeline, October 9. The four-song disc features guest vocals from ex-Swans singer Jarboe. Despite the visa-related hardships Jesu suffered on their last tour with Isis, the band hasn't lost faith in the power of international touring. On Thursday, Jesu will launch a tour in San Diego. Dates are scheduled through November 9 in Los Angeles. ... Speaking of Isis, the art/drone/psychedelic-metal band will embark on a tour with 27 that starts November 1 in New York and ends November 20 in Los Angeles. Oxbow, These Arms Are Snakes, Clouds and Big Business will join Isis on various dates. ...
Despised Icon and the Locust will embark on the Canada-only Aggressive Tendencies Tour on November 3 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Shows are scheduled through November 16 in Ottawa, Ontario. ... Youthful melodic death/grind band Born of Osiris will release their debut album, The New Reign, Tuesday. The group recorded the disc with producer Michael Keene (Suicide Silence, the Faceless) during spring break of its senior year of high school. Look for upcoming dates with Misery Signals and Dead to Fall. ... Los Angeles black/death-metal band the Funeral Pyre will launch the last leg of their tour in support of their debut, The Nature of Betrayal, October 5 in Salinas, California. Dates are scheduled through October 21 in San Diego, and Apiary will open on the trek. In late October, the Pyre will finish writing and recording their new album, tentatively scheduled for release in mid-2008. ... New Jersey power-metal band Seven Witches will release their seventh offering, Deadly Sins, November 20. A concept album about the seven sins detailed by Mahatma Gandhi, the follow-up to 2005's Amped includes guest spots by ex-Hades/Watchtower singer Alan Tecchio and Armored Saint/Anthrax bassist Joey Vera, who also co-produced and mixed the LP.