When ARCH ENEMY announced that they were parting ways with epic frontwoman Angela Gossow, the metal world was taken by surprise and thrown into a state of shock.
No one understood very well what was going on or what determined Angela to quit her beloved band, especially since there was no conflict involved. On the contrary, the musician pointed out that, while she was retreating from the spotlight, she planned to further manage the group.
This made it clear that Angela’s choice had more to do with the need for an existential change than with anything else.
And an existential change followed for Arch Enemy as well. The vacant lead singer spot was filled by the very worthy Alissa White-Gluz, ex-The Agonist, who has everything it takes to shine.
She’s exceptionaly talented and in possession of a voice that can shake you to the very core, she’s beautiful, young and, why not say it, fashion conscious, which, for young audiences, is a must. The charismatic blue-haired badass Canadian singer is definitely a breath of fresh air in the heavy breathing lungs of one of the greatest contemporary metal bands out there.
Maximum Rock Magazine spoke with Alissa who was kind enough to tell us the story behind her joining Arch Enemy, and being fired from The Agonist as a result of her choice to become the new singer of the Swedish band.
Also, she gave us some spoilers regarding the new record, „War Eternal”, and told us some of the secrets of her new job: frontwoman of Arch Enemy!
Hello Alissa! Wonderful talking to you. You must be overwhelmed by the way things have changed lately. How has it been so far, moving from one band to the other?
It has been a very positive experience so far. I think the past year has been one of incredible change, extreme emotions and lots of losses and gains for everyone in the band. We really put everything we had into this album and we will continue to devote everything we have to Arch Enemy.
Tell us the story. How were you approached? When? Were you surprised at all?
I was obviously very surprised when Angela wrote to me to tell me about all this. After speaking with Michael we decided the logical path was to just try to see how well we worked together. I immediately went from being really surprised to really flattered to just plain beastmode to make a killer album!
Did you have any doubts accepting the position of lead singer of Arch Enemy? How did the guys in The Agonist take the news?
I didn’t have any doubts about joining Arch Enemy. With Angela believing in me, I knew I could do it. It’s obviously not an easy task and I am pushing myself as hard as I can, but I know that now is the right time for this change to happen and that I am up for the challenge. The guys in my former band obviously didn’t like this idea very much because they kicked me out when I told them about my new engagements. I had planned to be in both bands and I am very capable of doing double duty, but I wasn’t given the option, so now I will focus exclusively on Arch Enemy.
I guess everyone is wondering if we’ll get to hear some clean vocals in Arch Enemy songs.
Well, everyone will just have to buy War Eternal and see!
Were you a fan of Arch Enemy’s music? Did you ever picture yourself performing it?
Yes, I was always a big supporter of Arch Enemy. Wages of Sin was actually the first metal album I ever bought. I never thought I would be in this band, I never pictured myself joining and already established band at all actually. But, now that I am fronting Arch Enemy, it feels quite natural, although it hasn’t completely sunk in yet.
The last time Arch Enemy changed the line-up, the band became massive. Do you think that, this time around, people will react just as enthusiastically?
I certainly hope so! I think the quality of our music will please old and new fans alike and hopefully we can just expand upon what Arch Enemy has already accomplished.
Will you be involved lyrically in the songs as well?
Yes, I wrote 5 of the songs on War Eternal in terms of the lyrics and vocal arrangements.
Are you super anxious and nervous regarding the following tour, reception and so on?
I’m not really as nervous as I am excited. I’m going to do my absolute best, like I always have. The back catalog of songs is quite demanding so I will definitely be very focused.
As opposed to The Agonist, how do you see the Arch Enemy songs? Are they more demanding vocally for you?
They are just different. Somewhat less demanding since there is no clean singing and more breathing room, but obviously more demanding considering I have big shoes to fill. The quality of the vocals has to be 100%.
Do you share Angela’s views on animal rights, politics and so on?
Yes! I think most of the band, including Angela, shares similar political views. I have been vegan and quite active in the fight for animal rights for 15 years now. Most of my lyrical inspiration is drawn from global and social issues, focusing on animal rights, although my lyrical style is very different from past Arch Enemy songs.
What’s your favorite track off the new album, „War Eternal”, and why.
That is a very tough question! This is actually one of those rare albums where I am completely in love with every song and every song is different. I think the top runners for today (since it changes everyday) would have to be „As the Pages Burn” and „Avalanche”. I wrote both of those songs and the lyrics mean a lot to me. I also think they are very interesting and energetic, musically.
What’s the fan feedback so far?
Very welcoming and positive! I’m happy to see that Arch Enemy fans and my own fans understand the situation and are happy to listen to the music we’ve created and support the new version of Arch Enemy.
Tell us, what will you bring new to Arch Enemy? You’re obviously very different from Angela.
Well, I am a different person, this is true! I think I will bring a different lyrical style and slightly different vocals. I draw my inspiration from different sources than Angela, but I think my style sounds quite good with Arch Enemy’s music as well. I would like to stay very true to her delivery when it comes to the old songs though, since they sound fantastic that way and I don’t see any reason to change them.
Which are your „secret ingredients” (like in the Powerpuff Girls: sugar, spice and everything nice).
Vegan and straightedge! Respect all life and appreciate your own!
On May 23rd you’ll visit Romania for the first time! What do you know about the country and do you wish to see anything in particular?
I really hope I can see some cool sights! I don’t know very much about Romania other than my best friend is half Romanian and my sister, who has toured here before, said it is a beautiful country. If any Romanian Arch Enemy fans can recommend a nice place to visit during my short stay there, please let me know! 🙂
In your special message for us, you said that you’ve heard that the Romanian audience is amazing. Do you have high expectations from us?
I do! So you had better be moshing your faces off! Hahaha!
Why should both the old and the new Arch Enemy fans come to the gig in Bucharest, on May 23rd?
Because we will be playing many old Arch Enemy songs, and after all, this IS still Arch Enemy. Plus, we will be showing off some new tunes as well. We plan on delivering the same caliber of show that you can expect from Arch enemy, and with the support of all the old and new fans, I know we can make it an amazing experience!
Thank you Alissa and good luck!
Thank you and I look forward to meeting you all soon!
On May 23rd 2014, Arch Enemy will perform in Romania, at Bucharest, at the Turbohalle venue. The gig is part of the band’s promotional tour for the record „War Eternal”, out this summer.
For information regarding tickets, location and other important details, please click HERE.
Opening for the beloved band are Krepuskul from Romania.