Sounding like a particularly rotten day during the Apocalypse, Arch Enemy is a Swedish band that throttles its listeners with a unique mix of Sepultura-like riffage, dirty Florida swamp-style death metal, the occasional mid-'80s classic, over-the-top metal solo and meat-cleaver-style hooks. But the band's members, formerly of Carcass, Armageddon and Mercyful Fate, also have a surprisingly fine ear for melody lost on many of their contemporaries.
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In 2002, Arch Enemy added a new singer, Angela Gossow, a foxy German blonde, whose vocals never sound as if they could possibly be emanating from a woman. Rather, they sound like a guttural blast from the sewers of purgatory, or not unlike a three-headed dog attacking a squirrel. Gossow smiles a lot and has the sort of charisma that one doesn't expect at all from the extreme metal scene. She is just the right touch to add to a band that ranks among metal's most progressive and gifted outfits.