Tuesday night, one of downtown Los Angeles’s newest venues hosted a night of blood, sweat, and pure energy. Diehard metalheads flocked to Club Nokia to witness the North American Khaos Tour with Chthonic, Skeletonwitch, Devil Driver, and Arch Enemy. Although the opening bands promised to make this Los Angeles appearance their best show on the tour, fans eagerly jumped at the chance to see Arch Enemy live. It was worth the wait.
Sparing no eardrum from their wrath, Arch Enemy dove right in to their lengthy new album Khaos Legions, with the first two tracks “Khaos Overture” and “Yesterday Is Dead and Gone.” The entire album exuded everything metal stands for. Headbanging Heaven smiled down as the raw power of the extended guitar solos and beats ripped through the audience’s ears. Being in the presence of such a hyped crowd made it so much more than a show. It was an experience.
Albums are controlled and produced to a tee, but rock has always thrived on the live performance. From the headbanging to the emphatic guitar solos, Arch Enemy put on a show that was everything fans hoped it would be. The music infused onlookers with vigor. Within minutes, two mosh pits erupted on the dance floor, crowd surfers flew through the air, and a wave of angry fists swung about. As expected, this proved to be a night that was anything but tame.
Between songs, lead vocalist Anna Gassow teased “I hope you saved some blood for us,” as she thrust her fists in the air and pumped up the audience. Though her growls are impeccable and lucid in the studio, the edgy blasts of her voice were even better in the raw. Next, they thrashed back to familiar tune “Ravenous” from Wages of Sin. This song proved that even though she was growling most of the lyrics, Gassow took advantage of how high her pitch could get and maximized her vocal range. By the time they got to “Under Black Flags We March,” the show was in full swing. Playing into the crowd’s every desire, they demolished the audience with raspy guitar harmonies in “Dead Eyes See No Future.”
As they progressed to the final songs of the show, they peppered in one last track from Khaos Legions, “No Gods, No Masters.” The set ended with “We Will Rise,” with an encore of “Nemesis.” Arch Enemy undoubtedly gave metalheads something to remember. When it comes to death metal, live is the best way to enjoy it. The recorded version of each song does not compare to the likes of the thrashing that transpires during a performance. Diehard headbangers herd to these intimate venues for so much more than a live set. They come for the experience that promises to, if nothing else, at least make their ears bleed!