Swedish metal juggernaut Arch Enemy are poised to attack. Having set social media and earbuds alight with their incendiary brand-new album Will To Power, the band are thrilled to announce a run of headline dates throughout Australia. Timed perfectly to allow an appearance at the inaugural Download Festival Australia, Arch Enemy are a band ever growing in stature with a devouring compulsion to make the ultimate statement of heavy metal supremacy.

It has been far too long for those Australian fans fully accustomed to the unique brand of hellish chaos unleashed by Arch Enemy at their live shows. Since their last visit in 2012, the band have added the soul shredding vocals of Alissa White-Gluz to their artillery, with vocalist Angela Gossow having stepped aside to take up management duties for the band. Also welcomed into the fold is Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis filling out the ranks to create a truly astounding powerhouse of pure awe. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to drummer Daniel Erlandsson.

Great news that Arch Enemy are heading down to Australia for the first Download Festival in Melbourne and headline shows around the country.
Yeah, it’s going to be amazing. We’re all super excited about it and looking forward to coming down again.

It just feels like it’s been way, way, way too long since Arch Enemy was last. I think the last tour was 2012?
Yeah, that’s right. We came down, I think we only did two shows, possibly. That was a short tour anyway but it’s a long time ago.

Did 2017 feel like a massive year For Arch Enemy? With an album and a live album plus touring it probably doesn’t get any bigger than that.
It can always get bigger! It was a really good year especially releasing the Will To Power album. After putting all the work into making the album, putting it out, and seeing people’s reactions has been really, really great so far.

Have you been really happy with how it’s being received particularly playing the new songs live?
Yeah. Yeah.

How was the whole studio experience of making Will To Power? Was that an easy album to make or was it challenging as all of them are?
Yeah, I mean they’re all challenging in a way. We started writing the material like one and half years before actually finishing the album and all the time spent in between there, it’s like doing demos, analysing this and that, putting the pieces together and it’s a pretty long process. Then we recorded the album in almost exactly the same way as the album before. We tracked in the drums in a separate studio with a great sounding huge room. Then we moved down to a smaller location, a smaller studio where we tracked the guitars and bass. Then all of the solos were done in a separate studio in another great sounding room. We pretty much do all of that ourselves.

Was that challenging bringing it all together and pulling it together into something that everyone was happy with?
Yeah, it’s a long process and everybody puts their touch on the material. That’s what makes it so good, I guess, in the end.

Was there ever any doubt at any point along the way, that you’d never get there because the process took so long?
I think there’s always moments when you reflect a little bit too much on what you have and now you start doubting that it’s good enough. There’s always moments like that but I think we just kept going and once we had half of the material, we got there and we started feeling that it’s pretty strong so just keep going and build the album around the material that we already have.

How would you compare this album probably to the likes of War Internal or even Khaos Legions? How do you see how the Arch Enemy’s sound has evolved?
That’s a good question because I think every album is slightly different than the other and you always look back, especially on the last album you’ve done. There’s always something you want to do different. I think that War Eternal came from a time when the band was in a little bit of inner turmoil to put it that way. When Angela quit we weren’t really sure if we could carry on as a band. Changing singers is always a huge deal. War Eternal was kind of born out of that so it’s more dense. It’s more dense sounding and there’s more stuff crammed into it technically speaking, there’s more of everything. I think Will To Power is more open sounding and there’s a bit more light. It’s still heavy obviously, but there’s more air in the material, if that makes sense.

How do the fans sort of react to the change in singer? Has it been positive for Arch Enemy or a little bit difficult in the beginning?
We were aware that it was going to be a huge deal for a lot of people, for a lot of fans. That’s why we wanted to present it in the best possible way for the band. We didn’t want to say that, “Oh, Angela quit” and then nothing happens for a year then we come back, “and now we found a new singer.” So the way we did it instead was we announced her departure and Alissa joining the band at the same time as well as releasing the War Eternal video at the same time. I think that was key to introducing Alissa in a good way and showing that the band is still relevant, and we still want to do things.

Was it always the intention to release a live album in the same year that you’re releasing a studio album?
Well, if there was it was from the record company side. It just happened so that we had we this show at Wacken Festival and it was kind of a headline spot, you know, so we had played that stage before earlier during the day and this time we headlined it so we wanted to give the fans something new. At this time it was a big production, something that we’d never used before and a moment like that you have to just record and film and that’s what we did.

Is Wacken Festival one of the best festivals in the world to play at?
If you want to play to a lot of people, it’s definitely one of the absolute best ones. It’s so well organized you know, it’s been going for many years and I’ve never been there as a visitor, but I think it’s great because it’s always a sell-out. It always sells out, that’s what I was going to say.

Are you looking forward to playing the first Download Festival in Melbourne? What can fans expect when you play at Download here in Australia?
Well, like we said before, we haven’t been Australia in five years, we have a different singer and a different guitar player so it’s partly a new band that’s coming. We have some new material as well and we’re going to give our best. I haven’t actually seen the details about how long our show is going to be, how long our set length is, but we are definitely going to deliver one hundred percent.

What do you look forward to most about visiting Australia?
Hmm, that’s a good question. I like the heat. I like it but there’s always a lot of good food in Australia, you have insane food there, all types of different cultures from around the world.

In terms of 2018, what does that look like for Arch Enemy? Do you start sort of thinking about what the next album might look like or might sound like or is it just focus purely on touring the world?
At the moment, we have some emails circulating within the band discussing our plans. In terms of touring that takes us well into 2019 so that’s when we’re scheduled to start writing again. Usually what happens at this stage is that little ideas start to pop up every now and then. We’ll record them along the way. Somebody just sings a melody into their iPhone and the ideas start to happen. It starts really small but in terms of a new album, it’s like a little bit early to say but it’s going to probably happen in 2019 I would guess.

Interview by Rob Lyon

Catch Arch Enemy on the following tour dates…

Arch Enemy Tour Poster