Pure heavy metal. It kicks you in the groin with a steel toe boot then picks you back up to command a Viking ship manned by head-banging skeletons navigating towards hell in a sea of the wicked’s blood. ‘Tis only the beginning of the epic quest that is lived when your skull is rocking its face off to torch bearers of extreme metal, Arch Enemy. Hailing from Sweden, this five-piece legion of doom is carrying heavy metal into the millenium with style. Hammering double bass, brutal riffs, blazing guitar solos and prophecies blared by a female front-woman who could kick this whole school’s butt bare fisted leaving all shamed. These elements combined summon a force so powerful that even Satan’s hands would be burned by its lightning white energy. On July 18th the humble town of Burlington was fortunate enough to host the barbaric force that is Arch Enemy, along with A Dozen Furies, It Dies Today, The Haunted and The Black Dahlia Murder all of which are spending their summer tearing up the Second Stage at Ozzfest. I had the privilege of interviewing founding member and lead guitarist of Arch Enemy, Michael Armott, before the show and these are the words from the wise. **************************Kyle: Tell me about the title of the new album, Doomsday Machine.Michael: I don’t know. We had it in a song on the last album called Dead Eyes See No Future. The line was, “giving our blood to the doomsday machine.” I just like the doomsday machine so we’ll continue on that. It sounds powerful; it could mean a lot of different things I guess. With lyrics and titles and stuff like that, I really don’t like it when other bands tell you exactly what it’s all about. I mean if you look at rock ‘n roll or metal lyrics usually there’s not too many Bob Dylans. It’s just words on a piece of paper and together with the music hopefully it takes it to the next level and creates an atmosphere. Kyle: There’s a strong metal/hardcore/punk scene around Burlington. What advice would you give these bands on becoming successful?Michael: They should look like Good Charlotte and sound like In Flames (laughs). That seems to go down pretty well nowadays. I fell into this by mistake really. I wanted to play music, I wanted to play in a band but the kind of music I was into was very, very underground at the time so there were no real record deals to be had or anything like that so that wasn’t really what I was looking for. Originally I only wanted to do a demo tape, get some recognition from the underground and it’s evolved from there. I didn’t have a lot of ambitions. You read into where kids have Kiss posters on the wall and dream about being a star and all that. I never had that before really, so I come from a different angle I guess. I mean now I want all the fame and glory I can get (laughs). But I didn’t start out like that. I didn’t have that ambition.Kyle: Why do you think heavy metal is becoming so popular in America?Michael: I mean everything seems to go around in circles. Now people seem to be more open. A few years ago it was bands like Godsmack. That stuff was still pretty heavy I guess but it had a certain atmosphere, a nu-metal tag or whatever. I don’t really know, I’m not from here so I don’t really know what goes on too much. I just know there’s an increased interest in what we do, that’s always exciting. There are some bands that are doing really well like Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall. They’re doing really well and it’s cool. I don’t really follow it too closely so I don’t know what that is. We’ve just been doing what we’ve always been doing. When we started out no one was interested over here. For the first three albums nobody even really bothered to schedule an interview for us over here. There was no interest and we definitely didn’t tour. And then suddenly, yeah, things come around and it’s like, “yeah this band’s really cool” and it’s like “oh yeah they’ve got guitar solos” but it was before anyone was really into us. We really haven’t changed for this tour. We’re evolving as a band but we’re doing what we’re going to do. We don’t pay attention to what goes on. We don’t know what things are happening. Something that we thought about was that we definitely want to retain our European sound, our European feel. I know that some European bands are trying to sound American, it seems that way when you listen to stuff. Then a lot of Americans are trying to sound like Swedish bands. I definitely want to keep our European Metal atmosphere. Kyle: If you could create a genre to describe Arch Enemy what would it be? Michael: Pure metal (laughs). It’s just metal to me. Extreme metal I guess. There are labels and labels you know. I understand heavy metal, I understand thrash metal, I even understand death metal. But now it seems like these boxes are getting smaller and smaller and it’s not that fun sitting in a box that small and like, “this is what we are.” Then you do a song that’s different and everybody will say, “Well that’s not what they should be doing, it’s a bit weird.” Music is an art form, it’s supposed to be creative, you’re supposed to have fun with it. Be creative and be an artist. ************************** Three hours after the interview Arch Enemy decimated the stage. Amidst a sea of fists forming devil horns I felt like I had achieved enlightenment watching Michael’s hands melt over the fretboard, but it soon broke and I continued to navigate my Viking ship in the sea of heavy metal.