Formed by ex-Carnage, Carcass, and Candlemass guitarist Michael Amott (concurrently of Spiritual Beggars) with his brother Christopher (Armageddon), Arch Enemy took a straight-ahead approach to death metal reminiscent of Entombed or late-period Carcass, blending catchy, classic-style metal riffs with crushing grooves for an intense yet accessible sound. The group's charter lineup was rounded out by bassist/vocalist Johan Liiva (Carnage, Furbowl) and drummer Daniel Erlandsson (Eucharist, session work for In Flames); they released their debut album, Black Earth, in 1996. For their second album, 1998's Stigmata, Armageddon bassist Martin Bengtsson took over those duties from vocalist Liiva, while Armageddon drummer Peter Wildoer sat in for Erlandsson. More personnel turnover ensued, as Mercyful Fate reunion bassist Sharlee D'Angelo (also formerly of Witchery and Dismember) joined up for 1999's Burning Bridges, which also featured the return of Erlandsson. Wages of Sin from 2001 found Johan Liiva departing and replaced by Angela Gossow.
After touring extensively across Europe and Japan, the band returned to the studio and released Anthems of Rebellion in 2003. The EP Dead Eyes See No Future was released by the end of the year and featured a mix of cover versions and live tracks. The album Doomsday Machine landed in July of 2005 just as guitarist Christopher Amott announced he was leaving the band. Former Tiamat member Fredrik Åkesson replaced him, though the two would switch places again two years later, with Åkesson leaving the band to join Opeth, and Amott taking back his spot on guitar. The band then released its seventh album, Rise of the Tyrant, in 2007. The album would be Arch Enemy's most successful to date, and they followed up the release by heading out on tours with Swedish metal giants Opeth and Dark Tranquillity. In 2009, the band looked back to its older material with The Root of All Evil. The album featured tracks from the band's first three albums that were re-recorded with current singer Angela Gossow. 2011's Khaos Legions, the band's eighth studio long player, marked a return to new original material, and proved to be the band's highest-charting album to date. It would also be the last outing for Gossow and founding guitarist Christopher Amott, both of whom left the band the following year. 2014's War Eternal saw the additions of ex-Agonist vocalist Alissa White-Gluz and ex-Arsis guitarist Nick Cordle (who left shortly before the band's European tour and was replaced by former Nevermore axe-slinger Jeff Loomis). ~ Steve Huey