Few bands operating in the melodic death metal realm over the past few decades have been as simultaneously successful and heavily scrutinized as Arch Enemy – both for their musical evolutions and the person appointed as their lead vocalist.

Guitarist, chief songwriter and all around big potato Michael Amott was already an underground celebrity when he formed Arch Enemy, having been involved in the earliest, seminal days of the Swedish death metal movement with cult favorites Carnage), then joined death-grind legends Carcass, before launching a stoner rock ensemble called Spiritual Beggars.

Arch Enemy was supposed to be a one-off project revisiting those death metal roots; that’s why Amott invited old friend and Carnage vocalist Johan Liiva, along with his younger brother, guitarist Christopher Amott, to participate in the creation and recording of 1996’s Black Earth album.

The informal group was quickly embraced by heavy metal fans, who wanted more, so Arch Enemy became a proper band, releasing two more well-received albums in 1998’s Stigmata and ‘99’s Burning Bridges, which saw their lineup stabilizing around bassist Sharlee D'Angelo and drummer Daniel Erlandsson.

Or so it was thought, until the elder Amott made the hotly debated decision (in the eyes of some observers) by replacing Liiva with German-born singer Angela Gossow, who effectively became the face of the Arch Enemy and a major champion for female vocalists working in the extreme metal arena, thanks to her impressive death metal roars.

Nevertheless, strong fan opinions (much of it peppered with metal-head misogyny) about Gossow became an ongoing discussion point about Arch Enemy, even though the band’s career took off thanks to the five studio albums and consistent touring they embarked on over the next decade.

Some, but not all of those distractions were finally put to bed when Gossow retired from the band in 2014 and her place was taken by former The Agonist singer Alissa White-Gluz, who appeared on that year’s War Eternal album, along with Christopher Amott’s replacement Nick Cordle (former Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis joined before the album’s tour).

Thus was inaugurated a a new era for Arch Enemy, certain to bring more world-beating death metal and, yes, fan debating, but forget about all that for a moment and check out our gallery above of Arch Enemy albums ranked from worst to best.

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