BLACK EARTH — the project featuring former and current members of ARCH ENEMY performing material from the latter band's first three albums live on stage — has just released "Path Of The Immortal", a collection of remastered tracks from those early LPs. The disc, which was made available exclusively in Japan on March 20, includes two brand new songs, "Burn On The Flame" and "Life Infernal", which were recorded at the end of 2018 at Sweden's Studio Fredman with producer Fredrik Nordström.
Speaking to Japan's "Masa Ito's Rock TV" in February, ARCH ENEMY guitarist and main songwriter Michael Amott explained how the new music came about. "Together with Trooper Entertainment, we've put together a compilation of our favorite tracks from the first, second and third album that featured these guys — with Johan [Liiva on vocals] and Chris [Amott on guitar] and everything," he said. "And we've put together a compilation album of that '90s material. It's been remastered here in Japan. I actually attended the mastering session last week, and it sounds incredible. It really brought the old tracks… it gave them a new life. And then we actually recorded two new songs in Sweden. So we've been quite busy with that."
He continued: "It's quite complicated getting everybody together to do that. But we wrote these two new songs. I wrote one with Chris, and then I wrote one myself. They're called 'Burn On The Flame' and 'Life Infernal' — two brand new tracks that are kind of in the style of what we used to do, I think. And they turned out really amazing too. We actually went back to Fredrik Nordström's studio, Fredman, where we made the first three records. So we worked with the original producer. And he mixed it, and it sounds really powerful — very cool."
According to Michael, the BLACK EARTH recording sessions turned out to be a "very, very strange" experience, "because we just picked it up where we left off. After about an hour or so, we were doing the same kind of jokes and the same kind of chemistry," he explained. "And the sounds as well. I was thinking maybe it was gonna sound very different. Also because of us — we all progress and change over the years, and develop. And also Fredrik, of course. He had a new studio now, with some different equipment. But actually, he just managed to get that old-school sound. And it was a lot of fun. Kind of a little bit nostalgia."
ARCH ENEMY recorded three albums with Liiva: "Black Earth" (1996), "Stigmata" (1998) and "Burning Bridges" (1999).
Liiva was replaced by German singer Angela Gossow as ARCH ENEMY's lead vocalist in 2000. Gossow exited the band in 2013 and was succeeded by former THE AGONIST frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz, while remaining as the group's manager.
Christopher Amott first left ARCH ENEMY in 2005, only to return to the group two years later. His second, and apparently final, departure came in March 2012.
BLACK EARTH completed its first Japanese tour in May 2016 and will return this coming May to celebrate the 20th anniversary of "Burning Bridges".
"When we did the tour in 2016, the reaction was incredible — we had so many sold-out shows, and [we got] very, very strong feedback and a lot of love from the Japanese audience," Michael told "Masa Ito's Rock TV". "So that was really an incredible time for us and a wonderful experience — one of the highlights of my career, I think. So we decided to come back and do it again three years later. And now we're doing it in more cities. So we're looking forward to visiting these places and bringing the music to the fans that normally maybe could not travel to Tokyo or to Osaka to see a show."
BLACK EARTH is:
Michael Amott - guitar
Christopher Amott - guitar
Johan Liiva - vocals
Daniel Erlandsson - drums
Sharlee D'Angelo - bass