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Angela Gassow

of Arch Enemy

article by Lucifera

Sweden's ARCH ENEMY is a melodic death metal band with power metal guitar riffs. When they released their latest album entitled "Wages Of Sin" in 2001 they decided to replace their vocalist, Johan Liiva with Angela Gossow. Angela was in two different death metal bands before Arch Enemy, Asmodina in 1991 and she founded Mistress in 1998. They found out about Angela when they saw her performing in her old German band, on a video tape, needless to say, the band was impressed.

Like the infamous Doro, Angela is German and has those strong iron-lungs. Angela is humorous and has an extraordinary vocal-range - from deep growls to aggressive screams. The new blond metal queen has become admired by the metal scene as one of the most brutal of vocalists. And she says her influences are male vocalists such as Jeff Walker, David Vincent, Chuck Schuldiner.

She's definitely not the first to have the deepest and most aggressive of vocals, if you've been reading Endemoniada, you would already know that, but she's the first to make her presence well-known world wide and become accepted so quickly. Is it because she's blond and pretty? Is it truly because of her voice? Or was it great promotion and an already established band? Or maybe it's that restless Scorpio in her in need for ultimate power. Well, that's up to you to decide. I think it's a combination of these and that other women had already prepared the metal scene for the coming of the extreme female vocalist. Another interesting fact is that no one knew who this mystery singer was, because the band released the album without stating who was on vocals in order to allow the listeners to judge by ear rather than by looks or image.

Angela has also been sought after for her vocal techniques. She's even featured in a book allowing her to give advice on vocal approaches. "Every growler has its own technique, its kinda hard to describe. It feels a bit like gargling in the back of your throat while screaming at the same time. I worked out special breathing techniques with a vocal coach to improve my lung volume and not to get hoarse. I work constantly on pronunciation and articulation. A proper warm up before singing is necessary if you don't want to damage your voice! Humming and lip thrills are excellent warm ups…"

Angela has been fighting for recognition in the metal scene for 12 years. She considers herself open-minded, creative, a good listener and difficult to please, and of course, human as she stated, "Mean comments really hurt me and bring me down."

She supports the idea of women in metal and feels that "it's a natural development that women get more and more involved into extreme metal. I mean, there are lots of female fans already – so why shouldn't they pick up an instrument and join a band? There is lots of female talent out there, its more a question, if they dare to try it yet… Because we still have to face heavy male prejudice. And this REALLY SUCKS!" She has recieved negative feedback from one or two idiots, as she called them, and rightly so. Their pathetic statements were that women shouldn't be involve in metal. And Angela simply dismissed them as unimportant. She's into Slayer, Candlemass, Testament, Slayer, Carcass, Judas Priest and more.

When she played Live in NYC, I thought she was great. She has a strong-stage presence and she complimented the women in the metal scene while she was up there growling away.

The woman bluntly states she's into sex, sports and rock & roll, oh yeah and did I mention strawberries. But please people give her a basket of them after the show, do not throw her strawberries while she's growling or you just might get hurt.

(note a great interview can be found in Metal Maniacs by Liz C.)