Genre: Melodic Death Metal (early), Power Metal (mid), Death Metal (later)
Sweden's ARMAGEDDON are the melodic metal project of Arch Enemy guitarist Chris Amott and "Embrace The Mystery & Three" finally sees the band's albums number two and three getting a release outside of Japan, where they originally came out in 2000 and 2002, respectively. This 2-CD package gathers a total of 26 classy tracks, including the full original albums as well as bonus material like demos and cover songs in a total playing time of 100+ minutes for the price of a regular disc and marks a must-have addition to any high-quality metal collection.
Originally formed in Halmstad, Sweden in 1997 by Chris Amott, ARMAGEDDON started during a Japanese visit of Arch Enemy after the release of their "Black Earth" debut album. While in Japan, the young guitar virtuoso Chris secured his own record deal for a solo project with the Japanese label Toy's Factory, which was named ARMAGEDDON. Once returned to Sweden, Chris recruited drummer Peter Wildoer (Darkane, Majestic, Old Man's Child, Pestilence), bassist Martin Bengtsson (Arch Enemy) and vocalist Jonas Nyrén (In Thy Dreams) for their debut album, "Crossing The Rubicon", which was released in the same year 1997 on the now defunct W.A.R. Records in Europe and on Toy's Factory in Japan. The album, which actually was a concept album, was well received by critics and fans. "Crossing The Rubicon" focused primarily on melodic death metal, but incorporated instrumentals and special effects pieces between the songs, adding a sci-fi vibe to the record's atmosphere in connection with its space-themed artwork.
Following the recording of "Crossing The Rubicon", Peter Wildoer and Martin Bengtsson both joined Arch Enemy, recording, releasing and touring "Stigmata" in 1998 and also Chris would focus on ARCH ENEMY for the better part of the next three years and did not return to ARMAGEDDON until 2000's "Embrace The Mystery" album, once again released in Japan on Toy's Factory records but never available internationally. The album featured Last Tribe member Rickard Bengtsson on vocals (and recording duties), Dick Lövgren on bass (Meshuggah, ex-tour bassist for Eucharist, Arch Enemy, In Flames), as well as Arch Enemy's new drummer Daniel Erlandsson. "Embrace The Mystery" focused exclusively on melodic metal, with classic metal riffs, loads of harmonies and pure clean singing instead of the rawer vocal approach used before. "Embrace The Mystery" was mixed by Fredrik Nordström at Studio Fredman (At The Gates, In Flames, HammerFall, etc.) and following the album's release, ARMAGEDDON supported In Flames and The Haunted on a short Japanese tour, which are the only performances the band has played to date.
In 2002, ARMAGEDDON re-surfaced with their third album, simply called "Three", this time around as a three-piece and featuring Chris Amott not only as shredding guitarist and sole composer but also on vocal duties. The line-up was completed by Daniel Erlandsson on drums as well as new bassist Tobias Gustafsson (Eucharist) and stylistically turned out to be a pretty pure power metal effort, which was once again released exclusively in Japan, until now.
"Embrace The Mystery & Three" marks the long-overdue international release of these two jewels and rarities of Scandinavian melodic Metal, not only including the full original versions of both albums packaged in a revamped version of the artwork by Niklas Sundin (Dark Tranquillity, Arch Enemy, In Flames) initially done for "Embrace The Mystery" but also comes with 6 special bonus tracks (demo and rehearsals as well as cover versions of Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate) as well as liner notes by Chris Amott, turning this 2-CD set into not only an essential historical release for collectors of the mentioned main bands of the involved high-quality players but with its total of 26 tracks and 100+ minutes of playing time it also represents a worthwhile purchase for supporters of the melodic metal genre in general.
Chris Amott comments "Embrace The Mystery & Three" as follows: "I consider these albums to be snapshots of my playing style and interests at the time. They are done in the spirit of metal. I hope you enjoy listening! They're just a picture! An image caught in time!"
- Crossing the Rubicon (1997)
- Embrace the Mystery (2000)
- Three (2002)
- Captivity & Devourment (2015)
- Crossing the Rubicon (Revisited) (2016)
- Embrace the Mystery & Three (2009)
Christopher Amott - Guitars (1997, 2000-2002, 2012-present), Vocals (2001-2002)
Márton Veress - Drums (2013-present)
Joey Concepcion - Guitars (2013-present)
Antony Hämäläinen - Vocals (2015-present)
Andrew Pevny - Bass (2016-present)
Martin Bengtsson - Bass (1997)
Peter Wildoer - Drums, Percussion (1997)
Jonas Nyrén - Vocals (1997)
Dick Lövgren - Bass (2000-2001)
Daniel Erlandsson - Drums (2000-2002)
Rickard Bengtsson - Vocals (2000)
Tobias Gustafsson - Bass (2001-2002)
Van Williams - Drums (2012-2013)
Matt Wicklund - Guitars (2012-2013)
Sara Claudius - Bass (2013-2016)
Matt Hallquist - Vocals (2013-2014)