Mourning and Celebrating the Enemy

A few days ago, I found out that Angela Gossow has stepped down from Arch Enemy’s lead. Replacing her is Alissa White-Gluz, former lead vocalist of The Agonist.

It was a devastating piece of information I could have done without, especially on that day which was already shitty for various unrelated reasons. I know Alissa. I met her backstage along with Angela after Arch Enemy’s show in Montreal back in 2008. I also had a chance to interview her for Fallopian Falafel some time later and she turned out to be quite an incredible chick. Plus, The Agonist is a pretty cool band, too. And aside from all that, not only is Alissa originally from Montreal, like me, but she’s also Jewish (or at least half-Jewish) like me. I know that because she told me she was considering applying for the Birthright trip to Israel, which you can only apply for if you have some Jewish blood running through your system. So yes, I love Alissa.

But that news was still awful. And I was far from convinced that Alissa would make a good replacement for Angela. In fact, Angela is irreplaceable. She’s second to none. There can never be any good enough substitute for Angela.

Despite all these thoughts going through my mind, I think the whole idea of Angela quitting Arch Enemy was still rather surreal to me. The reality of it didn’t hit me until last night when I saw the new video Arch Enemy released with Alissa in the lead, called “War Eternal”. I didn’t think I was going to have a chance to see the video last night when it was officially released because my computer was busted. I thought I’d have to wait until Sunday when I would watch it at work. But my boyfriend managed to fix it and the video blasted through the speakers and hit me in my eardrums, then straight in the middle of my brain, shot immediately to the spine, exploded through my heart and finally splattered my guts and ravaged my system. When the guitars shredded into the chorus and Alissa’s growls persisted along with the melody, just as Angela is wont to do, that’s when Angela’s absence hit me like a brick to my face.

As beautiful and as powerful and as still incredible as the song is, I couldn’t help crying. Like a baby. Angela is gone. She’s really gone. The woman who has been my ultimate role model, the one whose vocals, words and songs have saved my life more times than I can count, the one who was there and who understood me when no one else could or even wanted to – she was all those things – and she is really gone.

My inner child mourned the momentous loss and so we cried and moaned and sighed in unison.

And then, we struggled to move on.

Alissa’s vocals are epic and despite everything, she is indeed a more than decent replacement for Angela. I am thrilled for the new record which is set to be released in June, and I am even more excited about the Arch Enemy show at Wacken in August.

Angela, you will be missed. Alissa, you are amazing. Pure fucking metal now and forever.

Peace, love and remember who you are.

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