Beyond the Boys’ Club is a monthly column from journalist and radio host Anne Erickson, focusing on women in the heavy music genres, as they offer their perspectives on the music industry and discuss their personal experiences. Erickson is also a music artist herself and has a new single, “Last Love,” with Upon Wings. The latest edition of Beyond the Boys’ Club features an interview with Alissa White-Gluz of the band Arch Enemy.
Arch Enemy have built a strong name for themselves in the realm of extreme metal, and fans waited with great anticipation for the band’s latest full-length effort, Deceivers, the group’s first album in five years. The set dropped August 12th via Century Media Records, marking the 11th studio release from the veteran metal act.
Lead vocalist Alissa White-Gluz has been with Arch Enemy since 2014, and Deceivers marks her third album with the band, following War Eternal and Will to Power. While stepping into the lead singer role in any established band isn’t easy, White-Gluz has done it with strength, class and charisma, helping to add to the band’s fanbase over the past several years.
White-Gluz checked in with Heavy Consequence for the latest edition of “Beyond the Boys’ Club,” discussing the new album, their recent tour with Behemoth, her vegan lifestyle, what it’s like being a female in heavy metal and more. Read the full interview below.
Congratulations on your new album, Deceivers. One of the early singles off the release was the brutally fantastic “House of Mirrors.” Tell me about the story behind that song and why you wanted it to be the first taste of new music off the new album.
Thank you! It is always difficult to choose which songs to highlight as singles. “House of Mirrors” is a real head-banger, and the lyrics are some of my favorite. I tapped into the metaphor of “the home” — something everyone is quite familiar with. During the past couple years, I feel that the concept of “home” has shifted from something positive (home is where the heart is, home sweet home, etc.) to something negative (stay-at-home orders). Many people felt isolated and trapped during lockdowns. I wanted to explore the psychological effects of isolation and how a place that used to be synonymous with solace can quickly shift to a place of distress.
At this point, we have released four singles — namely “Deceiver, Deceiver,” “House of Mirrors,” “Handshake with Hell” and “Sunset Over the Empire.” I think it is quite clear that each of these songs stands on its own and is very different from the rest. I think the album has this kind of dynamic throughout and grows on you with every listen.
“Handshake with Hell” has such a classic metal vibe. Tell me about the story behind that song.
It is a fun song and great to play live. [Guitarist] Michael [Amott] is a big fan of classic metal and has a huge collection of vintage vinyls from around the world. I could feel that he was leaning into that vibe and having fun with it when I heard the instrumental version of this song, so I decided to do the same thing vocally. The pre-choruses were set up perfectly for some heavy metal clean singing with just the right mix of grit, power, melody and wide vibrato. The choruses felt like pure Arch Enemy to me, so I wrote lyrics and arranged the vocals accordingly for that. There are gang vocals in the chorus that were created by Michael, Jacob and myself surrounding a microphone. Those are always fun to do. I am so used to playing many voices and characters in songs, but there is a different flavor when you actually bring in different throats. As for the bridge, Michael initially wanted me to do some spoken word there, and I wanted to do some vocal acrobatics. We ended up meeting in the middle with this kind of haunting, repetitive chant. I think it was the right choice and that the visuals that Patric Ullaeus created in the music video highlight it perfectly.