Christopher Amott (Armageddon) interviewed

** Most thought Christopher Amott crazy for leaving Arch Enemy a second time. He was in an internationally recognized metal band. They sold records. They toured the world. He played with his brother, Michael. It was a dream scenario. Well, the younger Amott wasn’t having any of it. He left Arch Enemy, relocated to the US, and reactivated (in a way) his own band Armageddon with a new lineup and, to a degree, a new sound. Actually, Armageddon stretches back to 1997 when the group then comprised of Amott, vocalist Jonas Nyrén (In Thy Dreams), drummer Peter Wildoer (Darkane), and bassist Martin Bengtsson (Arch Enemy). They recorded and released debut album, Crossing the Rubicon, at the height of the New Wave Of Swedish Death Metal. Over the next few years, Armageddon morphed band members and sound on albums Embrace the Mystery and Three. Amott, busy with Arch Enemy, put Armageddon on ice. But this too would only last so long. With Armageddon active again, Amott wrote, recorded, and released Captivity & Devourment with his new band. Lead single “Fugitive Dust” is reason alone to consider Amott (sans Amott) as one of extreme metal’s brightest hopefuls. Read on!
Who are the new players in Armageddon and where did you find them?
Christopher Amott: Well, Sara I’ve known for years, she is a guitar player originally but offered to play bass in Armageddon. She writes the majority of the lyrics in Armageddon, and also contributes to the music. We wrote the album together. I met our guitar player Joey through giving guitar lessons, he was a student of mine for a short period. Like me, he is a blues-based player and can improvise freely and that’s the most important thing for me in a another guitarist. We speak the same language musically. He brought our singer Matt into the project, they are from the same area in Connecticut and have played shows locally together with their old bands. The hardest part was finding a drummer, we tried out three different players who didn’t fit before deciding to have a guy by the name of Nick Bunczk do the album as a session player. Finally I met Márton in NYC, he is from Hungary and used to play in classic Hungarian band Pokolgep.

Armageddon didn’t stick to a single style across its discography. Where does Captivity & Devourment fit with the band’s trajectory?
Christopher Amott: I would say that this album has the best elements of all three previous albums combined.

Is there a song on Captivity & Devourment that holds a special place in your heart?
Christopher Amott: I think the song “Fugitive Dust” turned out very well arrangement and lyric-wise. We have shot a music video for that one which will be released in early January.

What do you say to people expecting you to make an Arch Enemy record? Some might not know Armageddon’s origins.
Christopher Amott: To Arch Enemy fans I want to say that this album contains in my opinion some of my best guitar work to date, and I hope they will check it out.

Musically, how would you describe Captivity & Devourment?
Christopher Amott: I guess it’s a bit of everything stylistically, death, thrash, power, black… but I don’t think in terms of genres like that when I write, no musician does. This is just metal the way I want to hear it and write it.

Tell us about the cover art to Captivity & Devourment.
Christopher Amott: That is the creation of italian oil painter Paolo Girardi. We gave him the lyrics and asked him to paint what he would envision Armageddon to be like. And then he just presented the finished work to us, that was it! We trusted him and knew he would produce something great.

It’s almost the same color scheme as the ‘70s Armageddon. Was that intentional?
Christopher Amott: [Laughs] No, absolutely not.

Armageddon was never known to be a touring band or active band. Will that change now that you’re based in the US?
Christopher Amott: This is definitely a full-time thing for me now. We’ll be touring extensively next year, starting in the US in February and then coming to Europe. I’m hoping to grow Armageddon into whatever it can be. We are already writing the second album, we’ll be recording it next year along with touring as much as we can. My goal is as always to reach as many people as possible with our music.

What’s it like living in the US. You picked a place with a pretty high cost of living.
Christopher Amott: New York City is a special place for sure, and it’s a little different from the rest of the US I think. It’s dirty, loud and expensive but you get a lot of culture, music, art and general experiences, sometimes just walking down the street or taking the subway. It’s a pretty happening place and at this point in my life I’m enjoying it.

What’s next for Armageddon? Any plans to tour with your brother?
Christopher Amott: Like I said, we want to tour as much as we can in 2015. Opening up for Arch Enemy might be a possibility, yes. My brother and I have already discussed it.

** Armageddon’s new album, Captivity & Devourment, is out NOW on Listenable Records. Bundles can be found HERE. Sick riffs and solos abound!