Arch Enemy & Suffocation @ Fowler's Live (Adelaide), 3 Nov 2009

Fellow contributor Goatlady, exclaimed, in her review of the Perth show, 'we're not worthy' in regards to this much great metal at once. Fuck, how right she was. Where do I begin?

Adelaide is notorious for scoring major shows during the week, and the Suffocation/Arch Enemy show was no exception. Unlike many shows, however,  I rocked up early to find a line stretching from the door of Fowler's, down the stairs, up the lane, and nearly right back to the back of the Dark Horsey Bookshop.

The buzz of excitement was palpable in the line. Punters were discussing the bands, the potential setlists of each headlining act, and their previous experiences of either Suffocation or Arch Enemy - sometimes both.

The line didn't actually take forever to go through, which was something I'd feared might happen. It turned out that the security at Fowler's was on its toes enough to have one dude walking the line, checking IDs and issuing 18+ wristbands, which meant that we were lined up for ten minutes instead of half an hour. But, also surprisingly, once I got inside, I saw a massive line-up at the merch desk; a continuous stream of eager buyers that persisted for a large portion of the evening. By halfway through the night, a large number of the sizeable crowd were adorned in tour shirts.

The support act, locals Truth Corroded, started on time and put on a good show. I've always believed that Truthies put on their best performances when they're in the support role for a major international tour, and this show was no exception. They were tighter and heavier than usual, and were lucky to have decent sound - even though Fowler's is notorious for a muddy mix. They had a half-decent crowd, and somehow managed to pull some of their best work out of their proverbial nether regions. I also suspect that, because the show occurred in the immediate lead-in to Truth Corroded's Asian tour, that they had, tellingly, been working hard in the weeks leading up to the show. Whatever it was, it paid off.

Suffocation were next up. As we'd been promised in interviews in the lead-in to the tour, the set slayed. The sound was also outstanding: you could actually hear everything, and the set was amazing. As with the peeps in Perth, we heard about Frank's love for Australia - a lot of which has to do with the fact that he adores Bundy Rum. Part way into the set, Suffocation paused to send a shout-out to their former bass player Josh Barohn, who is now an Adelaide local. Someone mentioned to me afterwards that the triggers for Suffo had a tendency to screw up. I didn't notice - but this was potentially because I only caught half of the set. Of what I saw, Suffo did, as promised, play material from releases as far back as Effigy of the Forgotten, through to their most recent, Blood Oath.

The reason that I caught only half the set is because we were invited to take part in the Arch Enemy meet-and-greet, which was rescheduled from 8 pm to 9 pm. It was a great opportunity to catch up with the band and talk to them about their recent travels through Asia - where they got to many places they'd never been before - but it did mean missing half of Suffocation's performance.

Now, despite the fact that many of those who turned up for Suffocation, and who weren't particular Arch Enemy fans, left the venue after Suffocation finished, it didn't perceptibly diminish the crowd. If anything, it seemed to have grown slightly. Before the band took the stage, anticipation rumbled through the venue - accompanied by chants, screams, and whistles.

And Arch Enemy didn't disappoint. They may have looked slightly weary from the travels, but they put on a solid performance. In fact, I'm going to go so far as to say it was the best Arch Enemy show I've seen - which is probably a big call considering these guys tour Australia nearly every year. It was clear that, with the release of The Root All Evil not long past, they enjoyed playing their older material and getting a huge response from the youngsters in the crowd. The enthusiasm from the punters was exciting, infectious, and driven right throughout the set, damn nearly regardless of what was played: from Black Earth-era tracks (some of which feature on The Root of All Evil) to Rise of the Tyrant.

And it must have been the night of nights for Fowler's, regarding their sound because it didn't fail once. Kudos to whomever was manning the desk because you did a great job.

For me, despite the great sets from all bands, the absolute highlights were Mike and Chris Amott's guitar solos, and instances of the brothers playing off each other, damn near duelling-axe-style; and Daniel Erlandsson's drum solo. Arch Enemy have always preferred to play headlining spots and it's unsurprising because they absolutely shine.

With two absolutely outstanding bands on the bill, both of which put in killer performances, this tour easily ranks as one of my highlights of the year.