Michael Amott

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Michael Amott
Via Funchal - Michael Amott.jpg
Background information
Birth name Michael Amott
Born (1969-07-28) 28 July 1969 (age 45)
Origin London, United Kingdom
Genres Melodic death metal, death metal, thrash metal, stoner metal
Occupation(s) Guitarist, musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals
Years active 1983–present
Labels Century Media
Associated acts Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars, Carcass, Carnage, Candlemass, Armageddon
Notable instruments
Various Dean Guitars Michael Amott signature guitars

Michael Amott (born 28 July 1969) is an English-born Swedish guitarist, songwriter, founding member of the bands Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars, and Carnage, as well as a former member of the death metal band Carcass. He is the older brother of Christopher Amott. Some major influences in his music have been Tony Iommi, Michael Schenker, Uli Jon Roth and Dave Mustaine.

Amott was ranked No. 74 out of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World.[1]


Michael Amott performing live with Arch Enemy at The Untouchables Hard Rock Club in Jevnaker in April 2010

Raised in Halmstad, Sweden, Amott began playing guitar as a young teenager, learning to play by copying hardcore punk and speed metal out of his record collection. Amott soon went to a new level with his playing and became influenced by players such as Tony Iommi, Frank Marino, Michael Schenker, Dave Mustaine, and Uli Jon Roth. He has stated in guitar magazines that he has a preference for pentatonics. Amott co-formed the death metal band Carnage in 1988 with singer Johan Liiva, and released two widely traded cassette demos, gaining instant underground interest. Plagued by constant lineup changes, Carnage eventually recorded their only album Dark Recollections with Amott as the sole original member, but by the time the album came out on Necrosis records in 1990, the band was broken up.[2]

Soon afterwards, Amott was recruited by Carcass in 1990, and released the seminal album Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious in 1991. The band would go on to release their highest selling album, Heartwork (Columbia/Sony), in 1993, helping to define what is now known as melodic death metal.

Amott left Carcass in 1993, and decided to form a classic rock influenced band, Spiritual Beggars. The band released their debut album Spiritual Beggars in 1994, which led to a European record deal with Music for Nations, who released Another Way to Shine in 1996.

Still heavily into extreme metal, Amott formed a new melodic death metal project in the same vein as Carcass, whose Heartwork album was now considered a Death Metal masterpiece. Amott contacted original Carnage vocalist Johan Liiva, as well as his younger brother Christopher Amott, who was attending music school at the time, and put together Arch Enemy. Featuring then session drummer Daniel Erlandsson, the band's first album Black Earth was originally intended to be a one-off project, but the album's first single, "Bury Me An Angel" received unexpected airplay on Japan's MTV Rocks! program, and in 1997 Arch Enemy was signed by major Japanese label Toy's Factory, and invited to tour Japan. Amott decided to put a full band together, recruiting drummer Peter Wildoer (Darkane), and bassist Martin Bengtsson.

After the Japanese tour, Amott returned to Spiritual Beggars and released Mantra III early in 1998, now featuring Per Wiberg on keyboards. In April the same year, Arch Enemy returned with Stigmata, their first album released outside of Japan, now on Century Media records. The album would prove to be a critical success, and Arch Enemy toured for the better part of the year. Later in 1998, Amott also contributed guitars to the Candlemass album Dactylis Glomerata.

Arch Enemy returned in 1999 with Burning Bridges and Burning Japan Live 1999 which would prove to be Johan Liiva's last recording with the band. Amott went on to release Ad Astra with Spiritual Beggars in 2000, then returned to Arch Enemy, and recruited amateur German vocalist Angela Gossow to replace Liiva in 2000. Arch Enemy released Wages of Sin in 2001, and propelled by the new frontwoman, the band achieved new worldwide success. Arch Enemy toured worldwide in support of Wages of Sin, and Amott did not return to his Spiritual Beggars project until late 2002, releasing On Fire, again on Music For Nations. In 2003, Arch Enemy released Anthems of Rebellion, again on Century Media, and for the first time, Arch Enemy received US MTV airplay with the video for "We Will Rise". The band would reach new heights in popularity worldwide, and toured constantly until the release of 2005s Doomsday Machine, which saw the departure of Christopher Amott, who would go on to focus on his education. Amott returned once again to Spiritual Beggars in 2005, releasing the album Demons.

He has also performed guest guitar solos on The Haunted's One Kill Wonder for the song "Bloodletting", and the Kreator record Enemy of God for the song "Murder Fantasies".

In 2006, Amott made his voice acting debut when he appeared on the Adult Swim show Metalocalypse. In the episode "Snakes 'n Barrels", he voiced scientist Dr. Amomolith Chesterfield and Snakes 'n Barrels bassist Antonio Tony DiMarco Thunderbottom, who would end up getting his memory erased during the first song of their reunion show. Amott Amott returned for more voice acting in the second season of Metalocalypse in the episode "Snakes n' Barrels II" (Part 1 and 2).

In 2007, Arch Enemy released Rise of the Tyrant on Century Media and embarked on a world tour dubbed "World Tyranny".

In 2008, Amott joined the re-united Carcass and toured with them extensively in Europe, North America, South America, Australia, South Africa and Japan until the summer of 2010.

Today, Amott is busy touring the world with Arch Enemy on the band's current War Eternal touring cycle. Amott has also returned to Spiritual Beggars for the "Return To Zero" (2010) and "Earth Blues" (2013) albums.

Guitar style[edit]

Michael's lead playing incorporates some modern chops while retaining the spirit and taste of classic metal players from the 70s (even if he's often tuned down to C). This is true not only in the "retro" metal context of Spiritual Beggars, but within Arch Enemy's melodic death metal as well. His melodic lines are easily recognizable and memorable. Michael is a self-taught player whose most obvious influence is Michael Schenker, and he uses a mix of pentatonic and aeolian licks instead of the neo-classical stuff you'd expect from a player of that generation. He also acknowledges inspiration by Uli Jon Roth, Frank Marino, Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi, but this shows less obviously in his playing, except maybe for some Iommi-style downtuned riffing. Michael's style involves a lot of wah, and fortunately he is one of those players who really can pull it off in a masterful and discerning way, either as a filter "a la Schenker", or as a means to put a dramatic accent on trills and bends. Michael also has a great vibrato: wide, rather slow, expressive and tasty. [3]


Amott was endorsed by Krank Amps but later switched over to Randall and had his own signature "Ninja" V2 model. As of November 2009, Amott dropped off the Randall endorsee list and is currently using two Marshall Amplification JCM800 2205 50w head in his live rig. He was also endorsed by ESP Guitars, and had his own signature series. His personal guitars were built in the ESP Custom Shop in Tokyo, Japan. He used Seymour Duncan humbucker pick-ups: the JB in the bridge and the '59 in the neck position. While in Carcass, he used Ibanez (a road flare red RG550), a US-made Charvel and a Gibson white flying V. In 2006, Michael's signature ESP-Ninja guitar became a member of the ESP-USA signature series family, with an LTD model, the Ninja-600 also becoming available and his Ninja has been released in white on Musikmesse 2007. Before using Krank amplifiers, he was a long-time user of the Peavey 5150 amp, and during his time in Carcass mostly used various Marshall amps. In the Arch Enemy live DVD Live Apocalypse, Amott's stage side had two Krank Rev 1 heads and four Krank Rev Cabinets.

As of July 2008 he is no longer endorsed by ESP. An announcement posted by Dean Guitars on 1 October 2008, confirmed that he is now endorsing Dean. Furthermore, this was proved during the US leg of the 2008 Carcass 'Exhume to Consume' reunion tour, when Amott was frequently seen playing a black and white Michael Schenker V Six String. He now has his own signature "Tyrant" (flying V) signature series guitar with Dean Guitars.

In early 2009, Zoom Corporation released a Michael Amott signature pedal called G1M.[4] The G1M has since been discontinued by Zoom Corporation and replaced with a new Michael Amott signature pedal, the G2.1MA.

In 2012, RotoSound released the Michael Amott MA11 signature set. A hybrid gauge set, designed to Amott's exact specifications. [2]


  • Dean Michael Amott Signature Tyrant Bloodstorm (2009)
  • Dean Schenker Flame V (2008)
  • ESP 2008 Ninja (used in the Black Crusade Tour '07/08; 2 versions, one with Floyd Rose tremolo, also 24 frets and 24.75 scale)
  • ESP-Ninja Michael Amott signature series (previously AV-395 Ninja)
  • ESP AV-310MA Flying V models (previous signature model only available in Japan, discontinued)
  • ESP Custom F-Series model (seen in Arch Enemy Live Apocalypse DVD)
  • ESP Vintage Plus (seen in the Spiritual Beggars "Killing Time" promotional video)

(ESP models are no longer used)

  • Ibanez RG 550 Road Flare Red (no longer used. Used in Carcass 1990–1992)
  • Fernandes "Burny" Les Paul Custom (White, used 1996–1999, featured in the Arch Enemy video 'The Immortal')
  • Fernandes "Burny" Les Paul Custom (Black, used 1996–1999.)

The 'Tyrant' series is similar to his previous ESP Signature V's, but does feature some differences from the ESP. It comes equipped with Dean USA Pickups, a Michael Amott signature humbucker in the bridge and a Time Capsule humbucker in the neck. The guitar has 22 frets.


  • Marshall JVM410H[5]
  • Marshall JCM800 2205 50w [5]
  • Marshall JCM2000 (Khaos Legions tour)
  • Randall MTS Series RM100 with Ultra XL modules (Rise of the Tyrant)
  • Peavey 5150 (previously used)[citation needed]


  • Homebrew Electronics 'Michael Amott' Signature Wah
  • Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer
  • MXR – Phase 90
  • Rocktron – Rackmounted Super Hush C
  • BOSS "TU-2" Chromatic Tuner
  • Digitech GSP1101 (Multi effects processor)
  • Line6 G90 Wireless Unit
  • Zoom G1M Michael Amott signature.


Guitar Rig and Signal Flow[edit]

A detailed gear diagram of Michael Amott's 2006 Arch Enemy guitar rig is well-documented.[6]


  • Disaccord (guitars, 1983–1984 and 1986–1988)
  • Carnage (guitars, 1988–1990) (founding member)
  • Carcass (guitars, 1990–1993. Re-union shows in 2008–2010)
  • Spiritual Beggars (guitars, 1994–) (founding member)
  • Arch Enemy (guitars, 1996–) (founding member)
  • Candlemass (lead and rhythm guitar, 1997) (studio musician)




Spiritual Beggars[edit]

Arch Enemy[edit]

Guest appearances[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Michael Amott has been a vegetarian since the age of 14. He is a self-taught guitar player. He is currently single and has a daughter.


  1. ^ "Guitar World's 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. 23 January 2004. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Willems, Steven. Michael Amott interview voicesfromthedarkside.de. 1999. Retrieved on 2010-02-02.
  3. ^ http://www.dinosaurrockguitar.com/new/node/794
  4. ^ Michael Amott zoom.co.jp. Retrieved on 2010-02-03.
  5. ^ a b Michael Amott Interview [1] Arch Enemy's Michael Amott: 'To Me Our Music Is Extreme Metal'" 20 June 2011 Retrieved 30 June 2011
  6. ^ Cooper, Adam (2006). "Michael Amott's 2006 Arch Enemy Guitar Rig". GuitarGeek.Com.

External links[edit]