Arch Enemy was originally assembled when the band Carcass ended, and guitarist Michael Amott (ex-Carcass and Carnage ) and vocalist and bassist Johan Liiva (ex-Carnage) joined guitarist Christopher Amott and drummer Daniel Erlandsson in order to play together once more.
The band's debut was entitled Black Earth and was released by Wrong Again Records in 1996 . It obtained a fair amount of success in Japan and Sweden. Many consider it to be the band's most aggressive album, a trait which was softened to some degree on their following releases, but which was never abandoned.
After the release of Black Earth the band switched labels, signing a contract with Century Media . In 1998 Arch Enemy released Stigmata , which counted with the addition of bassist Martin Bengtsson, who was added so that Liiva could concentrate fully on the vocals. This album obtained the attention of a wider audience, reaching popularity both in Europe and America .
In 1999, Sharlee D'Angelo assumed the role of Arch Enemy's bassist. Burning Bridges was released, and was soon followed by the live album Burning Japan Live 1999 , which was initially a release limited to Japan, but which was released on the rest of the world to attend demands from fans.