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Amaranthe - 2011 Amaranthe

ARTIST: Amaranthe
ALBUM: Amaranthe
LABEL: Spinefarm
YEAR: 2011


LINEUP: Elize Ryd - female vocals * Jake E Berg - male vocals * Andy Solveström - harsh vocals * Olof Mörck - guitars, keyboards * Johan Andreasson - bass * Morten Lowe Sorensen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Leave Everything Behind * 02 Hunger * 03 1,000,000 Lightyears * 04 Automatic * 05 My Transition * 06 Amaranthine * 07 It's All About Me * 08 Call Out My Name * 09 Enter the Maze * 10 Director's Cut * 11 Act Of Desperation * 12 Serendipity



Just quite what Gothenberg based melodic death metallers Amaranthe are doing here on GDAZE might be confusing. There are good reasons why I include bands that are way out on the fringe. I can think of Dragonforce, we have thrashers such as Megadeth, plus some other outfits which dangerzone has covered. There are a couple of things that bring Amaranthe to the GD table. First, there's plenty of melody, some glorious full and powerful keyboards and guitars from former Dragonland member Olof Mörck (a band reviewed here previously.. twice in fact). Second, there's the totally hot Swedish uber-babe Elize Ryd, who not only looks like a super-model, but she has a serious set of pipes! Thirdly, AOR demi-god Magnus Soderkvist is managing the band. That's some endorsement from someone held in high regard in the melodic rock community. The fact that there are three singers handling different vocals adds to the colour. Male singers Jake E Berg (Dreamland) handles the clean vocal parts while Andy Solveström has the honour of providing the harsh (or what we call the 'cookie monster') vocals. Originating in 2008, Amaranthe had released a five track demo EP in 2009 called 'Leave Everything Behind'. Signed to Spinefarm, this lot have a future for sure, but it seems they are damned on one side of the metal fence, and damned on the other. There's been a fair slagging from those in the melodic death metal scene who have banished this lot to a pink and fluffy purgatory. While those in the fairer genres (such as ours) can't quite get to grips with the harsh vocals and growls despite all the ear and eye candy on offer. It makes no difference to me, I can sift through the chaff with ease, and as melody is our prime directive at GDAZE, then Amaranthe fit the bill. Consider yourself forewarned though.

The Songs
Some of the songs from the aforementioned EP show up again. The first track is in fact 'Leave Everything Behind', a totally bombastic affair, with Mörck's previous band Dragonland a good reference point, though with totally OTT vocals from all three singers. I love the staggered approach for 'Hunger', the trip-trigger drumwork and staccato keyboard work straight out of the Divinefire camp. Taking a trip back to the future, '1,000,000 Light Years' has a cosmic appeal, a variety of vocal styles amidst a melodic but thunderous backdrop. 'Automatic' could be accused of being too poppy for melodic death metal audiences, but it sounds just fine to these melodically inclined ears. 'My Transition' again has that Dragonland feel to it, though slightly out of context with the three-pronged vocal onslaught. The highlight of the album is the single and part-ballad 'Amaranthine', the video for this you can see below. From here, you get a better appreciation of the band when the brakes are applied. Lovely song nonetheless. The Pagans Mind sounding 'It's All About Me' lifts the Amaranthe stakes a little higher, and when the trance like keyboards kick in for the rather racy 'Call Out My Name', it's a confirmation that this lot have a lot to offer. The commercial angle is explored once more on 'Enter The Maze', fast paced, urgent in parts, topped with a super melodic chorus. 'Directors Cut' ventures into prog metal territory with some excellent musical passages, the vocals flow nicely and wrap around in a tight fit. 'Act Of Desperation' continues the onslaught with bullet like drumming, trancey keys and big vocal choruses. 'Serendipity', the final track, is another geared toward the melodic metal camp, with a similarity to Aussies Voyager, if only at a musical level (the vocals are different for obvious reasons).

In Summary
You know, I was quite astounded by the levels of vitriol aimed at this album. It's been out in the market since April 2011, so I'm a bit late getting to it, but at least I got there before Christmas! The criticism has been widespread, particularly from melodic death metal and gothic metal reviewers, who obviously can't see the wood from the trees, and who have taken aim and called this lot pop metal. Yeah right. I consider myself fairly well-rounded in terms of music appreciation, but the muck raking has to be seen to be believed. Anyway, I enjoyed it for what it was, and if the band make mega bucks in the process, then they can blow raspberries to all those idiots that dissed them. Amaranthe play London in a couple of weeks (Mon, Dec 12th) with British melodic rockers Serpentine as the support band. Interesting pairing, not too sure that they are a good match, but I'd like to get some feedback from the gig if anyone is going. Certainly an interesting band, they must be doing something right.. lol!

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#1 | gdazegod on November 18 2011 14:04:26
YouTube Video:
#2 | gdazegod on November 18 2011 14:04:50
YouTube Video:
#3 | george_the_jack on November 18 2011 14:43:25
Ha! Kee MArcello-like guitar solo...Good one.
#4 | gdazegod on January 14 2013 14:44:44
Looking forward to their forthcoming CD in 2013. Bring it on!

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