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Amaranthe - 2013 The Nexus

ARTIST: Amaranthe
ALBUM: The Nexus
LABEL: Spinefarm
YEAR: 2013


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

TRACK LISTING: 01 Afterlife * 02 Invincible * 03 The Nexus * 04 Theroy Of Everything * 05 Stardust * 06 Burn With Me * 07 Mechanical Illusion * 08 Razorblade * 09 Future On Hold * 10 Electroheart * 11 Transhuman * 12 Infinity * 13 Afterlife (acoustic, bonus) * 14 Leave Everything Behind (early version, bonus)



The Swedish phenomenon Amaranthe is back with album #2, and appear to have taken a few steps into the near future with this sci-fi themed album 'The Nexus'. Everything about Amaranthe appears to run like clockwork. Though their triple vocal approach does take some getting used to (in particular Andy Solveström's screams and growls), it is unique within this genre because I don't think any other act are employing three-part vocals quite the way Amaranthe do. The early reviews of their debut album around about two years ago (April 2011 onwards) didn't sit that well with supposed experts in the prog metal realm. Stuffy opinions counted for nothing as fans voted with their wallets and embraced the band big time. No doubt spurred on by the attractive Elize Ryd, many teenage boys fell victim to her spellbinding looks and voice. Not forgetting the rest of the band though; Olof Mörck's transition from Dragonland's technical brand of prog metal has translated well here to Amaranthe, in much the same way as Emppu Vuorinen's melodic transition from Nightwish to Brother Firetribe. The other thing I really like about Amaranthe, is that they are the first real metal band to embrace melodic trance like patterns within their music. If you've read my latest interview on the Rock Discussions blog, I make light of this subject. Combined with Morten Lowe Sorenson's rapid fire drumming, the results are astounding, and this is an album I'm spending night and day with at present.

The Songs
'Afterlife' is the first offering, it gallops with the heaviest beat, and within the first 30 seconds, all three singers deliver their opening salvo with savage intent. At the tail of the CD, Amaranthe offer up an acoustic version too. Very nice. 'Invincible' is next, it's hard to believe that this is heavy metal because it has a huge pop styled chorus (thanks Elize), despite the massive guitars, thunderous drums and Andy's growls! Wow! The title track 'The Nexus' features the tripwire drumming technique of Morten Lowe Sorenson.. this guy is a huge drumming talent! Double kick drums are everywhere. This track is all about futuristic sci-fi.. I can imagine this will be a popular drawcard when the band are out on the road playing live. Andy leads off with the bombastic 'Theory Of Everything', the song doesn't take long to come to life, again the choruses are killer, and the tempo would threaten the sound barrier. The amazing 'Stardust' is built upon fast paced keyboard/synth patterns, staccato like, the guitars, drums and vocals wrap around this song beautifully. The first song to change tempo is the power ballad 'Burn With Me'. It's probably the first time hearing Amaranthe operate in second or third gear, and the results astound. The vocal harmonies on the chorus are richer than George Soro's bank account and it's great hearing them in this context. I hope we're not talking Terminator technology on 'Mechanical Illusion' (certainly the United Nations have raised some interesting comments on Robotics in the news of late), but Amaranthe are really only singing about things that are common in pop culture as it is! Sharpening their claws, Amaranthe pick up the pace for the stomping metal/pop of 'Razorblade', while the sci-fi orientation of 'Future On Hold' is totally in keeping with the overall theme of the album. 'Electroheart' much like the aforementioned 'Invincible' has a huge pop vibe in amongst the metal sound, and sounds great to me! 'Transhuman' is another to reach into the near-future, the potential of humanity up for grabs, the subject matter integrated into prog like heavy metal is a match made in heaven. 'Infinity' rounds out the standard album, where time and possibilities are covered in the short span of three minutes. There's a couple of bonus tracks on the digipack edition sent to me by Spinefarm, including the aforementioned acoustic version of 'Afterlife' which is very different but neat nonetheless. The dual vocals of Jake and Elize are totally cool. 'Leave Everything Behind' is the other bonus track, it's been named as an early version. The original version was the opening track on the debut album.

In Summary
Well, what can I say? It didn't take me long to get into the CD, and as I said, I've been listening to this constantly since the CD arrived in the mail a week or so ago. The band released a video for 'The Nexus' at the end of March 2013, the album/CD following soon after. Guaranteed to be in my top ten albums at year end, it will be interesting to see how far the Amaranthe machine travels around the globe. To Olof, Jake, Elize and co, I hereby offer an invitation to Australia. Please make it happen!

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#1 | gdazegod on June 07 2013 08:20:28
YouTube Video:
#2 | gdazegod on June 07 2013 08:32:54
YouTube Video:
#3 | AOR Lee on June 12 2013 05:46:23
Will have to hear this, based on the review George. The message coming through to me is Adult Oriented Metal hmm! very curious
#4 | gdazegod on June 12 2013 05:55:59
Olof Morck describes it (in a video interview) as Death Metal Pop! I've been playing this album non-stop the last 3 weeks. Some of these songs are immense! The drum work is off the charts!
#5 | gdazegod on December 22 2013 10:26:13
I believe Andy Solvestrom has now left the band. He was the death metal growler.
#6 | englandashes on March 29 2014 12:30:21
I got into this album by a different way, being Elize Ryd performance on Timo Tolkki Avalon, which is excellent and I am convince she has a pure AOR album in her.
#7 | Emda on January 03 2018 22:31:26
I bought this album based on your review George and the CD came today. All I can say is that I´m already addicted to this "Abba Metal" album. I never thought I would like some kind of growls but they do fit perfectly here. The vocal harmonies here are not out of this world, aren´t they? I´m ashamed I´m almost to late discovering this great piece of music. Will have to check out their other discs I guess, starting with the 1st as it seems to be in the same league as "The Nexus".
#8 | gdazegod on January 03 2018 22:43:54
I have the t-shirt too.
#9 | Emda on January 03 2018 23:49:00

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