Amaranthe

Amaranthe

Written by: TL on 27/01/2012 23:23:32

For my next review, I shall be needing a Swedish/Danish metal sixtet who recently made their debut into the music scene at a quite higher level than other bands are able to start. Luckily, Amaranthe and their self-titled debut album, which came out on Universal and Spinefarm last year, and reached the charts in Sweden and Finland, are right at hand. Quite impressive for a debut album you might say, but then, as soon as you actually listen to this album, it seems painfully evident that these guys have not had to travel a road half as long or hard as many other bands before getting some attention.

You see, to call this metal and leave it at that would probably offend many a metal aficionado - rather, a big fat mainstream needs to be added as a prefix, as this stuff is characterised by the slickest of production and written in a manner that is absolutely chorus-centric. The instrumental core of the band is made up of only three players, guitarist/pianist Olof Mörck, bassist Johan Andreassen and drummer Morten Løwe Sørensen, and the remaining three members all contribute vocals, respectively some heavily dubbed growls courtesy of Andreas Solveström, some power-style male cleans from Jake E, and some star-of-the-show, Sharon Del Adel/Anette Olzon-style female singing of Elize Ryd.

So while Andreassen's bass and Mörck's guitar may be fairly prominent in the professionally balanced mix, their only role in the compositions seem to be giving a bit of punch and teeth to music that is otherwise super polished, and super focused on the clean choruses delivered by Ryd. This makes for a collection of songs that are as easily accessible as they are predictable, and which have about as much depth and metal integrity as a puddle of rain water left by a spring shower.

That doesn't mean Amaranthe is a totally awful band, nor that their record is entirely unenjoyable. If you can approach it for what it is, much as you have to do if you want to listen to similar acts such as Within Temptation, there are indeed a couple of catchy tunes here, in the likes of "Hunger" and "Automatic". A band destined for critical acclaim these guys certainly are not however. For that, the whole thing feels too bought and paid for, by label money which you must question if the band really deserves, considering the total lack of originality in play here. What I'm saying is, that if you're in the market for some well-crafted and calculated euro-metal according to formula, this will satisfy your needs, but if you're looking for the nerve and intensity of 'true' metal (whatever that really means), even a non-metaller like myself can hear that you will find none of that here. Harsh words maybe, but I'm sure the band can take solace in having already gathered legions of fans, all of whom are as entitled to their opinions as I am to mine.

Download: Hunger, Automatic
For The Fans Of: Deadlock, Within Temptation, Nightwish
Listen: facebook.com/AmarantheBand

Release Date 24.10.2011
Spinefarm/Universal


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