Amaranthe’s second album can only be described as a complete and utter triumph.
Like many others around this shrinking globe, I was completely blown away and hooked by Amaranthe’s debut, a self titled monster of an album that came out in 2011. Again, along with many others I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on a copy of the follow up album ’Nexus’, not only to get another fix of their quite unique take on Metal but also to see if they could possibly maintain that impact factor that the first album had.
Maintaining is a bit of an understatement, as this release will catapult the band to the very top of the tree, of that I have no doubt. In many ways, it could have the same effect as ’Mother Earth’ did for Within Temptation all those years ago, transforming a band who, whilst excellent at what they had been producing prior, were suddenly front page news. I mentioned that Amaranthe had a unique take on Metal and in that fact lies the secret to their success. Elize providing the female vocal, which inevitably leads to the band being placed under the Female Fronted Metal umbrella, a tag which is a bit unfair as Andy (growls/screams) and Jake E (clean vocal) bring an equal amount to the table. However, for me, the appeal does not lie uniquely in the vocal delivery, musically the band are very different to anything else you might hear, having a real bullet speed drum and riff technique that is breathtaking. Couple that with some of the catchiest hooks and choruses you will find and we’re onto a winner.
The title track is a good example of what the band have become, intense keyboards offering an almost industrial feel, leading to the aforementioned drum and guitar sound, followed by the triple vocal assault that, because of the different styles, pretty much covers the whole spectrum available, all suitably wrapped up in a big furry blanket of melody.
At their heaviest, Amaranthe can stand toe to toe with anyone, there are parts here that are not to dissimilar to the extreme progressive leanings of bands such as Scar Symmetry, ‘Theory Of Everything’ being a case in point.
The album benefits from the production skills of Jacob Hansen, who also produced the bands debut. This continuity has been really beneficial and indeed important in accomplishing the finished sound and feel that the album offers. To my ears, there is obviously a good working relationship between the band and the producer, which of course, is a relationship of paramount importance when trying to maximise the potential of your music.
Trying to pigeonhole the bands music is difficult as there is so much going on in each track. The wonderful (and my personal favourite) ‘Burn With Me’, screams radio play, a real corker of a power ballad that will have you bursting your lungs trying to sing along to. The Euro Pop Rock elements of ’Electroheart’ that have you marching on the spot to the thumping tribal drum beat. In fact the band should lease that particular track out to every gymnasium in the country, so much bouncing energy is contained therein that we’d soon banish couch potato syndrome and become a nation of super fitties (ok, maybe not but you get the idea). The ultra fast paced ‘Razorblade’, which left me dizzy (have you any idea how hard it is to type and jump up and down at the same time?), the list goes on, each of the twelve tracks on offer different and yet gelling into a well rounded dozen of immensely enjoyable and incredibly professional songs that succeed in crossing many a musical genre and barrier.
Second albums are notoriously difficult beasts, the ability to make or break a band, to that end Amaranthe have created something really special, this is an album that demands your attention and devotion, orders your complete compliance and in return gives you one of the best audio experiences you will ever have.
Essential listening and an essential purchase.
3. The Nexus.
4. Theory Of Everything.
6. Burn With Me.
7. Mechanical Illusion.
9. Future On Hold.
Elize – Vocals.
Andy – Screams.
Jake E. – Vocals.
Olof Mörck – Guitars and Keyboards.
Johan Andreassen – Bass.
Morten Løwe Sørensen – Drums.
‘The Nexus’ sees it’s release on;
13th March – Japan.
20th March – Sweden.
22nd March – Finland.
22nd March – Germany.
25th March – U.K.
26TH March – U.S.A.
Released through Spinefarm Records.