REVIEW: Amaranthe – Amaranthe
Label: Spinefarm Records
Genre: Power-melodeath metal
For a release to grab the attention of most listeners, it needs to catch their attention. This next album, Amaranthe’s debut, certainly has catchiness, but the question is whether the music can stand multiple listens. Can an album tread the line between heavy and commercial whilst also holding its own integrity?
Vocals take center-stage in every song, an overlapping mixture of three different styles. Ryd and Berg deliver the melodies, the latter in a seemingly auto-tuned fashion, and Solveström adds a hardcore bark. Ryd certainly sounds the strongest of the three, especially in a live environment, and while I see the intentions behind screams, they are quite grating against the ears in an otherwise saccharine environment. They may be a hangover from Nightrage, one of guitarist Olof Mörck’s other bands. The lyrics, thankfully free from the usual Foreign Language Syndrome, are mostly trivial in the vein of “Hunger, save me/One world depending on me/I have the force in me/The truth will be revealed”, although they fit well with the vocal melodies for the most part.
Musically speaking, Mörck’s potential for this album is sadly relegated to a chugging rhythm, aside from some flourishes of solos on almost every song, one of the better ones being on “Director’s Cut”. The majority of the album follows the same musical format of pop-Nightrage via Children Of Bodom-esque keys and overproduced drums, so much so that the “other” songs almost provide relief from the formula. I say “almost” due to the abomination that is “Call Out My Name”, which is unapologetically dance-pop with some harsh vocals. Fortunately the other different song is a fairly pleasant power ballad called “Amaranthine”, which unfortunately does not make up for the two filler songs that follow it.
To quote a friend of mine, “this is the album to get your preppy girlfriend into metal”, and that sums up my views on the album. For one or two listens every so often, it serves its purpose of attention-catching goth-pop-melodeath metal. However, any more frequently and it begins to rust in your ears and needs to be left for some time to be fully appreciated.
Song to try: