Amaranthe - Amaranthe
Spinefarm Records
Modern Melodic Metal (with some Death vocals)
12 songs (42'56)
Release year: 2011
Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Chris
Surprise of the month

OK so if you checked out our Awards for 2011, you must have spotted this album in my album of the years. This album, to me, is pure joy ! A roller coaster ride through no less than 12 songs (14 for the Japanese release, as usual :), 1 of the bonus songs is awesome, Breaking Point, while the other is sub-par and certainly a filler on such a good album). This is a debut that makes an entrance with a shock wave as far as I'm concerned. I'll be very interested to see if the band can manage to continue upon this time without falling into predictable repetition though… but that's for the future, so for the time being, let's talk about the present and the self titled bomb Amaranthe has dropped upon the world.

It is not simple to describe this band, except maybe that it had three singer (one female and two males), reminds me a bit of Skillet but with more aggressive Death like growls here and there (and less god talk I presume, though I haven't really paid attention to the lyrics, as always they are second to the music AFAIK). And certainly with an explosive amount of energy and power. Sure the clean female vocals are centerfold and they permeate the overall sound (death growls are here provide the more metal element as far as singing is concerned). It is produced to perfection (I've read somewhere it was way over-produced which I find to be nonsense, I wish ALL albums had this level of production !). The sound is so fraking pure you can eat of it (OK that makes little sense, but you get the picture :) ). No frankly I still have to find a better produced album, so if it's not the best production ever it's pretty close to it ! Is it an overall commercial sound ? Yes it is... so what ? No really, why can't metal be commercial and still be good ? I don't see these to be mutually exclusive. It is still heavy and has definitely a metal soul at heart and that's enough for me. If it gives the opportunity for more people to rally to the metal ranks I'm personally all for it. Riffing is heavy, guitar melodies are beautiful, keyboard is used to highlight the overall bombastic sound. Vocals melodies are awesome and the guitar work, without being put too much in front is great overall (good alternance of heavy riffing and melodic work). There is not a single doubt in my mind that the band is a very, very talented bunch ! Everything is so tight, it forces respect as far as I'm concerned. Songs are very enjoyable to mind blowing with no boring moments. While there is some variation between songs, they seem build around a specific mold. I am a bit afraid that repetition might be a quick problem over time though (but for now I'm perfectly happy with what is presented on this album). The band has such panache that I usually find myself singing along the songs. Some songs are simply infectious ! I rarely love female fronted bands (except the growlers females of Arch Enemy or Serenity in Murder :), and of course Nightwish) but I get more kicks from this album than the last Nightwish album, that's for sure (it's more in your face as well) ! There are some absolutely triple A songs on this albums, songs like 1'000'000 lightyears, or Automatic are absolute odes to joy, but I find the album amazing from beginning to end.

The reason I fell compelled to review this album, other than it appeared in my top 5 surprises of the year, is a review giving this 0.5 out of 5, calling it soulless and over produced and whatnot. I couldn't compute how something so amazingly produced, with heart (IMHO), with panache and more energy than a thousand Duracell bunnies (this band is like a never ending intravenous delivery of energy drink) and performed to absolute perfection could get a 10% score. I still don't get it, and I personally come from the other side of the spectrum and I'm perfectly happy to put Amaranthe on the pedestal I believe they deserve. I acknowledge it might not be for everyone, it is somehow dangerously close to be MTV-ish Metal and it is made to appeal to a larger audience. But I believe it has all the elements needed to get a long time metalhead to enjoy it as well. If only for the divine vocal melodies and pure infectious energy. But somehow I'm sure it's a love or hate affair, by now you surely know which side I stand on anyway.

Killing Songs :
All but songs like 1'000'000 Light Years, Call Out My Name or Automatic are simply pure magic !
Chris quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Amaranthe that we have reviewed:
Amaranthe - Massive Addictive reviewed by Joel and quoted 86 / 100
Amaranthe - The Nexus reviewed by Rob and quoted 82 / 100
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