The Swedish have always had melody up their proverbial sleeves, but it’s in the execution where they pull away from their competitors. Backyard Babies embrace melody but soak it in a style of sleazy rock with attitude so it’s not overly obvious; H.e.a.t smother their melodies in muscular arena-pleasing rock music and Sabaton champion power metal with plenty of the melodic goodness to boot.
Amaranthe are purveyors of an aggressive brand of power metal too but have sufficient cross-over appeal to be found on gothic rock compilations. So the words “dark” and “alternative” could be applicable to the adjectives or vocabulary when describing this Swedish six-piece. Joining Olof Mörck with the riffs and solos is bassist Johan Andreassen and drummer Morten Løwe Sørensen. The main power though arrives in the form of the three vocalists who take their own parts very seriously indeed.
Elize Ryd provides the clean female vocals with Jake E providing the clean male vocals and they’re aided by the new addition dealing out the growls and grunts and rasping vocals of Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson. His contributions are used liberally when attitude is required resulting in an overall striking triple vocal attack overall.
This third studio album contains 12 tracks which all skip between in-your-face metallic assaults and truly melodic-inspired splashes of modern studio trickery and razor-sharp hooks. As one track after another cuts and pummel accordingly, the bruises heal by the time your ears are stroked by the smooth Over and Done or the precious True.
They don’t seem to wish escaping their European sound and depending on which side of the pond you live, it’s not a major distraction. You won’t be hearing their music too much on U.S. radio as they avoid falling into the pool of bands which sound like Shaman’s Harvest, Nickelback or any mainstream artist that might spring to mind. Does this mean they are no good? That is a rhetorical question if you’re looking for a band with the powerful production values of Nightwish, Xandria or Imperia.
As a comparison if you’re unfamiliar with Amaranthe, think of bands like Leaves’ Eyes, Epica or the heavier elements of Delain and you’re in the right ball park. There’s drama which crashes against the listening experience like waves on to rocks; there’s gripping hook-laden moments as witnessed on the single Drop Dead Cynical; so let this Swedish dancing whirlwind rise up triumphantly and bring its shadow of beats, rhythms and tangled moments of brutality because they’re Massive Addictive.