Monday, April 18, 2011

AMARANTHE: "Amaranthe"

Rating: 9/10

Label: Spinefarm/Universal 2011

Review by Kimmo Toivonen

The hell's freezing over... I'm actually giving a "9" to an album that features growling! Yep, Amaranthe have a Cookie Monster in the band, which usually would be a reason to chuck this album into the trash bin for me. Thankfully the band has two other vocalists as well, Jake E. Berg singing clean male vocals and the extraordinary female vocalist Elize Ryd, who make the album accessible to even a die-hard growl hater.

Of course it's the songs that count, and let me tell you this: Amaranthe have come up with twisted plot to combine extreme metal sounds with insanely catchy pop hooks. They'll probably have some True Metal warriors reaching for the vomit bags, but I have a feeling that they'll conquer the rest. We are talking about major crossover potential!

Listening to the songs it feels like the band has calculated how much a common rock/pop fan can tolerate growling, and just as the limit is being reached, they'll throw in one of the other singers and a killer melody. I don't know about you but it works for me. I guess I could've done without the growling altogether, but in small doses it does add a certain edge to these songs.

The first single/video "The Hunger" you might be familiar with already, but it's not the only irrestiably catchy song on the album, most of the others are dripping with immense melodies and hooks too. "1.000.000 Lightyears" has a chorus that's pure pop sugar (and I mean that in a good way), as does the dance/metal hybrid "Automatic". However, the one song that might be their crossover hit is "Amaranthine", a balladic track that could very well end up on the playlists of all kinds of radio stations - not only metal or rock but also adult contemporary, top 40 etc. It's a beautiful song with a fine melody and both vocalists sound excellent. Even the Cookie Monster doesn't sound as bad as usual.

I could go on and name every song on the album, as they all have some dangerously sharp hooks. Admittedly there are a couple of tracks where there could be maybe a little less growling, but even those tracks have good choruses. Let's just see if my prediction comes true, and this band becomes the hottest new metal band of the year. For my money, they are already just that.


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