Friday, April 5, 2013

AMARANTHE: "The Nexus"

Rating: RRRR
Label: Spinefarm 2013
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
Amaranthe impressed a lot of people with their first album and the relentless touring that followed, and I believe their second album is one of the most anticipated releases of 2013. The big question is... could the success of the first album be repeated, or even surpassed? The answer will be revealed within the next few months, but I could bet some money on the band's continued success. Despite the fact that "The Nexus" isn't quite as explosive collection of hits as the debut was.
The mixture of metal, pop hooks, dance sounds and three vocalists hasn't changed much. Maybe some of the rhythm patterns are a bit more tricky and "busier" than before, but that's about it... and I may be wrong, but I think that the "growling" vocalist Andreas has gotten a bigger share of the vocals. The band still has a knack for writing irresistable hooks, although it's not evident on every song. There are actually a few songs that might be called fillers...
"Afterlife" gives the album a fine start, featuring one of the strongest choruses of the album. The "don't bore us - get to the chorus" approach continues with "Invincible", a song that seems to be all about the chorus... The first single and video "The Nexus" showcases the "progressive" elements of the band, yet the hook is pure pop perfection.
I like "Theory Of Everything" which has another strong chorus, but "Stardust" doesn't quite reach the same level. The mostly growl-free, balladic "Burn With Me" is a potential single and one of my favourites, even though the "real metal fans" probably think it sounds like The Rasmus or something...
Andreas gets to sing a lion's share of "Mechanical Illusion", which would have required a brilliant chorus to make up for it. We don't get that, just a decent one. The bouncy "Razorblade" is a step into a more hookladen direction again, as is "Future On Hold". I'm not so sure about "Electroheart", which reminds me of Scooter. "Transhuman" doesn't work for me either, but the closing track "Infinity" does and it showcases the band's ability to write fine melodies.
So there, a few future Amaranthe classics yet also a few not-so-great tracks. Mind you, even the weaker tracks aren't really too bad at all, so the RRRR rating is justified. I did make an observation - the stronger the chorus, the more I seem to tolerate the growling. And the other way around.

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