Amaranthe - Amaranthe

(CD 2011, 43:01, Spinfarm Records SPI391CD - 2768665)

The tracks:
  1- Leave Everything Behind
  2- Hunger
  3- 1.000.000 Lightyears
  4- Automatic
  5- My Transition
  6- Amaranthine
  7- Rain
  8- Call Out My Name
  9- Enter The Maze
10- Director's Cut
11- Act Of Desperation
12- Serendipity

Amaranthe Website        Spinefarm Records

Sometimes a well made video can help a certain band a lot to get the right media attention. I noticed this myself when I saw Hunger from Amaranthe on YouTube. The music that I heard was very much up-tempo and contained a lot of aggressive guitar sounds. Even grunts were included but also clean male and female vocals. The modern keyboard sounds made it sound very melodic and made the music sometimes move towards a progressive rock style.

In a way I enjoyed it very much. If it had to do with a beautiful female lead singer that was kidnapped and rescued is a question that I did ask myself. I guess because most of those well made clips never gave me a good reason to learn more about a band. The strong music performed on Hunger was the only good reason to review the debut album from this band.  

Amaranthe is often described as a Swedish/Danish power/melodic death metal band and was formed by Jake E. Lundberg (lead vocals) and Olof Morck (guitars & keyboards). The project began taking shape when singers Elize Ryd (lead vocals) and Andy Solvestrom (screams) joined them. The band did release a demo on their MySpace profile, titled Leave Everything Behind. This 4-song demo was released in 2008 and resulted in the interest of big labels in the business. This again resulted in a complete CD which was released in early 2011. They gave it the title Amaranthe just like the name of the band.

This almost 45 minute long album contains most of all tracks on which you can hear a band on high gear. Only the title track is a mellow piece. It's a fine ballad on which Elize has a leading role and we hear how strong she is as a vocal performer. Also the male voice of Jake sounds very strong. Too bad there weren't more mellow songs included on this debut release. All the other songs have a fast tempo and move most of the time toward a very poppy sound with lots of metal influences. They keep the songs interesting by using several melodic instrumental parts performed on the guitars and keyboards. The use of somebody who does all the grunts and screams might be a problem for a lot of people who only like clean vocals. At first I also had to adjust to those elements in the music of Amaranthe. Those death metal influences, in combination with the more poppy elements gives the music a certain original style. But I can't deny that I did also hear influences taken from bands such as Within Temptation, Sonic Syndicate, Epica, After Forever and Kamelot. Even a band such as Abba came to mind because of the very strong female harmony vocals.

Everybody who enjoys the music of the bands mentioned above might enjoy the first effort realised by Amaranthe. Only lovers of the music created by Anni-Frid "Frida" Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog will not find musical satisfaction on this release.

*** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)

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