Amaranthe – Massive Addictive – Spinefarm Records– Release 20 -10 – 2014
Amaranthe is turning more and more into an avalanche in the metal scene. The highly dynamic trio of vocalists makes for a diverse sound and are sure to get people’s attention on the first hearing. Currently they are on tour through America with Within Temptation, not a small feat for a band that’s about to release its third album!
Elize Ryd – Vocals
Jake E. – Vocals
Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson – Screams
Olof Mörck – Guitar, Keys
Johan Andreassen – Bass
Morten Løwe Sørensen – Drums
I was quite into the band’s self-titled debut album from 2011. The aforementioned dynamical vocals worked like a charm and there was a great mix of power metal with a pinch of pop and a hint of melo-death metal. When the second album got announced I had my reservations. Wouldn’t it just be more of the same? In a way it was, but “The Nexus” was the stereotypical sequel; bigger, better and more awesome! Will this one be even better?? I’m afraid I have to answer negatively.
The fear I had before the second album has materialized with the third album. The trinity of vocalists just doesn’t feel that special anymore and the music doesn’t really feel that as if it has evolved much. Well, on the whole it’s poppier than before and there is a lot more room for all the modern things that come with contemporary music; dubstep patterns, vocal effects and those popular stuttering bits. It’s not a bad album at all mind you, but it is a personal let-down.
The burning fuse of “Dynamite” promises a lot of firework, but a lot of powder has been used up with the song. Fans will have already played the first single “Drop Dead Cynical” to death and it gives a very good taste of what this album is. If it doesn’t do that much for you, the rest of the album might not either.
“Massive Addictive” is a bit more subdued, yet the rhyme-heavy chorus is easy to pick up.
Speaking of subdued, “True” and “Over and Done” are the ballads of this album, with only the latter being interesting for me due to Olof’s awesome solo in it. I love his guitar work and especially his solos, but with Amaranthe they just feel so damn short. Mind you, I’ve never been a fan of the Amaranthe ballads, but they are in line with the ballads from the previous albums, so if you enjoyed those, you will also love these.
The last few songs harken back more to the ‘old’ stuff, while turning up the danceability to eleven.
Album closer is the piano-centric “Exhale” which is a bit more subdued when compared to “Serendipity” and “Infinity” from the previous two albums. Overall, a lot is happening on the side with loads of keyboard extra’s that will require multiple listening sessions to fully uncover, though I would say that most of them are superfluous, rather than adding to the songs in a good way.
“Massive Addictive” is a natural evolution for the bad, but not really one that I’m fond of. It’s very accessible and poppy, making it the perfect gateway band into (melodic) metal. To me the formula is growing stale and I would have hoped for more. Maybe an album that tells a story with roles for the vocalists would spice up things, yet it would really be quite a departure from what the band has brought so far.
This isn’t an album that I will play often, nor do I find it easy to recommend to the general metal audience or the pop audience for that matter. However, I do recognize the potential of this album and the fact that it will build more bridges for them and strengthen those already in place so for that I’ll give the album a higher score than I would if I would just let my own opinion decide.
- Drop Dead Cynical
- Massive Addictive
- Digital World
- Over and Done
- Danger Zone
- An Ordinary Abnormality
Score: 4.3 out of 5
Text by: Robert Popovic