Amaranthe // Amaranthe
Rating: 0.5/5.0 —Slick, Catchy, Soulless.
Label: Spinefarm
Websites: myspace.com/amaranthemetal
Release Dates: EU: 2011.04.13 | US: 04.19.2011

Amaranthe has three vocalists. Just let that sink in for a while. From what I can tell, not one of those vocalists plays an instrument. Instead, they found three “attractive” people to do vocals for them. The first is a woman, who sounds like a pop singer (think E Type) and who I guarantee you cannot name a Slayer record. The second is a screamy dude. He’s got a beard (’cause he’s tough and angsty, you see) and he screams, but not too much (he must be very, very, very bored on stage). And then there’s the ‘power metal’ vocalist (Berg from Dream Evil) who’s just as over-produced as the chick vocalist and is there to get 14 year old girls all silly over his perfectly groomed dreadlocks. Behind them are several soulless session musicians (from Mercenary, Dragonland and Engel). Though, frankly, this is a band that is functionally made of session musicians, since integrity seems to be lacking.

Amaranthe uses those three vocalists to punctuate modern heavy metal songs with various types of vocal styles, each in their own way. The music, while not intrinsically interesting, is ridiculously catchy. It is seasoned with just enough chug to make it appeal to kids who like breakdowns, and just enough clean vocals to appeal to someone who likes power metal, and just enough ‘techy’ parts to appeal to someone who likes ‘progressive metal.’ It’s like someone took heavy metal, and then boiled down all the elements of what made it heavy and put that into a pop music format. In a lot of ways, these songs have more in common with things that are on popular radio than with other female-fronted metal bands like Nightwish or Theatre of Tragedy. And I don’t mean “rock radio,” I mean pop radio.

Because, you see, this music is built for pop. This is not a metal record, really. I mean, there are heavily overproduced drums that do nail double kicked 8th, 16th and 32nd notes and dudes with long hair. But there is nothing actually metal about this in the esoteric sense. The music isn’t remotely dangerous, it’s sickly sweet and it’s built to be as catchy as possible. It also lacks any kind of real substance whatsoever. While I don’t have credits, I wouldn’t actually be surprised if the Swedish song-writing industry (which is well-known for writing for Britney Spears and others) isn’t behind this band, because these songs are super slick. And they certainly do stick. The hooks are built to dig in as deep as possible and the songs rigidly follow pop-formulas filled with vapid and vacuous lyrics that have no meaning. The music has some metal to it, but also it has a good share of techno dance beats done in metal form (but not ironically like covering a Pet Shop Boys song, they do it intentionally).

There is definitely a market for this, but this is not metal. And you know what, it makes me sick that the genre has come to the point where a band can do this and people get excited about them having no sense of dignity. The members of Amaranthe probably sleep well at night, now, but they are the metal equivalent of N’Sync or the Backstreet Boys. The band feels false and contrived and I think they’ll have a poor outcome in the long run because of it, though I’m certainly no seer. My gut instinct says “Elize” Ryd sticks with the band as far as it will take her before launching a pop career, while I can’t imagine that these other guys are particularly satisfied with the music they’re making. While the music occasionally wanders into Scar Symmetry or Soilwork territory, the music is simple, with only the occasional guitar solo flourish (lagom really, for the purpose of locking a certain listener base).

To be honest, I can’t even believe that this stuff exists. I have publicly ripped on a few bands in my time here at Angry Metal Guy, but I gotta say that this is the one that makes me the sickest to the stomach, because this is functionally the equivalent of Warrant for 80s metal or that stupid fucking “Click, Click, Boom” band for nu metal. This is fake, plastic and lacking in substance and built to sell records. And it will sell records, largely because it appeals to the lowest common denominator. As Angry Metal Girlfriend said when I was listening to it, “Oh yeah, this reminds me of the kind of stuff that hicks out in the countryside pump in their car systems.” I think that about sums it up. And this isn’t the only Swedish band to take this route right now: over-produced, fake and lacking substance. But Amaranthe takes this cake.

So if you love E-Type and Sonic Syndicate and/or you love your metal to be manufactured in such a way that it should appeal to Melodifestival (or Eurovision) viewers, then you should check this record out. For everyone else with a sense of dignity, respect for the genre or that likes his or her music to have some kind of soul, feeling and technical prowess, you should probably just avoid this band. While they have their moments (the songs are built to be catchy and you will remember them), I can’t get over how ill I feel every time I listen to this record. And I suspect in the dark of night, when these band members are wiping the results of all their hard work off their chins, they probably feel a little dirty, too.

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  • NSX

    Despite the forthwright vitriol you have aimed at this lot, I have to say I am intrigued to hear it!

  • Ciaran

    Makes Epica sound like Gwar…

    • Sorry for refreshing the thread, but I was scooping for some reviews and that’s just what I expected :P 

      I respect Your opinion but I cannot agree with Your statement that the band is built with souless session musicans – that was bullshit my friend :] 
      And as to “dreaded” guy – Jake E  was not singing with Dream Evil (almost but not) he had two great bands – Dreamland and Dignity and they both rock! I know because I’m really into his vocals and been doing some research. And I found him back in 2007 :] 
      He also plays a bunch of instruments and composes, writes lyrics etc :] (for example Dreamland – Exit 49 – I’ve heard that he did composed the whole material :] ) 

      Cheers

      RooZ

  • Krauzer

    While I concur, this has a plasticky feeling all over it, remember that Pain of Salvation was in melodifestival, and they aren’t typical pop metal bullshit, anyway, sadly I can see this band getting listened by “angry metal” 12 year olds who don’t know better.. keep up the good reviews man.

    • Yeah, and they lost too BS schlager, didn’t they? I don’t think Amaranthe would lose. I think Amaranthe would be that horrible schlager that wins.

  • Kevin

    Lol.Brilliant review…

  • Titan

    Oh my, what a lame review. Dude, have you ever listened to Metal music after 1991? Seems like you didn’t. Those guys (and chick) are doing something different, something interesting and something that will get more fans to listen to Metal music instead of Justin Beeber. Who THE FUCK are you to tell who’s soulless, who’s not a musician and who’s making good music?! Go fuckin fuck yourself, angry metal shithole! This is an awesome band that’s trying to save a genre in stagnation, what Metal for sure is nowadays. I’m listening to this music for fuckin 20 years and I’m saying that with all my dignity and I’m proud that I listen to this band. FOAD.

    • Metal doesn’t need Justin Bieber fans to listen to it. And yes, I’ve listened to plenty of metal since 1991. There are fantastic modern metal bands, unfortunately Amaranthe is not one of them.

    • Cerca

      That review just shows that you are being devoured by the envy you have inside yourself.

      • What a fascinating response. No, this review shows that I hate this band. I feel nothing particularly personal one way or the other about the band. Ok, maybe a bit of pity for the musicians who are forced to play music this bland and boring, but outside of that I could give pretty much no less of a shit about the band other than that I think they’re crappy.

        • Just do not hear them, I surprisingly agree with you in quite many reviews, this is one of the few sites the reviewer shows sincerity and do not fear to say something that might be hurting for some “fan”. Not all in the music releases are 7, 8, 9 or 10/10, in fact most of what I hear nowadays barely passes the 5 or 6 XD
          Keep on rockin’
          Greets from Spain.

  • Titan

    I don’t know, dude. Bands like this one and Dead By April will save this genre. You are way too critical to them. Sorry I insulted you, I’m just tired of guys who listen to the same album and same genre for 30 years and can’t see anything different than Slayer and Metallica in their lives. I don’t know if you’re on of them or not. After all, the chick sings well, the Dream Evil guy sings well, the harsh-vocalist is good, the music is well-played, catchy and has some pop & E-Type spirit in it (even solos), which is more than fresh in my view.

    • Josh

      Titan, the metal Genre is doing just fine. Metal is about the music, not the popularity. And the two bands you named (Metallica and Slayer) are two of the most famous metal bands…maybe you should look past popularity and into the music itself because, believe me, there are plenty of modern bands whose material is better than Met and Slayer (and obviously blows Amaranthe out of the water). The bands that are ‘saving’ the genre today are guys like Opeth, Orphaned Land, Agalloch, Pain of Salvation (well, they were until the last two records), and Primordial, along with dozens of others. Great, genre defining music is out there, you just have to look for it.

    • You’re right. I feel and think the same way. (Thumbs up)

  • Daniel

    Lol!!! Wiping the results of all their hard work off their chins. A bit of a Bill Hicks vibe going on there. Suck Satans Cock!

  • Steel Druhm

    These guys are hardly going to “save” the genre. More likely they will help kill it. Awful, commercial, trendy, corporate crap.

  • renkhor

    oh came on, I see that you are the only pop fan here, there are many pop bands that you named in your non-constructive review that makes me feel that you’re selling records of britney spears. Please man, united we stand and lets focus that energy against justin menstrual fever and the crap of rap.

    • I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. But this isn’t metal, I think I made that very clear.

  • Zadion

    Ironically your review makes me want to listen to the album; mostly because I do like Sonic Syndicate (well, one of their albums anyway – the rest are pretty lame), and catchy melodies in my metal. The album cover is horrible though – despite the hot female singer.

  • Out of curiosity I checked out the video clip on youtube for that Hunger song. When the Universal logo popped up I should have stopped then and there. Seriously, the video was like a Michael Bay crapfest with I-phone plugs. I don’t listen to the radio, so I couldn’t tell you if this is getting any airtime, but, ya, you’re spot on with “the metal equivalent of the Backstreet Boys”. And if something like this can get airplay and popularity, why can a band like Amorphis get some love. Take “Silver Bride” for example, the song has great pop sense(as in it’s catchy and radio friendly), and also has a theme within it that can be found in countless top 40 songs “Money can’t buy you love”. But what makes that song so special is the way it is presented, the music is complex but not overly, and it says it’s message through characters in folklore and not dumbing it down and just being super direct. It’s win win. The listener can enjoy the song for what it is, or use tangential learning to delve deeper into the themes and get more out of it, something that is not present in the song I just forced myself through.

  • bwboyy

    You sir are full of suck (author)

    • No, this band is full of suck.

      • bwboyy

        but this band , and similar modern style metal will prevail while elitist and their “music” are slowly dying (thats actually good).
        thats why you suck :D

        • Battlecat

          bwboyy, why in the blueberry christ are you even on this site? I live in America, where pop and rap rule the airwaves, and what passes for popular rock around here is mainly just another pop star that can actually play a frigging instrument. And it sickens me to death. Bands like this, “amd similar modern style metal” only exist because “elitists” make their “music” first. Then along comes this guy Horsedick, who decides to start the band Thundercunt, who have metal influences but break it down to an unrecognizable pulp that is then spoon fed to the gullible masses for profit. So while the elitists may slowly die, at least they aren’t complete flash in the pan, make-a-quick-buck schemes. Also, I find it humorous that the poser metal defender resorts to using emoticons… tisk. So slag off and get the dick out of your ear, cockwagon. Angry Metal Guy didn’t humour you with a response, but there’s my two cents. Choke on it.

          • bwboyy

            trolling complete haha

  • Valerie

    Ehhh, I agree that it’s poppy as hell, but are the personal insults towards Elize really necessary? “Can’t name a Slayer record” — considering she’s been on tour with other metal bands before, really? And the whole bit about her launching a “pop career” after this, is there even a precedent for that?

    • Do you think it comes off as a little sexist? ‘Cause I worried about that. My main issue is that she has no metal cred. I like some female vocalists, and this lady is talented, but she’s not metal. At all.

    • Oh, also, Liv from Theatre of Tragedy is trying to start a pop career. And, “Elize” has real pop pontential, which means that if this band has any success she will be given offers. I suspect that she will eventually diva it up, and I don’t think that’s an unreasoanble prediction. This is largely predicated on the fact that I don’t think this is a band that exists because of the traditional “ties that bind” so to speak. This is a business and a pop metal model, and they’re trying something to get famous not for the love of the music, which is why the music sounds so hollow and lifeless.

      • Valerie

        It did, tbh. I don’t think Liv is a good example, though, since “Skintight” is her third pop/solo album. I get the impression that she does her solo stuff on the side and focuses mainly on Leaves’ Eyes.

      • Valerie

        And I’m just wondering why “metal cred” matters in her case? She’s provided guest vox on Dragonland before and has, well, toured with metal bands. She’s a fantastic singer. If she’s actually actively contributing to the scene, why does it matter what bands she personally likes? If she wanted to get famous, why wouldn’t she have chosen a pop career from the beginning?

        I dunno, Olof actually came to the ProgPowerUSA forums when somebody said something similar and said that they weren’t a corporate machine, they actually were a bunch of friends who decided to get together and make this sort of music, since they had known each other before. I dunno.

        • Yeah, I noticed that their band picture was all “we’re friends!” It feels fake and plastic and the fact that they even have to come out and defend themselves on that front shows that I’m not the only person who thinks that or gets that impression. I think they sound like a corporate machine, I find the music soulless and I think that, frankly, that she makes the music worse, but it’s not ’cause she’s a bad singer.

          Metal cred matters, btw, because metal embodies some things and “being true to yourself” is one of those things. Iron Maiden, as the famous story goes, never changed their sound or cut their hair. They just did what they wanted to do. They wrote songs that went against the grain of popular music and they got popular for it not in spite of it.

          Amaranthe is writing songs to fit the popular mold for the specific purpose of doing just that. This does not embody the metal spirit, and she helps embody precisely that for me. I also find the abject objectification of her to be irritating, but it is pop music, I guess I shouldn’t expect much more. If you read through my stuff you’ll see that these are things that I frequently complain about. But you will also see that I am neither opposed to chicks in metal nor to happy, fun heavy metal. I’m opposed to this because it sounds like it was popped out of “the song-writing machine.” And I find that to be offensive as a fan of heavy metal.

          Also, that she’s a good singer and gets singing jobs doesn’t make her metal.

  • I’m listening to the album as I write this comment. There’s absolutely nothing new on this band whatsoever. For me it’s like “Hummmmm… Ok! This girl can sing. The guitars are heavy. The drumms are loud… But where are the BALLS???”. It seems like they have a template on some Pro-Tools shit to make all bands sound exactly the same in Sweeden. The same guitar sound, the same drum sound, the same style of “screaming”. In Flames has done it alrealdy. Soilwork too… I don’t think this band is going to save anything, because we still have Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, Testament, Disturbed, Godsmack, Killswitch Engage and other bands to keep metal alive. I’m not saying it’s a shitty band, like the review sugests, but it’s a band who will vanish in time as many others… It will not endure!

  • NSX

    if anyone is interested it is streaming here:

    http://www.recordshopx.com/artist/amaranthe/amaranthe/#cd-t-shirt

    it is not metal. it is pop with metal as a gimmick. I started off quite enjoying it but after 10 minutes it really grates. I have nothing against this type of music, I would even go as far to say that there are more “credible” metal bands with female vocals out there which are not as listenable as this is. To me, it sounds pretty well produced, but at the same time is all so hollow.

    The chick is nice. They wouldn’t exist if she wasn’t! It appears they have sold their stock of XXL t-shirts so i don’t know what this says about their fans!

  • Gustav S.

    @bwboyy how can you say that? these types of ”trendy” bands will stop existing when they don’t appeal to themainstream, while Death, Black, thrash and Doom has been going strong for over half a decade and are flourishing in the underground.

    Also how will this preveil? When this type of crap isn’t popular there won’t be a supportive underground that keeps bands like this existing. the style will just die out…While Death, Black, thrash and Doom are still going strong because there is community built around them that isn’t going to go away. you’re silly, and titan youäre a moron.

    • bwboyy

      and you sir are failure nr2 (After author)

  • Steel Druhm

    Bwboyy, you sound very unmanly defending this totally pop, candy ass quasi-metal band. Just saying.

  • fretrunner

    I am amused about this review.

    It demonstrates, with a few grabs in the toolbox of sarcams rhetoric you can tear everything in pieces.
    when I say everything, than I mean EVERTHING.

    Just give me an item, a song, a book or whatever. I can flame that same way like you do, no matter if I personally like it or not.

    So I’m not quite shure if this is a persiflage of the whole “writing review thing” or what :-)

    Music has just one order: To make the audience feel better.
    Every musician, who makes some people feel happy, mo matter if 50 in a club or 50000 in a stadion, must have done something right.

    For me, i was waiting for this album and would give them 5 stars. Just because this tpye of music makes me feel happy not to mention that its great produced and all vocalists/instrumentalist are very talented.
    I just like those melodies very much, they just “touch” me. I cant retrace in any way why this should be “soulless”.

    But anyway, I remember my grandfather, He was very musician and played a lot of instruments (piano, cello, violin, accordion) very well and could also sing some operettes.
    But for him EVERY music which is not classical music like Bach, Brahms, Mozart, Beethoven etc. was “soulless”.
    He even was not able to catch the diffences between Pop, Rock, Jazz, Blues etc.
    All those kinds of music were “soulless acoustic waiste” for his ears.

    So who is right now? ;-)

    cheers from germeny

    • Josh

      I’d call this “soulless” because it doesn’t try anything new or do anything to distinguish itself from the thousands upon thousands of other bands that do this exact same thing (simple, catchy riffs following the verse, chorus, verse, chorus song progression). The musicians here are likely capable of better, but they take this route because it’s the quickest to commercial success.

      And I don’t blame you for liking this because it’s easy to listen to and doesn’t take much investment from the listener; just put it on and tap your toe and sing along. But this type of music bores me because there is no creativity. I listened to “hunger” on youtube and I could swear I’d heard it a few hundred times previously just because it’s so similar to every other mainstream pop song.

      And as for the “music is supposed to make you happy” thing, I respectfully disagree. In the same way that I can appreciate a tragedy, drama, or a horror movie, I can get quite a bit of enjoyment from an album like The Perfect Element or Still Life. But to each his own, of course. That’s the great thing about music: there’s something out there for everyone.

      Cheers from the U.S.

  • As if Metal genre should have being saved! Saved from what???? Whats with that paranoic need that some auto intitled “Metal fans” have to “save” or “defend” the metal genre this way???

    The only thing we must save is the World, from bands such as Amaranthe.

  • Big D

    What’s funny is that Amaranthe is treated as if it was their intent to be the 2nd coming of Christ…All they are is musicians having fun…If you aren’t into this style of music fine…

    I always wonder why reviewers review types of music they don’t even like in the first place.

    For example, if I wasn’t sure Amaranthe was a band I should be reviewing, I’d listen to the first couple of songs and I may conclude, “I’m not going to review it because it’s just not my thing.”…

    One thing for sure, music is VERY subjective..There is no right or wrong…It’s all for enjoyment…

    Look at the last Within Temptation CD as an example. It’s absolutely brilliant and beautiful, but it’s totally pop…I’m not trying t compare the two, just trying to have an open mind is all…

    Again, if you don’t like this type of music, then you shouldn’t be reviewing these types of bands…. Credibility of your review gets shot down because the reader of the review thinks, “I’m not going to put faith in this review because he doesn’t like this type of music in the first place.”…

    I would never review many of the bands on your site, because I can’t stand the music and vocals and they just aren’t my thing… I’m mostly a power/prog metal fan, but every once in awhile I desire to put in a catchy cd such as Amaranthe… There’s no harm in that.

    • You can dig it, and I can hate it. This whole choice and subjectivity thing goes both ways. Also, if I never reviewed CDs I didn’t like, that would really screw with my curve, don’t you think? Leaving out the bad results wouldn’t be very useful to the average fan, now would it? They’d just think that I loved everything!

  • Vash

    Actually, i’m looking forward (with a slight grin) for that kind of music to play on our (Russian) radio stations. If only u could listen what they are airing now… Google “kircore” if you REALLY wanna, hehe.

    Intrigued beyond measure, watched band’s video “Hunger”. Now that’s SICK. Like somebody’s chained you up and started to feed you with lollipops through your.. orifice. And noone can deny: no matter how long you’ve been listening another (any) music during the day: thirty seconds – OH, shi.. – huuunger save meee. Damn!

  • Cardoso

    Oh, hell! I was pretending never, NEVER listen to this band, after I read the review from AMG.
    But now, after all the stuff I’m reading here, I must check it out!
    And I will promiss you: I’ll try to keep an open mind!
    From Brazil, Rodrigo Cardoso.

  • Elyod15

    Thinking about going mainstream or not. I’d be just like Mike Portnoy, I know for the sake of metal, I have break the rule, but this is what makes me happy, doing my things while listening to this mainstream rock (not metal in this case). At this point, I know what mainstream means to me, that I don’t really have to dig into it, or care about it, but doesn’t make me chose to turn it off. When I listen to metal, I won’t do other things because I want to focus on every single part of the song, but in this case, I’d be bored if I’m not doing things while listening to it. cheers.

  • Gerrit

    After reading this, and several other reviews on your website, the only conclusion I have is that you’re overrating the term ‘metal’.

  • Cardoso

    A short introduction: I live in Brazil. I never left the country. Everyone knows what we got here: Samba. Also other worse things like Brazilian Country music, Axé (which sounds like Sepultura’s “Roots” or Angra’s “Holy Land”, but without any heavymetal sound, just percussion, if you know what I mean), our pop music, all sung in the same old Portuguese. This should represent about 90% of what we hear here. It’s a miracle there are some metal fans in Brazil, and “thank God” I’m one of them. Any average Brazilian music listener will classify almost 100% of the albuns shown on this website as CRAP, including my wife. Screaming voices, growlings, endless noising guitar riffs, endless solos and so on.
    What I want to say is: everything depends on the reviewer’s background and taste. And all the stuff reviewed in this blog is done by a Headbanger.
    So if you’re a mainstream rock fan, you’ll probably like Amaranthe. So enjoy it ’cause this must be one of his few records.

  • Big D

    And the thing is, a band like Amaranthe will never become “popular” anyway, because there are way too many people who don’t like any screams i their songs…. For example, I am enjoying Amaranthe, but my girlfriend can’t stand them due to the “metal screaming”… Elize can sing though…She’s no newcomer to metal either. Inf act, she’s been backup vocals for the band Falconer as well as went on tour with Kamelot..

    Kamelot even asked Amaranthe to open for them because they enjoyed the band so much…

    What’s funny is that normally I can’t stomach screaming vocals anyway. I prefer the technically trained amazing vocalists you find in prog metal and some power metal bands. However, the hooks of Amaranthe is what got me. I’m a sucker for a great hook and the band has lots of them…

  • James

    Couldn’t agree more, Angry Metal Guy.

    I’m a big fan of female fronted metal bands, and generally don’t have a problem with the occasion stabs at grabbing mainstream attention and commercial success with catchy poppy singles.

    This whole album stinks of a corporate cash-in though. Musical integrity is non-existent. It feels plastic and cheap.

  • Big D

    I always have a problem when people take a stab at bands for wanting to take money… For example I don’t like most pop because the type of music just don’t anything for me, but for bands that seen an oppportunity to want to make some money, why should I have a problem with it??

    Does that mean if you or I were unemployed and we took a job that comes along that makes 100k a year instead of 25 k that it would be a bad thing?

    We might have to do things differently, and if knows if we like what we do, but hey, 100k is a 100k….

    And to add to that point, what if the band truly enjoyed making the album? what if they had fun doing it? Then as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing wrong with it…..

    Sometimes i think people get all bent out of shape, and start crying just because THEIR metal isn’t getting the attention that bands like Amaranthe is getting, so they are mad and take it out on the band…

  • Daniel

    I honestly enjoyed the first 25 seconds of Leave Everything Behind, and the rest of this stuff made me laugh so there is merit in it after all.

    “This is an awesome band that’s trying to save a genre in stagnation”

    No, it’s a pop act manufactured and sold as metal.

    “Bands like this one and Dead By April will save this genre.”

    Pop-metal saving heavy metal is a Münchhausenesque idea.

  • From the owner and creator of metalreviews.com : Your biased view shouldn’t end up in reviews, you are not objective ! You don’t like the perfect mix of pop elements into metal music, for a band that can actually bring more people to the metal world (who cares if its designed to sell albums as long as they sound good and bring more people this side of the fence ?) by being more accessible (instead of writing reviews that guilt the reader into even checking the band for fear of losing metal creds or something). They are still metal (like it or not Mr. close-mindset) and the last thing I would call them is soulless (more like talented, brilliant and inventive)… you either know nothing about music or you are so limited in what you like that being a reviewer is probably not something for you (even though you write well). Just the two cents from someone who owns a review site since 2000.

    • Hi Chris, thanks for reading.

      Reviewing is a matter of personal opinion by its very fundamental existence. You cannot in any stretch of imagination be objective about a review. Ratings are a purely subjective aspect of the process, and giving the record a rating based on what you think others might think versus what you think is also a subjective judgment. There is literally no way to change this.

      Also, I am neither closed-minded nor unknowledgeable. It would be more fair to point out that my critique of this band as being shitty and feeling soulless is about the feel of the music, the construction of the songs and the focus of it. The blending of genres is unfortunate and unappealing and musically it may be catchy, but that doesn’t mean its inventive.

      Talented? I say the band is talented. But brilliant is a completely subjective thing and I say this is not brilliant. Inventive? No. No. No. This is fucking pablum, this is a huge, terrible, steaming pile of cliche pop bullshit with distorted guitars. This is about as inventive as the new Rihanna single. Lady Gaga is more inventive than this, because at least she has a shocking, interesting image and is pushing the envelope. Amaranthe is not shocking, they are manufactured and if they’re not manufactured than they have chosen to sound manufactured.

      You run your little metal review site over on your part of the Internet and I hope it does very well for you. And if you get a lot of hits and people stop reading my site because they don’t agree with me, then more power to ’em. I am not here to kiss the ass of the industry by calling everything that comes out good. Because not everything that comes out is good. MOST of what comes out is mediocre and sometimes it’s remarkably bad (like Amaranthe). But hopefully people are smart enough to realize that you can’t possibly be objective either. The word objective gets thrown around in reviewing circles in a way that just blows my mind. And that you have managed to do a metal review site for 11 years doesn’t make you objective. You like what you like just like the rest of us. And you dislike what you dislike. And you will describe what those things are and give arbitrary ratings just like the rest of us.

      So, like I said, thanks for reading. But you know what to do with your two cents.

      • Agreed on the objectivity. On the rest its a matter of taste, otherwise we can start from scratch and argue until the end of the world :), and I have other things to do :D.

        It’s just that when you google Amaranthe review the first hit is this… ouch for them :). Anyway, it may be manufactured but it will appeal to some people, it appeals to me, and I’ve been listening to metal since I was a toddler (no shit my bro who is roughly 9 years older than me was into KISS and AC/DC at the age of 12 or even before).

        Agreed on most release are sub-par and crappy, no argument there… unfortunately in my book this is a GREAT album, one that stands out and that I love playing. But again it’s my taste and my alone, you’re entitled to your opinion after all, as I’m entitled to mine.

        Anyway, thanks for the long answer and thanks for the post on objectivity, great reading !

        As for the traffic and stealing readers, at MR we all do what we do for the love of the music, we don’t give a shit who has more visits… If we did my site wouldn’t look like it was designed 10+ years ago, it’s the content that matters, we have relentlessly released reviews every Monday of every fucking week since 2000 and never missed a release… but we ARE NOT competing, nor with you or anyone else, we are just doing our thing since then and will keep doing it until we don’t want to anymore… hope I didn’t instill some kind of competition in my post as I DEFINITELY didn’t want that. The net is a wonderful place as it contains so much information, one man’s shit is one man’s treasure and vice versa…

        Peace,
        Chris

        • My point was this: if people are offended by the fact that I’m not “objective” than they can read your “objective” reviews and more power to you all. I’m not competing, I feel no need. :) Congrats on the longevity of your site, btw.

          I, too, have listened to metal since I was a kid. Europe is one of my first favorite bands and then it was all cemented when my brother got Seventh Son of a Seventh Son for Christmas when I was 6.

    • Guest

      How can I put it to you ? How about “Your comment is invalid ’cause you rated Amaranthe’s record higher than In Vain’s AEnigma.” ? Yeah, that seems to work just fine.

      PS: I know you haven’t written those reviewes yourself, but even accepting them is a huge mistake.

  • Dániel

    “who cares if its designed to sell albums as long as they sound good and bring more people this side of the fence ?”

    Which side of the fence Amaranthe is on is at the very least debatable.

    “They are still metal”

    By what standard, sir?

  • dheim

    well, it seems that you (AMG)’re a bit too biased against the use of “pop” (whatever it means) vocals in metal (come on, Deadlock are not that bad! :)), and such a low vote has its clear “political” reasons, but no one can deny they’re clearly fake. fun to listen to a couple of times, but when you see a band of noones coming out of nowhere with a seriously professional image and Hollywood style videos, world tours and tons of merchandise well… it’s hard to imagine them rehearsing in some garage with 20 W solid state amps and metalzone pedals! i’m not saying that every damn band on earth should become famous after 15 years of shitty 4 tracks demos, but this looks like a competent industrial product, and sounds exactly the same. 2/5 for the three vocalists, they keep me awake through the bunch of “modern metal for teenagers” riffs, otherwise 1.5/5 would be almost generous. i’m not starting my personal review space, it’s just to give my opinion some numerical value… ;)

  • Kees

    I like it, so I listen it. You guys keep on growning on the “we want true metal, so we are true by saying that”-subject. Have fun with satan all, I have some music to listen…

  • Wow, what a fantastic review! I just found your site when looking for stuff on Amaranthe as I just did a review of the CD myself (http://heavy-metal-ftw.blogspot.com/2011/05/cd-review-amaranthes-self-titled-album.html).

    I enjoy a good, well-written, scathing review, and I have to say you really didn’t hold back as I did in my review, but I really felt the same way you did in the end. I think this is way manufactured shit that is essentially pop dressed up as metal. I enjoyed the catchiness, but I also found it sounded boy band-ish and just…yeah, “soulless.” Pretty good term, actually.

    I really enjoyed reading the discussion here, too. Great site, I’m glad I found you!

  • Lee Berreth

    WTF IS THIS? Pop-metal? This is just garbage…

  • JT

    Wow, there are some very interesting comments on here! So many people here have back lashed on your review! I give you a lot of credit for saying your own opinion no matter what anyone says!

    The truth is that because this kind of “metal” WILL appeal to a mainstream audience, it WILL get people uptight which is what is going on here on this review! The truth is that what AMG said on this review has a lot of truth to it that no one can deny. Sure the music is catchy and has hooks to it, but it’s also extremely manufactured and doesn’t sound any different than any modern pop rock/metal album out there! As far as originality goes, this album deserves a 1/5. Just because you have 3 singers does not mean it’s automatically unique! In fact, this band isn’t doing anything different from anyone else! Most metalheads know there are better bands in the genre!

    AMG, your review is great and it certainly has stirred up some controversy here! Don’t ever change how you feel about your opinions! What makes your reviews so good is that you aren’t afraid to hold anything back no matter what anyone says! Keep up the good work!

  • Al Tatts

    After your review, well I just had to check it out – I’m a sucker for the outcast and unloved. Going through the previews online while reading the reviews I couldn’t help but burst out laughing.

    The muzak made a great backdrop to the comments, not at all intrusive, quite pleasant in a mall kind of way. Reminded me of radio ads from the 90s.

    I have to disagree with your review in one respect though. Unfortunately, under a broad definition it is ‘metal’, not great metal, just ‘metal’.

    The thing that gets me are the comments saying Amaranthe and bands like them are here to ‘save’ metal. Fuck, I didn’t realise it needed saving. Haven’t record company marketing idiots being saying stuff like this for years (decades more like) about their latest and greatest bands, just before they disappear up their own poo holes?

    Metal has had its ups and downs, but as a genre it’s been around for fucking years – why the hell would it just curl up and die now?

    I did NOT press ‘buy now’.

  • My review of your review is this … BuLLSHiT! m/ Your opinion is so crappy that I’m amazed I even finished reading it.  I don’t know if you have a real talent, but writing certainly is NOT it! :-)

    • In this weeks episode of….When Fanboys Attack!!!

  • Now I know what Brittney spears would sound like on a metal album.

  • umbrae

    I hate this band. I hate them SO MUCH. THANK YOU! I thought I was the only woman in the world that wanted this band to stop existing. They’re playing at ProgPower USA next year and I am so sad. They are neither progressive nor powerful, and after this year’s fantastic lineup (LABYRINTH FTW) I’m so disappointed that its being followed with Amaranthe and Epica. Now I’m going to have a beer.

  • Ryan Creek

    In my opinion, metal can only benefit from an infusion of something new, something that breaks the currently accepted boundaries of “true metal”. Why box ourselves in with only a couple styles of metal? Why not spread the influence of metal into the other genres so that more people can come to realize the sheer awesomeness of hearing people actually play their own instruments with talent and skill?

    Metal fans are hard to understand. One of the central tenets of metal world fandom is that the less mainstream the music is, the better it is. It’s as is metal fans love knowing that the music they enjoy is largely hated and unappreciated by the masses.

    Continued creativity is a good thing, even if it means dabbling into other genres of music, like Amaranthe does. This is why I support Amaranthe, and this is why I bought their album and enjoy it. I play it along with my current metal collection from Children of Bodom to Dethklok to As I Lay Dying.

    It’s about the music, not about labels.

  • Ryan Creek

    In my opinion, metal can only benefit from an infusion of something new, something that breaks the currently accepted boundaries of “true metal”. Why box ourselves in with only a couple styles of metal? Why not spread the influence of metal into the other genres so that more people can come to realize the sheer awesomeness of hearing people actually play their own instruments with talent and skill?

    Metal fans are hard to understand. One of the central tenets of metal world fandom is that the less mainstream the music is, the better it is. It’s as is metal fans love knowing that the music they enjoy is largely hated and unappreciated by the masses. Why?

    Continued creativity is a good thing, even if it means dabbling into other genres of music, like Amaranthe does. This is why I support Amaranthe, and this is why I bought their album and enjoy it. I play it along with my current metal collection; from Children of Bodom to Dethklok to As I Lay Dying to Ghost Brigade. If that means I’m not a true metal fan, so be it.

    • The reason I question whether this is “true” metal or not is way more about the feel than anything else. I like well-produced poppy bands. I love Nightwish’s new record for fucks sake. *This* band fills me with a kind I loathing I have never experienced. It’s so manufactured. It’s hitting all the right buttons but feels sterile. There’s nothing unique or challenging about this. And that’s why it’s not metal.

  • Lexie Love

    Angry Metal Guy, as a chick who listens to everything from Lady Gaga to Slayer and Arch Enemy (no, I’m not schizophrenic and I don’t have multiple personality disorder) let me tell you that I totally agree with you. To my surprise, I read some good reviews of Amaranthe’s albums and I found myself musing over the possibility that I might be tone-deaf, stupid in terms of metal preferences, insensitive and outdated. Turns out, however, that I was right. The band does suck! =)) Loved the fan-boy reactions though. Good job! Keep it up 

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  • This is an old review, and pretty much everything has been said, so I’ll keep my response short:

    Anybody who listens to and enjoys Amaranthe is to be pitied, and his/her opinions ignored.  It is the musical equivalent of finding the actors of Jersey Shore attractive and desirable.  I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have such a shallow, meaningless connection with music.  This is no different than groups like BrokenCYDE, Design the Skyline, or any other intensely self-unaware preteen pop bands masquerading under the guise of being ‘too cool’ for true music fans to ‘understand’.  We don’t hate bands like this because we don’t understand.  We hate them because we *do* understand. Their fans don’t, and they should be pitied and ignored.

  • Rainer Buurman

    I took a look (or ear) at them on YouTube and was immidiately and completely reminded of Sonic Syndicate.  This music does NOT come from heart but from butt, and this music is NOT meant for metal fans but only for the purse of the producer (and perhaps band members).

    Still… with this lack of soul this is the most extreme death metal band ever. Because NO other DM band sounds so damn empty, artificial and, well… dead as these dudes do.

  • swlong

    I can’t stand all the manufactured, soulless, ubiquitous music out there.  One of the reasons I keep coming back to read your reviews is because you have the balls to write a review like this rather than appease the masses or “go easy” on a band.  Good on ya!  Very entertaining read.

  • a_normal_human_being

    ‘Angry Metal Guy’ writes well enough, but is ultimately just another butt-hurt music elitist (also known as music critics) with an overly subjective viewpoint and absolutely no regard for anything beyond his own egocentric perspective.

    It obviously hasn’t occured to ‘Angry Metal Guy’ that Amaranthe are a band with a particular sound in mind…and a sound that they ultimately achieve pretty well.  The fusion of pop elements into rock/metal is nothing remotely new and is something that many people have actually embraced and enjoyed over the years.  Fusion of genres is one of the processes through which we find new genres…heavy metal would not exist if not for this process further back along the line.

    Amaranthe do not attempt to be a heavy metal band (which ‘AMG’ WISHES they were…or at least imagines they were trying to be), but set out to produce this new sound which they believe people would enjoy.  Of course, not everybody can fall within the bracket of ‘the intended audience’, which is something else that ‘AMG’ completely fails to comprehend (and come on…it’s a simple enough concept to ‘get’).  Therefore, hardcore metal fans, too busy being hardcore and listening to metal to bother with anything remotely different, are not the intended audience.  ‘Angry Metal Guy’ is NOT the intended audience.  There are, however, a great number of people who ARE the intended audience…people who actually enjoy the unique pop-metal fusion.  It is this group of people who can call themselves fans because they actually listen to and like Amaranthe’s work, regardless of what fools like ‘AMG’ have to say.

    But apparently, unless it’s ‘AMG”s style of music, it must be bad and never listened to.  The musicians must be terrible people who whore themselves out to make money.  Because ‘AMG’ said so.  They must be souless ghouls who would pull in impressionable young people with their catchy music, then drink their blood or some such nonsense.  Because ‘AMG’ said so.

    I guess the point I’m trying to make is that critics (or reviewers…same horse shit, different colour) are worthless.  They express their opinions (that’s right…OPINIONS) as if they were fact.  They attempt to construct some air of authority about themselves by calling themselves ‘critics’, etc.  The reality is that they have no authority to direct the opinions of others.  Not one critic on the face of the planet is an open-minded individual who respects the views of others, who tries to remain objective and fair.  No.  They’re all subjective, toffee-nosed morons who feel the intense need to justify themselves as people by attempting to press their personal (and mostly misinformed) opinions onto others, probably because they personally failed to be successful in their chosen field.  The reason I can say this – that an objective critic/reviewer doesn’t exist – is because adults who have risen from the adolescent need to over-identify with cliques to justify their existence…well they’ve become accepting of others who don’t share their every view and they’ve gone on to get REAL JOBS…they don’t sit around listening to music and crying into the internet about why the music sucks IN THEIR OPINION.

    The truth about Amaranthe?  They’re just like any other band in that they are not for everybody.  If you enjoy or are interested in the fusion of pop and metal elements, check them out…you may well like them.  If you’re not interested or simply don’t enjoy their work, move on and don’t be as pathetic about it as ‘Angry Metal Guy’.  Accept that everybody’s different and that people should be free to make up their own minds.  If you’ve read down this far, I thank you for your time.

  • Great review. I had to watch this crap live because they were opening for some other bands and it was just the worst gig ever. Their music is just a complete disaster. I feel ashamed for their fans.

  • Robert Holmes

    One just needs to ask oneself the following question, “what would Joey DeMaio do?”

    He would simply say “DEATH TO FALSE METAL”

  • Hey Guys,
    I honestly cannot understand why you (plus all the other people writing comments – and of course not letting themselves be influenced by your opinion) totally drown in pure hatred towards this band. I mean, come on even if you don’t like it, it doesn’t mean you have to demolish it!!
    And to me a real metal fan (and also the real metal mentality) is to accept everybodys preferences. If you say they just do it for getting famous and a lot of cash… wtf, sure they do! We all know that, but what the hell! If they were the only ones in metal business doing so, we would be rid of some problems.

    And just in case you think I am one of those that just got into metal, but basically only listens to some pop-metal-crap, I can tell you that you’re wrong!

    So guys please, enjoy your music (as I do every day), but be open-minded for new bands to bring in new influences from other genres!

    And this totally does not conflict with:
    STAY TRUE! ;)

    Janis

  • what ever… i like them

  • Joey de maio? he´s the biggest fake of them all!

  • Pete

    Unfortunately this article intrigued me to the point where I had to see just how bad it is… like Linkin Park fronted by J Lo, but worse.

  • nunka

    Had I read this review a year ago when I first encountered Amaranthe, I probably would’ve been a little furious—after all, every time AMG lobs a bucket of vitriol at the latest pop-metal “atrocity,” I find myself wanting to agree with him but also being drawn to the undeniable catchiness of the music. Same went for these guys.

    As time goes on, though, I find myself more and more disenchanted with Amaranthe’s sound. This is not a band that stands up to repeat listens. They fall apart during the most basic analysis. While I would never call them terrible or soulless, there is a certain element missing from all of their songs. I do think AMG’s review score is a bit unfair (especially considering the quality of some of the instrumentals and the pitch-perfect production, both of which you noted). But that’s my own nitpicking. Amaranthe is just… not good.

    I do like Elize Ryd, no matter how overproduced she is, and would like to see her work with more talented songwriters. Hell, maybe she’ll hop on the Kamelot wagon full-time. Thomas Youngblood has actually kicked around the idea, and I can hope, can’t I?

    • You should know that I pinged your comment in my review of their new one, Nunka: http://www.angrymetalguy.com/amaranthe-the-nexus-review/

      • nunka

        Thanks for the nod! When I’m bored, sometimes I’ll look through the AMG archives and comment on old reviews that catch my eye, which is apparently a taboo thing to do in internet culture. It’s nice to know my comments aren’t just entirely ignored!

  • Reading through these comments, it seems as though Amaranthe has brought forth strong opinions from a variety of folks! Searching this site for the word “Amaranthe” returns 7 results not including the actual album review!

    I am neither a fan nor a hater of their music. I’ve heard enough off their self titled debut to know that it just isn’t for me, but I am astonished at all of the hate directed towards this band.

    Yes, its commercialized, yes, its over produced, and I might even agree that many of the songs on the album are lacking in substance. However, this is CLEARLY bubble-gum flavored pop-metal. To me, catchy, overproduced, accessible music played by attractive people is a formula that pop music has used with success for years. AMG doesn’t deny that many of the songs are “ridiculously catchy” and “super slick” and that it closely follows pop formulas, but isn’t that the point? This *IS* pop-metal.

    One of the many reasons I love metal is because of how diverse it is, in one session, I could listen to Anathema’s “Weather Systems”, then jump to Diablo Swing Orchestra, Carolus Rex, and then finish that off with Black Roots of Earth, and its all called metal.

    Let me be clear here, I am in no way comparing the awesomeness of Testament or Sabaton to the mundane popness of Amaranthe, but what I am saying is that they all have elements of the same kind of music. AMG said it himself when he mentioned the music does contain some Soilwork or Scar Symmetry elements.

    We, as metal fans, should be embracing this opportunity to use Amaranthe as a “gateway drug” to better metal for those poor souls who don’t know any better. If someone comes along who likes these guys, instead of bashing the music so heavily and alienating someone who might actually like it, why not try to show them the way and lead them onto other, better bands that they might like such as Nightwish or Xandria?

    Does anyone remember DragonForce? Every kid with a Playstation or Xbox was a metal head for a couple of months when DragonForce albums were selling off the shelves because of Guitar Hero. I see Amaranthe as another opportunity like DragonForce was in that it opens the door to the metal world for people who may not have otherwise wandered in.

    I for one, think there is MUCH worse music out there than Amaranthe. Give “Call Out My Name” a chance and tell me that NONE of you are humming the chorus in your head after the song is over. Amaranthe is low-brow predictable generic music, but they’re not trying to pretend they’re anything else. For that, I think they deserve a modicum of credit.

  • Ondrej Susa

    Hilarious!

  • reservoirdog1

    I listened to a couple of their songs in the car on the way to work this morning, after seeing an ad for them in this month’s Decibel magazine. Hadn’t heart of them before.

    I agree with those who say that metal doesn’t need “saving”, because it doesn’t. It’s always been predominantly for outsiders, and it’s doing just fine without somebody “saving” it.

    Having said that, I do see some value in bands like Amaranthe, Black Veil Brides, etc. Not as saviours of metal, but as offering a small strand of hope that today’s average mainstream kids might somehow be saved from the pablum crap they currently listen to and which dominates the music charts. The need for this was most recently made clear to me by a Rolling Stone cover story from the end of 2012, about the “Biggest Stars in Rock ‘n’ Roll” or something like that. Of the fifteen or so stars pictured on the cover, there were perhaps three that could MAYBE be called Rock ‘n’ Roll. Most didn’t even come close. ( Taylor Swift ) I look at the current charts and I see Demi Lovato, Maroon 5, Mumford and Sons, Justin Fucking Bieber. And I weep.

    Rock music has always been about rebellion, about pushing the envelope, about being dangerous and edgy. For over forty years, metal has been the standard bearer for those efforts (although sharing the duty occasionally with the likes of 2 Live Crew and Eminem, I suppose). My two kids seemingly exemplify this conflict in my eyes; my 11-year-old son somehow loves Adele and stuff like that, while my 15-year-old daughter, wise beyond her years and much less of a herd animal, likes Black Sabbath. In today’s musical climate, I’ll take that.

    Say what you will about Guns N’ Roses, Metallica’s black album, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, etc., but at least they, at their height, were better than the current chart-topping crap. Same is true of Amaranthe, in my view. If a decent chunk of the teenagers currently listening to crap start listening to Amaranthe, and like it enough to want to delve deeper into metal, then it’s worth it, and frankly a small sacrifice.

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  • Adi

    I must say i like very much this band Amaranthe . They are very good artists and their music is very melodic ! I listen metal music from 1993 (twenty years almost) and i must say this is one of the best new metal bands i heard . Elize , Jake and Andy sound very good together , and interesting ! So i guess it will be better to listen their music . Maybe they have some pop influence but this is not a bad thing because it sounds so good , and they are definitely a power metal band ! So better listen to the music that you like music than make stupid comments and afirmations !

  • Blob

    I find them a good half way point between pop and metal. I don’t exactly think they can be described as either to be honest, but I am finding them to be a good transition band, as in a band to listen to if you want to ease into the metal genre. They were the heaviest stuff I had listened to at one point, then I started looking into other stuff and liked it too. None of that would have happened if they couldn’t make these catchy records.

  • Valis

    I wasn’t aware of this band until a buddy of mine called who is working as crew on the Amaranthe tour. They seemed like nice folks but man it certainly isn’t metal, they really did nothing for me and I think I’ve felt more from the sound of my AC kicking on or a dishwasher cycling. For the defenders claiming that they will bring new “fans” to metal; bullshit metal doesn’t need them and is doing fine without them. To the idiots that believe metal has stagnated I say; no, it is you that has stagnated because there are countless great new bands pushing the envelope. Just because you’re too fucking lazy or cozied up to certain safe, familiar sounds and not willing to take risks as a listener doesn’t mean you can speak for an entire genre.

  • Papp Zolly

    Idiots! Play the fuckn instrument yourselves and then u can judge..their awesome and technical and musical..they have what it takes..and u review person, get a job or hang urself , don’t care, but untill u can play like them , suck it..zolly from Romania

  • Saphire

    This band sounds like Britney Spears, backstreet boys and linkin park having fun with metal…I am a big fan of female fronted bands, but this band really sucks, it’s pop music with some stupid guitar riffs! Elize is hot but it doesn’t make her a great vocalist as other girls in metal, this band is so overated and fucking cheap!