Amaranthe // The Nexus 
Rating: 1.5/5.0 — Improvement!
Label: Spinefarm
Websites: |
Release Dates: EU: 2013.03.22 | US: 03.26.2013

Amaranthe - The NexusAs a young boy I learned a really important lesson at the hands of one of my favorite bands, Europe. You laugh, but I was and it was the ’80s, so I was well within my rights to listen to Europe. In 1984, Sweden’s very own, very popular foray into glam rock released a record called Wings of Tomorrow. The album cover was simple. An armored bird of prey, in profile against a red planet cradled in a vast blanket of stars, ready to attack an unseen foe. Five-year-old me was in awe. My unconstrained imagination transported me into space with this mighty, ironclad hawk, to fight futuristic wars. This set the stage for a magical listening experience and the record is still one of my favorites.

When I finally got around to The Final Countdown something important had changed: the cover was five poofy haired dudes in space. No suspension of disbelief, no imagination, just Swedish glam rockers in space. And the record? Well, it had one great song… and in retrospect a lot of stinkers. It was certainly not a worthy follow-up to Wings of Tomorrow. In that moment an important seed of distrust of bands with their own pictures on the cover of a record was instilled in me1. If a band isn’t creative enough to come up with a cool record cover, that band probably isn’t creative enough to write really good music.

This bias has been repeatedly confirmed for me through the years, but one example stands out from the rest: Amaranthe. The band, based in the south of Sweden, is a ‘semi-supergroup’ made up of members in, or formerly in, a number of different well-known bands like Dreamland, Dragonland, Dream Evil, Mercenary, and Nightrage. With a solid grounding in power metal and even a bit of thrash, one could expect something fast and melodic, but fairly traditional from Amaranthe. But looking at the cover, you know that’s not what’s coming. No, instead, we’re treated to trendy Swedes in an electrical storm; the metal version of a Spice Girls cover, an updated version of poofy-haired dudes in space.

The Nexus is exactly what it seems; a plastic, packaged and finely-tuned pop machine that produces perfect 3 minute songs that run the gamut of variation between E-Type meets metalcore, Eurovision meets modern rock and Stratovarius meets dubstep.Amaranthe - 2013 © Ville JuurikkalaSplitting vocal duties among three vocalists – the metalcore guy who appeals to girls who like badboys, the power metal guy who appeals to girls who like pretty boys, and the pop star who appeals to middle-aged men in power metal bands –  everything here is perfectly mis-balanced. While Elize Ryd gets most of the play, the two dudes in the band share roughly equal time across the record. The screamer gets 5 minutes and 57 seconds of vocal time on this 42 minute record, while clean male vocalist gets more vocal time because he gets to do a modern rock bullshit song called “Burn with Me,” which sounds like 3 Doors Down and is the record’s absolute low point.

Of course, Elize is really the ultimate focus of this band. Her frustrated pop music career taking its form in Amaranthe‘s slick, catchy songwriting. “The Nexus,” for example, sounds like it could be a Britney Spears song, whereas “Electroheart,” probably the greatest affront to heavy music since Limp Bizkit, features a straight up bad ’90s techno song with distorted guitar. “Razorblade” belongs in Eurovision Song Contest, on the other hand. The chorus evokes a woman in a glittery bodysuit smiling creepily at the camera that she can’t stop making eye contact with out of a deeply neurotic need to be seen.

The lyrics to these songs are embarrassing as a matter of convention. One of the tricks of pop music is to write lyrics that are nebulous and ambiguous in order to appeal to everyone who could possibly ever listen to the song. This, plus a general sense of diaphanous positivity (“Invincible,” “Future on Hold,” “Afterlife,” “Infinity,” and so on), makes having a screamer in the band ridiculous. The point of screaming, especially the hardcore types that Andy Solveström does, is to sound tortured and upset. Dude is supposed to be angry. But given the lyrics, his only reason for being tortured is because he has to scream “ONE MORE TIIIIIIIME!” to add tension to Elize’s pop chorus in “Invincible” or because his place in life is to metal up the words “MY ELECTROHEART!”

The backup band for these vocalists is actually a pretty talented group of dudes. While bassist Johan Andreasson (ex-Engel) goes completely missing in the mix, Olof Mörck (DragonlandNightrage) is a more than adequate player, and some of his solos are fun to hear. Amaranthe - 2013 © Ville JuurikkalaDrummer Morten Løwe Sørensen (Dragonland, Mercenary) is also a genuine talent and obviously is paid quite well as he hasn’t quit despite having drum machine hi-hat superimposed over his playing on “Electroheart” to give it that shittier sound the band is after. Everything here is produced to be as huge, loud, modern and dense as possible. The quality is fantastic, but the playing is boring. The chug riffs that show up to give the screamy guy a reason to scream aren’t heavy or challenging, the drums rarely get extreme or technical and the bass is, well, inaudible.

All of this isn’t to say that there isn’t an appeal here. These songs are well-written pop songs that are built to appeal to the lowest common denominator. They’ve got the chug, the solo, the talented vocalist who hits the notes and delivers her stuff perfectly. They’ve even blended in dubstep in “Electroheart,” “Afterlife,” and it’s a part of their sound that works pretty well on “Stardust,” which has a good breakdown on the back end. Hell, they even have a really great moment in the track “Future on Hold” which has a metal-as-fuck pre-chorus where Elize sounds tough, not glittery. It’s just that a band like Amaranthe won’t live up to future listens, as one reader commented. Their sound is shallow, their songs are formulaic, the initial appeal of the catchiness will wear off and it will be dated as hell in 5 years.

In fact, that might be one of the tricks to cover art. Cover art, like production and music, that is driven by the trends of the moment doesn’t live up to longterm scrutiny. Instead, we see something and we say “Oh god, the ’70s” or “Man, the ’90s were terrible.” Some things are eternal, like Iron Maiden record covers before 1994 or Wings of Tomorrow. Some things are trends that will be boring or, more likely, embarrassing in 10 years: like The Final CountdownLinkin Park and Amaranthe. Despite that this record is better than the self-titled atrocity, this band hasn’t turned the page and gotten interesting. The hooks will catch, but they won’t stick.

Show 1 footnote

  1. The only exception I can think of at this point is Pain of Salvation‘s Road Salt I. But that’s actually a genre convention because they’re going for ’70s, so I’m not sure it counts
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  • Fair review… you’re points against really can’t be argued against. I still think this band can serve some purpose to metal overall by acting as a gateway band for some people, particularly younger listeners/teens…as long as its marketed properly (which I suppose it has been). First Amaranthe, then a few bands later someone can find themselves listening to Omnium Gatherum hopefully.

    As listeners who are already well versed in metal, we’ll tend to naturally look down on this type of stuff, as I did upon hearing the first Amaranthe album (after reading of the review here mind you). But overtime I grew to enjoy that first Amaranthe album on a surface level just as I’d enjoy a no-thinking required action flick like The Expendables, with a large soda and popcorn. Its surface entertainment that you don’t have to think about. And sometimes I don’t want to watch an indie drama flick, I just want some explosions. Amaranthe, love them or hate them, is skillful at writing the musical equivalent of that.

    • Realkman666

      It’s perfectly fair to say that they sugarcoat shit very well, but as soon as you actually forget to not listen, it’s too grating and offensive to forgive.

    • I agree fully with your first paragraph – since it’s new and easily accessible, younger kids who get into metal now may find themselves listening to Amaranthe. I know it’s embarrassing once they’ve gotten into better bands (like you mentioned, Omnium Gatherum), but we all start somewhere. For example, I got into metal through Slipknot years ago.It’s embarrassing, but they served their purpose as the gateway band.

      • Colin Stuart

        Same deal for me. Avenged Sevenfold and Mudvayne warmed me up to aggression in music. I can’t really listen to them anymore but I respect them as musicians for the fantastic stuff they lead me to.

    • I agree with your point to a certain extent. BUt I don’t think it gives them an excuse for existence.

    • Propably the first honest and unbiassed comment to this review, judge them for what they are, a metal band with heavy pop influences trying to break through to the mainstream audience. If you dare to listen to them with this point of view you might actually not hate them so much but see they are pretty skilled in what they do: making the link between mainstream pop and metal.

    • Solrac Avan

      Potential metalheads or just people interested in listening to metal deserve way better than this, they may be a gateway band as you call them, but if I were to introduce someone to metal I´ll never choose something like this (I´ll pick something like Iron Maiden, Tool, Rage Against The Machine, Helloween, etc.) If you want to be introduced to something new, you search for something really good that catches your attention, not something average at best, just because it’s accesible

  • shit/5.0

  • Seeing this link on Facebook was like having an early Angry Metal Christmas.

  • Realkman666

    Video needs more Banelings and Infestors. Fuck the Nexus.

    • Roaches and Mutalisks too!

      • Realkman666

        Metal for Mutas!

    • sure, but Reapers are totally the most metal unit in Starcraft.

  • I saw the music video for ‘Nexus’ not too long ago and got flak for commenting that it’s the ‘metal version of Britney Spears’. It’s too ridiculously poppy!

  • Great review! Very professional way to say that it’s total shit, which is a difficult thing to do.

    • That’s a great comment. Being highly critical in a classy or professional way is definitely what I wanted to do. I think last time I came off as mean-spirited and even a sexist.

    • Tanuki

      you could also say “it needs more zazz”. or “it lacks zazz”. far more professional than “that’s album is dildo’s.”

  • I completely agree with this review, although I have to say I like the first record and this one a lot. It’s just really cheesy metal-pop. Not bad, but definitely not brilliant.

    On another note: there’s no way in hell The Final Countdown has only one great song on there. It’s a matter of taste of course, but I’d argue that there are a bunch of really great songs on there.

    • I have been forced to admit that I also like Cherokee and Rock the Night. But really, it’s not a good album.

      • Maybe I need to give Wings of Tomorrow another proper listen then, just to see where you’re coming from. The Final Countdown was the first album I really listened to when I was young, and the first I bought from my allowance, so of course I’m biased.

  • “WHEN I OPEN MY EYES I SEE MY SHADOWS” Oh god i lost it when he said those exact words in that horrible song and music video which could be in a COD commercial.

    • Lyrics written by a groundhog!

      • King Aurthoar, Dragon Puncher

        This is why I’m a guinea pig that slays dragons and not a groundhog who’s afraid to get aggressive.

  • Hoo boy, I totally missed the drama last time, lets hope this time is as juicy as then. *Throws popcorn into the microwave*

    • Well, we’ll see if anyone turns up. I know that their last one ended up being the #1 hit in Google. I doubt this one will be, unfortunately.

      • Well, there are already 30 comments, even if they don’t all come it seems the ones who do still have a lot to say. And I mean A LOT (points to Dimitry)

      • sathriel

        Nah, AMG, this one is a well-balanced and lacks any flamebaiting so it won’t cause as much drama as the first one… shame?

      • Actually, after five days this is the second hit in Google! The first one contains some blaming too, so the position isn’t too bad. ;)

  • nunka

    Oh, jeez. Another one already, Amaranthe? When I saw this review, I did a double take. I actually wondered if they’d just copied and pasted the album art from their debut. Then I looked a little closer and saw they changed the color balance from blue to green. Ah, excellent work, guys. These are band promo shots, not album covers. Find a real artist!

    I am… not enjoying Nexus. It sounds like the whole damn thing is copied and pasted from their first album, not just the art. Same choruses, same vocal harmonies, same cheesy lyrics, same guitar lines. It’s like they started on a questionable path from the beginning and now they’re not even trying to change course. Full speed ahead for Blandmusicville! But there are still a few moments where I can hear Elize’s “metal voice” breaking through (as in “Future on Hold,” which you mentioned). Every time that happens, I can only shake my head and wonder if she’ll ever be in a decent band…

  • Pernilla

    Oh its fucking embarrassing that they are from Sweden (as I am) cause we don’t want their shity music to destroy our reputation haha xD

    • For what its worth, your country’s national treasure ABBA is pretty highly regarded in the States these days. When it comes to pop music, Sweden has stood head and shoulders alongside the UK, the USA, and France. Be proud!

  • Ernesto Aimar

    I can Stand the poppy girly vocals (and her smoking body). I also san stand the male clean vocals. I can even *try* to stand the catchy choruses and the metalcore riffing. But can anyone tell me why, WHYYYY on earth is there a long haired blond dude putting harsh vocals on stuff for teenage kids?
    Dude, If you like to growl, get a real growling band. I can’t imagine this guy naming Morbid Angel as one of his influences.

    Anyway, at least we can see the chick a lot in the clips. That kindda worth it. I like her guest vocals on Kamelot’s albums, but this band is everything that’s worng with commercial metal.

    • Baalim

      Unless I’m completely mistaken, he already have a ‘real’ metal band since he’s the growler of within y (correct melodeath band) and have been a former member of cipher system.

    • The screamy guy is in real bands, so not sure why he needs to be in this one.

  • L Roy

    Whilst I don’t particularly like Amaranthe, I’m with Metal Pigeon on them being a gateway band. I don’t particularly like Evanescence, but I’ll quite freely confess to buying a copy of ‘Fallen’ because it was something my friends and family knew was in the charts and thus wouldn’t turn off in the event I wanted to hear distorted guitars and keyboards posing as choirs.

    I just listened to ‘The Nexus’ (the track you have linked) and – ridiculous screamer notwithstanding – I found myself thinking double bass and guitar synced, check. Catchy dual singer harmonies in chorus, check. Competent guitar solo, check. Why the f*** can’t my country get something like this on mainstream radio? Ridiculous by ‘good metal’ standards, yes; but no less ridiculous than hearing Stratovarius on the air.

    • I can’t see them being a gateway band. Maybe a gateway to ’90s electropop.

      • Touche! But the conceptual optimist’s hope here is that a person would be drawn in to this band by hearing the clean vocals, electro-pop hooks, and have those aspects keep them tethered long enough for them to find the screaming vocal style palatable.

        Most of us are proof that we don’t need a band like Amaranthe to get into extreme metal, but they are a faster gateway because of those disparate juxtapositions. It took me personally many childhood years of hard rock and mainstream metal before I finally was able to make that mental breakthrough into appreciating harsh vocals…. Pantera really helped.

        I dunno, its all speculative and I can only presume… but I don’t doubt that there are listeners making their way into metal today because of their sudden exposure to a band like Nightwish, or Amaranthe, or Within Temptation.

  • Eryops

    If they left it to one vocalist (meaning both the guys are terrible, utterly terrible) then this would simply be a pop record. Somehow someone growling gives this an ‘edge.’

  • Dmitry Shirokoryadov

    The whole bash Amaranthe get, used to get and of course will get in metal community is hilarious. They combined some eurodance, pop and metal elements together and they’re absolutely fine with that. They don’t try to pretend they are a new wave of something or whatever. The sole purpose and idea of the music they perform is to write driving, catchy songs with monsterhooking melodies, whether it’s done via cool vocal performance or the electronic synthfest or both, layered upon the metla guitars. They don’t imply you should expect tech death metal shredding or prog rock atmosphere in their albums. Also, they’re not to blame they get tagged as melodic death metal or somehow else, because blaming the band for not playing the style some smart person labeled in the Internet wouldn’t be a really wise decision.

    Do they succeed in what they do? Of course, they have radio rotation, video budgets, single awards and other nice things showing the deserved success of their approach.

    So… so what’s the problem? Noble metalheads are afraid Amaranthe would be liked by their younger sisters? Because if your younger sister likes it, it probably means you’re not as cool and gloomy as you thought you are? Or maybe Amaranthe pose threat to the whole metal genre? I don’t think the guy in the basement who was going to play goregrind really cares of Amaranthe and what they play. He’s going to play a motherfucking grindcore and he simply doesn’t fucking care.

    So why do you?

    The whole “elite” thing is ridiculous. Claiming that music style A is by default better than music style B is like a nice neon banner above your head which probably says not really good things about your way of thinking. Because, most of all, your ideas of “better” and the ideas of “better” of “the guy out there” could be absolutely polar. Metal is a subgenre of music. And despite we all might find insight, consolation, inspiration and whateveration in it, it’s just a goddamn subgenre of music.

    • I think the issue with your comment is that there is no point in responding to it. Do you mean to say that reviewing music is subjective bullshit? Yes, you’re right. – There’s some reading for you.

      Anyway, now that we have the relativist bullshit out of the way, let me say this: Amaranthe isn’t ‘threatening’ in any way. They’re boring, they’re formulaic. I think it’s sad that metal produces great bands and it’s Amaranthe that gets picked up and gets popular, but I guess the general population can’t be expected to like stuff that isn’t constructed to be accessible for 4 year olds.

      Also, if you read through my reviews – since this is your first time here – you’ll see that I’m hardly an elitist. I regularly diss what I’m “supposed” to like and love what I’m not supposed to. I think it’s intellectually weak to discount another person’s opinion as being “elitest” and somehow “threatened” because they don’t like what you like.

      • Dmitry Shirokoryadov

        Of which formula do we talk? The intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus “formula”? It is used absolutely everywhere, from death metal to pop music. Is that what makes Amaranthe boring? They come with decent melodies, superb singers and smart electronics, and the fact they make a breakhrough from square one proves that they are likeable. They picked their style and they work well within it. Otherwise, what would you name that is NOT boring of their likes? Because it really sounds pretty much like whole musical branch just getting disqualified. If a guy starts playing music by hitting cans with a stick, should he be criticized because he doesn’t include a fusin solo on erhu in his records? He’s playing goddamn cans. Classical music professor has a chance to absolutely not get into emocore. A teenage girl will hardly get into raw black. But will their opinions about this music be really informative if they simply don’t get it, its purpose, its basics?

        I absolutely don’t discount anyone’s opinion per se. But sometimes people just don’t get a chair is a chair. It’s designed for sitting and if it’s done right, it would serve its purpose. Blaming it for not skyrocketing with solar escape velocity is totally pointless.

        The “great bands” from metal usually won’t be noticed by larger audiences. Larger audiences will notice something that is relevant to their interests. And that’s why I absolutely don’t get why it should be sad. It’s logical. You don’t expect a breakthrough on a wide level with technical jazzcore. Of course it can happen and history knows examples of changing trends but that doesn’t mean it should happen every day because it simply won’t. Maybe someday everyone will listen to Riverside, Pink Floyd, Tool or whatever else. But this is not yet that day and I think it’s no big news.

        I didn’t aim my comment at you personally, I wrote it because I keep reading things like “I know it’s embarrassing once they’ve gotten into better bands (like you mentioned, Omnium Gatherum), but we all start somewhere.” in relation to bands like this. If this didn’t reek of condescension, like let’s say due to Amaranthe being a pop/metal band by default inferior to a melodic death metal band, then I’m absolutely sorry about having been wrong.

        • I think what AMG meant with “formulaic” is that all the songs are the same, there is no preludes or endings or any sort of story, it’s just 13/14 songs with 3/4 minutes that have no relation or background story and all of them are played with the same formula (the one that you mentioned).
          If i may put in my opinion, Amaranthe sounds nice, they are good, they have talent (aside from the bass player, amybe, i don’t know i can’t hear him), the problem is that after 10 listens it starts to sound boring and 1 month later you already forgot about it. That’s the biggest issue with this kind of mixture

          • Fair. I’d say thats just symptomatic of pop music in general which at its core, Amaranthe totally is.

        • By formulaic I mean that the songs are all the same; predictable. I went through and counted the seconds that the metal vocalist was singing. I found myself able to predict when he was going to come in based on the structures of the song. It was just so obvious. There’s nothing intellectually stimulating about this music: for me (and for many other metal fans) stimulation is the point.

          Also, you’re arguing talent by popularity, which I think is a problematic statement. Many fantastic things go completely unnoticed, while pop radio is littered with individuals who have no talent, but have massive production crews behind them building songs that are focus group tested for success.

          Anyway, I’m not sure how your criticism is a criticism of my review. I call that chair a chair. It is what it is, and I don’t like it and I gave my reasons for why. That it’s popular is a bummer in that metal has so much better things to offer than Amaranthe, who I think are ultimately a trend that will go away with time. I’m not sure what else there is to say. I’m not holding it to any higher standards than anything else that I review.

          • Michael Sarasa

            A chair is a chair, but I find sometimes the flashiest and most modern of chairs to be also the least comfortable. Amaranthe left me squirming in my chair.

  • Michael Sarasa

    Now all the kiddies weaned on Radio Disney in the back of the mini-van have their own form of ‘Metal” to enjoy. The Nexus is pure formula, with 3 minute songs (Britney and Bieber territory) and instead of featuring one vocalist with their own song, every single track has all three singers elbowing each other off this obviously crowded stage. Afterlife, Invincible and Stardust are a few of the one-word titles that are as faceless as the music they accompany. The melding of the angel, the crooner and the cookie-monster reaches a comical peak as Elize Ryd and Jake E. sing sugary-sweet, googly-eyed American Idol styled duets before Andreas Silverstrom shatters the love-fest with earth-churning growls that sound as if he has his arm caught in the garbage disposal. Electroheart is a get-on-the dancefloor Euro-beat tune that you would hear in one of those late-night clubs that pour foamy suds from the ceiling. There are many bands that do the female/male symphonic vocals well, but Amaranthe come off as a gimmick, and the unnecessary jolts from serenade to shriek is just hot sauce on the ice cream sundae. Elize’s voice reminds me a bit of the now universally-hated Annette Olzon, but not as strong. Of course, Elize is hot, the other not–I guess that explains the album cover.

  • Amaranthe is not that bad, come on…

  • KingKuranes

    This is rated a whole point higher than their previous album. If this trajectory continues then their third album will actually be “OK, Nothing Special”.

  • I feel like this review captured my feelings about Amaranthe a lot better than the last one. Try to treat them as a metal band, which is the reasonable goal of this site, and they’re mediocre at absolute best. For me at least, if I look at them as a pop band that happens to have some metal elements, they’re actually pretty good. I don’t know whether they’ll last, but while they’re here they’re going in my cheesy pop playlist, and not any of my metal ones.

    • Seabasses

      I have to agree. To me its not a metal band – its a pop band with metal elements which makes it catchy enough.

      Euro-vision metal is perhaps a good classification of it?

  • DI Wolfpack

    I liked it… Everyone has their own opinion.

  • Ominosus_cattus_lectica

    Its taking me a while to listen to this album therefore semi-late comment. This is going to be long, sorry to those lacking attention spans.

    This band sounds like such a joke to me. (That probably sounds meaner than my intent) I think it is because it sounds like someone just sat down and studied 90s pop music to its very core.Formulaic is the biggest criticism of this band, and yes I think that is their core problem, they literally sound like they have learnt the base mathematical formula of 90s pop, and added some gimmicks to cover it up. Its like playing the Twilight game, figuring out all the aspects of mediocrity, experiment to see if you reach fame and popularity by being as lazy and derivative as possible. When I hear this I remember bands/acts like Steps, S club 7, Aqua, Vengaboys, certain Kylie Minogue stuff and various europop one hit wonders, it doesn’t make me think of metal. (Note I don’t particularly hate the above, it can be enjoyable in certain circumstances, but it bores me otherwise.) Compared to other pop(ish)-metal bands like Delain (yes even them) and Within Temptation, they don’t make me think of other pop music and don’t sound like they playing to an exact template or by the numbers. With Amaranthe my brain is trying to access long oppressed memories and keeps making me think “I’ve heard this all before, what 90s song does this sound like the most? I just can’t quite remember…”

    The other issue is, they seem so overhyped and I suspect they are an outlet for people too embarrassed to admit they like 90s pop. Some may be honest about it fair enough but this band is not a 9 or 10 out of 10 band, rather one that realistically ranges from 1 to 6 out of 10. I’m only using numbers because of all the OMG this is the best thing ever thing. False positive reviews are bad, unless you are in for a quick cash grab, as this group can do better. If they listen to the good while making excuses for the reasonable worded bad reviews then they’ll remain stuck and fall off a cliff when their fans get bored and move onto the next thing.

    On the vocalists now, the harsh guy makes the band seem so much more ridiculous (not in a good way) and since he has less than 6 minutes performance time, that just reads like the band uses him as the main gimmick to suggest hey we’re obviously metal, metalcore is hip with the kids right, so we’re totally not pop.

    I don’t think it is a problem if a “pop” vocalist wants to be in a metal band. Elize is the best singer, but its more than that. I understand that metal is 90% cockfest, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, I wouldn’t like metal if it was a problem after all . Normally for female singers in metal, they seem to have a higher expectation expected of them (which I suspected is changing now) where they either have to be A) Operatic and B) Men (or C) Ghostly?). There’s also nothing wrong with operatic singers and manly female voices but there’s the Anette Olzon factor, backlash for replacing Tarja and her main crime was sounding like a(n excellent) pop singer. Abba is the most I see her compared to but why is that a bad thing? The Abba singers had great voices, they were a great pop band, in a different league to the terrible pop singers of today like the Britneys, the Nicki Minajs and the Ke$has. The point is, the average female singing voice is going to sound pop-like because until recently, it hasn’t been exposed in metal long enough to be normalized within it, a woman shouldn’t be scorned for singing in a metal band because she hasn’t got the range of an opera singer or is unwilling to manipulate her voice to sound butch. There are plently of male metal vocalists that could easily be accused of being boy band singers but as metal is a male genre, all types of the male singing voice are established so no one notices. (I’m not saying that people are being intentionally sexist just that if it ain’t normal certain aspects stick out like a sore thumb. I don’t think metal is sexist either, maybe in certain regions but most girls are socialized and conform to like pop and stay well away from metal as possible, taking away potential talent) Elize as a vocalist is a good thing for metal, since she is a good singer who isn’t conforming to the standards set out. The problem for her and Amaranthe is they are playing a particular kind of pop with metal guitars. But if Amaranthe dies (if following the pop formula they will die after the 3rd or 4th album, pop records like that can’t sustain themselves) and Elize heads off into a different metal band that isn’t blatantly ripping off old pop songs or if Amaranthe does something worth listening to with their sound, as every member of that band can do better, I think it would be fine. Her stuff elsewhere is fine. If someone doesn’t like the average female voice that is fine, it won’t get in the way of their enjoyment of cockfesty bands but shouldn’t really say they shouldn’t do it or accuse them being pop when they (bands) sound nothing like Britney Spears or even Abba for that matter.

  • Nebucatnetzer

    When I heard them first in the radio I thought they could be really interesting. I was so disappointed when I heard the whole album. If they would throw the pop out they could be a metal band which I personally could really enjoy.

  • King Aurthoar, Dragon Puncher

    Ryd’s singing is one of the only things I find appealing in this band. That, and their ability to mix electronica with metal without any major problems. Just mix some classical music in and have the three conflicting music genres play nice with one another, then I’ll be jumping out of my chair, cheering like a teen fan girl at one of Justin Beiber’s concerts.

  • James Hampton

    I have to strongly disagree strongly with your review; this album has gotten me to stop passing over bands because they feature a screaming vocalist. The combination of vocal styles is a interesting blend, one which I did not think could mix at all before. I was a very anti-scream vocals type of person, but this album changed my opinion.

  • Alessandro Mattedi

    “The point of screaming, especially the hardcore types that Andy Solveström does, is to sound tortured and upset. Dude is supposed to be angry. But given the lyrics, his only reason for being tortured is because he”

    … because he is a member of Amaranthe. No more reasons needed for being angry.