Swedish dance metal outfit Amaranthe combine poppy vocals, electro-dance riffs and glaze a coating of metalcore over the top, to create quite an interesting collection of songs. The title-track and single off their latest album, ‘The Nexus’, builds up an aggressive, fast-paced front before layering it with almost Britney Spears sounding drops, complete with electronic vocals, harmonised gang vocals and repetitive choruses.
Amaranthe tackle an acquired taste, which requires more than just a metalcore fan and much more than just a pop fan to enjoy their pop-metal infusion. Their somewhat misleadingly furious riffs become reduced to pop-influenced dance records at the drop of a hat. Their technical ability to transcend from such powerful sounds to melodic harmonies is commendable, although not always required.
Unsure of which style is aimed to be the dominant, it sometimes feels as if the musical change kills whatever its predecessor had built up. The pop vocals in ‘Invincible’ immediately retract any momentum that the attacking drum beats and agro screams had collected. Similarly, like in ‘Theory Of Everything’, the aforementioned heavier side of the band also retracts whatever momentum the melodic, catchy pop-esque part of the band has built up.
Coming at it from a different angle and taking it as one, rather than two totally different sounds, it works in a weird way. ‘Mechanical Ellusion’ kicks off with a heavy hitting intro and decrescendos down into a healthy mix of thudding beats and caressing vocals which all work towards creating an atmosphere within the piece. The female vocal input gives the chorus in each song a memorable and catchy edge to them.
Amaranthe are a band who simply aren’t for everyone. Their eclectic genre mix-up which ends up sounding like an orgy between Britney, DragonForce, Cascada and Amon Amarth is something which is difficult to swallow as one. It seems as though the two sides of the dance-metal coin they were trying to flip in our faces has split; you find yourself trying to pick which part of the song you like the most, rather than taking it as one track and appreciating it as a whole.
Written by Laurence Kellett