I'm trying to figure out why Amaranthe could get so successful already since a long time. It can't be just the fact that female vocalist Elize Ryd literally attracts the fans like a magnet with her voice, her looks and her nearly never-ending love for fans. (I actually can't name any other female singer in metal that is as full of love as Elize Ryd.) There is much more behind this band as you may see or hear at first, and that's what "Massive Addictive" constantly shows me with every new pass. It's a veritable art to further develop as a band in a genre such as modern metal. I did listen to a couple of modern metal bands but Amaranthe is still the only one that gets me with hundred percent, even after listening to their records for days in a row. (I'm not joking.)
Amaranthe are presenting their third album by now. I have a low opinion of that "third album theory" which says that establishment of a certain band is dependent by the third record. Exhibit A HIM: their third album "Deep Shadows And Brilliant Highlights" is their weakest record and they still made it to the top of the metal scene nevertheless. Above all, I've still been very keen on what Amaranthe had done to surprise their fans.
It seems that the concept of the last album "The Nexus" has been kept up, everything revolves around digital worlds, the life in the future and also personal topics have found their place on this record. But, just that we get it clear, Amaranthe created one of the most peculiar albums of the last years with "Massive Addictive", it doesn't bear too much resemblance to "The Nexus", and it was clear that there would be something extreme heading our way. In the course of this, the virtuosity never falls by the wayside. You indeed have to listen carefully, but after some time, the songs start to sort automatically. I needed several passes myself to understand what I'd like to make you all understand. At a certain point, you start hearing relatively progressive structures. Drummer Morten Lowe Sorensen shows his skills once again when it comes to rhythms. With Ariën van Weesenbeek of Epica, he surely is one of the big ones of our time.
One of Amaranthe's merits are very obviously their vocalists. On "Massive Addictive", Elize Ryd sounds full of energy and powerful, but still, her voice is crystal clear. Often branded as "just a pop singer" (I tend to name her the Céline Dion of metal, meant as a big compliment though), she seems to constantly push herself and to develop her style. As a coloratura soprano, she has an extremely flexible voice in the high register of her range and her range seems to be endless. (By the way, her lungs, too.) Big intervals are no problem for her, neither belting up to C6. There isn't too much to hear from her head voice register, it is only used as background vocals or on the ballad "Over And Done". I'm convinced that this is to come more enhanced with the next album, and I give this woman credit for singing even higher when she gets started with operatic technique. Yes, she can do that as well. But watch out, even though Elize' voice has been edited a lot in the studio (since this is part of the band's overall image), this incredible singer hits every single tone live, too (while standing on hazardous high heels ...) and has the same, or even more power. Do I even have to explain why I'd kill to have this woman's voice?
Jake E isn't too much heard anymore, and at first, it even seems that the band has been continuing without him, but that's not true. He is still, next to guitar player Olof Mörck, one of the songwriters and a wonderful lyricist and an emotional singer. There is no Amaranthe ballad without Jake E, as well as Amaranthe couldn't exist without its calm anchor because the calm moment are exactly what holds the whole thing together.
New member Henrik Englund Wilhemsson (Scarpoint) has already established himself on tour earlier this year. For me, this guttural singer is the voice of anger while technically, he's a stickler for details and dedicated to every single word he's screaming. On top of that, there is finally one growler you can actually understand without having to look up the lyrics. I barely think that Amaranthe could have found a better singer, and I wasn't even sad when I read that former singer Andreas Solveström therefore had left the band ...
My big concern was that Amaranthe wouldn't give one hundred percent and that they'd fill up every gap with electro. The heavily applied electronic elements never sound made up out of thin air, though. Their arrangement and style has been adapted to the rhythm and riffs of the more metal side of Amaranthe, and that's something Amaranthe have been unable to accomplish in this certain way. A song that reflects this particular aspect is the eponymous "Massive Addictive", one of the best songs the Swedes ever released. It seems to be the very opposite of what you would expect. Amaranthe dialed it down when it comes to their speed and please the listener with intensity instead. At the same time, the melody is extremely catchy, although it is relatively straight-lined, and the atmosphere of this song is nearly psychedelic through deliberately applied discordances and powerful but yet clear growls. The effect of this song on the listener is massive and that is only one example of many others.
Yes, I do have my demands when it comes to metal. And yes, I have very high demands when it comes to my favorite bands. It's just a pleasure to see that they can meet this standard, and for God's sake, Amaranthe did for me and will very surely for many others, too.
Apart from that, "Massive Addictive" turned out to be the perfect companion in every situation of my everyday life. "Dynamite", "Drop Dead Cynical" and "Massive Addictive" push me to supreme motivation (For all the runners out there: I suggest you to put those songs on your running playlist, they do have a big positive effect!), "Over And Done" and "True" are two dreamful ballads with heartbreaking beautiful lyrics and melodies, while "Digital World", "Danger Zone" and "Unreal" could end up to be played in every discotheque. Especially "Danger Zone" is a very extreme song as it transitions from a brutal and melodic death metal song to a proper disco hymn.
Reviewers who are absolutely against Amaranthe would probably label this band as a virus that is infecting people around the world with the velocity of light. So apparently, I'm infected. And you know what? People should finally wake up and realize that Amaranthe can't be stopped. Congratulations, you bastards. You made me fall head over heels in love in with this band for the third time. I already can't wait to take my friends to a live show and to have a blast again.
In conclusion, I can only quote Amaranthe: "Don't you know I'm addicted?"