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Amaranthe – Breaking Point Award winner

Amaranthe
Breaking Point
by Johnny Jackal at 27 December 2015, 10:16 PM

I have heard about this band for a number of years and never really decided to listen to it to be perfectly honest. There is so much music to listen to, you always something on the backburner you want to listen to while forgetting about other bands that could be really interesting. As you get older, you don’t have a tendency to branch out that much but you always try to be open minded about anything that is released in Metal or Rock/Hard Rock in general.

First of all, there are a lot of female fronted metal bands out there, well…much more than in the late 90’s with LACUNA COIL and THE GATHERING that were pioneers for women in metal. I guess it wasn’t easy to get ahead in the metal community but these girls pretty much burned down the hatches and gave Metal a shot in the arm pretty much. So we got a lot of female fronted bands after that, a lot of them weren’t that great and were more or a less a smoke show. A nice looking girl who has an average voice, it was beauty before anything remotely intelligent or good.

But we got a lot of great stuff from EPICA, AFTER FOREVER, DELAIN, WITHIN TEMPTATION and then there is AMARANTHE. The Swedish metal band really knocked my socks off earlier this month when I listened to this album. As I am writing this, I am still kicking myself for missing their show at Fairmount Theatre on the 7th of November I believe. But I discovered them a wee bit later unfortunately but what can I do, just wait for another tour probably!

Let’s just say that Elize Ryd (other than being absolutely gorgeous!) has an amazing voice, it does remind me a lot of the female singers in all of Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s project like STAR ONE, AYREON, STREAM OF PASSION and so and so forth. She could be next in line in one of his amazing projects (on a side note, an artist from Montreal did the covers of his UNIVERSAL MIGRATOR Double album…). Her voice is one the most beautiful I ever heard in Metal. It’s full of passion, power and she can sing her lungs out but she can tone it down like the acoustic songs on this album. But we hear the full power and range of her voice in the last two songs on this album which aren’t acoustic.


This is a collection of B-Sides from the band. These are songs that were on the European and Japanese Special Editions. 6 of the 8 songs are acoustic versions of the original songs and we have two new songs that were only available on the Japanese Special Edition of their first self-titled one.

I think half of the acoustic renditions of the songs are great and are really good versions of the original songs. As for the other three, they are ok but lack the energy and passion of the originals.

The original of ‘’Afterlife’’ has a lot of keyboards and is very up-tempo. This is as prototypical Neo-Classic Power Metal song and it’s a crowd-pleaser in the shows I saw on YouTube. Each singer (the clean vocals of Jake and Elize and the harsh vocals as well) sings their part in the original but as for the acoustic version, we have a duet with Jake and Elize. It’s a good version but nothing more; it lacks the fire and the energy of the Power Metal original.

The original of ‘’Hunger’’ sounds like something from the early catalogue of bands like STRATOVARIUS and it’s pure Melodic Power Metal with the touch of harsh vocals here and there. Everyone sings their part but as for the acoustic version, both clean vocalists sing a duet. It’s much slower than the original but I really liked the addition of the violin on this rendition.

The original of ‘’Trinity’’ has an awesome sci-fi intro, we hear ‘’The Resistance is Futile’’ and then the songs starts with a lot of keyboards. Elize Ryd sings the chorus of the song alone this time. Most of the time we have a duet between Jake and Elize but this time they Elize take the lead and it’s a beautiful song. This song reminds me a lot of what NIGHTWISH is doing with Floor Jansen to be honest. As for the acoustic version, we have a lot of piano and both singers alternate singing in this song and the chorus is sung by both of them. I feel this song is the weakest of the acoustic renderings and really lost a lot of that pure energy from the original.

The original of ‘’True’’ has a lot of piano and heavy pounding guitars but is pretty mid-tempo. We don’t have any harsh vocals on this song and it’s a nice change of pace of the rest of that album. Elize sings in duet with Jake on the chorus on the original but in the acoustic version, Jake sings almost all of it and its pretty damn good. It’s different but it really sounds great. I like the originality of it and how they mixed things up.

The original of ‘’Amaranthine’’ is a pretty much a power ballad. It begins very slowly and gradually the pace picks up and it becomes more of a mid tempo song. Both clean singers sing the chorus but we have also harsh vocals that hurt the song. The song is the most beautiful of their whole discography and I felt the harsh vocals just don’t fit at all with the vibe of the song. The acoustic rendition is very similar to the original and you can hear the whole range of the voices of Jake and Elize. This is the best acoustic rendition on the B-Sides Album.

The original of ‘’Burn with Me’’ has only Jake and Elize singing. It’s a mid tempo song as well. We don’t have any harsh vocals on this one as well. This is second best acoustic rendering according to me. They alternate singing on the original and they sing it as duet on the acoustic version. I highly enjoyed the fact that they added some violin and some accordion on that version. It gives a twist to the original.

I enjoyed the last two songs as well. Those two songs could have been released on the first album without a doubt in my mind. Actually I feel that these two songs are much better than some songs on the original album. I highly enjoyed ‘’Splinter in my Soul’’, it’s a head banger and it rocks your socks off! If you want to make people listen to one song from AMARANTHE, well for me it’s this song. ‘’Breaking Point’’ was also quite good but I wasn’t keen on the harsh vocals and felt it was out of whack with the two really nice clean vocals (Jake E. Berg sounds awesome and has an amazing voice as well and sings his heart out on the acoustic songs).

All in all, this was a pleasure to review and one of the best albums I heard this year by far!

 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Hunger (Acoustic)
2. Afterlife (Acoustic)
3. Amaranthine (Acoustic)
4. Burn with Me (Acoustic)
5. Trinity (Acoustic)
6. True (Acoustic)
7. Breaking Point
8. Splinter in my Soul
Lineup:
Johan Andreassen - Bass
Olof Mörck - Bass, Guitars, Keyboards
Morten Løwe Sørensen - Drums
Jake E Berg - Vocals (clean)
Elize Ryd - Vocals (female)
Henrik Englund - Vocals (harsh)
Andy Solveström - Vocals (harsh) (Tracks 7, 8)
Record Label: Spinefarm Records
     


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