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Amaranthe - Manifest Award winner

Amaranthe
Manifest
by Jean-François Poulin at 18 September 2020, 7:19 AM

AMARANTHE are a Six-Piece Melodic Power Death Metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden. They are a difficult band to categorize, a number of people talk about Synth Pop Metal, Melodic Metal, Modern Metal or even Dance Metal. They are fronted by the three headed dragon that is Elize Ryd, Nils Molin and GG6. All three vocalists have their different style and adds a plethora of creative freedom. This is their sixth full-length album and first since ‘’Helix’’ back in 2018.

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 back in October of 2015 when I did a review of ‘’Breaking Point’’, a collection of acoustic versions of songs and two B-Sides. I believe this was one of my very first reviews I ever did for Metal Temple.

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. 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 parts on this album. But we hear the full power and range of her voice throughout this new album.

This is probably their heaviest album to date, the influence of Angela Gossow is ever present and this is a logical progression from ‘’Helix’’. This felt like a continuation of the hard work they poured into that opus. It’s very synth heavy but that adds just to what this band brings. They don’t overstay their welcome with songs between 3 and 4 minutes, straight to the point. The opener has some seriously nice backing enchanting vocals and the singers come forth and deliver their unique style.

This is their manifest, it’s not just an album title but it’s putting their name on the map. It’s their declaration of the world, we have arrived and we won’t take no as an answer. This is our style, love it or leave it, we are here ton conquer. They are really that close to superstardom and their two tours that were cancelled in 2020 may have hurt but it’s time with this album to take the next step.

The addition of Nils Molin on the last album solidified an already cohesive unit and he adds to so much drive and passion. He has a better range of vocals that the departing Jake E. and has such a presence about him. You can tell that the famous confused Swedish cowboy is right at home with the band, well, AMARANTHE did relentlessly recruit him to be in the band, probably their best move up to date. ‘’Scream My Name’’ is probably to most thought provoking song of the album. It’s an ode to people that were pushed away, bullied and rose above that turmoil to become a greater person. The trials and tribulations we pull through makes us push back, drive a little harder and make things better for us. It’s the people that don’t back down or abandon in front of uncertainty, they pull through and make the world notice. This really spoke to me on a personal level.

You obviously have those three singles that were out the last few months, ‘’Viral’’, ‘’Do or Die’’ and ‘’Strong’’. They are the hitmakers, well, future hits for the band. These songs are the backbone of this album even though the rest of the album is very solid. This is what they deliver, this is their modus operandi, Pop-Metal elements, a lot of Synthesizers and just really catchy songs. This is what they bring to the table time and time again.

The three videoclips of these songs are very cinematic like most of their previous videos. They are Hollywood-esque scenarios, ‘’Viral’’ talks about being superheroes, we all have something inside of us, an energy and something good we can offer to the world. The Batman-esque scene at the end was a nice touch to be honest with the band logo being projected to the skies. ‘’Do or Die’’ with Angela Gossow is very Post-Apocalyptic, very Mad Max and the Queen is back. We haven’t heard the growls of Angela Gossow since she left ARCH ENEMY and she just slays it, doesn’t hold back a second and it was fun to see her again. This version is very different of the other version on the album. The videoclip only has Elize Ryd and Angela Gossow but the album version is the two male vocalists, Nils Molin and GG6. I really enjoyed this version better, on the bonus track, Elize starts off the song but it’s Nils that does that part on the album version. Both are good but the bonus version is far much better in my humble opinion. ’’Strong’’ is a great duo between Elize Ryd and Noora Louhimo from BATTLE BEAST. You have two of the very best female vocalists out there dueling it out and talking about the hardships between good and evil and that you have to be strong to survive and that you have to live your life your way, choosing the path in your heart, your soul.

I was happy they did an acoustic version of the ballad ‘’Crystalline’’. They do a great job with these versions, pertaining to ‘’Breaking Point’’ back in 2015. They are stripped down to the bare bones and you really enjoy the powerful voice of the outstandingly beautiful Elize Ryd. This is a must-have and a band on the brink of worldwide success, they continue with their unique style and make it count when needed. A solid effort from the Three Headed Dragon!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Fearless
2. Make It Better
3. Scream My Name
4. Viral
5. Adrenaline
6. Strong
7. The Game
8. Crystalline
9. Archangel
10. BOOM!1
11. Die and Wake Up
12. Do or Die
13. 82nd All The Way (SABATON Cover)
14. Do or Die (featuring Angela Gossow)
15. Adrenaline (Acoustic Version)
16. Crystalline (Orchestral Version)
Lineup:
Olof Morck – Guitars and Keyboards
Johan Andreassen – Bass
Morten Lowe Sorensen – Drums
Henrik ‘’GG6’’ Englund Wilhelmsson – Vocals
Elize Ryd – Vocals
Nils Molin - Vocals
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
     


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