By Stefan Nilsson, Roppongi Rocks
Since releasing its debut full-length album in 2011, Sweden’s Amaranthe has built a career based on catchy modern metal with its signature move of having three lead vocalists. Now the band is back with “Manifest”, its sixth studio album.
I have followed Amaranthe closely since first seeing the band live here in Tokyo in 2011. They are always an entertaining live act and they have consistently delivered in the studio. Olof Mörck, band founder, guitarist, keyboard player and main songwriter, has led his troops to create another contemporary-sounding album. As the band’s principal creative force, together with Elize Ryd, he has never been afraid of bringing different influences to the band’s music. On its new album “Manifest”, Amaranthe continues with its now well-established formula of contemporary music which combines pop with metal – plenty of catchy tunes, big choruses, a massive dose of keyboards mixed with heavy guitar riffs and that one thing that really sets this band apart from the competition – three lead vocalists with very separate styles which gives the band a terrific way to mix things up between and even within their songs. A band with not one, but three, world-class singers is quite unique. Elize Ryd’s clear female pop voice is mixed with Nils Molin’s seasoned rock voice and Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson‘s angry growls. The combination works a treat for the band’s music which is built on a solid foundation provided by a rock-steady rhythm section consisting of bassist Johan Andreassen and drummer Morten Løwe Sørensen. “Crystalline” is the album’s obligatory power ballad while “Strong” is a great duet between Elize Ryd and Finnish guest vocalist Noora Louhimo from Battle Beast. The song “BOOM!”, during its four minutes and thirteen seconds, sums up what Amaranthe is all about. It is one of my favourite tracks on the album. The soundscape is busy. What is essentially a contemporary pop song, keeps making twists and turns while still being both brutal and very catchy. Amaranthe in a nutshell. Other standout tracks include “Adrenaline” (fab chorus and a terrific short guitar solo), the fast and high-energy songs “The Game” and “Archangel” as well as “Do or Die”, where Nils and Henrik really get to shine with their vocal performances.
Amaranthe’s new album will be released on 30th September in Japan via Virgin Music/Universal Music Japan and internationally on 2nd October via Nuclear Blast.