Amaranthe - Amaranthe

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You have to congratulate Amaranthe on completely dividing metal listeners. The Swedish six-piece have been lauded by a good proportion of the community, perhaps overly so, whilst derided by just about everyone else, leaving barely anyone expressing neutrality. That's pretty much what happens when you have a sound like Amaranthe. Taking cues from the likes of Deadlock, All Ends and Sonic Syndicate, with more than a passing nod to the more mainstream works of Soilwork, Amaranthe have taken melodeath and infused it with so much mainstream pop appeal that it starts questioning their credibility. Oh sure, they have a good dose of melodeath in their sound... but then a good chunk of their sound is borrowed from '80s Madonna and Lady Gaga. Big pop melodies? Check. Dance keyboards? Check. Singers who could pass for boy band members and pop princesses? Check and check. Hence, the big divide in the metal community. Taken for what it is, Amaranthe's debut has plenty of sing along choruses and pop hooks, coupled with a strong, heavy guitar sound, and to be honest it does actually work quite well. All three singers fill their roles decently too – perhaps clean male singer Jake feels a little weedy compared to Speed sound-alike Andy and female singer Elize, but otherwise vocally the trio work really well together. There are times where some of their pop melodies sound strangely familiar – surely Automatic was a hit for some '80s pop star, and the same can be said for Call Out My Name and Enter The Maze. In the end, Amaranthe are a band who you'll either immediately take to or loathe passionately, there seems very little midway. As it stands, their debut is undeniably entertaining and whilst perhaps a bit too perky, it'll at least bring a smile or two.

Written by James Donovan
More: 2011, Albums, Death Metal, Female-fronted, Quick.Play Reviews,

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