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Amaranthe - Massive Addictive

Amaranthe - CD Review
Massive Addictive



CD Info:
Label: Universal Records
Genre: Progressive Techno Metal
Language: English
Tracks: 12
Total time: 42 minutes
Rating: 7.0/10

Many fans of bands bemoan bands that try something new, or change their style a bit. Bands, like Within Temptation and even Epica, have been faced with these types of comments that they are somehow doing a disservice to a band’s established sound, when either of these bands (and a litany of others) decide to courageously experiment with a style that deviates in any way from tradition. With Amaranthe’s third album Massive Addictive, Amaranthe is venturing into very precarious musical grounds. Sticking too closely to their signature sound in their newest album,there happens to be slight staleness to the overall sound of this album, which incidentally causes every song to sound mostly the same and derivative of the same highly addictive blend of techno-fueled metal music that has been an essential aspect of the appeal of the band’s other albums. This is because the band has not decided yet, whether or not they’re willing to go deeper with this sound, allowing themselves to experiment with even more different elements and moods in their music.

Having seen Amaranthe live, I have always been very interested in the future course of their music career and the continuing road of their artistic sojourn, where they would hopefully explore more elements of their very neat niche element of techno metal. Interviewing both Jake and Elize last year offered me great insight into how much fun the band derives from their performances, and how enthused the audience is by the invigorating, pulsating rhythms of their music. Listening to their albums at home have always provided me a nice reprieve from the stressing elements of life, letting me escape into ridiculously fun techno metal music. And, some of their songs are very memorable, and some of their signature elements are thus exemplified very well on various tracks on this album. Yet, the underlying dullness comes from an overdependence on these elements, as though presaging an inevitable crash and burn artistic situation, if they don’t try to focus on exploring more musical elements in future albums beyond this point.

Having loved the drama and even the diversity of songs on their last two album, it’s disappointing to find that the newest album offers nothing new in the way of expanding the artistic boundaries of the Amaranthe sound. It does have some very catchy, well-executed songs like the instantly catchy first single “Drop Dead Cynical,” and the powerful, bombastic ballad “Over and Done.” But, you will find yourself turning off your CD player after a while because just listening sometimes to four and five songs at a time makes you feel that you have reached your quota of having all there is to offer on this newest album. It is disappointing to see, since the quality of the actual instrumentals and vocals are exemplar, making this album one of their smoothest professional recordings yet. Vocally, Jake E. and Elize are both really good singers, and I especially was astounded to hear Jake E.’s best singing, thus far, of any of the three albums, and his vocal control and resonance in his voice really comes out strong in the track Over and Done (possibly my favorite Amaranthe ballad).

Now to be fair, some albums take longer to sink into your psyche, or for your ears to adjust to, so I may find more nuance in the music, as the weeks progress. But for now, I cannot help, but become nostalgic for the powerfully memorable tracks of The Nexus - their strongest album yet- that had great headbanging classics like “The Nexus,” “Invincible,” and “Electroheart.” “Electroheart,” in particular, stylistically had elements of ABBA’s music. And, it may be wise for them to further explore their ABBA influences in future albums.

On “Trinity,” one of my favorite tracks, we get reminders of how the triforce pairing of three vocalists- Elize, Jake, and their new fierce growler Henrik- dynamically contributes to creating a very interesting vocal layer for many of the songs, presented on this and other Amaranthe albums. Instrumentally, Olaf’s guitar riffs continue to be deftly played, offering some stand-out features in even some of the more duller tracks on this album, where the vocal triforce and frenetically-paced techno beats are not enough to lift the music out of the doldrums of redundancy.

Hopefully, Amaranthe will become more fearless in the future, and broaden their musical horizons with their next album, because the staleness and redundancy of many of the songs in this album only make this album a good, slightly mediocre album overall. It is an album, based on previous fervor and enthusiasm for past offerings, that I wish I could honestly love more. Many fans will certainly enjoy their newest album, and there are many things to respect, including the adept production skills, the continued trend of powerful, emotive vocals, and dangerously addictive songs that still will lull you into an Amaranthe-induced trance.

For now, I greatly look forward to seeing them perform live in October, opening for Within Temptation, where I may come to appreciate the album even more. Let’s hope that their normally high quality performances can win me over once again, and maybe (just maybe) the score for Massive Addictive will have to be adjusted accordingly.

Score: 7.0/10