Release: October 19, 2018
MASSIVE. MODERN. METAL! These are the voyages of the visionary Swedish band Amaranthe. Their ultimate mission: to explore the opaque realms between extreme metal and electronic tunes, to pioneer the invention of new approaches of joining two traditionally contradicting musical worlds, to boldly go where no metal band has gone before.
Evolution requires visionaries. One of the biggest bands of the modern metal universe happened in the fall of 2008. It was the Finland-based label Spinefarm Records that took the proverbial cake. In April 2011 the band released their eponymous debut album to worldwide acclaim, charting high in Sweden and Finland.
Right off the bat tapping the vein of the digital music revolution, Amaranthe was the 84th most played album on Spotify in the whole world, all genres included. After 92 live shows in support of the eponymous debut, Amaranthe returned to their creative home, Hansen Studios in Ribe, Denmark where the magic of the debut album was originally bottled.
With ‘’The Nexus’’ album, released in March 2013, and its life cycle everything went up another notch: the album featured more of melodic / edgier metal, and even more brazenly techno-influenced hard rock. The release was followed by a longer tour, more and higher chart entries including a #12 position on the US Billboard Heatseekers chart. The band’s career was now officially on an ever-upward trajectory.
Wasting no time, the band returned to Ribe to concoct another potion of power. Consequently, in October 2014 Spinefarm released the 3rd Amaranthe outing, ‘’Massive Addictive’’. Another step of progress both musically and commercially, the album charted in six countries, most notably claiming the band’s 1st pole position on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. The album also yielded Amaranthe’s first major single hit with “Drop Dead Cynical”, which stayed several weeks at the top of USA's premier rock station, Sirius XM Octane, and had massive airplay all around the world.
One of the hardest working bands in the genre, the band released their 4th album ‘’Maximalism’’ already in October 2016. The album charted everywhere, taking home another #1 position on the Billboard Heatseekers, a Top 100 Billboard & chart position #3 in Finland. Four albums into their career, Amaranthe have racked up north of 118 million YouTube views, half a billion song streams, are the three-time holder of BillBoard Heatseekers Chart #1 position and possess a panoply of Gold discs for albums and singles alike. Deservedly revered as trailblazers of the genre, Amaranthe, ever the visionaries, always seem to take the next bold step into realms unknown before anyone else does. Amaranthe is the driving force of a modern metal revolution. With their electrifying 5th album ‘’Helix’’ now on the brink of its release Amaranthe take another leap in their sonic evolution. Their most focused work to date, Helix proves the band has refined their melodic sensibilities ever further whilst retaining their cutting-edge metal assault as massively aggressive as ever.
Hearing about ‘’Helix’’ after listening to ‘’Maximalism’’, I was a bit skeptical. ‘’Maximalism’’ was nowhere near what we all expected of Amaranthe, and the album for sure does not belong in my favourites. Music-wise, I am still stuck in 2014 anyway, so for me ‘’Massive Addictive’’ is the one that stuck with me, and that record was really good. Which made ‘’Maximalism’’ a hit and a miss for me, but a lot of other people do not share that opinion with me.
In the same year that ‘’Maximalism’’ got released, former vocalist Jake E announced that he would take a break from the band, and ultimately stepped away permanently three months later. Jake E carried on and teamed up with In Flames alumni Jesper Strömblad (guitar) and Peter Iwers (bass) in CyHra. Amaranthe had been searching for the singer's successor and named Dynazty's Nils Molin as their newest member. Guitarist Olof Mörck commented, "Great news! The Amaranthe lineup is once again complete — and what an addition Nils Molin is! He was at the very top of the list for the male vocals position, and has already proved his worth on a number of shows with Amaranthe. Nils is a born rock star in every aspect yet with a natural sense of humility and is certain to leave no fan disappointed! He has gathered a vast amount of experience together with Dynazty and as such has honed his performance skills to perfection; since stepping in he is already a natural part of the lineup.’’
From the start I already like ‘’Helix’’ a lot better, the album is a harder, faster and simply way more metal than ‘’Maximalism’’. I thought I would miss Jake E’s vocals a lot more, but I think Nils his voice might suit Amaranthe a lot better in general. It gives the music a bit more of that beauty and the beast vibe, more dimension, which we all obviously love. I am not emphasizing when I say that every song on ‘’Helix’’ has #1 potential for a hit, even the more experimental ‘’GG6’’. ‘’GG6’’ was actually written as a rap song, but instead of normal vocals they used Henriks full potential and let him growl the rap. I think that is a logical option, since Amaranthe has been combining pop with metal since 2008. It is the most original (and creative) track I have ever heard from Amaranthe, and don’t forget that it takes a huge amount of balls to do some sort of thing in the current metal scene.
Though I stick to my opinion that Amaranthe sound never really changed (apart from the ‘’Maximalism’’-phase) the songs from ‘’Helix’’ could have easily been swapped with earlier records, and they would still fall into place. Which is exactly what is so good about this album. Like Olof said in our interview: ‘’’’Helix’’ (both track and the album) stands for the core of Amaranthe’’, and I completely agree with him. I rate ‘’Helix’’ a 9 out of 10!
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Check out the interview with Olof Mörck here!
Elize Ryd - Vocals
Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson – Screams
Nils Molin – Vocals
Olof Mörck - Guitar, Keys
Johan Andreassen – Bass
Morten Løwe Sørensen - Drums