Album Review: Amaranthe – Maximalism

Amaranthe bring a variety of styles in the band’s fourth album Maximalism.

 

Text Review:

One singer is the standard.  Two singers make it unique.  Three singers make it unprecedented.  However, since 2008 Amaranthe have found a way to make a three vocalist band not only work, but excel in the rock and metal scene.  And now they are bringing their fourth full album Maximalism that aims to continue crossing multiple sub-genres.  It was clear that after of all things, a Myspace Demo, got the attention of many record labels that Amaranthe had something special.  Male and female vocals, death growls, guitar solos, keyboard effects, there are many elements involved in the bands format.  Normally putting this many ingredients in the same soup can cause a mess, but Amaranth might be one of the rare exceptions to make it work.

Now comes Maximalism, Amaranthe’s fourth full album.  And as you might expect from a band with such a unique lineup, the new album will have many different styles and surprises in this 12 track album.  In an interview promoting Maximalism, guitarist Olof Morck said:  “We are genuinely thrilled with the new material… fused with an even broader range of genres than before…there’s everything here including stadium rock, innovative pop and danceable super-hits. Expect these tunes to enter your mind on a permanent basis!”  Hearing that there are so many styles involved on top of an already full roster can be a lot to take in.  The band’s proclaimed “bleeding Edge” in modern metal has been promised to be kept intact, but with the added prospect of a broader genre range it appears we’ll get a vast intake of style.  When listening to the first released song titled “That Song”, there actually appeared to be not much of an enormous difference from what has been done in the past, outside of maybe being a little slower paced.

“That Song” definitely feels very far from the bleeding edge metal style.  The drum rhythm that comes in clear from the opening seconds keeps this track strong even with the very melodic singing from both Elize Ryd and Jake Lundberg.  Even the chorus itself has a sing-a-long vibe that’s easy to get stuck in your head.  As far as modern rock tracks go, “That Song” really nails it down to a formula that makes you want to hear it again.  Unlike many other albums in today’s rock market, Maximalism does not rely on one style and then lock in the cruise control.  In the first three songs on the album you get a strong kickstart with three different styles of song and a showcase of what every member of the band can contribute.  When Olof said “there’s everything here”, he wasn’t kidding around or blowing smoke.  It’s that front loaded blast on the beginning of Maximalism that will sell you on this album.  “Maximize”, “Boomerang” and “That Song” are the strong tracks on the album and they brought to the very front for a reason.  When you get to the chorus of a song like “Boomerang” after hearing all three vocalists contributing at their best, it’s hard not to be involved in what you are listening to.

Boomerang was the track that opened my eyes to Amaranthe and what they are capable of doing.  It feels like everyone in the group is heard and this three-and-a-half-minute song goes by fast.  The three singers all alternate at a perfect pace and the chorus highlights the experience.  As far as rock tracks go it’s hard not to see this as a fun listen and even harder to not hit the replay button.  As the album goes on there are many different variations from what Amaranthe may be known for.  The synthensized keyboard and growling in “Break Down & Cry” sounds very different than the moving “Limitless” that features more of Elize Ryd.  There are a few questionable moments like the Na Na Na chant in “On The Rocks” or the literal mic drop in “21”, but these moments are quickly forgotten when listening to the rest of Maximalism.

If you are going into Maximalism looking for a heavy metal album you will more than likely be disappointed.  However, if you are going into this album looking for a lot of variety in tracks from several musicians who can deliver a lot of modern rock and impressive hooks, than Amaranthe have exactly what you are looking for.  Overall, Maimalism is an album that will give you a decent amount of replay value regardless of which style from Amaranthe you prefer.  How it stands up to the band’s past works is up for debate, but the band has more than proven they are capable of offering something different from the voices and instruments of six talented musicians.

8/10

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Album Review: Amaranthe – Maximalism