Amaranthe
Massive Addictive


3.5
great

Review

by Altmer USER (175 Reviews)
August 28th, 2016 | 24 replies


Release Date: 10/21/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dance! Dance!

I know metal is a purist's genre. Metalheads are known for their elitism and dislike of anything poppy, and sometimes I feel that's a shame. I'm aware metal is and has always been a genre of rebellion, so it's only natural that people would despise any kind of accessible metal and prefer the grind of Rotten Sound or the belching vocals of Cannibal Corpse. Times have changed, and we've pushed the extremes of metal almost as far as they can go. It's only time that people started combining musical genres that normally don't go together, such as dance music and metal, in an effort to create something new. Pain combined electronica with metal, but since Peter Tägtgren is always busy doing too many things, he never made it that big.

In step Swedes Amaranthe (ok, they have a Danish drummer, but let's face it, his drum beats are layered to hell with effects, so obviously no one really cares about him!) with a three-pronged vocal attack and a metal approach akin to their Swedish cousins (Sonic Syndicate, Soilwork and co. jump to mind). Musically there's a metal basis, layered with ridiculous amounts of keyboards and cheesy synths, all combined with the stellar vocal work of Elize Ryd and two dudes who get exactly way too little airtime (okay, maybe that was the idea). The two other dudes split duties - one does clean vocals, one does the Soilwork-ish growls. Great. Sometimes this gives you the idea that Amaranthe could be a purist's metal band if they actually tried - but of course they don't want to go in that direction. Because let's face it - that's not what this act is about.

Amaranthe could just as equally be titled "The Elize Ryd Show", you see. This album is driven almost entirely by her vocals and choruses, and nothing else really matters. Now, that's not because she's a woman. Yours truly is also a woman, and she's not about to descend into sexism to make her point. Many people are going to comment that this band is popular because of Elize's looks. No, you just want a nipple slip. Stop it. Actually, it's because she's basically the musical force driving the entirety of the record. Whenever her vocal melodies enter the fray is when the songs get going. "Digital World" and "Drop Dead Cynical" are what they are because her voice is singing those choruses. She's got a good range, she's got a poppy and catchy quality to her vocals. It reminds me of 90s pop acts such as Destiny's Child. Sometimes the guitarist gets some airplay, because he's got a few good solos here and there - the rest of the guitar work is Soilwork-y chuggety-chug, which keeps the tempo. She's basically the band's biggest musical asset.

People will point out that there are metalcore influences. I don't recognise those. I recognise Gothenburg-ish melodeath in its weak variant, and what I recognise most of all is a lot of Pain influences in the metal. "Drop Dead Cynical" could have been a collaboration with Peter Tägtgren. Basically we could call it Eurovision metal if you really wanted - but what it comes down to is that the electronic influences make the album really danceable. Anathema to purists, but yours truly is no purist. This album's strength isn't in its brutality - it's in the seamless streamlining of electronica, dubstep and 90s pop influences with metal. No one has actually done that to this extent, which makes it quite an original formula. Actually the only metal song that reminds me of these guys is Nightwish's "Wish I Had An Angel", and that featured Tarja, but she's an operatic singer, and doesn't have Elize's perfect pop sensibilities at all. This kind of music works a lot better with Elize fronting the band than Tarja.

Where Amaranthe falters is consistency. Amaranthe don't seem to be able to write more than a few hits and a lot of slightly-above-average tracks. The ballads are hilariously bad (for the band that also released "Amaranthine", "True" and "Over and Done" are just subpar). The record's staying power is dwindled by the fact there's no coherency between tracks at all - it's just 12 songs, 3 minutes long, that are supposed to make you dance. The songs also have an unfortunate tendency to blend into each other if they are not the three or four hits that you can find here.

The eternal question will always be: are they a metal band with pop influences (and should we judge them as such) or a pop band with metal influences" I'm inclined to say neither. Amaranthe want you to jump around and dance. Let go of your inhibitions and dance around in your nightdress while singing along to the (admittedly stupid) lyrics. This music isn't made to be philosophical to, this music wasn't made to be brutal - it's meant to be energetic, dancy, and have a bit more edge than your usual dance music. All hail the Amaranthe dancefloor!



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user ratings (104)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
blackenedcat (2.5)
Amaranthe continue to create music that shouldn't really exist, but the execution is stylish enough ...



Comments:Add a Comment 
CaliggyJack
August 28th 2016


1786 Comments


"I know metal is a purist's genre. Metalheads are known for their elitism and dislike of anything poppy, and sometimes I feel that's a shame."

Oh that's a great way to start off the review. Just kidding, neg.

I think one shouldn't insult the very fanbase they are advertising a product to, just saying.

Altmer
August 28th 2016


5700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm not advertising a product. I barely even think this qualifies as metal.

CaliggyJack
August 28th 2016


1786 Comments


"I barely even think this qualifies as metal."

That makes the opening sentences even more pointless. Also, a review is explaining to a consumer, not only your personal view on said product, but it also brings attention to the product through the attention the review garners.

Altmer
August 28th 2016


5700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

There's no such thing as an objective review to a consumer. Even my explanation is going to be based on my personal opinion.



They have a metal background, so it's worth mentioning. They come from the metal scene. It's just that they're half-metal, half-dance pop. Which is fine, it's just that a lot of metal people will read this review. Metal simply has a very puristic streak, it's something which you cannot deny. Amaranthe will not appeal to those metalheads - they're lost before you even start. I don't have trouble alienating a crowd which wasn't going to buy this record ANYWAY.



CaliggyJack
August 28th 2016


1786 Comments


"There's no such thing as an objective review to a consumer."

Personal Opinion and Objectivity are not mutually exclusive.

"Metal simply has a very puristic streak, it's something which you cannot deny."

Then would you kindly explain why Rammstein receives such steadfast critical acclaim and commercial success? Where are the "purists" when it comes to that?

"Amaranthe will not appeal to those metalheads - they're lost before you even start."

I love this logic...

"Hey Metalheads, I know you will probably read this review because this band has bits of Metal in it. I just want you to know that you're a bunch of elitist's who don't understand this type of music so you might as well go away kthxbai."

"I don't have trouble alienating a crowd which wasn't going to buy this record ANYWAY. "
W
E
W
L
A
D

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2016


13700 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

A little bit harsh Caliggy haha. But I do agree it's not a good way to open up a review.

Altmer
August 28th 2016


5700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"There's no such thing as an objective review to a consumer."



Personal Opinion and Objectivity are not mutually exclusive.




Yes they are. There is no yardstick by which you can objectively measure the quality of given musical output, unless you're trying to point out technical mistakes - which aren't relevant here. Besides that, if we're going to be semantical and nitpick, nouns are not capitalized in English - this isn't German.



Then would you kindly explain why Rammstein receives such steadfast critical acclaim and commercial success? Where are the "purists" when it comes to that?




1) Rammstein have been around a lot longer than Amaranthe have, and they don't play the same type of music as Amaranthe do. They have a much bigger and much more elaborate live show. Their lyrics, unlike Amaranthe's, are quite well-thought out and refer to completely different things - Amaranthe isn't writing songs based on Der Erlkönig or Josef Fritzl. When Rammstein started, it was 1995. They were doing something entirely new at the time, but their lyrical imagery, their whole PR, is still based on very metal topics - slaughter, rape, personality disorders, sex, creepiness, and so on. They're also musically in an entirely different league.



Besides that, Rammstein are decidedly more popular in Europe than the US. European metalheads have different tastes. Metalcore and emo is less popular here and among metalheads, there's quite a different style of metal that draws crowds - Kamelot, for example, easily sell out 3,000-seater venues in the Netherlands with elaborate pyro shows. I'm not sure Americans listen to Rammstein much or even understand their humour.



Three, commercial and financial success is also dependent on connections and good luck. The late 90s and beginnings of the 2000s (which is when I got into metal) were a completely different musical era. The metal scene was not oversaturated as it is now. These were different times.



Besides that, Rammstein still draw a lot of criticism from metalheads for being sell-outs. They just put on a damn good show. The same for Nightwish, Delain, and all those bands who straddle the line between pop and metal.









Altmer
August 28th 2016


5700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love this logic...



"Hey Metalheads, I know you will probably read this review because this band has bits of Metal in it. I just want you to know that you're a bunch of elitist's who don't understand this type of music so you might as well go away kthxbai."




Since you were talking about advertising, that is exactly the logic advertisers use in their marketing campaigns. People decide on a target audience and narrow it down to those who they want to reach - and hardcore death metal fans, a few crossover fans excepted, are not expected to be into Amaranthe. Would you market Amaranthe on a bill with Rotten Sound? No, you wouldn't. But where does Amaranthe get reviewed? On metal sites, because they have metal vocals and distorted riffs which turn off general pop listeners. Beyonce listeners wouldn't give this a shot either because the vocals are "scary" and they probably would find the dudes ugly. But many metal sites (not all of them), and many metalheads at that, criticise Amaranthe for being too poppy. There are exceptions, namely reviewers that want to suck up to labels so they get more free promos. So yes, it's an entirely valid comment to make to say that if you're a metalhead of the purist streak - this will not appeal to you. That's exactly how marketing logic works. If you're into the metal à la Nightwish and Kamelot and Pain, you'll have much more success here.

CaliggyJack
August 28th 2016


1786 Comments


"A little bit harsh Caliggy haha. But I do agree it's not a good way to open up a review."

I can't stand it when people insult consumer's in reviews. Drives me bonkers.

"Yes they are. There is no yardstick by which you can objectively measure the quality of given musical output, unless you're trying to point out technical mistakes - which aren't relevant here. Besides that, if we're going to be semantical and nitpick, nouns are not capitalized in English - this isn't German."

Actually, yes you can. Understanding the concepts of talent versus entertainment value, general quality of instrumentation, rhythm, and all around concept in comparison to the genre it encapsulates. Technical mistakes are relevant in music. You aren't going to praise a Pop song where the artist accidentally fucks up his Synth loop halfway through the tune. You aren't going to praise a Thrash song where a guitar is accidentally out of tune with the rest of the songs in the album. My grammar is largely inspired by certain aspects of Hunter S. Thompson's book Kingdom of Fear. Particularly the aspect of capitalizing general "things' deemed important to the writer. You are correct that it is not grammatically correct, however.

CaliggyJack
August 28th 2016


1786 Comments


"Rammstein have been around a lot longer than Amaranthe have, and they don't play the same type of music as Amaranthe do. They have a much bigger and much more elaborate live show. Their lyrics, unlike Amaranthe's, are quite well-thought out and refer to completely different things - Amaranthe isn't writing songs based on Der Erlkönig or Josef Fritzl. When Rammstein started, it was 1995. They were doing something entirely new at the time, but their lyrical imagery, their whole PR, is still based on very metal topics - slaughter, rape, personality disorders, sex, creepiness, and so on. They're also musically in an entirely different league."

Disregarding the lyrical imagery, most of their music is regarded as "Dance-Metal" by both American and German fans of their music. Hell, most of the American fanbase have no damn clue what they are saying when they speak in German. They just enjoy the production, I don't even go to their live shows at all. Their brand of Dance-Metal is far superior to Ameranthe. It has nothing to do with Metalheads not appreciating the meshing of Pop and Metal.

"Besides that, Rammstein still draw a lot of criticism from metalheads for being sell-outs. They just put on a damn good show. The same for Nightwish, Delain, and all those bands who straddle the line between pop and metal."

Not nearly as much as Ameranthe, and not for the same reasons.

Honestly you keep driving the topic of debate away from what it really was. You being an asshole and insulting fans of genre based on your assumptions of what most of them do or do not like, and for incorrect reasons that you cannot backup with any evidence.

CaliggyJack
August 28th 2016


1786 Comments


"Since you were talking about advertising, that is exactly the logic advertisers use in their marketing campaigns. People decide on a target audience and narrow it down to those who they want to reach - and hardcore death metal fans, a few crossover fans excepted, are not expected to be into Amaranthe. Would you market Amaranthe on a bill with Rotten Sound? No, you wouldn't. But where does Amaranthe get reviewed? On metal sites, because they have metal vocals and distorted riffs which turn off general pop listeners. Beyonce listeners wouldn't give this a shot either because the vocals are "scary" and they probably would find the dudes ugly. But many metal sites (not all of them), and many metalheads at that, criticise Amaranthe for being too poppy. There are exceptions, namely reviewers that want to suck up to labels so they get more free promos. So yes, it's an entirely valid comment to make to say that if you're a metalhead of the purist streak - this will not appeal to you. That's exactly how marketing logic works. If you're into the metal à la Nightwish and Kamelot and Pain, you'll have much more success here."

Advertisers advertise to a specific category, you're comment is the other way around. The general idea is, you advertise to a specific group, they buy the product. If other people from other groups buy and enjoy, then it is a plus. You do not talk to a group and tell them to fuck off based on some preconceived assumption and then explain that this review is only for a specific type of group. You are twisting the very idea of advertising to suit your own logic.

Altmer
August 28th 2016


5700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

One - the band's name is Amaranthe. Two; we have English capitalization rules for a reason, and they're general for everybody. Three: you really do not understand objectivity at all. Four - many records contain mistakes, and we still listen to them, even if they have bum notes. Just look at many records from the 70s. King Crimson sometimes speeds up when they're not supposed to, etc....Four - many reviews can and do recommend people with certain tastes to stay away - a review on a blog isn't the same as a consumer review in a magazine. 5 - Talent is a subjective notion. A bum note may be intended to be a bum note. You don't have to like it, but people swoon over Bob Dylan, and he can't sing.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2016


26820 Comments


"I think one shouldn't insult the very fanbase they are advertising a product to, just saying."

Review's generally aren't written solely to advertise a product, a review is essentially a critique, and presenting an opinion on the fanbase that the album is (loosely?) related to is perfectly acceptable if it relates to a point being made in the review.

CaliggyJack
August 28th 2016


1786 Comments


I give up. You're just deliberately misinterpreting what I am saying.

@Jamie I disagree. The idea of taking a piss on the consumer doesn't sit well with me, and I don't think his point came across well. Not to mention he came off like he had some disdain for the consumer himself. Taking the piss on a bad product is fine, but the consumer hasn't done anything wrong and I see no point in labeling an entire sub-group as "elitist" because Amaranthe is generally regarded as a piss poor band by most. There's no evidence that the critical backlash against Amaranthe is because Metal fans hate experimentation with mainstream sound, and more that it is because their music is generally poor. And I didn't mean he was deliberately advertising to them, but every review is essentially an advertisement to some degree. Negative or not, it gives attention to the product in some way.

CaliggyJack
August 28th 2016


1786 Comments


Bringing up the fanbase is completely irrelevant to the make-up, quality, and outlook of an album. They didn't need to be brought up, and, looking at his review; he provided no evidence for such a baseless opening sentence and it didn't help his argument over the record itself either. It was pointless, and insulted the consumer over nothing, then he sat with a thumb up his ass and said "You can't deny Metalheads are like this. I don't care if they don't like it, meh." Once again providing no clear evidence.

parksungjoon
August 28th 2016


5507 Comments


caliggy giving review "advice" to someone who's been on this site for 10 years

mfw

http://i.imgur.com/XL3tmGu.png

Altmer
August 28th 2016


5700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Apart from you not reading my post, I'm a she.

parksungjoon
August 28th 2016


5507 Comments


i wouldn't worry about his ramblings, although they're quite ironic coming from someone who shat up the site with atrocious radiohead "reviews" at a rate of like 3 a day and dismissed every single piece of criticism as blind hate

CaliggyJack
August 28th 2016


1786 Comments


"at a rate of like 3 a day"

Jesus, you can't even get your insults right.

pizzamachine
August 28th 2016


13480 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Y u noes 5/5?



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