I heard somewhere that not knowing the Swedish/Danish Pop Metal band Amaranthe is not knowing Metal.
Well, here I am listening to their last, newest, and best 2014 concoction Massive Addictive. For sure, the tunes are catchy, fast, kind of Power Metal, and – as is the custom – overproduced to a point. And often, this just sounds to me like so much George Michael on steroids who teamed up with some pop queen.
Then they must have met some hairy guys, and started to distort guitars, adding some sort of harsh vocals. Last, but not least they called that metal.1) But for sure it does not sound like metal of the Numba One kind as we know it. More like some sort of disco-pop gone haywire with some metal elements. Holy shit, guys. This ends up in such a messy mix of different styles that it starts to be good again. Let’s Get Cynical alright.
Okay, admitted: It is not that terrible and I still kinda like it. But all of the above describes the essence of what I am hearing. Somebody called it a guilty pleasure to listen to this band. And indeed, this is how it feels. I would not necessarily like to admit to my metal buddies that those records dwell in my music collection.
Because you see, Trance Metal has this gift to stick to you like sprinkler glue from Home Depot. The melodies and disco-ready rave party sound bytes are really getting to you after a while and will not let you go anymore. This is what seems to be the strategy of Amaranthe. Yet again, the constant sensory overload on Massive Addictive may very well tire you out after a while. In contrast, their former production The Nexus balanced things still a tad better.
But they have a knack for catchy refrains that just want to make your feet dance away, even if they are weighed with metal like mine. Just check out the song Massive Addictive, which – true to its name – gets to you in an eery way, refrain and all. It is also descriptive of their style in a way.
And then arrive the lyrics, oh boy. You’ll suffer through stuff like ‘Massive addictive, And suddenly I’m greatly affected, Like burning fire inside’. Good grief! True, it is not very deep, but delivered expertly by Elize Ryd in best poppy fashion. And that makes all the difference. And then, there is the clear voice vocalist Jake E who is the second soul of this band. A very good performance, too, and kind of the savior of this record.
You will get the evil little keyboard and electronic synthesizer melee a little bit everywhere across the album. Like aptly demonstrated in Digital World. But the stellar solos that we metal guys crave like vampires do blood on a full moon night are just not there. Or not there very much. Only starting with Danger Zone and for sure in Skyline do some of them appear. As to the rest of the tracks, things get a bit rockier on An Ordinary Abnormality. Over and Done is a very nice slower rock ballad interlude which I like better every time I fire it up.
All the subjective raving and ranting apart, you do find a lot to like on this record. They clearly have created their own style that gets to become Massive Addictive, as the name of their album suggests. A bunch of truly talented musicians has unleashed a series of power songs that sit well on the beach. Or also for a party at the club.
So, if you are no purist and synthesized sounds do not frighten you, then go for it. It is somewhat of an electronic soup of similarities but expertly delivered and with a lot of energy to boot. But if you are a trve metalhead and you like your fare delivered razor-sharp in carbon steel metal, then Massive Addictive is way too mushy for ye.
Ed’s note: If you’re looking for more guilty pleasures similar to this one, try Rage of Light.
|1.||You may wanna check out their Wikipedia page for more. -Ed.|