Amaranthe – The Nexus (2013) – Review

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Wow! We found ourselves some nexus here. Pop metal on steroids with a taste of Britney Spears. And this one featuring a female front and two more male singers.

It is kind of a vocalist overkill of sorts. And all that voodoo is delivered without the feathers that you would have gotten from Lauri and his gang! One could describe it as total Pop and Disco Metal, fully out of control, but with a few solos made by Olof Mörck. Those got my attention though – not bad at all.

In addition, some of the growls would make Arch Enemy proud. And mind you, I do not accuse the latter to produce Pop Metal, but the growls resemble the style. So, there are two souls in my chest. Or – in other words – we got ourselves a few bouts of pretty good Melodic Death Metal.

And then there is Jake E, the second male vocalist, sounding kind of like Bon Jovi in his old days at times and then again like George Michael during his heyday. Goodness me! Elize Ryd of course again takes center stage on the record and rightly so. Without her stellar voice, Amaranthe would not exist.

The 2013 pottage The Nexus that Amaranthe slowly cooked over their own electric fire could be pretty good. Was it just not so laden with different poppy elements. So much so that it immediately starts to go sour again.

But the album also features a full complement of metal that is alluring in a geeky kind of way. And all of this – as mentioned above – with a taste of Arch Enemy or more Alissa White-Gluz, the energetic front tiger the latter band features.1)

Yet, The Nexus itself is almost too sleek for its own good. No crunchy hard edges, no riffs to drive me to tears or get me out of my chair. And all tracks timed to 3-4 minute slots, never missing a beat. This is of course very commercially viable, but it does serve the listener with some sort of tasteless pea soup that is just no fun to eat. There are no slow rock ballads either. And metal bands just do the BEST rock ballads, folks. 

Now, considering that Amaranthe have developed their own style, all of that is still relatively good. And they actually do produce high-speed Trance Metal, club-ready and thrown straight out into the world. What a great concept, right?

As to the tracks, you almost drown in all of this electronic speed thing. So much so that you almost forget it should be metal too. So, apart from The Nexus and perhaps the Power Metal style song Afterlife at the very beginning of the record, there is nothing much there.

And again, the album loses creativity halfway down the tracks, which is a real pity. The lyrics, by the way, are almost all embarrassingly bad. I had to mention it, even if I usually do not comment much on the texts employed.

So, here we have music for the masses, fast and rapid, at times actually pretty good with some pockets of excellence. Yet, with interchangeable lyrics that could go anywhere you want. Which – of course – is one of those tropes the pop music world hangs onto.

Ultimately, The Nexus actually sounds like one of these hamburger joints that produce the same friggin’ menu day in and day out. You know what you get, and that is good and comforting. If, however, you are out there looking for something really exciting and surprising, this is not the place to go.

Ed’s note: Unfortunately, their quality did not get any better in the follow-up with Massive Addictive, either. I think I’ll have a depression. 

Record Rating: 4/10 | Label: Spinefarm Records | Web: Official Site
Release date: 13 March 2013


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