Amaranthe: The Nexus review

For years, the world of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal was a male dominated one. It’s hard to believe that there was a time when the idea of a female frontperson in Heavy Metal was almost taboo. Thanks to grounbreaking artists like Heart and Doro, nowadays it’s not only not taboo, but the norm. The problem is, with so many bands with frontwomen or an all female line up, it’s easy for a new band to get lost, overlooked or swallowed up entirely. Swedish/Danish band Amaranthe have managed to set themselves apart from the pack with a triple-vocal attack that is an all out assault on the senses. Not to mention their mixture of pop and metalcore that gives them a sound that is quite uniquely their own. The vocals are an even mixture of three diferent vocalists. The clean male vocals are provided by Jake E who does a fine job and has a nice range, but the real highlight of the band is the clean vocals handled by Elize Ryd, whose voice is beautifully angelic and extremely powerful at the same time. What really gives the vocals their punch and gives the band much of their metal edge, however, is the death metal growls and breakdowns courtesy of Andreas Solvestrom. The rest of the band, consisting of Olof Morck (Guitars/Keyboards), Morten Lowe Sorensen (Drums), and Johan Andreassen (Bass) does an impressive job of providing a strong musical backbone that stands on it’s own and could go toe to toe with any metal band out there today. The band transitions effortlessly from the simple beauty of a piano to crushing riffs and a lethal dose of double kick drumming. You might worry that the use of keyboards would actually soften the sound, but like many Finnish death metal bands have figured out, the right mixutre of keys for texture can actually bring the music to an even more epic, almost opratic level. Let’s not forget the songs themselves. While this effort, The Nexus, is not quite as strong as their stellar debut, it is quite impressive in its own right and will easily delight all that give it a listen. The album comes out with guns blazing and the two opening tracks “Afterlife” and “Invincible” both have a furious pace that chugs along like a freightrain. Next is the first single and title track, “The Nexus,” which is one of the highlights of the album. If your lucky enough to catch the video, it will be burned into your brain for days while the song “Burn With Me” is by far the standout track of the album and the most radio friendly song on the disc. When “Mechanical Illusion” kicks in you’ll swear your listening to the lastest In Flames release. “Stardust,” “Razorblade,” and “Electroheart” are a few of the other songs that just beg to be heard at maximum volume levels. Here’s the bottom line- if you like bands like Evanescence or Lacuna Coil then you owe it to yourself to give this band a serious try. Not only will you be far from disappointed, once your hooked on this one, go back and give their first release a whirl. Rating: 8/10 -Eric “Metalmusicman” Hunker