Thursday, March 21, 2013

Amaranthe - The Nexus (2013)

It was no high odds that the Swedish/Danish collaboration Amaranthe would be a huge commercial success. With their self titled debut released in 2011 they conquered the world with their symphonic pop metal. I have during the two years since that album been a little two sided about Amaranthe. I love this kind of music and I think the triple vocal harmonies works like a charm but the debut is a lot of the same thing. So I really hoped that the band would show a little more variation in their sophomore album entitled "The Nexus" (nexus is Latin for connection).

If you did not like Amaranthe's debut then you will most likely not enjoy "The Nexus". The similarities between the albums are clearly visible and they are many. Just like in "Amaranthe", we get spoiled with screams, electronica, blasting drum beats and choruses so commercially attractive and sweet that it makes sugar taste sour. So what happened to the variation? I wonder that too. If you have no variation then it does not matter if you have written 14 similar, amazing songs. The band does have skills and the song writing is great but I wished that they tried to develop their music instead of going on routine. The only thing that right now is keeping me from stop listening to "The Nexus" is the fantastic musicianship, especially the vocal segment. Andy Solveström brings much needed heaviness to the band, Jake E Berg is doing a solid work on the clean vocals and Elize Ryd proves once again that she is one of the strongest female singers out there.

But even if the variation is below acceptable I still think that most of the songs hold a class that is acceptable and could have gotten more appreciation if it was put together with another album with variation. It is after the three first songs when the album really lifts. When "Theory of Everything" enters the stage I get struck by Amaranthe's true potential. "Theory of Everything" has that perfect balance between catchiness, epicness and power. I felt the same for "1.000.00 Lightyears" and that song was the best out of the previous album. After "Theory of Everything" the band continues on the right track with the futuristic and beautiful "Stardust", the strong and moving ballad "Burn With Me" and the powerful "Future On Hold". Also a small shout out to the title track and "Razorblade", two tracks that is easily enjoyable as well.

Unfortunately, the three ending songs are no pleasure at all, especially the horrific "Electroheart" who mixes 90's pop and disco beats to make a horrible leech that infiltrates your brain and never leaves na na electroheart... GAH I even write that shit!!! The other two songs, "Transhuman" and "Infinity", are not nearly as horrible but nor are they the strongest songs in the pack.

This was a hard album to rate. One side of me wants to give "The Nexus" a high rating for its great craftsmanship, clean production and the catchy melodies while the other side of me wants to give a low rating for the lack of variation and the horrible 90's pop song "Electroheart". But in the end I gave the album this rating for even if "The Nexus" is another proof that Amaranthe is here on the top to stay I find this album more of a deja vu feeling than a great new album. I still think that "The Nexus" is a good album and it is a small step forward for the band but it is not enough for me to put "The Nexus" at the highest of peaks.

Songs worthy of recognition: Theory of Everything, Future On Hold, Burn With Me

Rating: 7/10 Razorblades

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