playing time : 40 minutes
release date: 21/10/2016
Finally, I know how music genres other than metal can be acceptable. Just add grunts and everything sounds so much better. That’s what Amaranthe do on their upcoming album Maximalism, which is released October 21st by Spinefarm records.
With a playing time of 40 minutes it’s one of the shortest records I’ve ever listened to and you can feel that all songs are under four minutes long because time flies while you listen to it.
But in the end, the result is what counts, and that is an absolute masterpiece and allows all six musicians from Sweden to shine .
They combine fast riffs and grunts with Elize Ryd’s R’n’B voice, modern pop music comes together with synthesizer sounds and dynamic, slow voices from Elize and Jake as a duet.
In the twelve songs you will find everything you need that makes you never get these songs out of your head, which is a big talent of the six lovable Swedish musicians.
Also with album number four, they cannot be pigeonholed as representers of only one genre because Amaranthe created their own genre since the beginning. It’s the special something no other band has which makes them unique, not only in their sound but also in their manner to use three different voices: Elize as the girly pop voice, Henrik with his incredible harsh grunts and Jake E who uses soft, dark and clear vocals.
Combined with Olof’s fantastic guitar skills, the hard drums of Morten and the deep bass of Johan they provide the typical Amaranthe sound from the first album which was released in 2011.
Maximalism’s first tune gives you the feeling as if you were standing in a club at the bar surrounded by all the colorful lights, watching everyone dance. But then come Henrik’s grunts which change “Maximize” into a metal song and everybody stops dancing and start headbanging. It’s a mixture between dancing and headbanging, but in a good way. It’s conceivable to play “Maximize” in a local radio show and everybody would like it without putting Amaranthe into the metal genre.
The record continues with a blurred beginning of another untypical metal song. What directly catches my attention is the repetition of many words at the end of a text line. It’s an absolutely ear catcher because Jake, Elize and Henrik fit very well together and the repetitions at the end stick in your head. So at the end, this song will follow you like a “Boomerang” you try to kick away because you can’t find the right metal sound but it always comes back to your mind.
Stomp-Stomp-Clap … Goodbye "We will rock you" - Hello "That Song”. It’s the first released single with an amazing video from the new album and is defined as too heavy for pop music, but to soft for metal. "That Song" is definitely catchy from the first tune. I wouldn't define it as real metal, in the end it has the typical Amaranthe sound though! Going completely without growling parts by Henrik Englund, "That Song" is a song which can improve the quality of every party! You can hear Elize with her typical pop voice and Jake E with his unique voice which can't be pigeonholed. Without the parts of Jake, you would never have experienced the Amaranthe you know! One thing is for sure – while listening you will automatically have a smile on your lips and you will do "Stomp-Stomp-Clap" whenever it’s possible.
“21” - After listening to the first three songs you eventually get the feeling of listening to a metal song. Elize uses her heavy voice which is a rare thing if you listen to Amaranthe in general. After 1:40 you can hear, besides a fantastic guitar solo, a speech through a megaphone or a loudspeaker which sounds like a speech by the police.
PARTY! Oh…or not…it’s not defined in “On The Rocks” if you can party with it or better not. The beginning is a very happy “Na Na Na Na…” by Elize which is relieved by hard grunts of Henrik’s. In general, Elize uses a very powerful girl voice which makes the song danceable, happy and strong. Jake E has just a small part here but the song sounds really good with the duet between Henrik and Elize. The end of the song is an echoing, blurring fading out of the last tunes which gives the song a sparkle.
Going on with a massive song full of emotions. “Limitless” starts very slow and quiet only by Elize’s soft voice. In the whole song you can just hear the instruments playing very decently in the background because everything is dominated by Elize who uses her voice very loudly and clearly. It’s possible to understand the whole lyrics even when Elize and Jake team up for a duet. It’s playable in a local radio show even if it shares a very sad feeling not just because it ends up with a low heartbeat sound.
Number seven is the second released single “Fury” which is a true Amaranthe song. It’s heavy, fast and focussed on the instrumental parts. Henrik starts with heavy growls he pulls through the whole song. “Fury” is the only song which reminds me totally of another, older song by Amaranthe and makes me realize which band I actually listen to at the moment.
This “eh, eh, eh” by Elize brings the modern kick back to the song because it recalls Rihanna’s song Umbrella. With a playing time of just 3 minutes it’s the shortest song but you think it’s the longest.
Now, it’s time for my favorite song “Faster”. It’s not only called “Faster”, it is also very fast and it doesn’t waste time on an intro. It starts instantly with a duet by Elize and Jake, where we mostly hear just Jake singing but in the background, you also can hear Elize. What also catches my attention are the drums at the beginning which sound absolutely like the drums that are used in an orchestra.
“Break Down and Cry”, the longest song of Maximalism with almost 4 minutes starts with a synthesizer sound which rather sounds like an awkward squeaking. The first 1:30 minutes you can hear Henrik and Jake sing together until Elize jumps on with a slow, gentle voice. It’s the song with the longest guitar solo riff.
Let us continue with a total happy maker. Do you want to smile and dance around? Then listen to “Supersonic”. It’s my second favorite song because it makes you forget everything around you because it’s super happy. Jake opens the song until it comes to a duet between him and Elize. This song doesn’t need much introduction because it’s simply one of the best songs they’ve ever released. At the end they add Henrik’s growls and a spooky shouting by Elize which sounds like the electronic tunes of spooky ghosts in a movie.
With “Fireball” Amaranthe present THE typical sound they have on each and every song. It’s sung by all three singers, they add electronic and pop elements as well as many instrumental parts. A huge instrumental solo is special here, just like computer sounds which remind me of the DJ who scratches the vinyl to repeat the chorus everytime.
But to have the perfect ending they provide a ballad which can totally be the new soundtrack of Titanic. This strong, emotional song can replace Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” easily. The beginning of the song is very calming and spreads a sad, melancholic feeling like every good love ballad does. Elize’s voice appears very clear and smooth. It’s the only song they use strings, a violin, to give even more of the dramatic feeling to the listener. “Endlessly” is the perfect song to discover all of Elize’s facets. She can unfold her incredible talent in singing very well here. The echoing at the end brings it down to a round figure.
To sum up, Maximalism is one of the best album since the beginning of Amaranthe. They really exaggerate the electro and techno sounds on this album. More than half the songs could be played at a nightclub for people who are not familiar with the metal scene, but at the end it’s the original sound of Amaranthe which was special from the very first tune they created and as a fan, like I am, you like exactly this. For long time Amaranthe fans, it will be an amazing release even if it’s not as good as the previous album “Massive Addictive”. And finally I have something I can show my class mates next month without getting scared reactions.
03. That Song
05. On The Rocks
09. Break Down And Cry