Amaranthe Massive Addictive Spinefarm Records
From the halls of mighty Gothenburg come Amaranthe. A triple vocalist tour de force whose prior releases (2011’s Amaranthe and 2013’s Nexus) established them as a band to watch for fans who enjoy symphonic metal, power metal, and hard rock. MASSIVE ADDICTIVE (spelled purposefully and pridefully in all caps) is an altogether different beast though as the band takes the subtle pop meanderings from previous albums and place them center stage. While that might make drunken, bearded, leather-studded metal fans a little pissy here and there, it certainly envelopes a lot more people when Amaranthe extend their metaphorical arms.
“Drop Dead Cynical” leads the charge for the pop-infused side of MASSIVE ADDICTIVE’s wall of death. Led by the female vocals and an unquestionable pop bounce, it’s an incredibly catchy song that makes you want to sing along and bob your head and not feel bad about it! And it’s stuttered electronic bits give it a life of its own aside from the album.
“Digital World” is another example of these elements coming into their own. It’s a wonderful tune with crunchy guitars, catchy hooks, and electronic goodies. It’s a bit heavier than “Drop Dead Cynical” overall, reminding me a great deal of the older Pain albums. “Skyline” also has a more straightforward feel, with a lot of clean guitars, some very emotional soloing, and a whole lot of positivity musically (This is worth noting because it’s damn hard to write a song that makes people feel good). “Exhale” and “True” boast a similar feeling, the latter in ballad form, as the keys take the front and center, if only for a moment.
For those concerned at Amaranthe’s sudden turn to the pop side, don’t fret because that element is only part of this album. “Dynamite” opens the album with a very heavy bounce similar to Karmacode era Lacuna Coil. “Trinity” is similar in form and the title track is sort of a modern rock march through the back alleys of heavy metal. “An Ordinary Abnormality” is another moment where the band straddle the line but, for the most part, let the more ferocious vocals and machine gun guitar work get their due.
To be honest, this is the first Amaranthe album that I have enjoyed from start to finish. There is a lull here and a valley there, but overall the band really nail it on MASSIVE ADDICTIVE. Personally, the three vocalist approach sometimes kills the power of the song for me but I’m sure many others love it. While “metal” fans might balk initially for not being “metal enough,” they will also find it undeniably worthy of the innovativeness that Gothenburg has always offered it’s metal brethren around the world.