Ok fuckers, get your pitchforks out, it’s female-fronted metal time.

It’s been well documented in these pages that my guilty pleasure is peppy, bombastic female-fronted metal. From long time stalwarts Epica to Delain and newcomers like Scardust and Moonlight Haze, I’m a sucker for a catchy chorus and pretty voice. And one of my favorites, that I’ve somehow yet to review at this site is Sweden’s Amaranthe.

I’ve followed the band since 2011’s Nexus, and even my daughter loves them, so its music I can jam in the car with the family thats not about guts n gore. The focal point of the band is that they have three lead vocalists: Elize Ryd, Henrik Englund  Wilhelmsson, and Nils Molin, each presenting a different vocal style; Ryd has a classic female croon, Molin uses male power metal vocals, and Wilhelmsson rounding things out with some harsher melodic death metal rasps. Personally, I think the 3 styles are a bit much and would be OK if the band switched to Ryd’s voice for 100% of the vocals, (and not just because she shares a striking resemblance to my first true love/girlfriend) but with the three styles and especially the harsher vocals, they do spread their appeal a little more.

Musically, these guys are par for the course for the style along with the peers mentioned above: big, catchy power ish metal with some cyber tinged symphonic elements. This is happy, uplifting, simple, poppy metal with sugary sing-along choruses and chugging Fear Factory lite riffs and keys- and it’s oh so enjoyable.

The first four songs alone are the kinds of songs we need in 2020 to lift your mood. Opener “Fearless” gets right to it with a super bouncy chorus that’s ridiculously catchy, then the fitting “Make it Better”, is an anthemic call to arms we could all use right now, and I can picture a Biden/Harris walkout or duo in my mind. “Scream My Name” is surprisingly heavy, but has another grin-inducing chorus. “Viral” delivers a catchy stomp and shout with a great chorus.

The rest of the album pretty well follows the same formula with great success. You get some guest appearances from Battle Beast‘s Noora Louhimo on the female-empowering “Strong”, Heidi Shepard of Butcher Babes on the album’s weakest , rap metal/Nu metal ish cut “BOOM!” (arguably the worst song in the band’s discography), and a Jeff Loomis solo on closer “Do or Die”. There’s also the requisite ballad in “Crystalline”, where Ryd and Molin take center stage with a nice duet. One of the album’s other catchier cuts, “Archangel” is an energetic

There’s a 2 CD import/bonus edition of the album which as come cool bonus tracks; a super run cover of Sabaton’s “82nd All The Way”, a version of “Do or Die” with Angela Gossow (ex Arch Enemy) and some acoustic/orchestral versions of “Adrenaline” and “Crystalline”.

As far as the genre is concerned, these guys are one of top 3, with Delain and Epica, (Scardust might make an entry with Strangers  later this year), and Manifest is the feel-good album of the year in a year that needs a little more feel good.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 21st, 2020


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