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So this is the new band that everyone is raving about, or so it was for 15 minutes. Unfortunately to me, that's all Amaranthe has the potential to ever be: a gimmicky band that can only enjoy a short moment of fame, but can not build a long career or be anyone's favorite band. I'm not sure what their appeal is.
It's not that they are bad. No, they're just one of these bands with the misfortune of being neither good nor bad, neither unpleasant nor interesting. This one song, "Hunger" has absolutely nothing. It's a watered-down version of metalcore, itself a watered-down version of melodic death metal, itself a watered-down version of death metal.
Well, more precisely, it's not just metalcore, it also has elements of electro and pop. There are three types of vocals, male growls, male clean vocals and female clean vocals. While they're not the only band to ever use growls and cleans, or three vocalists, this is not the best in this category. It's mostly an attempt to cash in on the beauty and the beast trend, because that's one of the things that sell now, even though it has lost its originality and even its charm because it's often poorly executed. Not really in Amaranthe's case, but it's still not good enough to stand out. These three read well their lines, I guess, but none has a particularly interesting voice. All of their vocals, especially the female ones, are just too clean and, well, flat. They lack an edge to them.
Similarly, is it because the mix of pop with metal is the worst idea ever, or because Amaranthe is just not very good at it? Anyway, the music is not very interesting either. The song has the most common length ever, around 3 minutes, and there is just not a lot of work done with it. The lyrics don't mean much, they are the typical vaguely modern technologies-related melodeath stuff and don't seem very personal. It's the definition of a bland and forgettable little song.
So what's the big deal with Amaranthe? Does the world still want bland and generic metalcore and female fronted metal? Well, Amaranthe plays the genres that are currently popular and they have a good production value, so they are easy to like. But there are already many artists doing the same things, so why do we need Amaranthe? That's why I don't think this band is bound to have any great success, or at least deserves any. I wouldn't say these people are untalented just that they don't have anything special.
Amaranthe is a band that I just sort of stumbled upon while browsing random Swedish acts on the internet, so I elected to download this rather ambiguously titled song off of I-tunes to see what all the advertising hype is about with these guys. Suffice to say, I got a rather hard 5 knuckles to the face of industrial pop trappings as an answer and my head is still spinning. I can’t quite fault the band for wanting to take the lighter route given their obvious leanings towards the stereotypical female fronted power metal cliché, but the melodeath tag does not fit at all, unless we go by the obvious influences of “Soundtrack To Your Escape”.
If this is any indication of how the bulk of this band’s material sounds, I think it is safe to say that we’ve discovered power metal’s answer to Katy Perry, and not in a good way. While there are rapid paced chugs and grooves laced on this metallically flavored piece of bubblegum, they do little else than provide a hint of speed in what is otherwise the most safe and predictable set of implied chords and melodies I’ve heard of. This is hypnotically repetitive keyboard and vocal lines sped up to simulate progression and motion, when little of either is occurring. Not to mention the male vocals on here are utterly thin and lack any real punch to speak of.
Can’t really say that I approve of this trend in melodeath of late, but this is par for the course for a good number of acts following the release of “Reroute To Remain”. Some pull this sound off to an extent, but this really doesn’t do much apart from go through the motions of being a metal song, and then proceed to bury it under a heavy dose of synthesizer lines. The whole thing just sounds contrived and utterly mechanical, and fails to inspire any level of lasting excitement even as a misguided attempt at straddling synth pop with metal.