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Amaranthe - The Nexus
CD Reviews
Written by Max Levites   
Tuesday, 09 April 2013
Amaranthe - CD Review
The Nexus
Amaranthe - The Nexus

CD Info
Spinefarm Records
13 Tracks
English Lyrics

Of the few female-fronted metal bands that have come to prominence in the last few years, Amaranthe is certainly the one leading the charge. With YouTube views numbering in the millions, shows all over the world, and the chance to co-headline a European tour with power metal legends Stratovarius, the Swedish sextet seems to be taking the world by storm; a catchy, heavy, infectious storm that won’t ever leave your head. How does one explain their skyrocket in popularity? My theory is that no one can resist a good melody. I don’t care how often you tell people how awful pop music is, we’re hardwired to enjoy a catchy tune. It’s like "Call Me Maybe." No one hates that song. No one. How could you? It’s so infectious!

I digress. But if there’s one thing Amaranthe can do, it’s write a catchy melody. This they proved on their 2011 self-titled debut. Now the band is back with their sophomore album The Nexus and it’s everything it should be. Yes, there’s really not much new on this record; it’s more like the band just turned the dial up on every element of their sound. The songs are heavier and pack a real punch, which is showcased particularly well on tracks like "The Nexus," the first single off the album, "Transhuman" with its killer breakdown and solo, and "Mechanical Illusion," the heaviest song on the album with a particularly epic chorus. Yet somehow, the new tracks incorporate even more of that pop element that Amaranthe are so well known (and often criticized) for. Take one listen to "Razorblade" or the bouncy "Electroheart" and tell me if you aren’t jumping up and down to the absurdly catchy melody. It’s like ABBA decided to play power metal! Or melodeathy-symphono-power-metalcore… Ok, I realize that might not sound particularly appealing, but trust me, it’s pretty great.

The sound on The Nexus in general is a bit more mature, and you can definitely hear the band experimenting a bit further with pushing each element to new heights. On "Stardust" you hear Jake and Elize playing with different ways to use their vocals, and the aforementioned "Mechanical Illusion" does an amazing job of utilizing all three vocalists to create a darker, heavier mood on the chorus. On "Razorblade" we hear some interesting industrial touches, and "Burn With Me," the closest thing on the album to a ballad, shows us just how well the vocalists can harmonize with each other and the music to transmit a certain emotion across to the listener.

All in all, yes, The Nexus is very similar to the band’s debut, but to be honest, I didn’t expect anything else. What I expected was an album full of fun, powerful songs, and that’s exactly what we have here, but dialed up a notch. Make that a few notches! No one can deny this band’s ability to get stuck in your head and I guarantee you’ll be humming some of these melodies for weeks to come. Yes it’s cheesy, yes it’s pop-y, but good lord, did I have a great time listening to it. I haven’t had this much fun listening to an album since, well, the last Amaranthe album!

Standout tracks: well, if I had to pick just a few, "Afterlife," "The Nexus," "Mechanical Illusion," "Razorblade," "Electroheart," and "Transhuman."

9 / 10

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