Review: Amaranthe “Helix” [Spinefarm records]

Review: Amaranthe “Helix” [Spinefarm records]

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Amaranthe can be treated differently: the mix of dance or sometimes forthrightly commercial pop melodies, heavy riffs and electronic sound with three vocalists create very contradictory feeling. Though it needs to say that the band created a recognizable sound that continues to evolve by musicians. And of course their efficiency: since 2011 Amaranthe released four albums and now it’s time for their fifth LP Helix.

The band’s feature with three vocalists plays a bad joke: from three original vocalists that started their path in Amaranthe there is only beautiful Elyze Ryd left. Since 2013 Henrik Englund Wilhemsson that changed Andreas Solveström is responsible for extreme vocals. In 2017 vocalist Jake E also left the band (now he is singing in Cyhra). He was replaced by Nils Molin, former vocalist of Dynazty. Well, the core band’s backbone remains unchanged from 2008:  Olof Mörck (guitar, keyboards), Johan Andreassen (bass) and Morten Løve Sørensen (drums).

In interview to Roppongy Rocks Elyze Ryd told about Helix: “Musically we’re heavier! […]  we have written the fastest song in Amaranthe history, tempo-wise.” And on the whole it’s true with one amendment: we’re talking about Amaranthe.

12 songs of an album are still full of electronic sound, dance and pop motifs. But there are really fast and aggressive songs. One of these is “GG6” with harsh recitative, raw riffs and some breakdowns. Also the band somehow put a short guitar solo in the song that sounds quite good. And by the way this is the only song where the male clean vocals are absent. “Iconic” got the fast tempo from the start and goes somewhere to the Power Metal zone (great drummer’s work, by the way) with its speed and melody.

For the rest, Helix is a typical Amaranthe with all advantages and disadvantages. Melody, of course, stands in the head. Heavy riffs are combined with electronic sound and poppy choruses, as disgusting this description sounds, make the songs memorable.

Vocal lines, divided between three vocalists are great. Elyze Ryd is shining in this album as always, especially in contrast with harsh vocals from Henrik Englund Wilhemsson. Nils Molin showed not only clean male vocals in ballad “Unified” but also its gritty side, like in an opener “The Score”.

The main lacks of an album for me are unremarkable filler “My Haven” and “Dream” where we have some commercial hip-hop in verses and too much poppy choruses, even for Amaranthe. Well, it’s not excluded that this is only my fault-finding because I can’t turn off my inner “true-metalhead” completely. So I will confine with diplomatic “definitely not my songs”.

In general, Helix is a good album full of energy. It shows that Amaranthe not standing still, but develops and experiments with their original sound.

Helix will be released on October, 19 via Spinefarm Records.

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