Jake E’s brainchild Amaranthe is alive and kicking very well even after his leaving in 2017: a year after, in 2018 the band released Helix and now in 2020 here comes the sixth album (in nine years), named Manifest.
Frankly speaking, I can’t determine my attitude to this band. On one hand there are poppy motives, dance melodies and lots of electronic samples added to heavy guitar riffs and decent drums, which, from my point of view, doesn’t allow calling Amaranthe “Metal” fully. On the other hand it’s vibrant music, full of energy and catchy moments and that’s something you can’t deny as well. Also, the number of the band’s fans around the world is real big (some bands can really envy) and that means people love Amarathe‘s music. Previous album was highly acclaimed by fans and, I think, that’s what will happen to Manifest because it haven’t got so far from Helix, to be honest.
The first three songs, “Fearless”, “Make It Better” и “Scream My Name” are typical Amaranthe vigorous Dance Metal (let’s take this definition for a short time, please): rigid guitar sound and solid drums are combined with poppy melodies and catchy, melodic choruses (poppy as well). Elize Ryd and Nils Molin’s clean vocals alternate with Henrik “GG6” Englund Wilhelmsson’s extreme ones, while Olof Mörck from time to time delivers some solos with varying degrees of techniques and melody.
Reducing the pace a little bit “Viral” sounds like a real hit: great melody, rhythmical riffs and memorable chorus – a really good song for live performances. “Die And Wake Up” initially creates an impression of some pop-hip-hop (in the worse meaning of it), where musicians added some guitars and extreme vocals to fit the band, but in the middle this song turns to some decent Modern Metal with sudden technical guitar solo. With this, many people didn’t like “BOOM!1”, with Heidi Shepherd from Butcher Babies and Henrik “GG6” rapping. But rapping it not something new for Amaranthe: it was “Dream” on the previous album and here on Manifest it’s “BOOM!1”, that’s nothing new. Solid riffs, a couple of breakdowns, lots of electronics and some semblance of Dubstep, that reminded me Korn and Skrillex collaboration (guys, come on, it’s 2020!). It really doesn’t sounds quite well at first glance, but this song took me personally back to 00s and some MTV Rapcore and Nu Metal from my childhood. But what’s really outstand with its heaviness is “Archangel” – it’s almost Power Metal with some electronic samples and not usual for the band pop music with guitars. I want to highlight Morten Løwe Sørensen’s work here also: his drumming in this song is really good. And of course it’s impossible to pass by tender Power ballad “Crystalline” with Apocalyptica Perttu Kivilaakso’s cello.
Except Perttu and Heidi on Manifest you can also hear Noora Louhimo from Battle Beast in “Strong” and Angela Gossow (ex-Arch Enemy) in the ending “Do Or Die”; there are only female vocals in both songs. “Strong” is a mid-paced song with inherent for Amaranthe sound and arranging, where Elize and Noora’s voices coalesce, providing really powerful vocals to the song. “Do Or Die” in its turn is much faster and clean and extreme vocals are contrasting, which sounds good but also quite typical for this band. And I also have a couple of questions to the video for this song, which is all about urgent (jokes and sarcasm aside, I’m serious now) problem of pollution and environment. If you wanted to demonstrate this problem with sexy girl in white dress dancing in garbage, ok, you got my attention now. However, I think that such form is not so fit to the problem itself, but pollution is the enemy we need to fight with, no matter with what means, right? But I went too far from music, I’m sorry.
Anyway, I don’t think that Manifest will bring Amaranthe some new fans: despite its diversity, it’s not something outstanding for the band. Musical components are the same; they mixed in the same ratio by the same people. On the other hand Amaranthe are not complaining for the lack of fans, which want “the same, but new”, as usual. The band gives what fans want and everybody happy. So, as far as I can see, Amaranthe feel quite good and steadily, which is rare in our tough times.
Manifest was released on October, 2 via Nuclear Blast.
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