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Amaranthe - The Nexus (2013)

Spinefarm Records – March 26, 2013

Review by Edwin van Hoof

Amaranthe - The Nexus (2013)Amaranthe's debut already hinted certain greatness, noticed by fans throughout the metal specter. An excellent debut which is now followed by their second CD entitled "The Nexus" which was preceded by the title track generating hot rotation on the internet. "The Nexus" shot into orbit and reached millions of hits within only a month, leading to the first review upon these pages. Let's see if the entire album manages to break the boundaries of metal as well.

Called a "futuristic dream nightmare" by guitarist and co-founder Olof Mörck, something we can instantly relay to. "The Nexus" kicks off with the highly energetic "Afterlife," which immediately showcases the triple vocals of singers Andy, Jake E, and Elize. A powerhouse trio which manages to uplift slick melodic tunes with raw energy and aggressive grunts does the opposite with In Flames driven riff monsters, when Ryd displays her crystal clear and sugarcoated angelic voice. These dynamics create an intense melodic metal extravaganza.

The upbeat energy on display is furthermore captured as the album evolves like a dark sci-fi soundtrack. "Invincible" is pulled forward by a dazzling interaction between the bands rhythm section, paving the way for the immaculate title track, hinting the true greatness of this band. It is slick melodic, yet it captures a deep and dark undertone which is severely taunting. It is that dark and sinister power which makes this CD stand out in the genre. It provides a gripping feel which is cultivated by the tectonic energy and blazing drums, contrasting with the sweet melodies and Ryd's amazing voice. It's the feeling of hope which shines through spitting aside the darkness at certain times, balancing the all over diversity in emotions, packed in the full speed metal explosion. It goes over the top over and over again.

Theory of Everything" showcases another side of the band with a thick nu metal groove bouncing it forward, as where "Stardust" grips back to the ingredients of "The Nexus" with slick melodies and swirling keys. "Burn with Me" is the first real laid back moment where Jake E. Duets with Ryd. A breathtaking gorgeous track which opens the door to another highlight on this album: "Mechanical Illusion," the double bass driven riff monster on which Andy's screams and howls provide the needed adrenaline rush.

"Razorblade" completes this triple play of diversity to warp us back into the high velocity "Future on Hold" and the Imaginaerum infested "Electroheart." "Transhuman" rests on the interaction between drums and bass again with a fierce riff fired upon us by creative mastermind Morck, clearly inspired by another great creator in the scene; Mr. Ayreon Lucassen.

The album ends in an ultimate high with the awesome "Infinity," another typical Amaranthe powerhouse leaning strongly on the vocal trio and the blistering dynamics at hand. Lest not cast aside the musical capacities of the other players at hand, which is simply top notch.

"The Nexus" is not just Amaranthe's new CD, it is a huge step up on the tectonic metal ladder. It captures the classic rooted elements of a band like Kamelot on their ultimate high, inflicted by the creative rush provided by the Ayreon and Star One releases. The interaction between three vocalists is just excellent and perfectly balanced, as is the balance between the raw energetic powerhouses and the more classic heavy riff monsters. "The Nexus" provides a new view on a genre which has been stuck between a rock and a hard place way to long.

Believe me; I'm well aware that this album will not instantly grip fans throughout the entire specter as I suggested in the review of the single CD, but it builds bridges between genres and offers a lot of joy to fans willing to widen their sonic horizons. All-in all this is a must hear twice!

92 out of 100