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  AMARANTHE
'Amaranthe'
(Spinefarm/Universal)
Out Now


Jeff Kent

jeff kent



If you're into brooding doom, gloom and crushingly heavy satanic Metal then this isn't for you. If you're into energetic, melodic and fun Metal with an aggressive edge then please continue. Amaranthe is something of a side project that took on a life of its own. It includes members of Nightrage, Dream Evil, Dragonlord, Dreamland, Within Y and a touring member of Kamelot in female vocalist Elize Ryd.

amaranthecover

In the first forty-five seconds of 'Leave Everything Behind' you'll hear not one, not two but three lead vocalists. You've got your 'aggressive Metal core' guy, your traditional Metal tenor and the powerfully angelic female voice of Elize.

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On the surface, it would appear that Amaranthe is a Nightwish clone, or maybe you think they will sound like Epica or Within Temptation. Not so. While not entirely original, they do carve out a niche apart from those bands. They come closer to a Lacuna Coil sound, but even that comparison falls short because there's just way more energy here. In an age of hyphenated sub-genres, I guess you'd have to call them melodic death/power Metal...or maybe power core.

I can't remember where I first heard Amaranthe but I, too, was guilty of the above prejudices. It didn't take long to forget all that and settle in to enjoy. Like I said in the beginning, this music is a blast. It's the kind of stuff you'd hear as background music for an extreme sports or racing video montage. 'Hunger', with its chorus of 'higher faster I am the fuel to set you free' would be perfect. It's almost unrelenting and it brings me back to a time when Metal was fun.

Unlike other bands that rely on symphonic strings or spoken word passages to create drama, Amaranthe needs none of that. The three distinct vocalists keep things interesting, and if you don't like one of them you know that the other two are waiting in the wings to tackle the next line. There is a bit of a Broadway element included when you have this many different voices, but it works. All three of them sing on each song - even the one ballad, 'Amaranthine.'

The keyboards offer more rhythm than atmosphere, and on a couple of tracks, 'Call Out My Name' and 'Automatic', they almost border on techno. But when the guitars come on, the keyboards take up their backing role and act to propel the songs at breakneck speed.

Have I mentioned Elize yet? I'm not afraid to admit that it may have been her beauty that prompted me to check out the band in the first place, but it was her voice that had me listening over and over. There's something hypnotic about it. She handles all the melodies with ease, and sings with a power that's infectious. She's not just another pretty voice that 'oohs' and 'aahs' for effect. Now she's no Angela Gossow either, but she more than holds her own with the men. If the guys in Kamelot chose her to be in their touring band for the last few years you know she's good.

The aforementioned 'Amaranthine' is really the only ballad on the whole record and it falls right in the middle. Everything else is uptempo and, well, bouncy. You heard me. If this album doesn't get your blood pumping then you should probably go see a doctor. I think one of the best things about this record is that there's no fat, no filler, just one fast catchy melodic song after another. Even the guitar solos are short and to the point, with no technical wanking - it just wouldn't fit here. In fact, almost every song comes in at less than four minutes.

Now I know there might be some scorn from all of your death Metal friends, but don't worry about them. Play it in your car if you have to, this is great driving music. It almost makes me wish my drive to work was longer...almost.

12.12.11





WACKEN WINTER NIGHTS IS HEAVY METAL WONDERLAND

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.

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Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.



Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.

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MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.

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Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.

WACKEN 2018 TRAVEL PACKAGE ENQUIRY

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