Review: Amaranthe – Massive Addictive

Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Genre: Power Metal, Metalcore, Pop
Released: October 21, 2014
Format Reviewed: FLAC
Feature: Global Conquest – Recent Releases

By: Kris Kotlarik

Back in 2012, when I was studying in Tampere, Finland, I caught a show at Klubi (the smaller of the two venues in the same building that usually host metal shows in the city) with Amaranthe and Amoral as the main bands on the bill. Amaranthe was definitely the better of the two bands; Amoral unfortunately went off the tracks long ago. At that point in time, Amaranthe had just started to gain popularity in Europe following the release of their self-titled debut in 2011. While I won’t go so far as to say it was a fantastic album, their set was a pretty good complement to their album and had a certain energy about it that made me want to listen to more of them.

Since then, Amaranthe has released two more albums, and this latest one, like Amoral, went off-course in a hurry. It all starts off with “Dynamite,” a tune that sounds way too much like In This Moment, and just gets worse from there. The good spots are hard to find; “Skyline” would be a low-end Epica song at best, and “An Ordinary Abnormality” is the only track that is consistently listenable with its thrashing sound. There are other bits and pieces of decent material as well; a well-executed breakdown in “Digital World” saves that song from being a complete train wreck, and the chorus to “Drop Dead Cynical” is quite catchy. That’s about all I can find in the positive territory.

So what’s wrong with this album? It has nothing to do with the band members; two of the singers have sang live for Kamelot, and the deliverer of the harsh vocals sounds like he could actually hold the same position for Epica in a pinch because their voices are quite similar. The problem here is in the songwriting and production. The lyrics, while not completely banal, lack flow to them. There is too much chugging, as well as a lot of electronics and dubstep stylings that just don’t work. The pop elements that can bring out the best in some albums come off as a giant cliche here. There are also two unbearable ballads that accomplish nothing: “True” and “Over And Done.”

Again, their self-titled debut was not a sonic gem with songwriting that could keep everyone captivated for days on end, but it was an entertaining debut that was listenable several times over. Several additional listens of Massive Addictive failed to progress past “True,” which is the sixth track and halfway point of the album. The ability for an album to be replayed is an important factor in my ratings, and this album fails on every metric to maintain my attention.

Overall: Aside from “An Ordinary Abnormality,” this feels lifeless over 90% of the time with just glimpses of promise that fade quickly. 

Rating: 1.0*

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