Amaranthe

Amager Bio, Copenhagen - 2011

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

A well-known face greeted us in a band I had never seen before.
The band was the Swedish ensemble Amaranthe, and they were playing as second support band for Hammerfall this night (together with Vicious Rumors), and the face was that of Elize Ryd, whom we have seen delivering the female vocals for all of the Kamelot shows we have been to so far.

Actually, there was one more familiar face in the ranks of the band (just not quite as visible); drummer Morten Løwe Sørensen who apart from Amaranthe also resides in what, everything? Most recently seen with Mercenary however...
Apart from these two, the rather one of a kind line-up was made up of Jake E. Berg (clean vocals), Andreas ’Andy’ Solveström (harsh vocals), Johan Andreassen (bass) and finally Olof Mörck (guitar). Yes, you read it correctly, six members and three of them are solely vocalists; that’s a new one for me as well.
New type of line-up or not, there was no mistaking the strong Swedish roots in Amaranthe’s music though, but what kind of music was it? Well, it wasn’t the classic Stockholm death metal scene with bands like Entombed and Unleashed they were borrowing from, nor was it the Gothenburg melodeath scene made famous by bands like In Flames and Dark Tranquillity. Nope, what seemed to have the largest influence on Amaranthe was the 90ies euro-dance scene with bands like Ace Of Base and E-Type! Quite the surprise I must admit...

”So you don’t like Swedes, but you like metal right?”
- Jake E. Berg (vocals)


Well, whether Amaranthe’s music could actually be classified as metal or not is up for discussion if you ask me; sure it played on typical metal instruments with guitar, bass and drums making up the core of the instrumentation, but when you listened to the actual melodies and songs doubts began to rise in my mind.
Side-stepping away from that though, I do feel Berg was a bit hard on his crowd, considering this was the second time this year that his band was invited to play in this town, and even though Danes generally have the same sort of prejudicial thoughts about Swedes as Swedes have about them, I don’t believe that I have ever heard a negative word about the Swedish music scene, and the crowd had also grown a lot for Amaranthe in comparison to the one their American tour-mates in Vicious Rumors had had.
The band was also given, if not an overwhelming, then at least a clearly positive response for their performance, where headbanging and raised arms were the most prominent features, and when we were reached the end of the show with the song Hunger, (almost) all present were jumping along to the beat.

The reason to this could easily be tracked to the fact that the band actually put a good effort into the performance, without having it look like an effort.
Both Andreassen and Mörck were as lively on their feet as they were on their instruments, Berg kept the audience involved as he spoke (in English) to us between songs, and Solveström was clapping hands with the frontline as Ryd was stripping for us; starting with a leather jacket, she went through another jacket of a more velvety quality, finally ending up in a figure-tight thing with a Madonna look-alike sparkling bra underneath.
Apart from this little trick, Ryd also tried to win the crowd’s favour by stating that she is almost Danish because of her residence in Scania, the southernmost province of Sweden, although as she spoke in Swedish it was clear from her dialect that she was not a native of these parts...

I’m at a loss for deciding exactly how to feel about Amaranthe. On the one hand they felt very out of place on a metal night such as this, comparing them to the other two bands of the show; on the other however, they were catchy as hell in that radio-friendly way, and they were giving a good performance on stage as well.
This is clearly directed to all those who love to sing along to old dance tunes, but are too afraid that it will damage their metal image to admit it. Or something. The best way is, as always, to check them out yourself and make up your own mind.

Setlist:

Leave Everything Behind
Enter The Maze
1.000.000 Lightyears
Automatic
Call Out My Name
It’s All About Me (Rain)
Serendipity
Hunger

Amaranthe

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