How many lead singers does a band need? One? Two? Amaranthe have got three. That’s what I call covering the bases. Three singers. A male rock, a female pop, and a sort of growly male death metal one just to make sure no one mistakes them for Lady Gaga teeming up with Linkin Park. (I bet I’ve lost you now.)
No, bear with me. I have to admit, I’ve known about Amaranthe for a while now. In fact, female vocalist Elize Ryd went beyond the call of duty when she stepped on stage in Denver to sing for Nightwish after Annette Olzen was rushed to hospital with a fever. Ryd had thirty minutes to learn the songs. Admittedly, she was familiar with some of them having auditioned for the band when Tarja Turunen was jettisoned. She had a head start, but still went on stage with the lyrics printed on a sheet of A4 paper.
Having witnessed that (and let’s give an honourable mention to Alissa White-Gluz who was also on stage that night), I gave Amaranthe a try but found them a bit too light. But not anymore. Fans of Slipknot might vomit all over their six month old Weetabix, but if you listen to an Amaranthe album in full you’ll find them insanely catchy.
If you’re the sort of person who gives a band five seconds to impress, you’ll never get any further than the first sixteen bars, but for those non-millennials who live in the real world, you’ll enter a sonic space of explosive guitar work fighting with ear-snagging keyboards and those jostling for attention vocals. If I had to pick one song that seems to typify Amaranthe I’d choose Digital World. But you’ll have your own opinion.
I’m surprised they’re not bigger than they are. Their sound stretches across so many musical spectrums they should have had an international hit by now, but then perhaps they’re not bothered about being The Biggest Band on the Planet. I mean, as soon as you become The Biggest Band on the Planet everyone starts to hate you.
In fact Jake E has decided to quit just in case they do become TBBotP and everyone takes an instant dislike to him. Which is a pity, because Amaranthe have something good going for them. A small niche of their own, arguably one of the best guitarists in the world and in Ryd a much sought after singer who might well walk too if the right offer came along. (She only missed out on the Nightwish spot because of inexperience.)
So that would leave Henrik Englund Wilhemsson on his own, the growler, and thus Amaranthe becoming a poppy version of Children of Bodom. Imagine that!