Live at Club Nokia
Los Angeles, California
June 3rd, 2015
Review and Photos by Travis Baumann
Amarathe return to Los Angeles, this time as headliners for their "Massive Addictive" tour. The predominantly Swedish Electronic Metal troupe bring their unique blend of guitar driven energetic music back to the masses of North America, and this time with a pleasantly large set list.
I saw them for the first time on this very stage nine months prior, as they toured with Dutch Symphonic Metal superstars Within Temptation, and having been a fan of theirs for several years prior, I have been looking forward to getting to see them as a headlining act for some time.
By a large degree, the main component of their unique sound lies with their triple-threat vocal delivery. Band founder and Clean Male vocalist, Jake E. brings a near Power Metal symphonic quality to the stage accompanied by the lovely and talented Elize Ryd, who brings an amazing melodic lift to all of the songs.
This duo is rounded out with growled extreme vocals that add a dark edge and levies well against the other two's uplifting voices. Currently, Henrik Englund handles these harsher vocalizations but seeing as he just became a father, they had a new Viking-like Swede take his place for this tour and introduced him as Olaf.
The instrumental portion of the band consists of Olof Mörck on guitar (who also writes the many layered synthesizer tracks that are a big part of the Amaranthe sound), Morten Løwe Sørensen behind the drum kit, and Johan Andreassen playing bass.
The band currently has three albums out, all of them are equally great in my opinion, so I was looking forward to a lengthy show drawing from all of this material and was not disappointed.
The set opened with the modern anthem, "Digital World", the energy from the guitars riffs and backing synthesizers was intense and drew an exuberant response from the audience.
The way the three vocalists parlay back and forth between verses and interact on songs is vividly engaging, and even though each of them sing in a different style, they mesh together perfectly; punctuating the songs like high speed operas.
Following up with another selection from the latest album, "Massive Addictive", they played "Trinity" starting with the formidable "Resistance is Futile" sample from Star Trek. Their songs are uplifting, introspective, and poignant. They have Gothic, Metal, and Industrial influences all at once and are more than just a metal or pop act.
They deviated to their self-titled debut album for "Hunger" and then went to their sophomore album with the impressive, "Invincible". They continued playing favorites from each album with "Razorblade" up next. As with many of their lyrics, it strengthens inner-will with uplifting words, encouraging us to rise to the top and never surrender.
They followed up with one of the earliest tracks that got me hooked on these guys years ago with "1,000,000 Lightyears". Drawing again from their debut release, they did "Serendipity" and pushed the envelope of high-speed anthems of empowerment. I love the bursts of extreme vocals in the midst of the melodic voices and how they add dynamic power to the songs.
Mellow electronic piano leads introduced the next song, "True" off of their latest album, and showcase one of their ballads. Even a slower song in the world of Amaranthe has such power and beauty. Their songs speak of the pursuit of dreams and the indomitable spirit in us all.
It was time for the title song off of their newest album, "Massive Addictive". It is a blazing song building with huge synths and blasting into a beautiful chorus that had the audience bounding up and down.
"Over and Done" lead into another favorite of mine, "Afterlife" off of their second album, "The Nexus". Continuing with a another fiery track from that release they did "Electroheart" which sums up, in name and passion, the spirit of their sound and energy.
The majority of the band left the stage at this point leaving only Morten on drums who pounded out an aggressive solo, finishing by standing up with raised sticks which drew cheers from the crowd. The rest of the group returned to the stage and they played "Leave Everything Behind".
Elize came and sat on the edge of the stage and talked to the audience a moment, speaking about the tour and how wonderful the crowd was tonight. She introduced the next song as what inspired the name of their band and the audience screamed out "Amaranthe". While in ways it could be considered another ballad, it builds into a full arc and the extreme vocals throughout set it into a song class of its own.
They finished out the main set with another song from their debut with "Call Out My Name". The band left the stage but the crowd was not ready to call it a night and the chanting and cheering started immediately.
The bassist, Johan came out and set his bass down at the edge of the stage and picked up the mic, taking a moment to talk to the crowd. He asked if we were ready for more? With an emphatic shout the audience convinced him that it was time to continue. The band came back out and began an exciting encore with "Automatic" from their first release.
"Dynamite" brought the energy to full throttle once more, even this late in the night. Jake asked if we wanted more and everyone resoundingly responded.
They treated us to one of their breakthrough hits with "Drop Dead Cynical". It is a rousing song illustrating the modern day mentality of apathetic, self-serving, close-minded world-views and lifting our thoughts beyond the mundane.
By this time we had already heard eighteen amazing songs and had covered all of their albums magnificently, but there are always more songs than there is time to play on tour. We were fortunate as they had one more to offer.
I was definitely hoping to hear "The Nexus" tonight, and they would not disappoint me as they chose this song to be their parting message.
Their tour support, "I Prevail" and "Santa Cruz", all came out on stage when Jake beckoned, and with the large stage full of extra voices they proceeded to play the last song on their last night of the tour.
It was an awesome concert and I loved seeing them live again, especially with such a full set and so many good songs. These guys really have a great sound, a huge energy, and larger than life charisma that makes me look forward to the next time they come through. I have to say, I am a huge fan of Amaranthe.
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