Live at Club Nokia
Los Angeles, California
September 26th, 2014
Review and Photos by Travis Baumann
Amaranthe is a band that defies strict genre labeling as they encompass many ideas into their music. The band is composed of members from both Denmark and Sweden and perhaps this geographic joining of minds and spirits is the key, but regardless their music styles span Power Metal to Symphonic Gothic Metal to Melodic Death Metal and even Electronic Dance Music on some songs as well.
One of their trademark identifying characteristics is that they have three different vocalists. They have a female singer that lends them towards the Symphonic Metal side of things, a male singer that sings with clean vocals and gives them an almost Power Metal edge (however they do not sing of fantasy related topics and are modern day based), and a second male singer who sings with the growls and ferociousness associated with Death and Black metal bands.
Add to this a heavy dosage of danceable synth lines, heavy hitting guitar and bass and a drumming style that falls somewhere between metal and dance music and you have a unique combination of styles that lends itself perfectly for a live environment.
Amaranthe formed in 2009 but it was 2011 that saw their self titled debut album. Since then they have put out two more great albums with "Nexus" followed by "Massive Addictive". Their songs are very uplifting and generally have a positive message but a portion of them also have a dark, Gothic edge which I love.
I first found out about Amaranthe when their female singer, Elize Ryd toured as backup singer for Kamelot several years back and when I looked her up, discovered her main band. Finally, Amaranthe made their way to Los Angeles as opening act for Within Temptation's "Invincible Tour".
They opened the set with "Digital World" off of their latest release. It is a powerful song full of different layers and all three vocalists intertwining their different styled deliveries into an anthem for the modern age.
Their second song was "Hunger" off of their first release and reminded me of why that album immediately grabbed my attention. They continued with "Invincible", touching on their second album and with that, hitting a favorite off all their releases right off the bat.
They played "1,000,000 Lightyears" off of their debut next. This was the first song I heard of theirs and the one I played most often when first getting introduced to them, it was great to finally hear it live.
They filled out the set with "Massive Addictive" the title song of their latest offering, as well as "Afterlife" and then their namesake's ballad, "Amaranthe" which has a beautiful, Gothic edge to it.
Being an opening act for one of the bigger names in the genre definitely brought them before a larger audience, but there were a lot of fans in the audience that were already familiar with their material and sang along to all of the songs.
Unfortunately, being the opener also means a limited set time and they had already reached the final portion of the set. They played "Call Out My Name" off of their first album, followed by "Drop Dead Cynical" from their latest release, before coming full circle to their sophomore album, "Nexus" playing the title track off of that release. I think "Nexus" may be my favorite song of all of theirs but it is hard to pick. It was a great song to end the set with and definitely left the audience wanting more.
Reading critics' reviews of their albums and performances, it seems that they are really polarizing in their impact on people, they either love them or hate them. I definitely fall into the former category as I love the juxtaposition of genres, sounds and ideas and I think these guys have really landed on a great sound. They have nearly pop sensibilities at times, heavy metal influences with great guitar riffs, a mixture of vocal styles that throw every song out of the predictable, and I personally like Industrial and Gothic dance music too, so I like their inclusion of body moving synths as well. It was a great, high energy set that really touched on all of their releases and a perfect selection of songs.
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