Formed in 2008, this Swedish pop metal collective have a unique set up with three singers (Elize Ryd, Jake E, and Henrik Englund Wilhemsson). Maximalism is their fourth studio album and follows on from the successful Massive Addictive record. There have been great expectations for this new release and I was looking forward to some great European metal to add to the recent triumphs of bands such as Evergrey and Rizon.
The hope was that Amaranthe would deliver a collection as good, or better, than Massive Addictive. Did this happen? Well, all the ingredients should have in place, but the record did not blow me away on any level. Firstly, let me say that the production is thin, with no real bite to it. The drums sound as distant as a long forgotten memory (apart from the upfront “That Song“) and the guitars buzz around aimlessly. The singing is up front, but Elize is the only real interesting thing on the long player. I could do without the sub-Metalcore grunting and the general listless energy on the tracks.
Don’t get me wrong, I usually am a sucker for European pop metal, but somehow this does not scratch any itch for me, apart from the mildly diverting “That Song“. I suppose the album gets off on the wrong foot with the frankly dreadful “Maximize” and goes nowhere with the limp “Boomerang” and nothing really stimulates. I frankly hate the production, especially the drums. I find no intellectual appeal and it doesn’t do enough to stimulate me with any kind of power.
The problem is determining who this would appeal to, as it has all been done before (and better, probably by the band themselves on earlier releases). The fire needs to be stoked up again and the band should not repeat this poor collection – maybe think about getting a new producer and giving more thought to how to up the energy level.
Oh well, I suppose other earlier great releases from the band are gonna have to suffice. Next!