Amaranthe - Massive Addictive

Amaranthe Massive Addictive cover
Massive Addictive
Amaranthe appeared a few years ago as a rather interesting proposition with their triple pronged vocals, which were and still are very much spearheaded by the delectable miss Elize Ryd, who in the meantime has done a lot more respectable singing than she has in her main band in other projects and in Kamelot. They were always mixing metal riffs with poppy hooks, and some fake aggressive parts. Part, Linkin Park, Part In Flames, Part Nightwish... their first album, was pretty good and had some quite inspired moments, good solid songwriting, melodies, good performances.
Then followed a big tour and then came “Nexus” an album obviously written, during the tour, which was a lot weaker, but the band was riding on the success of their debut and the American crowds were being charmed by the very charming presence of their alluring front woman, who beside her good looks is, actually one of the better singers in the scene in her fact, with a very pleasant timbre/voice color, so it sort of didn’t stop the band from doing considerably well.
And now the band is about to unleash upon us album number 3. “Massive Addictive”. It actually is more of the same, but it’s shamelessly geared into pop this time, the metal “is” filtered to a minimum, the harsh vocals are dried so as to sound almost, “clean” and “enveloped” not bleeding out too much and the male melodic ones are often there. This is basically, power pop with traces of metal and a screamo guy that feels a little out of place really, but might have been kept, just as a legacy thing, to be able to play older songs and maybe to use for dramatic effect, sporadically on new.
“Dynamite” is an effect ridden song with only a decent chorus, where only Elize is decent though, it’s typical, screamo metal, what Amaranthe did in the first album, done worse, with an OK chorus.
“Drop Dead Cynical” is basically, Amaranthe, covering Britney Spears’ “Womanizer” and adding bits and bobs of their own... in the chorus… and altering it a bit too. Brit-metal, but not British! Oh yeah, it has a rather impressive video of Amaranthe’s take on “Dead or Alive” – complete with Elize in skintight allovers doing high-kicks, hi-concepts, require, high kicks – I guess!?
“Trinity” is again a lame, melow-death thingy, with single potentially and it was actually given a “lyric video” I think, and it’s the first “serious song”…
“Massive Addictive” has this jerky super saccharine male answering female melody… and then the duet on the same line and then you get the harsh guy it’s a sort of vocal sequence, over the same line, over the same thing, over and over… not too bad, but it’s not too involved. Olof’s a smart guy in composing, but really?
“Digital World” has a nice chorus, but again it’s like sound effects and 3 repetitions of a chorus? Mostly? These songs, are structurally “shit”... bubble-gum. Are they enjoyable, I have to say, yeah this one has a nice melody, Elize & Jake E, sell it...
“True” is an attempt at a ballad… it comes across as mediocre... where stuff as “Amaranthine” came across as sincere and natural, this sounds “good” but “forced”... maybe – an acoustic form of it… would work better...
“Unreal” has Miss Ryd showing her real vocal prowess which is quite tremendous with Jake E, quite trying to play catch in a fast and furious pedal to the metal song, that however feels, weird... I say it’s a good thing that Amaranthe experiment with writing in a somewhat different style as their “bag” of tricks, is running out of “tricks” and no matter how smart Olof is as a composer, there’s only a finite amount that you can recycle some riffs and melodies before you become “drop dead, boring”…
“Over and Done” is another ballad this time with Jake E, leading and Elize replying... mediocre and pretentious.
“Dangerzone” has all the trademarks of Amaranthe... and probably Elize hitting some ultra-high note… ehm, I’d much rather wish it was a cover of the famous Kenny Loggins tune… because it’s beyond boring…
“Skyline” has half a line of good vocal+melody and again sinks in mediocrity and repetition. Been there, done that in previous albums and done it better. A sadly wasted opportunity...
“An Ordinary Abnormality” is the most “harsh” track on the album – but it’s really a BS track to be quite honest.
Only after 4 crappy songs do Amaranthe come up with a convincing song with “Exhale” a quite more melodic and “poppy” anthem, which has a very nice hook. Yeah, this works.
The limited/deluxe edition has 2 acoustic editions that imho only go to show the great quality of the vocalists, Jake E & Elize, that with minimalist acoustic instrumentation are left quite “bare” to lift the vocal burden of these songs and they do so, very capably – and they seem to do so very capably... “Trinity” is very pure… and done beautifully… while in “True” I am suspecting about a hint of tuning, or use of effects because after a point especially Jake’s voice sounds a little unnatural. Ah, well.
Point is, this is a bit better than what “The Nexus” was maybe, but it’s mainly due to the vocalists, being really good. The songwriting, is going down the drain fast, sustained only by vocal hooks and clever poppy choruses, the whole idea is pop for pop’s sake and the whole project seems to be quite void and unimaginative, really virtuosic and able, but recycling mannerisms.
The whole band really stands on Ms Ryd’s legs, and they’d be nowhere if she wasn’t singing and fronting the band. If I were them, I’d make sure she’s treated with the utmost respect. But other than that, the whole band needs to get off tour and write a good album, or it could possibly come to the point where they just grind themselves to the point where they disband... I guess... the music is already sort of really of the supermarket variety… for massive consumption and massively boring for the most part.