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Album Review: Amaranthe – Manifest

Euro metal genre-splicers Amaranthe conjure a typically upfront, bombastic sixth album, Manifest

Many bands dabble in the risky art of stitching disparate musical styles together, but it’s hard to think of anyone who does it as seamlessly as Sweden’s Amaranthe. For a start there’s three vocalists, clean melodies from Elize Ryd and Nils Molin contrasting beauty-and-the-beast style with Henrik Englund Wilhemsson’s Slipknot-styled throat assaults. That produces blasts of near death metal followed by chocolate-coated hooks – and somehow Amaranthe keep it watertight. 

Viral leaps through the speakers in acrobatic vaults, tackling current issues with the band’s usual anthemic precision. What could easily have been drowned in negative energy ultimately becomes uplifting – the sheer scale of it sees to that. BOOM! is the album’s most innovative track, led by Henrik’s hardcore rap and featuring Butcher Babies’ Heidi Shepherd, while Battle Beast’s Noora Louhimo duets brilliantly with Elize on the contrastingly emotive Strong.

The band reinforces its sound with electronics – in fact they use pretty much every production trick going. Synths and guitars erupt in pyrotechnic duels, while killer songs like Make It Better, Scream My Name and Archangel are illuminated by enormous flash-bomb hooks. Often overlooked in the process is Morten Løwe Sørensen’s astonishing drumming; his is a gymnastic versatility that constantly steers the band in different directions. Naturally he’s overshadowed by the three singers’ dazzling vocal interplay, the rotating styles and soaring melodies maintaining the attention throughout. 

Just like its big sister, 2018’s Helix, this album’s real unifying factor is the sound. Do Or Die is heavy, as is most of this stuff, but in spirit the 12 tracks are pop songs played with ambitious muscularity; metal with a heart of pulsing energy. Manifest becomes another shimmering exercise in power and positivity, improving with every play. In dark times its radiance might just be a tonic worth investing in.

Verdict: 4/5

For Fans Of: Lacuna Coil, Skillet, In This Moment

Manifest is released on October 2 via Nuclear Blast.

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Posted on October 1st 2020, 11:46a.m.
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