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Album Review : Amaranthe – The Catalyst

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Review by Richard Henry for MPM

The Swedish troop are back with album number seven, this is a concept album exploring the themes of transformation and revelation, the band say this is the most coherent and ambitious album to date!

The Catalyst

Big synth choir intro to the start of this one, very synth wave in feel, punchy drums come in and a heavy guitar riff comes in with the synth dancing around it, big chorus on this as you would expect, I like the middle breakdown before the solo, which is lovely, great tone and lovely playing, banger of an opener!

Insatiable

Almost like a shuffle feel to this one, heavy and synth driven even when the guitars kick in you wouldn’t say it’s the main focus, even on the chorus, which works great for this one, the constantly changing vocals in this one really add massively to it, it’s a great chorus which I think I will be saying for all of the songs, really cool middle part, really djenty with the guitar and drums following each other, another great solo, tasteful with a bit of shred in it, then a breakdown before we hit the chorus again!

Damnation Flame

Harpsicord opening, very Nightwish the start of this, I like the drum groove they have going on right a t the start of the verse, before it picks up in pace and then builds up to the chorus which is expected is huge, it reminds me of Abba for reasons probably best known to myself, then into a full orchestral middle section which is lovely, before it changes and starts to build again, this one actually really benefited from no solo as it built right to the chorus again!

Liberated

Real driving groove to this with the synth crashing along with the guitar riff, first sort of mellow verse, well I spoke too soon as the heavier vocals come in, again this shows the balance in the vocals and how it splits up the song, again huge singalong chorus on this, I love that synth line in the background, now with the male lead vocal starting, nice switch, drops down to a full on shred solo, nice change in dynamics under it as well, great track!

Re-Vision

Synth-wave time again on the start of this one, really electronic cut and paste vocal on the start of this almost like a dance track, real bouncy riff and drum part on the verse, before it switches and builds into the chorus, and again this will have you singing along live, it’s just made for that, it gets properly heavy before the solo which again is a nice display of technique!

Interference

Thats a heavy opener to that, a real dragging riff, then it breaks right away into a vocal and synth section, before the harsh vocals come in for the next part of the verse, then it breaks to a synth and vocal before it hits the chorus, then the tempo switches as well and picks up before hitting that crashing riff we had at the start, I love that middle section, it’s just straight up savage, and I love that, great track!

Stay a Little While

Lovely piano intro to the start of this one, really delicate sounding, the twin vocals are a really nice touch, I wasn’t expecting that, then it soars into the chorus, but still stays delicate, the drums come in for the second verse as does the bass but it’s still staying orchestral, but the drums switch up the groove before the whole band comes in for the second chorus and it sounds epic, lovely solo, really expressive and soaring, well played for sure, this actually could be my favorite track so far!

Ecstasy

I like the groove of this one as it kicks in, then it goes into an almost dance groove for a bar or two before the band hits, there is no surprise in this next statement, the chorus is huge, love that tom groove in the second verse, almost a half time off kilter feel to that middle section, nice variation with the harsh vocals in this part as well, and shred, some great guitar playing in that, I have to admit I am not loving this song overall for some reason, it has good parts but not my favorite!

Breaking the Waves

Now that’s an epic opener with the groove and the heavy keys over the guitars, now that is a chorus, the way its set up with the wall of vocals and the guitars and keys is just majestic, I imagine Captain Jack wondering up a beach to that groove in the verse, that’s a lovely transition to an almost Disney style orchestral section before the solo comes in, then into a much heavier part in instrumentation and vocals, before it breaks again into an ethereal vocal before hitting the huge chorus again, great track!

Outer Dimensions

Walls of vocals hit you at the start of this one, love that riff with the keys dancing about behind it, some of the little things that drive the verse like the ride cymbal on the drum part, again that chorus is just huge, just a wall of vocals, I like the switch from the male lead first chorus to the female lead on the second verse, nice variation, nice break in the middle before the solo hits, it’s on this one I realized the songs are all three to four mins and really sort of pop songs in nature when you really think about it, not a bad thing as its hook after hook, tell me you don’t hear Abba in that chorus!

Resistance

Almost like a J Pop sort of intro to this one, you could hear it in a manga film, heaviest song on the album so far, and I like it, love the more aggressive vocals, now don’t get me wrong as soon as you get to the chorus its pure sing along, again massively reminds me of a Manga film or series intro, yes yes yes to that middle section and riff, that’s banging, really heavy, love this one!

Find Life

Heavy syncopated guitar and drum part to start this one with the keys running around it, before it drops to a more electronic verse part, not sure on the male vocal on this one, sounds much better in the second half when Elize sings it, nice guitar break in there and a really soaring solo, again this track maybe not so much, just not doing it for me this one!

8 out of 10

In the whole it’s a great album, two tracks didn’t really gel with me, and that’s just me, you guys, may love them and that’s cool as well, great album, massive choruses, exactly what you come to expect from these guys, also great production from Jacob Hansen, really crystal clear!

Order your copy of The Catalyst now: https://amaranthe.bfan.link/the-catalyst.a01

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