Review by Jeff Maki
Amaranthe is hot right now. Its 2014 album, Massive Addictive (review), ignited the band’s flame in North America, a flame that had been burning in its homeland of Sweden for some time due to its 2013 album, The Nexus. The band is immediately recognizable by its three-vocalist attack of Elize Ryd, Jake E. Lundberg and Henrik Englund, each one bringing a different style to the music—the beautiful and theatrical pop-diva, the clean metalcore singer and the death metal growler. I caught the band opening for Within Temptation in 2014 (read here), and Amaranthe is on a North American headlining tour as I write this (view dates here). Looking to keep the flame burning, the band has released a digital-only EP, featuring six acoustic tracks, along with the songs “Breaking Point” and “Splinter in My Soul,” which according to the band are “originals from the early days.” But is this EP worth your hard-earned digital dollars?
EPs are what they are—extended play. Often they’re made up of left-over tracks that weren’t good enough or didn’t fit into a band’s previous album, or they can be used to compile hard-to-find material for fans; and in some cases, they can propel a band to stardom. Breaking Point falls in the “for the fans” category. The band is awesome acoustically, though. The song and band’s namesake (sort of), “Amaranthine,” was a standout live, so having this acoustic version is a must for fans. “True” and “Trinity” both from Massive Addictive, are given the treatment with excellent results, as well. “Breaking Point” is a power-metaller that would’ve fit in on Massive Addictive, while “Splinter in My Soul” is more of a mid-paced synth-rocker with clean vocalist Jake E. Lundberg taking the lead. The folksy “Burn with Me” (original version appearing on The Nexus) is also a standout.
We’ve come quite a ways to have a band like Amaranthe getting noticed in North America, and I’m sure they hope this EP will help keep the eyes and ears of young rock fans on them for a little longer.
(Spinefarm Records, October 30, 2015 – Digital-only release)