CD Review: “Maximalism” by AMARANTHE

Electronica meets death metal on AMARANTHE’s fourth record, Maximalism. The first half of Maximalism is accessible metal with poppy hooks and choruses. The initial track “Maximize” opens with a driving techno beat followed by choppy riffs. The party continues on “Boomerang” which is an interesting mix or hip-hop, metal and techno. The guttural vocals complement frontwoman Elize Ryd’s clean singing on the chorus. Things get heavier on the second half of the album on songs like “Fury.” The thrashing riffs take precedent of over the electronic beat and causes severe headbanging. AMARANTHE shows its metalcore influence on “Faster” which melds breakdowns with house music. It works well and definitely gets one’s head bobbing. Album closer “Endlessly” is an epic metal ballad with strings and soaring, heartfelt vocals.

Bands have combined metal with dance elements for roughly 15 years now, so it is not a novel idea. However, AMARANTHE is one of the few bands that can pull it off while retaining a degree of heaviness. This stands in sharp contrast to more commercial bands that throw a few nu-metal riffs together and then overly rely on electronic samples. The Swedish sextet strikes a balance on Maximalism, allowing the band to play fast and technical but also expanding on its sound. This production on this record is clean and special attention is given to the percussion.

Maximalism is a solid record and will satisfy fans of electronica influenced death metal. There is no doubt fans of traditional death metal will deride this record for its accessibility and techno samples. However, they would probably avoid this record in the first place. Fans of Within Temptation, Epica and Evanescence should check this record out. It is definitely metal with a groove.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s website: http://amaranthe.se/