3/13/2013 - Review by: Frank Hill
Beauty & the Beast metal
Beauty & the Beast metal distilled from mildly abrasive metalcore/melodic-death riffage mixed with the poppier side of Swedish rock. Amaranthe has a hybrid sound inspired by bands like In Flames, Soilwork, ABBA and even Joey Tempest's Europe that will garner strong opinions of love and hate.
Three vocalists, yep, three...smooth guy--Jake E (Dreamland, Dream Evil), harsh guy--Andreas Solveström, and clean female Elize Ryd, who could be in the running for hottest chick in metal, trade off positive lyrics above stuttery, modern guitar, rapid fire drums and sugary keyboards. It sounds like Disturbed and Stratovarius met on stage for an unholy concert finale.
The song structures are formulaic and the choruses mostly interchangeable--I think I could swap most with an audio editing program and you'd be none the wiser--but it's a different approach and different approaches keep metal from genre stagnation. There's an interesting payoff here that makes the hard edges a little softer and the soft a little harder. For me, it works but in small doses like any sugar substitute. I might just use the choruses as a weapon to take over the world.
How ironic is it that nothing on the album is designed to artistically offend, yet seasoned headbangers may cringe at the slick, commercial perfection. To those who aren't so inclined to worry about it this debut is a sweet prize.
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