THIS WEEK I’M LISTENING TO...AMARANTHE – The Catalyst (Nuclear Blast)THIS WEEK I’M LISTENING TO...AMARANTHE – The Catalyst (Nuclear Blast)

Judging by the material on ‘The Catalyst’ Amaranthe’s seventh album finds the band at a bit of a crossroads. There’s nothing wrong with it – let’s be clear about that – as in cuts like the opening title track and ‘Interference’ the three-singer Swedish metallers have once again pulled out all the stops with their style of melodic, easily-accessible Euro metal. The clean vocals of Eliz Ryd and Nils Molin work harmoniously with new boy Mikael Sehlin’s cookie monster delivery, and with bouncing bass and drums and the omnipresent synths (which unfortunately do drown out the guitar work for a good deal of the time) the band have delivered a business-as-usual album straight from the top drawer. The trouble is, we’ve heard it all before. It’s very much Amaranthe through and through – the band have developed pretty much their own sound since releasing their self-title debut back in 2011 – and while that’s not a bad thing in itself it’s more than a little predictable. It would be a tad more interesting for the band to push boundaries rather than slipping on an old comfy jumper in the studio and falling back on their well-worn past victories.


As with the Metalite’s ‘Expedition One’ released earlier this year, stylistically Amaranthe blend metal and pop – their nation’s two greatest musical exports – into a not unpleasing potpourri of the two. They do seem to be going more pop than metal though, as demonstrated for example by the fact that the chorus from ‘Outer Dimensions’ borrows heavily from ABBA’s ‘S.O.S.’, and a cover of Roxette’s ‘Fading Like A Flower’ (which brings the tracklist up to a baker’s dozen) blends in seamlessly with the band’s self-penned material.

As I said at the start, it’s not a bad album – the musicianship is flawless and the execution cannot be faulted; but to my mind it’s not their best as they do sound like they’re treading water. That said, hardcore fans will lap it up, and if you’re new to the band as an instantly-likable collection of energetic, largely three minute, fun pop/metal songs it’s not a bad introduction. All-in-all it’s a very pleasant album, and if that’s the way you like your metal, this could be the album for you.

Video clips:
‘Re-Vision’ -
‘The Catalyst’ -
‘Insatiable’ -

© John Tucker February 2024