Released: 2013, Spinefarm Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Three vocalists might seem like overkill, but Swedish/Danish powerhouses Amaranthe actually manage to make use of all of them so as none seem obviously superfluous. Elize Ryd is the vocal focal point, to be sure, with her soaring pipes carrying the melodies and choruses, but just as often on the band's second album she shares space - quite comfortably - with the cleaner singing of Jake E or plays good cop to the bad cop growls and screams of Andreas Solveström.
“Razorblade” is one of the few songs here where she really carries things the whole way. The rest of the album has a carefully woven vocal tapestry that is quite well done, even if the formula gets a bit, well, formulaic over its entirety. All of the songs build to the HUGE money shot chorus that play to Ryd's obvious strengths, and generally sound great – especially since she eschews the textbook operatic warbling and just belts it out. But after 12 tracks, you're left wishing Amaranthe had been a bit more daring and less obvious or calculating.
That said, The Nexus is an infectious, almost impossibly likeable album. These guys write catchy, anthemic, pop-infused yet sufficiently bombastic metal like nobody's business. They should give lessons. Yet they've also got the muscle and savvy of Swedish compatriots In Flames or, especially, Soilwork - though apparently not the same taste for death metal – and really make things rock here.
The pulsing electronics lend a disco-fied air to some of the songs that is kinda weak, but the big riffs of Olof Mörck – awesome name, that, sounds Klingon! - pack more than enough punch to overcome and, in the end, The Nexus has a hell of a lot more going for it that against it.