[ LIVE: 25 JANUARY 2012, TURKU, FINLAND ]
One of last year's strongest debut albums came from Sweden. It was Amaranthe's self-titled album, and it caused a bit of a stir in the metal genre. The band's way of combining ultra-catchy, almost Abba-esque choruses to crunchy metal and death metal growls proved to be a recipe for success. Of course there were those opposing forces who thought that the band were completely un-metal with their pop hooks and three vocalists... I've never cared much for what is "true metal" and what's not, and I've always been a sucker for a good chorus, so I immediately liked the album. On the other hand, I've always disliked growling vocals, but Amaranthe managed to sell those to me too, and have the honour of being the only album in my collection with death metal vocals featured in a somewhat major role.
When Amaranthe's tour of Finland was announced, I marked their date in Turku to my calendar with bold letters - this was one not to be missed. If the turnout at the gig was anything to go by, quite a lot of others had done the same thing. I believe the venue was close to being sold out, which is great for a Wednesday gig and for a band that's not exactly a household name yet.
With only one album under their belt and a headlining status, it was easy to figure out that the band would play most of the album and maybe something else - how else would they be able to fill their setlist? Indeed the whole album was played. In addition, the bonustrack "A Splinter In My Soul" from the special edition was added to the set.
Thanks to the power of YouTube, the two video tracks "Amaranthine" and "Hunger" were probably the tracks that got the biggest reception. Especially during the balladic "Amaranthine" the crowd almost drowned out Elize Ryd's vocals, at least where I was standing. "Hunger" had the crowd (and the band) bouncing and was the perfect closing number of the gig.
With two frontmen and one frontwoman, the band certainly had a strong presence on stage. Both Elize and Jake E sang well and the growler Andreas... well, he growled efficiently. I won't claim that I understand this particular form of art, but for what it's worth, I thought he was an impressive figure on stage.
The three musicians on stage were maybe a little overshadowed by the "frontline", but I guess that's only expected when you have three lead vocalists in the band... that's not to say they didn't play well. Olof M÷rck (guitar), Morten L°we S°rensen (drums) and Johan Andreassen (bass) provided the backbone to the band's sound. The band's "seventh member" seemed to be an Apple laptop, which "played" the keyboards and probably "sang" some background vocals. Welcome to the computer age...
How one percieves a certain event is always a sum of several factors. Being right there next to the stage barrier I was able to see how the most enthusiastic fans reacted to the songs and how it affected the band. Had I been in the back of the room I wouldn't have seen this and perhaps my impression of the gig would not have been this good. Well, you never know. All I do know is that the minutes seemed to fly by really fast and that I had a good time. So did most of the crowd I guess. I've heard that some people were a bit disappointed that so much of the featured music was played by the "seventh member", but frankly I didn't mind.