The Catalyst

Amaranthe

“The Catalyst” is a trademark AMARANTHE album: powerful riffing, dynamic song textures driven by an unique triptych of vocalists, and catchy sing-along melodies, but overcrowd with too many electronic effects
March 31, 2024

AMARANTHE hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden were formed in 2010. The melodic Metal outfit released their seventh full-length album. “The Catalyst” was produced, mixed, and mastered by Jacob Hansen (EPICA; PRIMAL FEAR; VOLBEAT) at Hansen Studios. The album has a length of about 41 minutes, and it was released via German Metal specialists Nuclear Blast.

The album starts with a tension-building electronic intro leading into the title track of the album. It is a typical AMARANTHE track with powerful riffing, catchy melodies, and the alternating performance of the three vocalists, the clean male, the growling male, and the clean female vocals. All the elements are there which makes AMARANTHE songs so popular. “The Catalyst” has been released as video, and the YouTube link is provided below.  “Insatiable” is even more driven by electronic Pop elements compared to the title song, and in my opinion, they take it a bit too far. The melodies are catchy, and the chorus parts are almost anthemic. “Insatiable” is a great live track, when all the electronic elements are at least not as dominant. “Damnation Flame” is a fast and dynamic track, where the three vocalists are the focal points of the track. The melodic framework is a bit darker as usual, the riffing is thunderous, but the track is all about the vocalists, where both male vocalists drive the track during the verse parts, while Elize Ryd does what Elize Ryd does best during the chorus parts. Although the vocal parts sound a bit chaotic at times and it is easy to get lost, “Damnation Flame” is an early album highlight.

Liberated” starts with an electronic part introducing the main melody. The keyboards are very dominant throughout the track, while the guitars are more in the background. The only time when the guitars are notable is during the lead guitar solo. “Liberated” is a short dynamic mid-tempo track with many subtle changes in tempo and rhythm. “Re-visioned” is another track that is overdone with electronic effects and apart from the anthemic chorus parts, it is a song easily to forget. “Interference” sounds more like an AMARANTHE trademark song with powerful and heavy riffing, the classical partitioning of the vocals, where typically the growls follow the clean male vocals, and the female vocals lead the charge during the choruses. The growling vocals give the track here an extra layer, as they fit very well to the heaviness of the guitars. “Stay A Little While” is the album ballad and it is driven by the piano accompanied by the strings. The vocals are two-parted between the clean male and female vocals. Highlight is the extended lead guitar solo.  “Stay A Little While” is one of the best songs on the album.

Ecstasy” is another AMARANTHE classic at mid-tempo and it has all the ingredients that makes them so popular. The guitars sound thunderous, and all three vocalists are at their very best. The chorus parts are sing-alongs and catchy performed by Elize Ryd. There are once again many electronic effects notable throughout the track, but in “Ecstasy” they are not overly distracting. “Ecstasy” is an excellent live track. “Breaking The Waves” is a track at a measured tempo with heavy riffing and the female and clean male vocals leading the track from the first to the final note, although the growling vocals have a limited contribution only during the break. The melodies have a few ballad-esque features, making the track perfectly suitable for the clean vocals.

Outer Dimensions” is a mid-tempo track, overcrowded with electronic elements once again. This is a bit unfortunate as Elize Ryd shows her outstanding versatility and huge vocal range during the track. Another highlight is the very contributing lead guitar solo. “Resistance” is another fast and dynamic trademark AMARANTHE track. It is a great track, but very similar in song structure and melodies to some other album trademark tracks. This might be the limitation of AMARANTHE as their best songs sound all a bit like the same. “Find Life” is a track at measured tempo and driven by the electronic elements and cannot keep up with most of the other songs. The album finishes with a cover version of “Fading Like A Flower” and it is an interesting cover arranged in a typical AMARANTHE sound.

AMARANTHE deliver a trademark AMARANTHE album. “The Catalyst” contains all the element of the classical AMARANTHE sound that made them so popular across the world: powerful riffing, dynamic song textures driven by this unique triptych of vocalists, and catchy sing-along melodies. In my opinion, they overcrowd the arrangements with too many electronic effects, which makes me think that “The Catalyst” would not be ranked among my top three AMANRANTHE albums. In terms of production, they did a very good job as usual. With “The Catalyst”, AMARANTHE explore a broader, meaning a more Pop oriented sound. This will broaden their audience; however, I am not sure how well does that go with the die-hard AMARANTHE fans.

8 / 10

Excellent

Songwritting

7

Musicianship

8

Memorability

7

Production

9
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"The Catalyst" Track-listing:
  1. The Catalyst
  2. Insatiable
  3. Damnation Flame
  4. Liberated
  5. Re-visioned
  6. Interference
  7. Stay A Little While
  8. Ecstasy
  9. Breaking The Waves
  10. Outer Dimensions
  11. Resistance
  12. Find Life
  13. Fading Like A Flower
Amaranthe Lineup:

Elize Ryd Vocals

Nils Molin Vocals

Mikael Sehlin Vocals

Olaf Mörck Guitars

Morten Løwe Sørensen Drums

Johan Andreassen Bass

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