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Amaranthe – 365 (single)

The prospect of a new Amaranthe single is always reason for excitement, especially when it serves as a precursor to a new album. “Massive Addictive” and “Maximalism” were both great Eurodance records that largely coasted off the work of Britpop band Republica. Whereas Republica fully embraced their 80s wave-synthpop component on their “Speed Ballads” album, Amaranthe insists on its rock band setup, even though that is arguably their weakest and most redundant aspect. This advance single does nothing particularly novel with the sound that Amaranthe has been pushing for the last two records. It leans closer to “Massive Addictive” in terms of composition and is the recording debut for freshly-minted male singer Nils Molin who replaced Joacim "Jake E" Lundberg. Not that anybody comes to Amaranthe for the male singing. Amaranthe is all about Elize Ryd. Elize über alles…

‘365’ is the lead single and precursor to the new “Helix”. If the techno beats that serve as an opener are anything to go by you’d think that Amaranthe finally at long last abandoned the guitars and drums. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Why Amaranthe still insists on a drummer is anybody’s guess as the standard 4/4 drumming could have been easily been replaced by computer beats by now. The sound effects in ‘365’ are something straight out of 90s Eurodance song (or a recent Dimmu Borgir album) and if it weren’t for the prevalent and apparently very necessary and completely vanilla groove riffs this would’ve been a straight up techno club banger. The highlight is, of course, doe-eyed Elize doing what she does best. Which is shaking her hips, singing, and engaging in the occassional spoken word and sultry whispering. It’s telling enough that ‘365’ is at its best when the guitars and drums are silent giving Ryd and the techno beats the space they require. Amaranthe has no need for male singers in two contrasting styles much in the same way their insistence on rock elements is redundant in lieu of the prominence of dance beats and electronics in their sound.

If past records are any indication for Amaranthe’s surge in popularity then it would be only just to acknowledge just how important Elize Ryd has been for the brand. Ryd was instrumental in Amaranthe changing from a stock symfo metal outfit into a full-blown Eurodance rock band. There’s no contesting that Olof Mörck is the creative force behind the entire operation but he’s practically invisible once Ryd takes centerstage. Amaranthe would have just been another modern rock band if it weren’t for her presence. On “Massive Addictive” Ryd took the forefront and hopefully “Helix” will capitalize on her considerable talents, both as a mascot and as a singer. Not only can Elize sing with the best of them, her outfits are always among the best too. There’s a good reason why she features as prominently in the music videos as she does. “Helix” returns to the band photography artwork from the early days after "Massive Addictive" and "Maximalism" opted for actual digital art. Amaranthe would be wise putting Ryd on the frontcover and finally leaving the last remnants of their rock band past behind. It’s now more clear than ever that Amaranthe wants to be an Eurodance-pop band and that’s okay. They shouldn’t in any way feel obligated to keep including duelling male vocals and standard rock instruments to please the old fanbase. ‘365’ is first and foremost a catchy pop song – and that’s when Amaranthe is at its best.

We will continue to cherish slim hope that Amaranthe, or Mörck rather, will come to their senses and realize the redundancy of their latent rock element. Amaranthe never was, is or will be, about riffs. Plenty of other bands are, but Amaranthe isn’t one of them. The switch to Eurodance was one of Mörck’s best creative decisions and the sooner he rids Amaranthe of every unnecessary instrument and band member, the bigger his band will become. The only thing keeping Amaranthe away from mainstream popularity and radio airplay is their insistence on heavy rock guitars and gruff vocals, both of which they don’t need in the first place. ‘365’ is a great enough teaser for the “Helix” album that will be released in October 2018.  We can’t shake the impression that Amaranthe would be an even much larger a band if they focused their efforts on and around Elize Ryd. If only Amaranthe themselves realized it, then they could arrange their efforts around her. It sort of makes you wonder when we're finally going to get that much overdue Elize Ryd solo album...

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