Amaranthe

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Sweden is a country renowned for its great metal bands. With Opeth, Arch Enemy and Amon Amarth just to name a few, another that will soon be on your list (if they’re not already) is Amaranthe.

Amaranthe are a unique beast as they have three vocalists. Elize Ryd, takes care of clean female vocals, whilst Jake Lundberg does the male clean vocals. Rounding out the trio is Henrik Wilhemsson, who does “harsh” or “unclean” vocals. “It’s [based on] one hundred percent how we feel about it. It’s an emotional decision”,  Ryd states when asked how they determine vocal parts.

The six-piece band features drummer Morten Sorensen, bassist Johan Andreassen and Olaf Lorck on guitar and keys and have just released their fourth studio album, Maximalism. This comes just two years after their previous album Massive Addictive and one year after a B-sides collection titled Breaking Point. The album has been labelled by some as ‘pop-metal’, however, others consider it to be their heaviest offering yet.

“I think that we always have those elements, but since we wrote the first album [2011’s self-titled] we have developed a lot as songwriters”, says Ryd. “I don’t think there’s a big difference, but the production of the vocals was changed a little bit because I personally wanted to change it and maybe make it stand out more as pop. I think maybe how we write the songs and the vocal melodies. That’s what I’m personally best at”, she laughs. “I’m very inspired by Abba and also Queen and that’s why we like to bring in a few old rock influences we had never used before actually.”

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“I’m very inspired by ABBA and also Queen and that’s why we like to bring in a few old rock influences we had never used before actually.”

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After a brief moment of thought, Ryd reconsiders the bands’ approach to songwriting. “On the other hand, some people have said it’s a more heavy album.

Maybe if you listen more at the guitar arrangement which Olaf does, he’s a great metal guitarist. He thought it would be fun to do something different with his guitar, to play it more old school rock in a few songs. I’d say for the next album it will be more in the direction of melodic metal or something like that. We haven’t decided yet where we want to take our sound.”

In 2011 and 2012, Ryd went on tour with Kamelot as a touring vocalist and speaks highly of the experience. “One night to the next I went on a perfect tour and they taught me so much. I know them very well and they are very close to me. With my own band, it’s like we are siblings. Amaranthe is a little younger, but Kamelot is more stable because they’ve been in the business longer, so I felt very safe going on tour with them.”

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One place that Ryd and Amaranthe have never been to is Australia, a country they have been trying to get to for many years. “We have tried to plan it. For some reason it hasn’t worked out yet, but we are planning it again. We talked about it last week. We actually said that we have to make sure that we go there. So that’s what we are aiming for. We are planning it, and I can’t promise anything but stay tuned because I think that we are very close. Much closer than last time when I thought we were close, but now I can feel that we are really close,” she laughs.

When asked what she loves most about working with Amaranthe, Ryd smiles and exudes a sense of pride. “I was part of the creation [of Amaranthe] and to look at how far we have come. It makes me thank all the great supporters. We had the pleasure to tour with Kamelot and they have a very big audience, and we toured with Hammerfall which also have a big fan base. I’m also proud that I never changed myself, same with any of the other guys. We stuck with the same thing with what we started from the beginning all the way through to now which is really cool. I like being myself and I don’t have any rules. I mean, I make my own rules, and I decide where I wanna take this. That’s what I enjoy the most. I have great people to work with. Everybody in this band is so extremely talented, so I’m very happy about that.”

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Written by Dave Griffiths

Dave has worked as a music & film journalist for over 20 years now. Aside from Heavy he does radio and various podcasts as well. He is the proud owner of Metal Cat.

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