Sweden is a country known for great metal bands. Opeth, Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth. . . just to name a few. Another that should be on your list (if they’re not already) is Amaranthe.
Amaranthe, if you are unfamiliar with them, are quite unique as they have three vocalists. Elize Ryd, who is the clean female vocalist, Jake Lundberg, who does clean male vocals and Henrik Wilhemsson, who does “harsh” or “unclean” vocals.
“I thought about it a lot actually,” Ryd states when asked how they decide who sings which parts on which song. “I just figured it out. It’s [based on] one hundred percent how we feel about it. It’s an emotional decision.”
The six-piece band rounded out by drummer Morten Sorensen, bassist Johan Andreassen and Olaf Lorck on guitar and keys, 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, by some, been called pop metal and, by others, been called their heaviest album yet.
“I think that we always have those elements [pop and metal] but since we wrote the first album [2011’s self-titled] we have developed a lot as songwriters. I don’t think there’s a big difference [between this album and the first one] but I think the production of the vocals were changed a little bit because I personally wanted to change it and maybe made 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. 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. A tour she talks highly of.
“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. They’re like family so I like that a lot, and I love to tour with them. 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.”
One place, however, that Ryd and Amaranthe have never been is Australia. A country they have been trying to get to for many years.
“We have tried to plan it [but] 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.
“I love that it makes me proud,” Ryd smiles when asked what she loves most about working with Amaranthe, “because 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.”