Amaranthe - Manifest
Nuclear Blast
Modern / Pop Metal
12 songs (40:18)
Release year: 2020
Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Ben

For what it's worth, I actually do genuinely enjoy Amaranthe quite a bit. They unabashedly play slick pop metal but the pure charisma and talent of Elize Ryd is what propels this band. While she shares the stage with two other vocalists, without her there is no Amaranthe. And not to downplay the efforts by the two dude singers, but let's face it, they're both replacements to singers who left for more uhhh, "active roles." Maybe "pop metal" is too broad of a term so let's get ultra specific instead. These guys straight up play "Call Of Duty Metal."

What exactly is "Call Of Duty Metal?" Well, just direct your eyes to the band's music videos starting with The Nexus from their second album and pretty much any of their videos such as Digital World or Boomerang up to their current vids for Viral and Boom!!1. Also, the latest single is called straight up PvP. For some reason, many of their videos include tactical gear, modern gadgets, SMGS, martial arts, and Michael Bay explosions. Again, taking them for what they're worth, these are fun videos where the band obviously are spending a shitload of money and having a blast in doing so. That feeling of professionalism mixed with genuine fun is another selling point of this band.

Manifest is actually one of Amaranthe's more straightforward albums and that surprised me. There's no blatant lite rock FM radio appeals like with That Song, and for the most part everything fits into the modern metal mold. While there isn't anything quite in the same league as say, Maximize, it seems like the album is trying hard to keep up to that particular song's exacting measure. Out of the twelve songs here there's one ballad and one outright clunker to be avoided, Boom!!1. Other than those, the first seven tracks are all straight forward metal numbers with rousing choruses and stabbing synth keys. Riff wise, there's lots of bouncy modern type of riffs, but the vocals are carrying the brunt of the melodic structure. I hate to say it, but most of the guitar work is forgettable. The guitar solos though are a completely different matter in the sense that they display a ton of skill but are cut very short and brief. Olaf is definitely downplaying his abilities. I wonder if the financial gulf between Olaf's other band Dragonland and Amaranthe is as big as the one between Savatage and Trans Siberian Orchestra. Anyways, Boom!!1 means well, it's "silly," and there is a sense of care free just going wild that is genuinely a treat to hear. But man, there's just a lot of bad Euro rapping going on by the growl singer guy. Straight up. I don't dislike rap, but bad rapping with forced aggro guitars just makes this one skippable. The reason I say there's a fun atmosphere is because this song breaks the fourth wall so to speak. Since it's supposed to be all aggro, it's basically the dudes singing and getting their very own track. You can hear Elize here and there and she even jokingly asks to try growl singing I guess. It's a pretty awful track but in this day and age of Spotify and skips, it's not something to let my world end over. The physical digibook edition of Manifest has some bonus tracks but they aren't anything for me to go nutzo over. Some song with a duet with Angela Gossow and then a cover of Sabaton's 82nd All The Way. In all fairness, I absolutely detest and loathe Sabaton so I naturally prefer Amaranthe's version of this song.

If someone's new to Amaranthe then starting off with Manifest isn't a bad choice to begin with. My favorite album of theirs is still the self titled debut but two of the singers are no longer in the group. I completely missed the last album, Helix, so I can't comment on that one. Also, their best songs are on albums that unfortunately are a bit spotty. Massive Addictive and Maximalism have bonafide bangers such as Drop Dead Cynical, Digital World, Dynamite, and Maximize that happen to be mixed in with more middle of the road fare. Manifest is much more uniform and cohesive as a total listen, but there's no out and out attention grabbing single. Maybe Strong since it's super poppy but I get really (Mark) strong Katy Perry and Britney Spears vibes. A fairly decent album, but also a relatively safe album. If you want to hear the best of Amaranthe, check out their setlists. While lacking more and more on debut album material, their shows are usually stacked with their best tracks plus whatever new album is out.

Killing Songs :
Fearless, Adrenaline, Strong, Viral, Archangel
Ben quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Amaranthe that we have reviewed:
Amaranthe - Maximalism reviewed by Ben and quoted 72 / 100
Amaranthe - Massive Addictive reviewed by Joel and quoted 86 / 100
Amaranthe - The Nexus reviewed by Rob and quoted 82 / 100
Amaranthe - Amaranthe reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
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