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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Amaranthe

The Nexus

Review by Gary Hill

This is a pretty strong album. It isn’t a great album, though. For one thing there are some modern production bits here that feel a bit over the top at times. Additionally, too much of the music sounds quite similar. Still, this kind of European metal works really well. Each song taken by itself works pretty well. It’s just when you try to spin the whole thing start to finish that it gets a little monolithic.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Afterlife

Powerhouse progressive metal opens things here. The vocals are alternated between rocking melodic ones and extreme metal styled. This is high energy and tasty. It’s just a little generic. It’s far from the best thing I’ve heard in this genre.

Invincible
Now, this is more like it. Musically it’s more aggressive, but the vocal hook is much catchier. There are some bits of modern production here that are a little annoying, though.
The Nexus

Some effects laden elements open this. Then it works out to a jam that’s stronger than the two openers. This one’s not as aggressive, but it’s more accessible. It is another killer.

Theory of Everything

More aggressive and extreme this is not bad. It’s just not all that special. The problem is, the formula is starting to wear a little thin because there just isn’t enough of a change from one track to another here.

Stardust
There are some sections here that provide some variety. There is a mellower movement in this cut. That said, though, the tune shifts after a little while into more typical territory. Then it’s dragged down by the lack of variety. There is sort of an electronica bit later in this tune.
Burn with Me

Parts of this land in the ballad vein. Those sections work better because of variety. The thing is, even the rocking movements here stand tall because the melodies and hooks are just more effective. This is actually one of the best cuts here.

Mechanical Illusion

Although there are some rather proggy bits to this, the vocals that open it up bring the extreme metal to the table. Beyond that, this is just sort of an average disc that seems too much like just about everything else here. There is a classically inspired technical metal instrumental bit later in the tune that works pretty well.

Razorblade

A little over-produced, this is just not all that special. While it stands about equal to the rest of the music here when taken by itself, in this sea of monolithic music it just doesn’t stand apart.

Future on Hold

There are some effective hooks here, but the formula has worn thin a long time ago.

Electroheart

A little over-produced, this is another that just blends into the bulk.

Transhuman
There are some cool riffs on this, but it’s just more of the same beyond that.
Infinity

And, the pattern continues here. This is a good song, but just too much like everything else here.

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