(Spinefarm Records)

Over the years of doing my radio show, many good bands have come across my desk. Even more become names in an ever growing crowd – one where I know the name and even have albums I go out and get to play on the show. But for one reason or another I don’t get to sit down and actually listen to an entire album for pleasure because of the workload. Most times it is a case of I like what I like and take the time for the bands I knew of prior to the show.

Amaranthe is certainly one of the bands I was “aware” of but had not had the time to give a serious listen to. When given the opportunity to listen to this album for review – I was at least aware of the name. So jumping at the chance I put Maximalism into the queue and sat back and listened. Immediately grabbed by their catchy tunes, and harmonies I began to wonder why I had missed such a great band.

The opening track off the album “Maximize,” takes no prisoners, and most certainly shows that they know their sound. The mix of power, aggression, and even catchy pop-like riffs – comes through right away, without being cheesy. Their mix of 3 vocalists are just as tight as the band itself, Elize and Jake E’s harmonies with Henrick’s growls flow together seamlessly with an almost guilty vocal pleasure for me.

It’s hard to single out tracks on this album to not rave about, each song being unique but still powerful. From the start of the second song on the album “Boomerang,” with its poppy feel at the start, it goes right into the heavy without missing a beat or seeming unnatural. Immediately following it with the song titled … well, “That Song” adding in piano and an almost arena rock bridge to the song that is just too hard not to find yourself bobbing your head along to it.

21” starts off with more of a kick to the teeth sound, and it just keeps getting better as you listen along. Playing the album as I write it is hard to single out which song I would call a “favorite.” There is a consistency here that most hard music fans will like. The experience the band has comes through in flying colors, and each song on the album could easily be a video or single that could be called a ‘hit’ – and Amaranthe’s past success with singles it is no surprise.

If I had to choose a song that just did it for me it would most likely be the song “Fury” as it has plenty of aggression, while retaining perfectly tight harmonies and backing music that just seems to be the perfect blend of the underground and the mainstream at the end of 2016. Fans of so many genres I think could find something to like here – even if clean vocals or growls are not your thing. This outing by Amaranthe could very well swing some new listeners to their music as well as heavy music in general. Personally there is so much I could say here that I like about this band, that simply put this is one you should give a listen to. It’s more than worth it.

– Raven “Dave” Gaudet

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