So the last time we checked in AMARANTHE had delivered an absolute winner of a record with 2018’s Helix. And they do it once again with Manifest, out now on Nuclear Blast Records. I’m gonna go ahead and posit this right now, you ready? This might just be the best thing this band has ever put out. The songs hit hard when they need to, and they also have hooks for days. How anyone can not be happy with this one is beyond me. Jeezus, opener “Fearless” sets the tone from note one. Listen, the thing with AMARANTHE records is that they have a bunch of great songs, but once in a while you get an absolute clunker, or in the case of Maximalism from 2016, a whole disc full of them. Anyway, the band has dodged that bullet this time around.
“Make It Better” takes the clean vocals of Elize Ryd and Nils Molin and throws them into a pot with harsh vocalist Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson. The ingredients are stirred and simmered just to a boil resulting in one of the best songs found here. Ryd, Molin, and Wilhelmsson are loud and proud for “Scream My Name” and the band also shines here. Guitarist/keyboardist Olof Mörck goes to town, while the rhythm section of Johan Andreassen (bass) and Morten Løwe Sørensen (drums) is locked and loaded, switching their combined selectors from safe to semi then firing at will.
“Viral” is another one that was an instant favorite for me. There is an organic vibe, an almost “Us Against the World” mentality, plus it’s catchy as Hell. If you’re looking for a track to get you going while working out, then “Adrenaline” is definitely for you. This one is an absolute perfect combo of all three vocalists getting it done in spectacular fashion while the players behind them get it done. “Strong” features a guest vocal from BATTLE BEAST’S Noora Louhimo and everything falls into place. Meanwhile “The Game” is fast and more slick-sounding than most bands can ever figure oot in their career, and that’s that. The one foray into balladry is “Crystalline,”which shows off a beautiful back and forth between Ryd and Molins. It’s gorgeous.
“Archangel” is yet another fucking awesome song on an album full of them. Ryd, Molin, and Wilhelmsson have a great time while Ryd delivers a hellacious chorus. I had no idea what to make of “BOOM!1” at first. This is Wilhelmsson’s vehicle 100% until the hook which is all Molins. Know what? It actually works, most of it. Could have done without the breakdown, but otherwise it’s still pretty good. “Die and Wake Up” has so much melody and is so catchy it might just be a cold, musically. Closing us out is “Do Or Die,” an anthemic track that is equal parts catchy and nasty, just the way I like it.
Hey, when it’s all said and done AMARANTHE have put out arguably THE best album of their career. The songs manage to be heavy, catchy, and poppy, often all at once. This is definitely a record that kicks ass here in 2020, which let’s face it, is something we need right now. Manifest is out now via Nuclear Blast Records and I can guarantee you’ll love it. So waste no time, and go get yours, ya heard?
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Viral”, “Archangel”, “Make It Better”, “Adrenaline”, “Strong”