AMARANTHE – The Catalyst (Album Review)

Release Date: February 23rd 2024 - Nuclear Blast Records

Amaranthe - The Catalyst

Amaranthe is a melodic metal band from Sweden formed in 2008, distinguishable for having three lead vocalists – female clean, male clean, and male harsh! The band’s current line-up features (founding member) guitarist/keyboardist Olof Morck (Dragonland), drummer Morten Lowe Sorensen, bassist Johan Andreassen, and vocalists Elize Ryd (female clean), Nils Molin (male clean), and Mikael Sehlin (male harsh). The band has enjoyed a fifteen year career, releasing seven albums to date – the seventh ‘The Catalyst’, a 2024 release…

… features an incredible twelve songs in just thirty-eight minutes! That’s an average of just three minutes per song! Amaranthe is not the first band to feature three lead singers – The Monkees, Humble Pie, The Beatles, Bananarama, The Three Tenors, Mastodon, (and more recently) The Three Tremors and T3NORS are just a few that come to mind – but Amaranthe are (I believe) the first to have female and male leads with different styles, clean and harsh to be precise! The band’s sound is kinda unique though, combining melodic metal, electronic rock, and pop into one sonic barrage of infectious, catchy and highly memorable metal! Over recent years, the new “modern metal” genre has risen dramatically in popularity, covering bands that meld together many different styles, basically anything from traditional, progressive and symphonic metal through to melodic death and everything in between – something Amaranthe was doing way before “modern metal” was even born! The Swedish outfit has always been a band ahead of the times, constantly evolving and improving its sound, thinking outside o’ the box with regards to songwriting, and pushing the boundaries of heavy metal to new heights and beyond, the band’s new album ‘The Catalyst’ featuring more orchestral arrangements and dynamic elements than ever before!

So let’s take a listen to ‘The Catalyst’ and see, or rather hear what the Swedish metallers have to offer – the title song ‘The Catalyst’ setting the album on its way with a dramatic, anticipation fuelled and crescendo-building pop punch ready for a blood-curdling, gut-wrenching death metal roar at forty-nine seconds that’s gonna scare the fucking pants off many listeners! And then the faultless clean vocals begin with Elize Ryd first, followed by Nils Molin and then Mikael Sehlin returns with the harsh – ‘The Catalyst’ (the song) a bouncy, energetic mix of both power and traditional metal with a massive pop music influence. The purpose and intent of the band is to deliver happy mood-inducing music to plant smiles a mile wide on the faces of every listener, fan and follower everywhere – and on the evidence of just the first song…mission accomplished!

A very good friend of mine, Vincent “death metal” Maylen, is an avid fan of Amaranthe – more so for the stunning good looks of singer Elize than the bands great music! Between me and you readers, I think he’s actually in love with the Swedish bombshell, and it’s obvious to see why! And hear too, for Elize has beauty in abundance – in both her looks and her voice! In fact, Elize’s voice can soar to a symphonic metal level, as well as having the traditional heavy metal roar! And as for my old mucker Vincent, his insatiable desire for Elize is immeasurable! But enough digressing, there’s a full album to review – an album that powers on with the even more emphatic ‘Insatiable’. The band increase the oomph ten-fold, the barrage of pop come power metal simply phenomenal, the three vocalists mesmerising the airways by inserting three different identities on the bands music, yet incredibly not losing the all important identity – metal!

For Amaranthe are a metal band at heart, the Swedes moving swiftly on with the ground shuddering ‘Damnation Flame’ – hammering much harder than a jackhammer smashing through concrete! The power surge from the band here is astounding, whatever the six-piece from Gothenburg are drinking – I want some! And lots of it! ‘Cause my energy (and indeed power) levels these days are very low, with getting outta bed more of a chore rather than a purpose. And then I hear music like this, and realise there is a reason to get up out of bed – to listen to and write about great heavy metal! The energetic aura pouring outta ‘The Catalyst’ (the album) is contagious, making me grin like the proverbial Cheshire Cat, and write like there’s no tomorrow! I am energised and immensely eager right now – just like the band, who stride on with the more mid paced ‘Liberated’ but nonetheless mind blowing! Every song heard so far has been jaw-dropping, the band’s powerful pop metal punch and crunch combined with an electrifying dynamic cascade is simply irresistible!

Bands such as Battle Beast, Beast In Black and Metalite incorporate a pop-metal approach within their heavy, power metal music, but are nowhere near a match for Amaranthe‘s colossal impact – an impact that’s getting bigger and bigger as each song cruises on by! ‘Re-Vision’ brings a strong electronic feel to the fore, the album proceeding to hit everyone with everything the band have in their locker, including the kitchen sink! The band’s locker is fucking huge, containing more styles of metal music than there are actual metals on the planet! And for all you fact fans and science nerds out there, there are “over ninety metals that appear in the periodic table (there’s not an exact number though as the boundaries between metals, non-metals and metalloids fluctuate slightly due to a lack of universally accepted definitions of the categories involved)”. And hitting harder than everything heard so far, ‘Interference’ slams you to the floor, stamps on you, and then caresses you ’til the ambulance arrives – an ambulance that ‘Interference’ actually arranged for you! ‘The Catalyst’ (the album) is a roller coaster of emotions, and one helluva ride – a ride I wanna ride time and time again!

The pleasure oozing from every song on offer is eargasmic to say the least, orgasmic to say the most, and I wanna stay here in this moment for a long while to come – the keyboard intro to ‘Stay A Little While’ sending shivers down spines and raising hairs on the backs of necks! And the vocal performances are more soulful than anything heard previously – and from a purely testosterone fuelled male point of view, the sultry, sensual voice of Elize here, has peaked my attention, rising it to heights it hasn’t achieved since I last listened to my one true metal love, the “queen of metal” herself Doro (insert heart emoji here). I really am in ecstasy right now, I’m sure euphoria is just around the corner – and yep, here it comes, courtesy of the pulsating ‘Ecstasy’. And an energy level that’s just risen right through the fucking roof, Amaranthe pounding the ground harder than at any other point on the album. Shaking buildings to their foundations, ‘Ecstasy’ is wreaking havoc all over the place, listeners, fans and followers vigorously nodding their heads back and forth!

The band’s energy level is limitless, the Swedish metallers as rampant now as at the album’s beginning, ‘Breaking The Waves’ planting a new and increased level of elegance front and centre – a level that moves the band’s sound onto a different plane! A much bigger, bolder and more majestic plane than ever, each singer displaying another string to their respective bows. The amount of surprise twists and turns on offer is incredible, not just the three singers, but the music too – the songwriting prowess of Morck dropping listeners jaws to the floor with an almighty thud! I can hear ’em all from here, the album switching planes yet again to deliver the most party anthemic offering on ‘The Catalyst’ (the album) – ‘Outer Dimensions’ bouncing hard and high like what a rubber ball would do if dropped from the top of the Karlatornet skyscraper (in Gothenburg). The sheer power and pull of ‘Outer Dimension’ is greater than the pull of Earth’s gravity – and we all know how powerful that is! After all, it does stop us all from falling off the face of the fucking planet!

I tell ya, readers, resistance is futile to the all-consuming, all-conquering nature of Amaranthe‘s music, the band’s soundscape is a very welcoming place that I could happily live in for the rest of my life! And with only two songs remaining, there’s absolutely no sign of the album’s incredible energy level disappearing any time soon, ‘The Catalyst’ (the album) soaring to new heights with the rampant ‘Resistance’ – the band pressing the pedal firmly to the metal, scorching the earth with a barnstorming blend of all out power, and traditional metal! And to be honest, I reckon even thrashers are gonna love this one, heads rocking back and forth faster than at any other time on the album! And as the final song looms large over the horizon, this is one album that’s gonna get so much airplay – not just by me, but by every listener, fan and follower of the band, old and new! And so to the album’s final hurrah, the epic and atmospheric heavy hitter ‘Find Life’ – thundering forth with a foot-stomping attitude featuring an edge harder than a diamond! And as we all know, diamonds are the hardest thing in the world! Until now, Amaranthe displaying many diamond-like characteristics – beautiful, flawless, and highly irresistible! Wait a sec, have I just described Elize?

Overall, a dynamic mix of musical styles, ‘The Catalyst’ is a jaw-dropping and immensely infectious album of pop-metal punch and heavy metal crunch.


The Catalyst
Damnation Flame
Stay A Little While
Breaking The Waves
Outer Dimensions
Find Life

Amaranthe: Facebook

Release Year: 2024
Label: Nuclear Records
Category: Album
Country: Sweden

Reviewed by Iron Mathew for Frenzy Fire and Metal-Roos.