Published on November 27th, 2018 | by Justin G.
Amaranthe: Helix (Spinefarm)
It’s hard to believe that Swedish pop-metal stars Amaranthe are already on album #5. They still seem like the new hot band, even though it’s been seven years since their debut album was released. Their latest album is called Helix, and it’s the band’s first since Nils Molin (also with Dynazty) replaced Jake E. on clean male vocals.
The last two Amaranthe albums found the band pushing hard in a more pop-oriented direction, and with mixed results. Helix feels like something of a course correction. It’s still dominated by poppy, dance-ready keyboards (as all Amaranthe albums have been), but the more overt pop songwriting (think “That Song” and “Boomerang” from Maximalism) have been dialed back in favor of the more metallic approach the first two Amaranthe albums had. The songs on Helix have more punch, more crunch, and a more even distribution of vocal duties between Elize Ryd, growler Henrik Englund and Molin. Speaking of which, Molin was the perfect fit for Amaranthe. His work in Dynazty showed how adept he was at pop metal, and his high energy performance here proves it again.
Helix has some very catchy, very memorable songs, with “inferno,” “Countdown” and the title track emerging as early favorites. “Unified” is a fairly safe ballad, but it works, and “Momentum” is the kind of closer that makes you want to start the album all over again. Every Amaranthe album has a song or two that’s just a bit too silly for its own good, and “GC6” is Helix’s. The single “365” comes close, but it’s so catchy you can’t help but forgive it. The album overall is way more hit than miss, and that signature Jacob Hansen mixing and mastering puts exactly the right finishing touches on Helix.
Helix is the perfect Amaranthe album for fans who have been pining for a return to the Nexus sound. Even the cover art is a nod to the early albums. Massive Addictive was really solid, and Maximalism had its moments, but Helix outshines them both. This is about as good as “pop metal” gets, and it goes hand-in-hand with Dynazty’s new album Firesign.
Summary: Back to what made Amaranthe a pop metal sensation