Amaranthe – The Catalyst

Swedish Nu Metal giants Amaranthe have been described as “ABBA on a bloodthirsty rampage”, blending synth with pop in an upbeat whirlwind that has become a pillar of the genre. They’ve toured with Sabaton and Dragonforce, and have had a dynamic combination of vocalists over the years, with many numbers featuring three full front people: Two on cleans and one growled. In collaboration with the Nuclear Blast record label, they’ve recently released the album “The Catalyst”, which packs the usual Amaranthe punch.

“The Catalyst” isn’t breaking any new frontiers on style here, for better or for worse – the catchy blend of pop and power metal definitely works in classic Amaranthe style, but I kept waiting for something that never quite delivered. Not to say the album is bad: The second track,Insatiable”, definitely made it onto my workout playlist, featuring a similar groove as their 2014 hit “Drop Dead Cynical”. And track 4, “Liberated”, strikes me primarily as a Frankenstein’s monster of a few different things: The rhythm on the chorus “Tonight is just the first time in my life I fall in love…” is almost exactly the same as the chorus “Fields of Verdun, and the battle has begun, Nowhere to run…” from Sabaton’s “Fields of Verdun” (a rhythm which incidentally also appears in “Nomadic” from Sirenia’s latest album). And drawing from the pop side of things, the harmonic cadence sounds very similar to Miley Cyrus’ “Midnight Sky.” 

I’ve always been more of a fan of Amaranthe’s upbeat work, and could never understand how the slower “Amaranthine”  landed at the top of their Spotify popularity rankings for a while. But I was surprised by how compelling the slower track “Stay a Little While was – it’s not overstated, with length proportional to its message, and it has an epic ballad feel reminiscent of Sabaton’s “Christmas Truce”. My favorite track, however, is the closing number to the album: “Find Life,” which has the same driving-rhythm-behind-soaring-melody texture we all loved on “Infinity.”

Maybe I’m just being cynical here, but I didn’t find the hit song I was hoping for on “The Catalyst” – it sounded like every song was trying to be the next “Massive Addictive,” but none of them quite got there. Still, some of them came pretty close, and overall “The Catalyst”  is a solid contribution to the Amaranthe arsenal.

Rating: 6/10
Release date: February 26
Record label: Nuclear Blast Records

Writer: Fëáriel


  1. “The Catalyst” 3:40
  2. “Insatiable” 2:59
  3. “Damnation Flame” 3:33
  4. “Liberated” 3:06
  5. “Re-Vision” 3:04
  6. “Interference” 3:14
  7. “Stay a Little While” 3:36
  8. “Ecstasy” 2:58
  9. “Breaking the Waves” 3:18
  10. “Outer Dimensions” 3:05
  11. “Resistance” 2:56
  12. “Find Life” 3:04


Feariel is an AI researcher with a background in classical cello performance. She fell from grace in 2014 and has been stoking the hellfire of blackened symphonic deathcore ever since: metal cred includes getting kicked out of a convent of nuns and reviewing for the Journal of Metal Music Studies. In her spare time she enjoys sleeping, and occasionally tossing people on the ground in a Judo gi.

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