Review by Jo Lloyd and photos by Mark Lloyd
Since the bands inception back in 2010, Amaranthe have barely taken their feet off the pedal with a relentless touring schedule and some incredible support slots under their belts. With an extensive world tour in support of new album Massive Addictive that they have somehow managed to squeeze the recording of somewhere in their mental schedule, Saturday saw the fourth of five nights for their UK stint.
Kicking off the evening with a touch of old school hair metal were Finnish band, and Amaranthe label mates, Santa Cruz. Taking much of their influence from 1980s bands like Skid Row, RATT and Guns n Roses, Santa Cruz are redefining the classic rock genre. With synchronised hair swishing the band were welcomed with open arms by the already impressively sized crowd given the early door times.
With their new self-titled album to promote, if the crowd didn’t already own it, I’m pretty sure they would soon as the reaction was great. The band are as tight as any headline band I’ve seen and closing their short set with ‘Aiming High’ from their first release, I can imagine they’ve recruited a few more fans here.
Next up were Swedish industry veterans Engel, bringing a much heavier, industrial sound to the Rescue Rooms. Again, with a new album, Raven Kings, to promote the band played much of their set from this release. With more than just a few fans in evidence as the crowd swarmed closer to the stage the band kicked immediately in with ‘Salvation’ swiftly followed by ‘Your Shadow Haunts You’. Whilst they are not my first choice in music, I can’t take away from the epic wall of sound that they produced with their punishing guitars, thumping kick drum and a magical atmosphere created by the subtle backing tracks. With a slight lull as they revisited some of the older material, Mikael Sehlin did his best to keep the crowd entertained until they finished with a blistering rendition of ‘Until Eternity Ends’ which they could have done with playing much earlier on.
Last, but by no means least came the reason that the excitement in the Rescue Rooms had increased ten fold. With three singers all with their own distinct styles, Amaranthe are currently one of the hottest bands on the scene. Their building reputation in the UK has put a lot of pressure onto the band, but they take to it gracefully and provide a winning performance. The angelic, yet non operatic vocals from Elize Ryd, blend beautifully with the rock vocals of Jake E whilst the growled vocals of Henrik Englund add a completely different layer. There are many levels of intensity here and the light and shade offered by various styles worked beautifully and made a very interesting set up. With a sound incorporating metal with a side portion of pop, it’s fair to say that I was intrigued to how this would translate on stage. Luckily, it worked very well, albeit with the pop sounds somewhat toned down.
With so many members on stage, it’s difficult to know where to look next, but each member gets their moment in the limelight and guitarist Olaf Morck and bassist Johan Andreassan are by no means overshadowed by the vocalists. Morck knocks out some incredible riffs and his solo offerings were unbelievable. First hit ‘Hunger’ got the crowd excited and although there were a few sound issues to begin with, these were soon ironed out resulting in some incredible harmonies and growling as they moved straight into ‘Invincible’ and a spattering of tracks old and new. ‘Trinity’ and ‘Serendipity’ in particular showed just how incredibly talented the musicians in this band really are.
There were a few moments where the band looked a little over choreographed but this can be forgiven due to the amount of people on stage finding somewhere to stand. All in all, Amaranthe put in an impressive performance that captivated the enthralled crowd.