Label: Spinefarm Records
Release Date: October 30, 2015
Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur
Amaranthe is one of those symphonic bands that brings something different to the table – three vocalists: a soaring female vocal, a clean strong male vocal, and a guttural screaming harsh male vocal all swirled together to create a different feel. Over the course of an EP and three full releases, the band has featured bonus tracks, both acoustic treats and full-on metal tracks. On this digital-only release, they have cobbled six acoustic versions together with two metal B-sides from their first full release, 2011’s Amaranthe.
Opener “Hunger” was featured on their first three releases, with the Leave Everything Behind EP version also appearing on the 2011 eponymous release and then receiving acoustic treatment on 2013’s The Nexus as a Japanese and iTunes bonus track. This acoustic version allows the vocals to take the lead and soar in the mix, without crunching guitars and screaming vocals detracting from the beauty of the vocals and lyrics. “Afterlife” from The Nexus was full-blown metal goodness on the disc, but the digipak included this acoustic bonus and the song took on a new life that seemed to flourish as the lead vocals of Elize Ryd and Jake E. swirled in the mix. “Burn With Me” is a killer acoustic version that accompanied the full blown version on Japanese edition of The Nexus. Listening to the vocals, you can feel the emotion of the lyrics mix with the musical accompaniment to complete the track. “True” comes from the Massive Addictive release, as does this acoustic version – which was featured on the Japanese and Deluxe editions. The acoustic version has vocals that standout against the original, as well as the piano and guitar duet that support the vocals.
“Amaranthine” is a beautiful track that stood very well on its own when it was released on the bands 2011 disc. This acoustic version was a bonus track on the U.S. special edition release. The vocals really come to life on this version and standout as some of the best on this collection. “Trinity” is a great track from 2014’s Massive Additive that seems to take on a different feel with this acoustic version that was also a part of the Deluxe and Japanese editions of the disc. The vocals seem different and benefit from the piano accompaniment that leads the track from open to close, as well as a mild acoustic guitar piece. “Breaking Point” is the first of two full-charge rockers that appear on this short collection. This B-side from the 2011 Amaranthe disc, which appeared on the Deluxe and U.S Special Editions, gives us the vocal trio in its entire splendor, with the harsh vocals alongside the clean vocals, along with sweltering guitar riffs and thunderous bottom end from the bass and drums. “Splinter In My Soul,” which also comes from the 2011 release, comes straight at you with harsh vocals that lead the track and allow the clean vocals to swirl in the mix at the chorus. The heavier feel of this track slams the door shut on this collection, leaving us wanting more of the beauty and the beast that is Amaranthe.
Tracklisting: Hunger – Afterlife – Amaranthine – Burn With Me – Trinity – True – Breaking Point – Splinter In My Soul
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