(2013) Amaranthe – The Nexus: Anniversary Special


Having AMARANTHE on the scene for over a decade, we’ve gotten used to their idiosyncratic combination of metal and electronica with three different types of vocals. But things were somewhat different when the band started out, many people being skeptical of their music’s worth. However, their eponymous debut “Amaranthe” (2011) as well as follow-up “The Nexus” (2013) and “Massive Addictive” (2014) proved that their style of music was fresh, exciting, and offered plenty of feel-good vibes. Today we are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of “The Nexus,” as this album was released on March 13, 2013, via Spinefarm Records.

A guilty pleasure for some, or a high-energy metal band for others, AMARANTHE proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that pop melodies and a metal background can merge just as well as operatic vocals and a heavier soundscape, thus finding a niche and building a recognizable sound around it. In between Elize Ryd’s metalized pop sensibilities and the talents of her bandmates (both current and former), the Swedish group steadily rose to fame delivering catchy and bouncy melodies that overflow with dynamism and vibrancy. It’s not for nothing that the opening trio of this album – “Afterlife,” “Invincible,” and “The Nexus” – can still be heard live, as they always get the crowd singing along, though many of the songs presented here could easily be seen as live hits.    

To clarify, “The Nexus” is not just pop metal with pretty female vocals on top of heavy guitars, as they also flirt with metalcore breakdowns and melodeath aggression on occasion. Moreover, Andy Solveström’s harsh vocals didn’t just give them an edge, but also added an ominous vibe to the otherwise easygoing flow of the music, with “Electroheart” and “Theory of Everything” being great examples in this respect, while Jake E.’s cleans harmonized nicely with and played well off of Elize Ryd’s crystal clear vocals (“Stardust” or “Infinity”). Consequently, the main merit of “The Nexus” is that it took the ideas the band introduced with their debut album to the stratosphere, being an extremely diverse affair with the songs pulling in different directions, though still rooted in the same soundscape, many times capped off by tasty guitar solos, courtesy of Olof Mörck. The contrasts between the instrumental melodies and the vocal lines, or even between the songs themselves, were better defined as the creative freedoms they took in the studio paid off big time.

Only AMARANTHE could have pulled off tracks like the stupidly groovy “Electroheart,” futuristic sounding “Future on Hold,” melodic mid-tempo “Mechanical Illusion,” or pop-infused “Infinity” with such panache and gravity. The balance of heavy and melodic is really their sweet spot, with anything else (outside of the ballads) being a missed opportunity, as evidenced by the overly poppy “Maximalism” (2016). Anyone who has ever listened to them knows that feel-good metal bursting with pop energy is their bread and butter and this album, as well as 2020’s “Manifest,” are excellent examples in this respect. But talking specifically about “The Nexus,” single “Invincible” is an empowering anthem in this respect (on par with “Fearless” or “Strong”) with “Theory of Everything” and “Razorblade” continuing to offer sanguine choruses. On the same note, the synth/electro work elevates the already uplifting atmosphere to a whole new level, making the album an easy listening and/or dancing experience. Ballad “Burn with Me” is pretty much the odd-one-out, as its lyrical content and somber delivery make for a sharp juxtaposition with the rest of the tracks, though taken individually it is one hell of an emotional rollercoaster.      

In conclusion, “The Nexus” presented a band with a vision that knew what it wanted to achieve and who went straight for the win. So it should come as no surprise that, for all its gimmicks and cheesier parts, the album did great when released, charting at #6 in Sweden, #4 in Finland, and peaked on #12 on the US Heatseekers charts, thus proving that the quality of the songwriting ultimately prevailed. It is, in fact, these very gimmicks and lighthearted fun that make “The Nexus” – and by extension AMARANTHE – memorable. Ultimately, this album is a fascinating display of musical dexterity dressed in over-produced yet uber-catchy melodies, exemplifying everything that makes this band a unique force in the metal scene.     

Written by Andrea Crow


  • 1. Afterlife
  • 2. Invincible
  • 3. The Nexus
  • 4. Theory of Everything
  • 5. Stardust
  • 6. Burn with Me
  • 7. Mechanical Illusion
  • 8. Razorblade
  • 9. Future On Hold
  • 10. Electroheart
  • 11. Transhuman
  • 12. Infinity


  • Elize Ryd – Clean vocals
  • Jake E. Berg – Clean vocals
  • Andy Solveström – Harsh vocals
  • Olof Mörck – Guitars, keyboards and programming
  • Morten Løwe Sørensen – Drums
  • Johan Andreassen – Bass


 Spinefarm Records


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