A decade ago, Swedish metal sensation AMARANTHE made their incredible debut on the scene with a self-titled album. In a slightly different line-up than the band we know and love today, “Amaranthe” featured Jake E. on clean vocals and Andy Solveström on harsh vocals, and yielded such crowd-pleasers as “Amaranthine,” “Hunger,” “Call Out My Name,” or “1.000.000 Lightyears.” The album itself, released on April 13, 2011, via Spinefarm Records, reached number 35 on the Swedish charts and number 16 on the Finnish charts.
I may be a bit biased when it comes to this particular song, as “Amaranthine” introduced me to the band back in the autumn of 2011. I still remember how intrigued (and maybe a bit shocked) I was to hear harsh vocals on what I considered to be an emotional power ballad. In the meantime, I got used to the way in which their songs are constructed to accommodate three different styles of singing and looking back at it now, I find it quite refreshing to the usual male-female duet.
Starting gently on piano notes and Elize Ryd’s soft and emotional delivery, it picks up a bit of pace and power after the first chorus, when Jake E. (well, currently Nils Molin for the live versions) comes in to deliver the second verse. The guitar and drums also make themselves gradually more present and, by the time the chorus comes rolling back around, the song is fuller and more robust. AMARANTHE has got such a knack for dynamism and contrast in their music and the way “Amaranthine” is put together highlights this aspect, not just in the vocal harmonies in the second and third chorus sections, but also in the way the song dips down after the harsh vocals had their moment, only to rise back up with that fantastic guitar solo from Olof Mörck. This is quite a rollercoaster of emotions and sounds.
Lyrically, “Amaranthine” is a beautiful and delicate ode to love and to the sense of belonging that this precious sentiment carries with it. This aspect is superbly exemplified by these lyrics “But the shimmer in your eyes just makes me know / That you and I belong” in the first verse and “But I’m lying in your arms / It’s the place / Where I know that I am closest to your heart” in the second verse. The motif of time is an interesting one to explore here, time being the reason we want to be alive (the first verse) only to see ourselves grow old together with our better half (the second verse), everything feeling “like in a dream where we can fly.” The chorus emphasizes further how cherished the other person is, as “There’s nothing else / In life I ever need / My dream, amaranthine.” The fact that the word “amaranthine” means “unfading, everlasting” [as per dictionary.com] only adds more layers to the beauty of not only the lyrics but also the song itself, and the emotions behind it.
“Amaranthine” is by far one of AMARANTHE’s most well-known songs, and, judging by the way people sing the first verse and/or chorus during their live shows, it is definitely one of their most beloved tunes. No wonder it’s a staple on their live setlist. I am fairly sure many non-AMARANTHE fans also know and appreciate this song, and rightly so. It is a neat balance of delicacy and heaviness, all wrapped up in poppish sensibilities.
Written by Andrea Crow
Elize Ryd – clean vocals (female)
Jake E – clean vocals (male)
Andy Solveström – harsh vocals
Olof Mörck – guitars, keyboards, co-producer, mixing
Johan Andreassen – bass
Morten Løwe Sørensen – drums