May 26, 2015 Amaranthe energize The Palladium Worcester, MA w/ I Prevail & Santa Cruz 5-15-15
It has been quite a journey for Sweden’s Amaranthe over the past four years. Initially forming under the name Avalanche some six years ago, the band went from decent success in Swedish, Japanese, and Finnish charts with their 2011 self-titled debut to charted positions in the United States with 2013’s Nexus. Continuing their progression and rise in popularity, the band’s 2014 album Massive Addictive has rocketed up charts in various markets, thus putting the band in the spotlight they rightfully deserve. Following a highly successful Fall tour in support of Within Temptation last year, Amaranthe return to North America for an exciting headlining string of dates with Santa Cruz and I Prevail as direct support. It has been stated by Amaranthe that Massive Addictive was “easily they’re smoothest and best album recording experience so far,” so when their Spring tour arrived on Friday May 15th at The Palladium in Worcester, MA, anticipation and excitement pulsated through the concert hall as everyone entered.
Starting the night off fresh was Santa Cruz, a Finnish band formed in 2007 from the city of Helsinki. Consisting of Arttu “Archie” Kuosmanen; vocals and lead guitar, Joonas “Johnny” Parkkonen; lead and rhythm guitar, Mitja “Middy” Toivonen; bass, and Tapani “Taz” Fagerström; drums/backing vocals, the band signed with Spinefarm Records in 2012, releasing their debut album Screaming for Adrenaline in April of the following year. Building a buzz with their brand of ’80s style Metal/Hard Rock, the band returned with their sophomore effort, simply entitled Santa Cruz, this year in March and are ready to show North America what they are all about.
Coming out with a humble attitude and heavier, more Groove Metal sound than many expected, Santa Cruz immediately had everyone’s attention. Living up to their self-proclaimed Glam-Core style, Santa Cruz and fans alike screamed their hearts out to “Bonafide Heroes,” “My Remedy,” and “Let Them Burn” as they sprayed water over the crowd and the head-banging ensued. Through the intense smoke and lights during “Bye Bye Babylon” and “We Are The Ones To Fall,” the band played their hearts out, encompassing the entire stage with electrifying guitar riffs that flowed through the crowd like a Summer’s night thunderstorm. After performing “Wasted and Wounded,” they closed with “Aiming High,” bidding farewell to the audience. In traditional Rock style, Taz threw his guitar stick to the crowd before shaking hands with as many people as possible as he walked off stage. The night had only started, but the fans were amped-up and ready to rock following the killer set by Santa Cruz.
Next up was I Prevail, a killer Michigan based band comprised of Brian Burkheiser and Eric Vanlerberghe as their two vocalists, Steve Menoian on lead guitar, and Lee Runestad on drums. Quickly earning a global fan base with a mix of aggressive Rock, electronic arrangements, and seamless melodic elements, I Prevail are on the fast track to Rock stardom. Since signing with Fearless Records, I Prevail made a big impression with their recording of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”, which became iTunes’ #1 Rock Single. Now supporting their debut EP, Heart vs. Mind, released December 2014, the band are taking the world by storm.
Through the smoke and darkness, members of I Prevail shouted to the crowd to get them ready, even before they got on stage. Electrifying the very space that has been known to be haunted, the band immediately encouraged crowd-surfing, and at one point, created a Wall of Death during “Face Your Demons” and “The Enemy.” Quite interactive with the fans, they orchestrated a sing-along to “My Heart I Surrender” and had a sensationally positive vibe flowing. Mixing in a surprise rendition of the aforementioned Taylor Swift track “Blank Space,” they followed through to the end of the set with “Love, Lust, and Liars.” Be sure to get out there and see what everyone is talking about with I Prevail, it is well worth the exploration.
Following the two opening acts, the packed room at The Pallidum was ready for the headlining performance of Amaranthe. Spending the hour prior moshing wish an intense energy vibrating through their bones, no one was exhausted, but merely warmed up for what was to come. For many, a headlining spot for Amaranthe was an experience never seen, as the band has visited The States a few times, but as mostly as a supporting act. Now, with the spotlight solely on them atop a bill, they had the opportunity to offer up a more extensive set list of their tunes.
In an explosion of adrenaline, the three vocalists; Henrik Englund, Jake E Berge, and Elize Ryd, along with guitarist/keyboardist Olof Mörck, bassist Johan Andreassen, as well as drummer Morten Lowe Sorensen took the stage one by one. Jump starting the set off with “Digital World,” they quickly went into their hit “Trinity,” having the crowd clap along in unison. Tapping into their older tracks, “Hunger” came before “Invincible” and “Razorblade.” Full of a passion and energy that could not be matched, each member of the band stimulated a similar reaction from the crowd. Sounding tight, upbeat, and heavy, the band mixed three vocalists styles seamlessly on songs like “1.000.000 Lightyears.”
Taking the time to speak with the audience, the band expressed their joy to be back in the USA and appreciation for the buzz surrounding the tour. Moving along into other powerful tracks, they shuffled through their albums playing “Serendipity,” “True,” “Massive Addictive,” “Over and Done,” and “Afterlife.” It was as if the band read the mind of their fans and knew exactly what they wanted to hear. Following the Dance club vibed “Electroheart,” Sorensen jammed into a three minute drum solo that pounded the hearts of all watching. Feeding off the extra jolt Sorensen’s fitting solo provided, they closed out the set with “Leave Everything Behind,” fan-favorite “Amaranthine,” and walked off stage at the end of “Call Out My Name” with everyone wanting more. In sync, the audience proclaimed, “One more song,” prompting Amaranthe to return for a four song encore beginning with “Automatic,” then going into “Dynamite,” hit single “Drop Dead Cynical,” and finally, signature piece, “The Nexus.”
Amaranthe’s lengthy performance was exactly what fans had expected, and more. Their ability to mix electronic Dance beats with heavy guitars, as well as harsh and angelic vocals, is a hybrid all their own. In a scene where many bands try to stand out amongst one another, Amaranthe certainly succeeds in capturing a style different from the rest. While the tour concludes on June 3rd in Los Angeles, CA, chances are, judging by the overwhelming positive response, Amaranthe will be back very soon.