Photos by Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy and Matt “Rabit” Martinez
I have been following this certain metal group from Gothenburg, Sweden since 2013. What attracted me the most about them was their ability to combine melodic death metal with different genres of music. Calling themselves Amaranthe, they made a huge impact in my life. They are also known for having three different singers.Two use standard singing with rock and pop, while the third vocalist sings in a harsher voice that is more for death metal. I call them a “hybrid heavy metal” band because of their ability to cross pop, hip-hop, and disco with heavy metal. On February 20th, I finally got to watch them perform and they created magic.
After Smash Into Pieces and Cypher16 performed, Citizen Zero took to the stage and dazzled the
crowd with their brand of post-grunge rock. They recently released their major label debut State
of Mind. Vocalist/guitarist Josh LeMay sounded very melodic and sensual when singing. He
brought a certain swagger when he sang their hit singles “Go (Let Me Save You)” and “Lure and
Pleasure.” Lead guitarist Sammy Boller was channeling Eddie Van Halen’s tapping technique
when he played his solos. He is an outstanding guitar player. Their best moment was when they
began to perform the Ted Nugent classic “Stranglehold.” Boller was playing those classic riffs
like they were his own. I believe the Motor City Madman would have been proud with their cover. This band has tremendous talent and I will watch them with great anticipation.
Failure Anthem brought some hard rock flair to the Belasco Theater. Last year, they released
their debut LP First World Problems and the city of Los Angeles loved the songs they
performed.The band recently lost their lead vocalist and had singer Johnny Rose fill in for them. He had good charisma on stage, dancing around on stage while belting out the words to songs like “First World Problems,” “Just a Wasteland,” and their hit single “Paralyzed.” Rose fits in
nicely with these guys and I hope he can stick around with them on a more permanent basis. Bassist Ryan Nimmo was enjoyable to watch up on stage. He has such raw talent when he plucks the bass strings. Not only that, his backing vocals kept the crowd’s energy high. Lead guitarist
and founder Kile Odell played some fantastic riffs that remind me of Metallica’s James Hetfield. Failure Anthem put on a tremendous set.
Amaranthe came out to an excited crowd. Promoting their newest release Maximalism, the group
lived up to their reputation. The only sad thing was when founding vocalist Jake E departed from
the group before the tour began. However, touring vocalist Chris Adam Hedman Sörbye took his
place and the fans welcomed him with open arms. From the disco rocker “On the Rocks” to the
ballad “True,” to the classic “The Nexus,” Amaranthe played each song to perfection. Female
vocalist Elize Ryd got her chance to show off her vocal capabilities with the beautiful tune
“Endlessly.” Even harsh singer Henrik Englund Wilhemsson got his shot to lead the band with
“Fury.” Guitarist Olof Mörck was a riff wizard up there, playing stellar grooves and solos. When
“On the Rocks” was finished, drummer Morten Løwe Sørensen played an intense solo that rocked the audience.
They went to perform four encore songs, which is unheard of. Before they continued, bassist
Johan Andreassen took the mic and provided a little comedy to entertain the crowd. Not only
was he funny, he played a thunderous bass. They finished the night with “Drop Dead Cynical,”
What made the song better was the inclusion of Butcher Babies frontwoman Heidi Shephard. A
huge fan of Amaranthe, she and Wilhemsson traded off lyrics with their death growls. Not a bad way to cap off the night.
This was one of the best metal concerts I ever attended. They arranged an endless supply of
heavy metal fun for everybody. I finally got to watch Amaranthe play and they were everything I
thought they would be. Citizen Zero and Failure Anthem are good bands that have bright futures.
I wished that night would never end. To Amaranthe, I salute you. Horns up!!!