25. March 2014, Z7 Konzertfabrik, Pratteln, Switzerland (Photos by Sandy Mahrer on Flickr)
Probably I´ve never been that early at the Z7 because before the concert I had an interview with Amaranthe at 1 pm. At their breakfast table we talked about their future plans and the past, which you can read soon here at STALKER. At the moment Amaranthe are touring Europe with 2 Swedish bands. Coming from hot Barcelona, they probably they did not enjoy the winter in Swiss too much.
Smash Into Pieces
Although that was no easy task to open a gig on a Tuesday, they faced a pretty big crowd already – it seems, tonight´s headliner is quite popular. For Smash Into Pieces it was the first time at Z7 and they managed in no time to inspire the crowd. Singer Chris required 3-4 songs to get into the zone, after that his vocal performance was flawless, a perfect mix of growls and clean vocals – and I have to admit I preferred the latter, he could do more of those. His fellow bandmembers also had a nice stage presence, and all in harmony. Those guys are only in their mid-20s but show a lot of professionalism already, and I am sure they will learn a lot in the future. Therefore this is a band to keep in mind, Smash into Pieces have huge potential and a feeling for melodies, despite those growls.
While the previous act fitted well to the headliner, this was not the case with this band. Less harmonies and less clean vocals, we received Melodic Death Metal and the naked upper body of front man Olle Ekman. Sure, a great body and Jeans with holes that revealed more that you actually wanted to see, so especially the ladies had something to enjoy, although the look and the behaviour on stage (slightly aggressive and hyper-active) made some in the audience feel irritated. Musically not bad at all, but the initial euphoria lessened, maybe because the ladies had seen enough, or maybe because everything sounded too much the same. For me Deals Death were the wrong choice, Smash Into Pieces should have received the longer support slot.
I have to admit that I never really got convinced by this band. The concept of combining clean vocals, screams and a female voice with Modern Melodic Metal, as they call it, seems wo work. Musically this mix of basic Metal elements with Pop/ Dance elements, Deathmetal Screams ( Henrik), Clean Vocals (Jake) and Pop voice (Elize Ryd) is quite appealing, and Elize became a popular duet partner in recent years. Maybe they all want a piece of Amaranthe´s success. Last time the band supported Stratovarius, and back then you could hardly see the band (because of all the fog effects) neither hear them, as the sound was horrible.
As it was the case the last 4 times I had seen the band: horrible light situation (only light from the back, which could be changed only for the first 3 songs for the photographers) and then a disastrous sound. The bass drum way too loud, no matter where you are positioned in the hall, which even drowns the guitar most of the time, so everything sounds chaotic. Also the singers can hardly be heard. This time Jake was audible, he could even show his vocal qualities – when he was heard – and only Henrik had no problem to deliver his screams. Elize´s decibel scale even beat that, due to her maximum-input-level microphone she burst your ear drums when she sang louder or in higher registers. Well, someone should suggest to them that they fire their sound and light crew, or simply use the local crew as they know how to handle the club equipment. Otherwise the band is not represented well, and I can hardly understand why the crowd was so excited when everything sounds wrong. I´d like to be positively surprised by an Amaranthe gig, but I almost abandoned hope.
Summary: Smash into Pieces saved the evening for me, a great band I hope to see again soon at Z7. Amaranthe unfortunately disappointed again, although Jake sounded well this time – when he was audible – the screams were great and Elize also during the slower, calmer songs. What a pity that their sound is always a mess.