Amaranthe and Butcher Babies in Pittsburgh reviewed Nov21

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Amaranthe and Butcher Babies in Pittsburgh reviewed

Swedish melodic metallers Amaranthe are currently making their way across the United States for the North American leg of their Massive Addictive tour with American heavy metal band Butcher Babies serving as support and if you are a fan of female-fronted metal bands it doesn’t get much better than this.

When the tour made a stop on a cold and rainy wind swept night in November to the Altar Bar in Pittsburgh the venue filled up faster than the leaves were falling from the trees outside.

After impressive sets by Pittsburgh’s own Leeja Stark and Lisbon Ohio’s Black Thorne, Georgia’s LullWater rocked the house with a powerhouse set of melodic alternative rock that got the crowd primed and ready for what was about to happen next.

What was next of course being a brutally devastating set by the Butcher Babies, who as always absolutely crushed it.

The band, consisting of guitarist Henry Flury, bassist Jason Klein and drummer Chris Warner are writing some of the best material of their lives and their individual performances were exemplary, with each finding unique ways to grab their fair share of the spotlight away from the band’s two larger than life frontwomen Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd, who garner most of the attention.

Harvey and Shepherd have chops and stage presence well beyond their years and are two of the most versatile and volatile performers in metal today and if you’ve never seen these phenomenal women play live before, prepare to have your skull crushed and your mind blown, cause these girls rock out as heavy, if not heavier than any all-male band out there.

In fact if they went head to head with any of the currently male dominated metal bands live, many would have their asses handed to them. The other thing you need to know is that as beautiful as they are, their vocal delivery and live performances are anything but feminine and they can both lay down guttural growls that should thrill any death metal fan and make Phil Anselmo proud.

Both are natural born frontwomen and own every inch of the stage, but have distinctly different stage personas. Harvey has an aura of mystique and her moves are slow, deliberate and very sultry, while Shepherd is much more intense and thrashes violently around the stage. She also does the lion’s share of the talking between songs.

Their out of this world set kicked off with no less than four tracks from their new album, including “Monsters Ball,” “Never Go Back,” “The Cleansing” and “Igniter” before viciously ripping into Babies classics such as “Jesus Needs More Babies for His War Machine,” “Mr. Slowdeath” and “Magnolia Blvd.” They even threw in their stunning cover of “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” for good measure.

A performance that strong would be hard for just about any band to follow, but fortunately Amaranthe aren’t just any band. They thrive on that kind of pressure and were more than up to the challenge laid before them.

After several years of opening for some of metal’s biggest names, always giving them a run for their money and often blowing them off the stage all together, Amaranthe are finally headlining their own world tour and it was far overdue.

If you’re not yet acquainted with this stunning band, here’s what you need to know. Their sound mixes elements of industrial, symphonic and power metal with melodic death metal breakdowns and alluring melodic rock hooks in conjunction with a triple vocal attack to create a sound and concert experience unlike anything else you may have seen or heard before.

That unique triple vocal threat consisting of a clean male vocal provided by Jake E. Lundberg, an unclean male vocal from Henrik Englund and the ethereal vocals of the incomparable Elize Ryd allows the band to cover a lot of musical ground and to cross over seamlessly from genre to genre.

To their credit and for being essentially just a trio, the rest of the band, which is comprised of guitarist Olof Morck, bassist Johan Andreassen and drummer Morten Sorensen create a massive wall of sound that would make you swear there was at least 10 other musicians on stage with them, providing the perfect musical atmospherics for the vocalists to really shine.

And shine they did, as fans were pummeled with a 15 song set of hits like “Digital World,” “Hunger,” “Invincible” and “Amaranthine,” an amazing drum solo and the four song encore of “The Nexus,” “Razorblade,” “Dynamite” and “Drop Dead Cynical” for a grand total of 19 songs.

It is only a matter of time before this transcendental bad is playing monster venues and massive festivals exclusively, so don’t miss what very well may be your last chance to catch them in a smaller, more intimate setting.

-Eric Hunker

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