Amoral
Show Your Colors

And the award for ‘Biggest 180 of the Year’ goes to Finland’s Amoral, who I hadn’t heard of until receiving this in my review stack this month. I like to do my research though, and so I found that they used to be a pretty sick melodic/technical death act. Used to be.

With the release of Show Your Colors, they’re now a poppy power metal/thrash act. Not sure why. More money? More girls? Whatever the reason, based on the start of the album, I was expecting something really special. Lush, melancholy opener “Random Words” moves into “Release,” which is a pretty kickass classic 80s metal tune. Shimmery Amorphis guitarwork, a straightforward, toe-tapping beat, and simple, punchy riffs give way to a huge chorus that sounds like Dokken meets Edguy. New vocalist Ari Koivenun sounds young, but his slightly coarse yowl instantly took me back to the days of Ratt and Skid Row, and the nostalgia was surprising and welcome.

Unfortunately, the rest of the album is a mixed bag. Only a few of the tracks – the chorus on lead single “Year of the Suckerpunch,” and parts of “Vivid” – hint at that 80s rocker sound, but without ever reaching the soaring heights of “Release.” The rest of the tracks land somewhere between frantic Shadows Fall-ish metalcore (“A Shade of Grey,” the unfortunately titled “Sex n’ Satan”), and a bluesy bar-metal sound (“Perfection Design”). US teen rockers Black Tide are a good reference point. They had one or two catchy songs and the rest I could live without. The vocals here are all over the map, too – sometimes bordering on sneering pop punk and sometimes a little too ragged and wavering. Gang vocals in some of the choruses (“Song for the Stubborn”) aren’t my favorite either. Koivenun doesn’t sound like he’s mixed as high as he was on that opening track either. Removes some of his power and makes the entire affair sound unfinished rather than gritty and authentic.

Still, there are some catchy hooks and melodies here and there, and some strong soloing, so it’s clear these guys have talent. Too bad they’ve chosen to put it into a largely pedestrian collection of songs. All the same, I’ve now discovered a new (old) band with a promising back catalog to check out.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
October 14th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Stiffy

    BOOOOOOO!!!!

    What a horrible move


  2. Commented by: Erik T

    Awful, Awful album


  3. Commented by: gordeth
  4. Commented by: Jay

    I like it album!!


  5. Commented by: Staylow

    This album is the epitome of “suck”. I own and love their first three albums, but this one is so bad it almost makes me want to sell or destroy the others. Year of the Suckerpunch is right.


  6. Commented by: gabaghoul

    ouch glad I reviewed it and not you guys


  7. Commented by: ceno

    “Still, there are some catchy hooks and melodies here and there”.

    And that’s all about it. Being a huge pm fan I wanted to love this album but I failed however hard I tried. At some point I thought I liked it quite a bit, but when I compared it to what this band used to be and to this year’s best pm offerings from the bands like Bloodbound and Saint Deamon I realised how ridiculous and absurd was that decision to give up a pretty prominent death/thrash sound and became just another average pm band. One of the most incomprehensible matamarphoses metal has ever seen. :shock:


  8. Commented by: medeia

    I like the album a lot, as the old ones too, actually just most the tracks the reviewer did not. It´s a matter of taste;) I have read the next album will be even more various in styles, so there is something to wait again. I found an interview in YT http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZoJuDDfowo , which I recommend to check out


  9. Commented by: xaden

    note to self-if your in a decent band,adding the winner of a singing contest and going in a way more mainstream approach is likely to make you look like jackasses and lose any fans and credibility you had.


  10. Commented by: gabaghoul

    is that what happened? what happened to their previous vocalist?


  11. Commented by: shane

    Yeah thats what happened. The dude won the Finnish Idol show or some shit. Pretty not metal. Gay.


  12. Commented by: dr_neo_cortex

    Wow what a shame..


  13. Commented by: gabaghoul

    well not all Finnish music contests are bad, Stratovarius got its new guitarist from Finnish Guitar Idol (or something). The guy also plays in Fist in Fetus.


  14. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Not a great album by any stretch, but still a solid release IMO. I thought their older material was quite overrated to begin with, so the 180 was fine with me. Some songs deliver like “Year of the Sucker Punch”, which is pretty awesome actually, and some are just not quite there yet. I’m actually really looking forward to their next album when they’ve all had a chance to gel with the current lineup.


  15. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Got the new one today. My balls hurt- not in a good way


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