|Amoral - Show Your Colors (8/10) - Finland - 2009 |
Genre: Power Metal
Playing time: 44:46
Band homepage: Amoral
- Random Words
- A Shade Of Grey
- The Year Of The Suckerpunch
- Perfection Design
- Sex N’ Satan
- Song For The Stubborn
- Gave Up Easy
- Last October
Getting bored is only human, but some might call the result of Amoral’s boredom with death metal ridiculous given its result. But whatever the actual motivation behind what became one of the most blatant style shifts in metal history since Metallica’s “Load”, “Show Your Colors” might as well be put out by a different band, in spite of most of the members being in congress are the same ones who brought 3 fairly impressive albums before this. The usual warning labels of “keep away” or “look elsewhere” would naturally apply here for fans of this band’s past work, but given that this is a solid album by the standards of recent Finnish power metal output, I don’t have the heart to really ram that point home.
The best way to describe the sound on here is sort of as a middle ground between the heavy edged power metal style typified by middle era Nocturnal Rites and Twilightning, and the lighter side of melodic death metal as heard out of late 90s In Flames and recent outputs by Amorphis. The overall tone and mix of the album puts a huge emphasis on the bottom end, spearheaded by an assortment of chunky, chugging, groovy guitar riffs that are loaded up with flashy melodic fills. At certain points the album literally sounds like “Colony” but with a clean vocalist who is actually somewhat competent, while at others it gets a little bogged down in attempts at stylistic eclecticism and comes off as somewhat glam rock-like.
The drive of this album reveals itself to be an appeal to a very different audience, one that isn’t all that far removed from the one that Masterplan and Powerworld appeal to with their AOR infused take on the genre. The obvious appeals come packaged in neatly trimmed and snazzy rockers “Gave Up Easy” and “Perfection Design”, which come off as bluesy rockers that are just a little too heavy for classic rock, but seem to be pleading for rock radio play. Along with the fluffy ballad “Last October”, they stand as the weak links of what is otherwise a solid effort. Ari Koivunen of Idols fame delivers a slightly more powerful vocal performance than usual, and shows some signs versatility and maturity as he manages to rough his voice up where necessary, while still sounding his usual boyish self.
The real meat and potatoes of what makes this a fun listen, in spite of the somewhat blatant AOR tendencies, is found in what remains on here. “The Year Of The Suckerpunch” has a fairly goofy name, but it’s a solid and catchy tune loaded with some entertaining guitar gymnastics here and there. The melodeath tendencies, particularly geared towards late 90s In Flames can be heard on “Release” and “Exit, where the guitar work gets pretty fancy but the melodic underpinnings are blatant and the songs are given enough time to develop before ending. Things even getting taken into a modern thrash direction on “A Shade Of Grey”, which could be compared to the Calavera Conspiracy debut, but with a singer who is gritty yet tuneful rather than a post-death metal barker akin to the former Sepultura front man.
While this album will probably be panned as the biggest sell out in metal history, quality should be given its due regardless to what name the band carries. It might have been better to have simply scrapped Amoral as a name after “Reptile Ride” was put out, but name recognition and recording contracts ultimately are what decide such things. I can’t really say I approve of the gangsta meets emo image that the band has adopted, but as an album “Show Your Colors” is a solid release that will definitely appeal to everybody who wished Twilightning hadn’t gone off the deep end after “Plague House Puppet Show” or that Nocturnal Rites hadn’t have put out “The 8th Sin”.
(Online February 18, 2011)