Beneath The Extreme
Finnish quintet Amoral aren’t newcomers to the scene, but they are new to hard rock. After several albums of progressive death metal, the band made a sharp left turn with 2009’s Show Your Colors, trading in death growls and down-tuning for clean vocals and harmonized solos. Amoral continues this new direction on Beneath, a catchy (if repetitive) blend of classic metal and hard rock with just a hint of the extreme.
Opener “Beneath” starts with plaintive symphonic keyboards before bringing forth the metal, the twin guitar attack of Ben Varon and Masi Hukari establishing the pace of what’s to come. “Silhouette” channels the classic heavy rock of the 80s, while “Things Left Unsaid” owes more to the metalcore movement, even allowing vocalist Ari Koivunen to release some black metal-esque screams. “Closure,” the obligatory power ballad, is suitably mournful and awash with acoustic guitars, before opening up into heavier territory. “Hours Of Simplicity” highlights the former life of the band, with the guitarists, as well as drummer Juhana Karlsson, showcasing their technical proficiency. “Wastelands” is the odd track here, featuring trip-hop style distorted percussion, before “This Ever Ending Game” returns us to pop-inflected hard rock. Finally, “Of Silent Stares And Fire Lost” careens between mid-90s grunge metal and mid-2000s melodic death metal before coming to a somber conclusion.
Fans of the 80s and classic hard rock may want to check this out. The band faithfully recalls the macho excess of the decade with just a touch of modern flair. However, fans of Amoral’s former direction should steer clear. It’s a well-crafted album, but it’s nothing you didn’t hear from Motley Crue 30 years ago.