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Completely unacceptable and worthless - 0%

Ilwhyan, November 7th, 2009

Amoral used to be a moderately well known Finnish death metal band with undeniable talent and some excellent releases. Their music was somewhat groove-tinged technical death metal, but even on the debut album, "Wound Creations", there was, in some parts, a certain noticeable yet tastefully implemented element of rocking catchiness, which remarkably complemented the otherwise slightly one-sided death metal sound. The vocals, however, remained true to the band's extreme metal appearance, remaining entirely harsh on every album save "Show Your Colors". Same goes for the tastefulness of the elements that made some of Amoral's music rather accessible and catchy for a death metal band. On this album, they have greatly overshadowed the extreme metal sounds, and the very of core of the music changed to, plainly put, pop rock.

When music is stripped of the characteristics that pigeonhole it to a certain genre, and said characteristics are replaced with something softer, mellower, more appealing to masses, the music obviously loses something in the process. In order for a musician to still compose equally satisfactory music, what is lost must somehow be replaced. This is the trapeze, the thin line between art and crap, that many former metal bands walk on nowadays. When metal becomes not metal, or at least, when it loses much of its metalness, there are two roads the music can take. In the first road, that being the road of natural progression of a musical style, metal is indeed replaced with something. It's a risky process, but the music may improve just aswell as it may detoriorate. Road two, being the sellout way, almost always results in watered down, shitty music that generally alienates the original fanbase and attracts a new audience thrice as great as the former, its average age often being about a third of the original's. Amoral, by hiring the Finnish pop idol singer, Ari Koivunen, and consequently thinning down their music to a mere superficial shell and completely removing its now incompatible extreme metal core, obviously falls in the latter category. The decline of lyrics' quality is equally remarkable as the music's - from decent to repugnant and pseudo-meaningful retardation. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the mother of all sellouts.

"Show Your Colors" is indeed a far cry from anything Amoral has released before, both in quality and overall sound, and particularly in how it attempts to substitute its onedimensionality and lack of content with a shiny outer shell of clear production and pseudo-heavy guitar riffs. The album starts with an entirely forgettable intro, "Random Words". Instead of opening the album with a short, high-speed instrumental tech death assault like "The Verge" on "Wound Creations", it's entirely composed of acoustic guitars, keyboards and some bass. Those already aware of Amoral's change (and unaware of Koivunen's slightness of ability), may feel a tiny flicker of hope as "Release" kicks in with its guitar lead; perhaps Amoral maintained some of their essence and ingenuity. Sadly, Amoral's failure becomes quite clear before long. The song goes absolutely nowhere, and it becomes apparent how nugatory and sterile the music is. Completely depthless guitar parts - wishy-washy riffs with a modern-sounding overproduced tone, no less - accomanied with puerile attempts at power metal vocals and plain, unarousing drum beats. Not unlike the rest of the music, the basslines are vapid and nondescript, not improving or adding to anything. As anyone who has heard of him before could guess, Koivunen's vocals are the weakest link on this album. On top of sounding extremely bored, his vocals are forced, delivery bafflingly passionless and overall impression nearly vomit-inducing. If it weren't for his shockingly abhorrent crooning, the music would be merely pointless, invalid and empty, but instead it's utterly appalling and repulsive.

"A Shade Of Grey" is a faster song, and features more interesting drum parts, although the drum tone is hopelessly bad. Undistinguished guitar riffs ruin the beginning, and the abominable vocal performance takes care of the rest. The chorus of this song is known to cause problems with mental health, and instead of using riffs to fill the song, there are completely deplorable keyboard implementations and sorry chugga-chugga plight to ensure maximal discomfort. "Year Of The Suckerpunch" features some of the most harrowing vocal parts so far. Although Koivunen has thankfully stopped with the inexcusably sloppy attempts at grungy, raspy voice, the the chorus of this song is worse than fingernails on a chalkboard, and the unnervingly feminine verses are almost equally offensive.

The rest of the album is mostly repeating the abovementioned songs with some changes in melodies, progressions and rhythms, but none of the songs bring anything stylistically fresh or original. Listening to them in one sitting would be unthinkable: even listening to a song or two induces severe headache due to the album's unrelenting tedium. One of the songs, "Sex N' Satan", stands out though, and not just because of having arguably the worst sing title on the whole album (although there is some pretty tight competition!). The song is somewhat different than the others, as it features genuinely decent riffs at times, counterbalanced by entirely forgettable and inane ones of course. Incidentally, there are also some pointless and mundane spoken word parts. These things make it stand out from the rest, which is a good thing, because if you, for some unkown reason, one day try and listen to this tripe again, you'll remember which song to decidedly skip. There's also an unmemorable ballad, "Last October", which only sticks out due to the fact that it's acoustic. "Exit", the closing track, apparently tries to be epic, and not surprisingly, it's equally generic, forgettable, pointless and without value as the rest of the album.

What replaced Amoral's tech death core with this dolorous style shift, then? It's a subject difficult to elaborate on, as Amoral's new style is so empty, hollow and without defining characteristics that the music is very hard to put in a nutshell. Not all of the technical elements that Amoral used to be famous for have been abolished, but quite pathetically, they almost solely show when the formerly only slightly presented groove elements become disgustingly prominent: syncopated palm-muted power chords, with some technically demanding leads as fills, are predominant. In like manner, gothenburgish melodeath gimmicks appear throughout the album, whereas they used to be existant, but rare. The sound and the content of the album is greatly watered down on the whole compared to Amoral's earlier material, or any thing metal, and not a single riff or melody on the album invites to come and listen again. In fact, rather than being merely dissatisfying, "Show Your Colors" is utterly repulsive and disgruntling. Tripe like this would make a great april's fool. Unfortunately, this mangled, half-cocked rape of Amoral's former self, fused with such asinine and inept imitation of popular modern rock groups, is for real. This album is a sad, misshapen caricatyre; a fake plastic emulation; a mockery and a parody; a doleful misfortune and a great travesty. Do yourself a favour and avoid this abhorrent piece of crap at all costs.