Amoral are a Finnish band who I first heard about almost two years ago through my internet pen pal fireangel of the Night Elves. They released their fifth album, Beneath, in 2011, but they recently announced that they’ve completed a new one entitled Fallen Leaves & Dead Sparrows that will be released next year. Today they began streaming the first advance track from the album, a song called “If Not Here, Where?”
I gather from some info that fireangel sent me in the past that Amoral’s sound began to change following the addition of new vocalist Ari Koivunen before the recording of the fourth album — more melodic songs with big choruses, more clean vocals, a drift toward more “classic” metal, with even some glam overtones. You can probably guess why I didn’t dive right into Beneath. I did post a video for one of the songs from that album (“Wrapped In Barbwire”), because it was such a catchy motherfucker, with groovy riffs and a repeatable chorus — but the vocals still weren’t my kind of thing.
The new song, on the other hand, has hooked me — and not just because the clean vocals are balanced by jagged howls. At more than 9 minutes, it’s an ambitious undertaking, one that begins with an extended, primarily acoustic overture and Koivunen’s power-metal-styled tenor in the spotlight. For some reason, I thought I was about to hear a previously unreleased Journey or Yes song. And then the heavy riffing began, and the song grew progressively more interesting as it grew more . . .progressive.
The melodies are memorable (and carry a dark undertone), and Koivunen’s impassioned vocals have grown on me as I’ve listened to the song a few more times. And I really like the instrumental performances, especially the guitar solo — and the tremolo-picking and drum blasting at the end, which were a welcome surprise.
I guess it’s still a kind of power metal, but it’s pretty cheese-free and I’m finding it hard to resist.