Amoral – Beneath (The End Records)

Sunday, 24th March 2013
Rating: 6.5/10

A tough sell Amoral has to now be, considering they’re fronted by a Finnish Idol winner (Ari Koivunen) and had a once-promising melodic death metal career now fully in the rear-view. Beneath is the band’s second album with Koivunen, doing very little to improve on the wishy-washy Show Your Colors from 2009. So unremarkable Beneath is, that makes one wonder if they even know how to use Koivunen properly or better yet, are even suited for this style of metal.

Koivunen’s not really the problem here, although he makes some awfully weird chorus and lyrical choices (see: “(Won’t Go) Home” and “This Ever Ending Game”), some of which have an awkward feel to them. The Finn does provide for some snappy power metal moments on “Wrapped In Barbwire” and the punchy “Closure,” a song that retains some of Amoral’s core melodic death metal elements.

The band’s outward attempts at commercial metal usually fall by the wayside – just look at the mushy “Same Difference,” “Wastelands,” and “Of Silent Stars and Fire Lost.” It seems like every good idea Amoral tosses out, is usually dashed by a quirky vocal hook from Koivunen, or an ill-timed guitar break, with the only exception being the fun and catchy “Hours of Simplicity,” a rare moment when Koivunen’s pitch complements the band’s solid riff-skills.

By now, the novelty of Amoral has worn off, leaving the band to muster up thesongs to support the high-billing they’ve received thanks to Koivunen. WithBeneath, it feels like Amoral is fighting against itself on which way to go, leaving open the idea that if this album sinks, then it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to retreat back to the good ‘ole melodic death metal.

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