AMORAL, Show Your Colors (2009, Spinefarm)
A gang of young Finnish rapscallions went on a spraypainting spree throughout Helsinki in 2009, armed with black cans of paint and a stencil of a skull wearing a black headband. Each of the kids was successful in conveying whatever message they were trying to convey, except for young Tomi’s stencil, which was mangled on the bus ride across town. The bus was packed, and some huge 300 lb. Finnish creep sat on the stencil, which caused total headband failure once Tomi started his tagging. Tomi was, very sadly, killed crossing the street after spraying his very first mark. To honor his memory, the lads took his fucked-up stencil and tagged the city with the pattern thousands of times over before getting caught. But others followed their example, and now the image is as prevalent throughout the city as those “Obey” Andre the Giant stickers you used to see all over the States.
These Finns have been around since 2001 and have gone through a drastic musical evolution, starting as a technical death metal band, morphing into a more straightforward death/thrash sound, and currently playing classy melodic power metal. This album is their fourth, and from what I gather, the one that lost as many fans as it gained for the band. I’m glad I wasn’t biased going into this album — I hadn’t actually given much time to Amoral’s first few albums so had no expectation listening to Show Your Colors. I’m eager to check their earlier material out now, and the later ones, but taken for what it is, Show Your Colors is a well-written slab of buoyant, colorful, melodic metal. The choruses are huge, as in “Release,” which includes the line “nothing will remain as it was before,” an apparent mission statement and defiant message to disgruntled fans. The rest of the album shines brightly and soars proudly, touchstones being post-Criss Savatage, latter-day Nocturnal Rites, TNT, Dokken and the most AOR-leaning Helloween tunes (“I Can,” “If I Could Fly,” “First Time”). But Amoral plays it even cleaner and crisper than any of that. Yeah, they’re so streamlined that they edge toward feeling antiseptic. Yet the songwriting, playing and crystal clear tones of vocalist Ari Koivunen (who sounds a bit auto-tuned here, unfortunately) are impossible to not enjoy if you like any of the aforementioned. Apparently Amoral’s early work gained them a number of dedicated fans, fans that do not appreciate where they took their music with Show Your Colors. Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI0ZOtinDzA — Jesus Christ, people, let a band grow.
— Friar Wagner