REVIEW: AMORAL – “In Sequence”
Finnish metal band Amoral have had a very interesting journey in the twelve years of their career, evident in all the seven records they have released so far. In only a decade, the band have transcended a variety of styles such as technical death metal, power metal and progressive metal. Amoral, formed by guitarist Ben Varon and drummer Juhana Karlsson, have a present line-up featuring vocalist Ari Koivunen and guitarist/keyboardist Masi Hukari. ‘In Sequence’ is the band’s seventh full-length release, also notable for the return of Niko Kalliojärvi on guitars and growled vocals after eight years. The grand line-up thus showcases two vocalists and three guitarists beside some ace guest musicians who have done brilliant contributions to the new album.
This new record bears a dominant, technical progressive metal approach with customary elements such as changes in tempo and varying time signatures. The overall sound is solid besides being compositionally intricate and technical. The title track is a prologue: a laid-back progressive rock piece built primarily on keyboards, whose build up in this track is beautiful. The following album is a memorable fifty five minute odyssey of eight tracks presenting a variety of flavours, like Koivunen’s refreshing clean vocal delivery, a welcome diversion from Amoral’s acclaimed death metal growls. The compositional brilliance stands out in songs like “The Betrayal” featuring intricate details like the percussions, bearing an “eastern” essence and blending into a beast of a track with outstanding work on the vocals!
The musical prowess of the band adequately stands out in the rest of ‘In Sequence’, featuring the neatly executed progressive track “From the Beginning (The Note Part 2)”. This track is a remarkable journey, starting with a synth-driven opening and going on to feature powerful riffs, classic guitar sections and guest vocals, before an awe-inspiring guitar conclusion. Songs like “Defuse the Past” put forth some solid heavy riffing, before the he record switches beautifully to the melancholic and soulful ballad “Sounds of Home”, which showcases some really memorable harmonies. All of this creates a nice thought process, the overall sound of the record being very approachable and capable of being appreciated by most listeners.
The main aspects that stand out in ‘In Sequence’ are the powerful riffs, heavy grooves, blast beats and a brilliant snare tone, the unique elements like the one-of-its-kind percussions and saxophone work, and most importantly, the three guitars which render the sound exceptional at many places. The first single off the album, “Rude Awakening”, has a melodic and groovy essence to itself. This track allows plenty of scope for the clean vocals to shine through. The melodic feel is carried on in “The Next One to Go” which also incorporates dominant progressive elements, and also in “Helping Hands”, which takes a groovy approach to its music.
In short, ‘In Sequence’ surely demonstrates the exceptional musical acumen of the band as well as their ability to steer clear from customary expectations from progressive/technical metal bands. It is a must-listen for tech/prog-metal fans!