Sound — 7
Amoral used to be a technical death metal band but with the release of their new album, they've made the change into an aggressive-ish power metal sound. With the addition of vocalist Ari Koivunen, their sound has 'progressed' into a heavy and often-times in-your-face type of power metal with a few catchy licks. The guitars are tuned lower than most power metal acts, and the music itself isn't exceptionally fast as more traditional power metal would be, instead opting for a mid-tempo but heavy sort of feel. The instrumental work still retains a 'technical' feel, but it has been simplified since their death metal days. The vocals, however, are a drastic change, and they bring a lot of backlash from older fans of Amoral. His vocals are cleanly sung only, without any growling or screaming, and he's been criticized as sounding immature or not as powerful as other power metal vocalists. Koivunen seems to be turning out the type of vocalist whom you either love or hate, with no in-between.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics differ from typical power metal lyrics in the sense that they're not high fantasy based; instead opting for more boisterous, antagonistic, at times proud and optimistic, but also with some lovelorn pieces. It's nothing special, but they fit with the more aggressive style of power metal they play. Some of the time, the lyrics are pretty interesting and listeners may find themselves thinking how ironic they are, particularly old listeners and the lyrics in the single "Year of the Suckerpunch." Ari Koivunen is a competent singer and his voice you either love or hate. He does his job well enough and despite some minor criticisms actually complements their new style fairly well.
Overall Impression — 7
This album is the one I started listening to Amoral with. I listened to some of their old stuff before writing this review, and as I've said, this is pretty radically different from their old stuff. The instrumentals are mostly still there, but the new vocalist is a real paradigm shift. Some of the songs that stand out are the single "Year of the Suckerpunch," "Gave Up Easy," the unrelenting "Sex N' Satan" and "Last October," the album's ballad. All in all, I really like the way they made this switch-up work. However, I also hate that they made such a drastic change. It's always a tough decision, and it's hard on the fans. Some will love it, some will hate it, some will stay and some will go. I don't know if I would buy the album again if it got lost or stolen. It's a very decent effort, but it doesn't really stand out all that much.