Fri. Mar 5th, 2021

1.9.2016 Humavoid & Amoral @ On the Rocks, Helsinki (Musicalypse Archive)

A lot has happened in the course of Helsinki-based AMORAL’s career. Their first three albums, “Wound Creations” (2004), “Decrowning” (2005), and “Reptile Ride” (2007), were rock-solid melodic death metal efforts with hit songs from start to finish, and with “Reptile Ride,” the band ascended to the front row of younger domestic metal bands. A shift in the musical style granted a large international fan base for AMORAL, but – maybe a bit needlessly in retrospect – infuriated their older fans. In the year 2014 the attenders of AMORAL’s gig at Tuska experienced something astounding, when the singer of those first three records, Niko Kalliojärvi, joined the band on stage for the set’s final songs. Last year, the band announced that Kalliojärvi had returned to the band as a second vocalist as well as a third guitarist. AMORAL’s seventh album, “In Sequence,” released last spring, nodded musically toward the old times, but in the end of July, the band surprisingly decided to call it quits next year.

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AMORAL will play their last show in the Tavastia club on the 5th of January, 2017, but before that, the band announced that they will perform a bunch of special “old school” gigs, playing songs exclusively from the first three albums. I used to listen to those records a lot 10 years ago, so it was pretty much a necessity to attend the first gig of the tour at On the Rocks. I admit that, along with others inclined to the older stuff, I also lost interest in AMORAL after their fourth record, “Show Your Colors,” so beforehand it was especially nice to hear that the band’s line-up for the tour wouldn’t include Kalliojärvi’s still-active successor, Ari Koivunen.

I arrived at On the Rocks about 30 minutes before the first band on the evening, Kalliojärvi’s other act, HUMAVOID. Weekday events at Rocks have been horribly quiet lately, so it was pleasant to notice that the venue was already nicely crowded. As a band, HUMAVOID wasn’t that familiar to me beforehand, but they snatched the Album of the Week mention in Imperiumi.net last December with their EP, “Glass,” and their performance managed to surprise me completely with its variance and maturity. The band’s material could best be described as heavily djent-inclined modern metal, utilizing polyrhythmics, at times heavily dissonant piano melodies, and the contrasts of keyboardist-vocalist Suvimarja Halmetoja’s clean and guitarist-vocalist Kalliojärvi’s harsh vocals. Performance-wise, the bassist, Jan From, played his parts on his own corner of the stage, whereas Halmetoja and Kalliojärvi had considerable problems on staying on the stage at all; Kalliojärvi’s mic stand was in danger of falling to the audience numerous times as he moshed away and Halmetoja was so over the place that he collided with Kalliojärvi more than once. To explain, Halmetoja played a keytar instead of a traditional keyboard. Never have I seen that monstrosity of an instrument actually being an integral part of a live performance before – big ups!

HUMAVOID just released a video single, “Coma Horizon,” and judging from the shouts from the audience, quite a few attenders had already checked the video out. The band even wrapped the show with an immensely personalized Devin Townsend cover! All-in-all, the show was a really energetic and promising showcasing of HUMAVOID’s skills as players as well as composers, and the band had a decently-sized audience from start to finish. Even if their genre is not exactly your cup of tea, you should go check out HUMAVOID live – Niko Kalliojärvi is hilarious in his interval speeches!