Amoral – Ben Varon (Guitar)
Those of you who know Finnish metallers AMORAL know that they?ve put out now 5 great releases, and their latest release, Beneath, is by far their most versatile creation yet. They?re still fairly unknown in the States, but that?s about to change as The End Records has released their new album, and AMORAL has just played their first US show which did very well. I sure hope they come back stateside to play some more shows. Those of you who don?t know the history of this great band, familiarize yourself now. As much melodic metal as your first impression might be on these guys, listen close and you?ll find a band who?s got more rock groove and catchy hooks than your average metal band. They will make you want to get a guitar here and start jamming along side their unique sound. I got the chance to catch up with Ben Varon, Guitarist/Mastermind of AMORAL, and he gave SMNnews a ton of substance to ponder from the word go.
Alex Gilbert (SMNnews): You guys have your first US show coming up at The End?s SXSW showcase. You must be pretty stoked, huh? Also, will there be more US shows in the near future?
Ben Varon (AMORAL ? Guitar): Yeah, we played our very first US show last month at SXSW, Austin. It was a lot of fun: we spent a week in Austin, doing interviews, meeting people, soaking in the vibe of the event and of course played our showcase. The show itself went pretty good we felt, the response was all positive.
We’re trying to line up a proper tour for late 2012, it’s just a matter of finding the right tour package, the right headliner. Let’s hope it’ll materialize!
Any other countries you?re looking forward to/really wanting to hit up?
We love touring, we love playing and we love travelling, so honestly pretty much any new territory is an exciting event for us. Then again, so is going banck to places we’ve played in the past: After six years we’ll be returning to Japan next month, which we’re stoked about. There’s also talks about possible shows in China and maybe Indonesia as well while we’re in Asia, which is really exciting.
I couldn’t name any one specific country that we’re looking forward to more than another. We can’t wait for a proper US tour through as many states as possible – that would be awesome. Australia would be interesting as well, and South America very much so.
I?m watching your music video for ?Silhouette?, and visually the video is very well done, and I?m pretty picky with that stuff. And musically, I?m hearing everything from In Flames to Lacuna Coil, of course with the AMORAL twist. How?s the response been thus far for ?Silhouette? and the video?
Silhouette was the leading video/single for Beneath, and it’s been received well. The song is catchy and pretty straight-forward, but still has enough going on to keep metalheads and musicians interested. The video was a lot of fun to make, as we got to visit a museum for old steam machines. The huge mechanics and the walls full of switches was like something out of an old horror movie!
The groove, the melody, the structure, the thought, the abundance of shredtastic riffs and duo guitar solos, and ultimately the authority that AMORAL puts into their latest release ?Beneath? is quite powerful. You?ve got a great team with The End Records working side by side with you. Think 2012 is going to be the year of AMORAL?
It’s been a great year so far, that’s for sure! The End is doing a great job in the States, it’s been great getting more media coverage and a little hype going on overseas finally. We’ll just keep on working hard to make sure Amoral moves forward all the time, bith musically and in the business.
Again, ?Beneath? is a very diverse album, even more diverse than Show Your Colors which was really a turning point for AMORAL – I love the jam ?Vivid? by the way. What would some of your influences be in the creation of ?Beneath?, as I?m sure they range all over the place?
It’s a funny thing with Vivid actually, at it was never meant to end up on the album, but was intended as a bonus track for Japan! But it turned out so damn catchy and fun that we wanted it in the normal verison as well, and it turned out to be one of the biggest songs of that album…
A lot of the influences heard on Beneath I’ve carried along with me throughout the years, especially the hard rock riffs you can hear on the album come from influences like Extreme, Guns N Roses and Ozzy. Then there’s some prog vibes as well, I was listening to a lot of stuff like Mastodon and Camel at one point, and I think it shows on some songs. But you’re right, the influences are all over the place. The intro of Beneath is inspired by Hollywood film scores, and a song like Wastelands is a mix between Alice in Chains and Nine Inch Nails. There are no rules, and we like to keep it versatile and interesting.
Sorry, I?ve got to ask the really generic question, but how did the band name AMORAL come about?
We were honestly just about to print our first demo when we realised we’re still to have a name for the group. So as homework, everyone had to come up with some options for a name. Amoral was just one of the names on the list. It was short and memorable, plus it sounded cool to us, so it was picked. So no big philosophies behind that!
When we come visit you in Helsinki, Finland, where are some good places you recommend to grab a bite to eat, catch a show, party it up, etc.?
Well, there’s tons of music clubs and bars here. I’d check what bands are playing in town that night and head there. On The Rocks and Bar Bäkkäri are the two main rock bars where you might wanna stop by for a beer or two.
As for food… that’s a tricky one! I don’t eat out a lot here in Helsinki, so I’d probably know more places to recommend you in New York, Tokyo or Paris than here! Though I recommend you try reindeer meat, it’s really good!
Here?s a fun and tricky question. If you were to create a dream tour, who would be on it?
Well, the Opeth/Mastodon tour which is happening right now in the States is pretty close: two versatile bands, heavy yet melodic, whose fans I’d imagine to be open-minded. That could be great for us. But DREAM tour? Let us be the main support on the Guns N’ Roses reunion tour (which is never gonna happen)!
Look forward to hearing more from AMORAL in the near future. Any last words?
Thanks for talking to us, and sorry it took a while to get back to you! For a solid dose of Classic Rock Of the 21st Century, make sure to check out “Beneath”! Big Hooks, catchy choruses, amazing vocals and badass riffs, what more could you want from a rock album? ;)
By Alex Gilbert