Review | Metalite – Expedition One
Metalite has released a couple of modern metal cd’s that are closely leaning bordering with Amaranthe in terms of composition and style, but also pack the right tone to isolate themselves leaning on the melodic verse of the genre dominantly. With Edwin Pemberg at the helm, Metalite features not only a skilled songwriter and player, but a man with a vision who has a very keen ear of what metal fans want to hear. Challenging themselves they embark on a journey to explore the universe to find refuse for mankind to settle. `Expedition One’ sees the band fusing a concept into their action-packed melodic potion of metal and this is only the beginning.
Digging deep in their sonic realms Metalite explores their musical horizon as much as their conceptual challenge accepted. Blending gothic tinged modern metal with highly memorable licks and hooks atop melodic choruses, the band widens their sonic scope pushing their creative envelope featuring 16 multi-facetted songs held together by the visionary sci-fi story.
The title track shoots into gear with ponderous drum and riff carnage launching the album. Immediately crystalizing their cinematic melodic aspirations, Metalite fuses intricate playing with a modern high-tech (clean) sound full of drizzling keys and memorable hooks. Singer Ohlsson displays her skills belting out a clean and sticky vocal performance, full of metal accolades with high pitches and powerful chants, while also conveying a poppy appeal that nests on the spot. Its marksmanship is in the balance of dense musicianship and multi-layered pompous walls build with keys raining and inflating their wall of sound.
Powering up their cocktail with scorching and wonderful guitar solo’s and proggy drum breaks, the band finds pompous laurels constantly. Mega melodic hammers such as ,,Aurora” with hard hitting modern drum combustion and sound effects, ,,Blazing Skies” and ,,Free” with their memorable chorus, nest immediately without lacking powerful combustion. Bringing pompous melodic hooks to the front and heavy keys atop the powerful drum driven sound, ,,Paradise” displays the band’s power in creating diversity in their palette.
Amidst all of this musical mastery, Ohlsson maintains her stride with colorful vocal executions, in high demanding surroundings. Versatile and clean, loaded with multi layered vocal exchange, she brings light in the dense musical spectacle. Delving deeper into the modernity needed to bring the characteristics of the sci-fi story to life, the band injects powerful modern elements and techno keyboard/synth interplay, added with raining and drizzling jabs. Just check out the great ,,CtrlAltDel” with its insane drum dynamics, the highly infectious power metal runner ,,Cyberdome” and more progressive kicked ,,Disciples of the Stars”.
Slower paced ,,Outer Worlds” unites their insane melodic offload with great back and forth vocals from Erica Ohlsson, while the song’s riffs and licks lurk close to Robert Majd’s low throbbing bass lines, enhancing its growl ‘n groove, cementing the song’s drive. ,,Legendary” unites the same ingredients with more melodic bliss. The contrast can’t be bigger on the clinical, very open produced ,,Hurricane”, with drummer Lea Larsson’s double bass executions, the extremely haunting keyboard line and jabbing key-rain underneath the riff rage and Erica’s Ohlsson’s pitch perfect clean vocals.
A CINEMATIC BLISS
Almost tribal is the drum loop propelled ,,New Generation”, with its slick chorus and wonderful uplifting tonality, displaying depth and different layers. As if Journey found its way into Metalite’s metal, ,,In My Dreams” incorporates the slick melodies of the AOR giants with the kicked drums and short double bass propulsion. Guitars in ‘singing’ clean harmonies, feeding off each other in wonderful melodic heights. Very glorious and powerful. Tilting this sound more towards melodic rock and metal, ,,Sanctum of Light” is heavier, but features several melodic structures upholding the Broadway laurels of the song, without missing out on the metallic action at hand. This cinematic bliss is inflated on ,,Take My Hand”, held up by great guitar wizardry in short melody-salvos and very dynamic drum and bass interplay, while packing very slick vocal melodies.
Not out of place is the instrumental breaking point ,,Utopia” that features wonderful duels and close harmony playing from Premberg and evil axe-slinging twin Robert Örnesved, reminiscent to Marty Friedman’s finest (‘Dragon’s Kiss’) and Hungarian overlooked wizard Tamas Szekeres (‘Guitar Tales’). Wonderful solos and fretboard magic fenced into a solid rocking and modern metal sound showcasing Metalite’s creative skills. It is shred metal galore!
METALITE – THE CONCLUSION
Metalite certainly exceeded expectations on this 16-track concept album that is released as a shiny cd and 2LP vinyl packing over one hour of melodic metal’s finest available. Though it is packed with high quality tunes, the album could have been shortened slightly, as some songs might become a bit too repetitive. No real fillers here though, don’t get me wrong. The quality is simply astounding and the musical execution close to perfect. On top the band managed to inject the right doses of high tech and sci-fi into this boiling melodic metal potion, making them a standalone force for January 2024.
There is so much to enjoy on this interstellar journey to save mankind from extinction. `Expedition One’ is hopefully a marker raising the bar for 2024, and it is quite a wonderful leap forward in the band’s evolution. I recommend playing this one and enjoy the front cover with Ohlsson turning towards us as she is about to board the vessel. The image is as beautiful as the music presented.
MUST HEAR! (and see)
Release date: 19 January 2024