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Metalite - Biomechanicals Award winner

Metalite
Biomechanicals
by Kira Schlechter at 03 November 2019, 10:21 PM

Melodic modern power metal newcomers (relatively speaking) METALITE got together in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2015. Their latest, “Biomechanicals,” comes two years almost to the day after the release of their debut “Heroes in Time” in 2017. Singer Erica Ohlsson has replaced original singer Emma Bensing, and with this release, we can now claim that ”Dance metal” is officially a thing.

Opening track and first single “Far from the Sanctuary” shows the debt METALITE owes to fellow Swedes (and arguable dance-metal pioneers) AMARANTHE, with its crisp, clean, super-fast pace and production. It has the same level of catchiness, the same kind of almost pop sensibility, with layered vocal harmonies and an almost space-age overall sound. Ohlsson’s voice is straightforward here, a cog in the dense complexity of the music.

“Apocalypse” continues with those spacey keyboards – it’s not “playing the piano,” if you will, it’s more just cool trippy sounds and melodies. Ohlsson’s voice is more upfront in the mix on this one, especially in the glorious pre-chorus. And it features wonderful guitar soloing that riffs on the chorus melody. And of course it modulates – why wouldn’t it? It’s power metal, after all. Cheers to Ohlsson too for cleverly re-pronouncing the title so it fits into the rhythm!

“Biomechanicals” showcases the pleasant roughness and grit of Ohlsson’s range – her singing is pretty much straight down the middle, not especially high or low, but that gives a nice continuity to the material. The track seems to be a commentary on our reliance on technology (she refers to “another chapter of humankind”), biomechanics being defined as “the study of the structure, function, and motion of the mechanical aspects of biological systems.”

“Warrior” proves just how much Swedish power metal in general, and METALITE specifically, owes to pop music. They have a knack for the tightly crafted track; they don’t meander or waste time (the whole album clocks in to well under an hour). They do play a little with the chorus toward the end, stripping it down musically, stretching it out a little to change it up. They excel at the catchy sing-along chorus, like in “Mind of a Monster.” They do rely a lot on modulations for emphasis, which might be a flaw, but the songs are such ear candy that one could overlook what might be overuse of a songwriting technique.

And they also like that blazing, rapid-fire tempo, like in “World on Fire,” but they do play with groove, adding a slower little breakdown midway. Premberg and Ornesved specialize in concise guitar solos that lack self-indulgence. METLAITE breaks with the pace once on the love ballad “Breakaway,” and it’s a welcome change, despite its somewhat simplistic “moon in June” rhyme scheme. “Social Butterflies” is a standout in that they kind of misunderstand the term, but they kind of don’t at the same time. It’s clever and ironic – they take a phrase normally used to refer to partying and shallowness and give it power and defiance, almost taking ownership of a negative term (and the chorus is ridiculously catchy, by the way).

“Rise of the Phoenix” is a big and soaring track about overcoming adversity, and it’s very AMARANTHE-like soundwise, particularly with the keyboard arrangement. Wrapping things up is the darker “Victory or Death,” with its cool swingy groove. It’s an interesting musing that argues that we walk with good and evil all the time (“which one will choose me?” Ohlsson asks), with a quick little anti-drug plug (“don’t put that shit into your veins”) and an equally quick political aside (“kings and governments are everywhere”).

This is a fine sophomore effort from a band with all the right parts and elements to fit into the power metal establishment – and a bit more risk-taking in the future would not go amiss.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Far From the Sanctuary
2. Apocalypse
3. Biomechanicals
4. Warrior
5. Mind of a Monster
6. World on Fire
7. Eye of the Storm
8. Breakaway
9. Social Butterflies
10. Rise of the Phoenix
11. Victory or Death
Lineup:
Erica Ohlsson - Vocals
Edwin Premberg - Guitar
Robert Ornesved - Guitar
Robert Majd - Bass
Lea Larsson - Drums
Record Label: AFM Records
     


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Edited 22 November 2019
 

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