So whenever I happen to be visiting in Windsor, Ontario, I always make a point of hoping into HMV at the local mall. While most of the music there is rather expensive, it has a fairly large selection of metal albums to choose from. And after finding a Gamma Ray album, not titled Majestic at this particular store, I decided to check out what else it had to offer. One of these excursions had me flipping through the annoyingly long Metallica discographies (please don't ask me why), and as luck would have it, I came across the Metalium album, Chapter Five: Demons of Insanity. The album cover featured an armoured man and some scantily clad chick doing battle in a pit of fire. Err…cliché much? Needless to say, I continued flipping through the various discs without hesitation. But when I got home some three or four days later, the name Metalium was still in the back of my mind. What kind of music would a band with such a name produce. Power metal undoubtedly. So I looked them up at various metal websites. The band, formed in 1998 in Hamburg, Germany, was indeed of the power metal variety. And as they had a new album due in February of 2007, titled Nothing to Undo, I decided to check them out. There'd be nothing to lose after all. And after listening to the final seconds of the Queen cover, The Show Must Go On, fade away; Metalium is just as I expected them to be. Not the best of the bunch, but no slouches in their area of expertise as well.
With their sixth album, Metalium unsurprisingly builds upon their main musical foundation: unadulterated European power metal. When listening, it isn't difficult to pick out the Gamma Ray influences, the Helloween influences, the Grave Digger influences, and of course, the mandatory Iron Maiden and Judas Priest influences. Throughout the forty-some minute record, however, said influences mesh together exceedingly well, for the most part. The riffs which piece together Nothing to Undo's fairly upbeat tracks are heavy affairs with the listener. The vocals are of the falsetto variety. Heavy double bass drumming anchors the rhythmic section of the album. Each of these aspects are fairly well written and performed with skill and precision. With that said, none of the members in Metalium, be it vocalist Henning Basse, bassist, Lars Ratz, or guitarist Matthias Lange, really take charge and lead the group through the album. The musicianship is evenly spread through out each role in the album, so don't be expecting any earth shattering Herman Li-esque solos or Hansi Kursch-eqsue vocals. The music found on Nothing to Undo often fluctuates between mid-paced to fast, as can be heard in the likes of Mindless and Heroes (the faster of the pair), but the tracks are mostly all rather upbeat and energetic regardless of the speed. Power metal fans, especially those who favour the German variety will likely enjoy what Metalium has put together.
Of course, as with any album, Metalium's sixth has a few flaws. Unfortunately, while it isn't exactly a carbon copy of some of the German scene's more prominent works, with Nothing to Undo, Metalium does not really stamp on its own sound. At times this causes the album to feel stale and generic. Longer tracks such as Metal Blindness and Was Home (both of which approach the seven minute mark), are two victims of such weaknesses. Just as with fellow power metallers 3 Inches of Blood, fellow Germans Perzonal War, and fellow metal band Trivium, Metalium is not able to put together a full album of classic musical throwbacks. While Nothing to Undo is definitely stronger than the likes of Advance and Vanquish, Different But the Same, and The Crusade, a little originality wouldn't hurt. Variety is another characteristic that would help. Lengthy, metallic riffing is what makes this CD, and the German band's sixth album hardly strays course, even for some of the slower, more heartfelt songs. This element of non-stop power and energy is quite enjoyable on the first few tracks, especially the likes of Heroes and Straight into Hell.
Overall, Metalium's Chapter Six: Nothing to Undo is a fairly decent record. It's quite obvious that these Germans are a focused bunch, recording classy unadulterated power metal. While a little variety and originality would definitely benefit the band, fans of the German power metal scene should be very pleased with how well crafted Nothing to Undo is. Personally, I would not recommend the band's latest offering over some of the genre's more accomplished works, but if you're looking for a decent, interesting power metal album, then this wouldn't be a poor choice. If not, well, you aren't missing out on a lot.
Show Must Go On (Queen Cover)
Straight into Hell