German rockers Metalium have done a "Rhapsody" – in other words, each album tells a chapter of an ongoing story, and As One is Chapter 4 in the saga. The three prior chapters were Millennium Metal, State Of Triumph and Hero-Nation.
The story is an increasingly complex tale about "Metalium", a metal fan who is commanded to save his music. He becomes a sort of god and travels and reincarnates through ancient times and places and meets or battles with other gods, heathens, the elements, and so forth. With As One, we have the introduction of a female counterpoint – "Metaliana".
The first track will have you convinced that the power metal label was misapplied, and 'thrash' would be a more accurate description. After a deep, spacey introduction with a godly sounding voice-over that sets the stage for the story, it kicks into a beat of about a thousand-over-four. It is a breathless four minutes of staccato palm-muted riff-based drum-led thrash, with excellent vocals and competent choruses. A dual-guitar and double-bass attack and that storyline that permeates every track on this album make it an interesting piece of heavy, bombastic power metal.
The 12 tracks range from 1½ to 6½ minutes, for 54 minutes of fast-paced metal and driven by power chords, bass and percussion; and the guitar solos are welcome if rare. Henning Basse's vocals remain strong throughout and it would be nice if the songwriting permitted him to exploit his tremendous range a bit more frequently. The renowned Don Airey plays keys on this album, and adds an important dimension to the sound. (Airey's credits include Cozy Powell, Rainbow, Ozzy, Jethro Tull, and others.) Several songs have an uninteresting but catchy anthemic feel to them and will probably have good commercial potential. A few passages introduce ballad-like singing or story-advancing voice-overs, but beyond those you won't find a huge variety from song to song. Metalium has their formula, they do it well, and they stick to it.
Metalium is hugely popular in Europe but is only now being introduced to the USA. Their music is not the best power-metal in the world. It's too heavy for that. There isn't a progressive passage on the whole album and the music is rather linear. But as soon as you're used to that heaviness and speed, the catchy melodies and the consistency of the music settle in on you and it becomes an interesting listen.
So try before you buy, and if you do decide to spring for it, go ahead and get all four chapters. It is interesting to watch the story unfold, and at the same time it is fascinating to track Metalium's development and constant lineup changes as it has matured into a leader in cohesive, heavy Euro-metal.
- Astral Avatar
- Pain Crawls In The Night
- Find Out
- No One Will Save You
- Meaning Of Light
- Meaning Of Light (Reprise)
- Power Strikes The Earth
- Goddess Of Love an Pain
- As One