Monday, July 23, 2007

Review: Metalium - "Nothing to Undo"

Whatever it was that I once liked about Metalium has apparently left my system. I don’t dislike the band, it’s more like a pleasant wallpaper pattern to me these days. While it’s in the CD player, I might remark on how nice it sounds, but once I’m no longer listening to it, I quickly forget it.

For one thing, the shtick is getting a little old after six albums. It’s time to retire the Metalian theme (their metal hero who has been fighting injustice or whatever for the past six records). And it’s definitely time to get rid of the silly spoken word pieces. Rather than sounding cool and cryptic as the band hopes, they sound goofy and break the flow of the music. On “Mental Blindness,” for example, the eye roll over the spoken word opener takes away from the nice guitar riff that follows.

Riffs are something this record has in abundance. I’ll give credit where it’s due to guitarist Matthias Lange for bringing some solid traditional metal guitar to the project. All of the best tracks here – “Spirit,” “Heroes Failed,” “Follow the Sign” – are built on a solid riff. Unfortunately, the band can’t craft a memorable song around those riffs. There’s not really a weakness here. Henning Basse’s voice is solid and the rhythm section is not bad. It’s just that I’ve heard every song on this record hundreds of times.

Even the best song, the slightly Egyptian-flavored “Follow the Sign,” is forgettable. In fact, the song that really stands out here – for the wrong reasons – is actually one of the worst, the mandatory, overly melodramatic ballad “Way Home,” which finds the band in Queen worship mode. Oddly enough, as slow songs go, Metalium fares much better on their cover of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On,” which closes the record. It’s a faithful version that isn’t half bad.

In 1987, I might have sung the praises of this record. In 2007, it’s tired and overdone and doesn’t really offer the listener anything to latch on to.

Get "Nothing to Undo."

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