Album Reviews

Metalite – Biomechanicals Review

Released By: AFM Records

Release Date: October 25th, 2019

Genre: Melodic Metal

Links: http://www.metalite.se/

 

Line Up:

Erica Ohlsson – Vocals

Edwin Premberg – Guitars

Robert Örnesved – Guitars

Robert Mejd – Bass

Lea Larsson – Drums

 

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

 

In 2017, Swedish melodic metal band Metalite quietly released a very impressive debut, titled Heroes in Time. The album could best be described as modern melodic metal along the lines of Amaranthe and Temperance, with a blend of power metal and trance elements, and while there were some traces of heavy guitar work, the main focus was on the big, soaring melodies. While the album didn’t quite reach the heights of my favorite albums by either of the aforementioned bands, it was still a very fun release, and so I was excited to see what the band would do on future releases. Their second full-length release, Biomechanicals, is now almost here, and the band has taken everything that worked on their debut and expanded upon it, to make an even better album, that certainly does rival the absolute best albums in the genre!
Stylistically, not much has changed, as Biomechanicals is still a very modern sounding album, with a huge focus on uplifting melodies, huge choruses, and some of the best vocal melodies I’ve ever heard on an album of this kind. The trance elements from the debut have been expanded upon even further, with the digital effects being pushed further to the absolute front of the sound, and while perhaps my one complaint would be that a couple of sections go a tad overboard with these effects and sound a bit off-putting, the approach works great for the most part, with the keys adding a ton of flavor to the music, and they certainly work well more often than not. Obviously, though, this is still a metal album, and so while the vocal melodies and keys are the main focus, there’s still some very solid guitar work, with some occasional heavy bits, sometimes pushing close to djent territory, (though always doing so in an effective way that doesn’t sound grating in the least), while there’s also a ton of excellent melodic guitar work, especially during some excellent solos.

Songwriting is largely similar to the debut, with a nice mix of mid-paced tracks, some upbeat tracks with a large focus on the trance elements, some speedier tracks with a strong power metal influence, some slower parts and an excellent ballad. All songs are straight-forward, very melodic and extremely catchy, with all choruses being incredible. In my review of Heroes in Time, I said the band had room to experiment with more complex or experimental songwriting, and that still holds true, but the performances on this album, as well as the overall melodies, take things to such a high level, the lack of anything complex isn’t as noticeable, as the band simply does an incredible job at writing fun, engaging, catchy and incredibly melodic songs. Everything sounds extremely polished, powerful and crystal clear, so I’d say the production and overall performances are both perfect.

The one notable change in between albums is the departure of vocalist Emma Bensing, with her role now being filled by Erica Ohlsson. While Emma was a very capable vocalist and gave a solid performance on the debut, Erica takes things to a whole new level, and her performance is perhaps the biggest difference between albums, as she manages to take some already excellent vocal melodies, and turn them into some of the absolute best I’ve ever heard! She has a deeper, more powerful voice than her predecessor, while still sounding very smooth and being capable of singing in a way that sounds accessible, and somewhat pop-ish, which fits perfectly with the overall sound of the band. She alternates between low and high, soft and powerful notes flawlessly, always performs with high energy, and whenever she’s called upon to step up her game towards the end of a track, she kills it every time. This is probably the most excited I’ve been by a vocal performance on an album of this type since hearing Nils Molin on Dynazty’s Renatus, and while the overall album doesn’t quite reach that level of brilliance, Erica’s vocals are perfect!

While the performances are certainly top-notch, the songwriting is also excellent, with no less than great tracks, and there are a ton of huge highlights to be found. Starting things off is lead single “Far from the Sanctuary”, which is fairly similar to “Afterlife” from the band’s debut, and is a perfect indication of what to expect from the album. It’s a fairly fast-paced, quite upbeat track, with a nice blend between modern-sounding trance keys and some nice rhythm guitar work, as well as an excellent, very melodic solo in the second half. Erica shines immediately, nailing the verses and then knocking out the chorus with some intense, yet very smooth vocals, while the chorus is itself is very fun and catchy, making it a perfect fit both as a lead single, and an opening track. Next is the second single “Apocalypse”.

This is one of two tracks I initially struggled with a bit, as the digital effects are a little bit distracting during the verses, and some of the sounds feel a tad overdone, but the vocals are still more than good enough to keep the verses enjoyable, while the chorus is slow-paced but very catchy, and the track overall has a very strong Amaranthe feel to it, and there’s a nice groove to the track. The highlights are an absolutely beautiful, technically proficient guitar solo towards the end, as well as the final chorus, where Erica goes all out and sounds incredible!

In similar territory to that one is the title track, which has some very heavy, somewhat djent-ish guitar work early on. It starts slow and heavy but opens up with some nice melodies before the first chorus kicks in, and from there it speeds up, with some nice trance keys that aren’t too overpowering, and of course, the vocal melodies are excellent, and the chorus is very catchy. The first real speedy track on the album is “Warrior”, which briefly teases some very modern sounding trance keys, before some nice melodic guitar work kicks in, and while the verses are more mid-paced, the track speeds up quite a bit for the chorus, which is equal parts intense, catchy, tons of fun and absolutely unbelievably melodic. Like, this track is pretty much as light and melodic as a song can get, while still clearly being a metal track. It’s a wonderful track, overall, but the final run through the chorus is stunning, with the melodies almost being overwhelmingly beautiful, while the vocals are incredible and very powerful. While I love the entire album, this is easily my favorite track the band has released so far.

Following up that stunner, “Mind of a Monster” is another light, very upbeat track, with some strong pop sensibilities and heavy trance elements throughout. It’s fairly fast-paced, but never fully speeds up, and it’s a very light, melodic track, with a strong focus on the keys, and again, the vocals are the clear driving point, and are amazing, as always, with the chorus being extremely addictive and catchy. The momentum continues with “World on Fire”, one of the faster-paced, more clearly power metal influenced tracks on the album. It’s still fairly light, upbeat and highly trance infused, but it also has some nice driving guitars, more intense drumming, and moves at a very quick pace throughout, with very fun verses, and another super catchy and melodic chorus, as well as a very strong guitar solo towards the end. Rounding out this sequence of speedy tracks is “Eye of the Storm”, which starts out a bit slow and heavy, with an equal balance between thick guitars, modern trance keys and powerful vocals, but it speeds up dramatically for the chorus, which is another absolute winner, though the keyboard sequence that comes right after maybe the highlight of the track, along with a very speedy, heavily power metal-infused solo section, and the final run through the chorus, which is stunning as always.

While the album is excellent the whole way through, the quality drops off very slightly for the final four tracks, as none of them quite reach the heights of earlier tracks. The lone ballad of the album is “Breakaway”, a very pop-sounding track, with some rather bouncy keyboards and drums, and it serves as a nice vocal showcase for Erica, who of course shines as brightly as always, particularly during the final chorus, where she pours in a ton of emotion, and sings with a lot of power, helping to make it a memorable moment. The very beautiful, emotional guitar solo in the second half is also excellent. The final upbeat track on the album is “Social Butterflies”, which never fully speeds up, but it has some nice heavy guitar work, as well as some very nice digital effects, and it’s a very bright and upbeat track, with an extremely catchy, pop-infused chorus. Closing out the album are “Rise of the Phoenix”, a fairly light and melodic track which feels very similar to some slower Amaranthe tracks, with the chorus being its biggest highlight, and “Victory or Death”, another slower track, which alternates between some heavy guitar work and more very bouncy keys, which manage to sound quite nice. The chorus is quite fun and catchy, and it’s a nice way to close out the album, but I find it doesn’t hit quite as hard as most songs in the middle of the album, with tracks 4-7, in particular, being my favorite sequence, by far.

With Heroes in Time, Metalite announced their presence and established themselves as a potentially great band, and Biomechanicals shows them pushing their sound further, and represents one of the best modern melodic metal albums I’ve heard in the past few years. While there isn’t anything overly complex or surprising here, the performances are incredible across the board, while the songwriting is consistently excellent and full of some amazing choruses, as well as some of the best vocal melodies I’ve ever heard on a metal album, while new vocalist Erica Ohlsson is fantastic. Fans of their debut should love this, and I’d also recommend it for fans of Amaranthe, Temperance or the last three Dynazty albums, as well as anyone looking for some light, melodic metal with excellent vocals. I still think the band could potentially make an even better album, but this release shows them unleashing more of their potential, and they’ve already proven themselves as a band to watch out for in the future.

 

Ratings: 9/10

Written by: Travis Green

My Global Mind – Staff Writer

Travis Green is a Canadian based writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest metal in all its forms.

 

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