It took eight years and six studio albums, but it is with great pleasure that I am able to award METALIUM their first 9/10 from The Metal Observer. I say “first” because if the band’s next release is as well-written and memorable as “Nothing To Undo”, this could become a trend.
The cover of the album is the listener’s first hint that the sixth chapter in the band’s “Metalian” storyline may be a bit different from previous affairs. The Metalian is depicted in chains, his head bowed towards the ground so we can get a fair glimpse of his bloody back. Our brave hero has apparently had his spine ripped out, and rather painfully too (sadly, Subzero of “Mortal Kombat” is nowhere to be found). Since this is a far cry from previous album covers (where the Metalian was depicted in various scenes of triumph), it becomes clear that “Nothing To Undo” will be the most aggressive METALIUM effort yet.
After a short but energetic intro (treating intros as full songs rather than simple voiceover fodder is something more bands should take advantage of, as “Spineless Scum” gets you in the proper state of mind to enjoy this album right off the bat), the band launches into the double-bass monster “Spirits”. Both catchy and heavy, “Spirits” is simply a beast of a song; vocalist (and former BRAINSTORM singer) Henning Basse proves that he is one of the most underrated singers in Metal with each note he belts out, as he has an uncanny ability to make his voice crack on exactly the right notes. Most Metal singers avoid this rather risky tactic, but playing it safe apparently isn’t Basse’s strong suit, as he cracks his voice time and time again, adding an extra element of emotion to the mix.
Surprisingly, all the tracks on “Nothing To Undo” are very different from each other; none of them seem to blend together, and one can easily tell a certain song from another. “Mindless” is a speedy song that features creative guitarwork from axeslinger Matthias Lange as well as low growls from Basse, whereas “Heroes” features an absolutely deadly interlude around the 2:30 mark that instantly sets it apart from any other song on the disc. Variety is name of the game on “Nothing To Undo”. This doesn’t always work in the band’s favor, as there are a few duds like “Straight Into Hell” and the convoluted “Mental Blindness”, as well as the token power ballad “Way Home”. Still, these do little to detract from the overall experience.
Now, you may or may not know that Freddie Mercury is one of Basse’s favorite singers. As such, the band has covered QUEEN’s “The Show Must Go On” on this release and given it a Heavy Metal makeover, much like the cover of DEEP PURPLE’s classic “Smoke On The Water” on 1999’s “Millenium Metal”. It’s shocking to hear how well Basse can imitate Mercury’s signature vocal style while still injecting it with his own dose of originality. Even Lange gets in on the action with some decidedly Brian May-esque guitar heroics. All in all, it’s an excellent cover, and only serves to further solidify the fact that “Nothing To Undo” is a great record.
For those of you who have written off METALIUM as a generic Power Metal band, you may wish to reconsider your stand in light of the band’s most recent effort. In terms of overall sound, yes, METALIUM do sound like the majority of other Power Metal bands out there; that much hasn’t changed. But with “Nothing To Undo”, METALIUM feels like a band reborn; they’re more aggressive and have upped the ante with their songwriting considerably. Power Metal fans, do yourselves a favor and pick up this release posthaste.
(Online May 9, 2007)