Metalite – “Heroes in Time”

 Posted by on October 12, 2017 at 12:32  Add comments
Oct 122017
 

Combining Swedish pop sensibilities and soaring vocals over a hard rock backdrop, Metalite have released a debut album that screams for attention.

As music fans are well aware, Sweden is known for producing great pop bands and perhaps fittingly, Metalite hails from Stockholm, Sweden, getting their start in 2015.  Guitarist Edwin Premberg met vocalist Emma Bensing and the rest is, as they say, history.  The two of them becan to cooperate with producer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Evergrey, Amaranthe) and the songwriting process began.  During 2016, the two picked up the rest of the band members Lea Larsson (drums), Robert Örnesved (guitar) and Robert Majd (bass) and the band signed to Inner Wound Records with Heroes in Time being produced by Jacob Hansen.

“Afterlife” opens up the album and makes for a great introduction to the band and to what is to come on the album.  First thing metal fans will notice is the strong, sometimes dominating keyboards, so much so that at times the guitars seem almost like an afterthought.  As the song gets going, Emma Bensing’s smooth, clear vocals next grab the listener’s attention as they are literally made for this style of music.  “Purpose of Life” is more of the same, opening keyboards dominating much of the sound but a strong driving rhythm section of guitars and drums that come more to the forefront in the verse sections accompanying the midrange vocals.  While far from the aggression in most of what I listen to, there is no escaping the catchiness of the songs.  As said before, think of catchy pop songs combined with some power metal.

“Nightmare” opens with near acapella vocals from Emma Bensing and until the guitars come in, one may think this is just another pop song.  As in the beginning of this song, much of her vocals seem to be layered with other voices, especially in what could be chorus or bridge sections and that element also adds to the pop feeling of the songs.  Her voice, however, is plenty strong on its own as can be heard in “The Hunter” and elsewhere, so this change makes a nice contrast.  Nightmare is the first time a noticeable guitar solo is included in the song as well, and as one would expect, it is structured to fit within the song very well and doesn’t alter the overall sound.

The title track “Heroes in Time” really takes the sound up another notch.  The opening keyboards introduce a nice pounding beat which is picked up by the rest of the band and carried throughout the rest of the song.  The catchiness is undeniable and the various shifts in drum patterns by Lea Larsson throughout the song keep things interesting as do some of the rougher sounding riffs and guitar solo.  The band really seems to hit their stride with this song.  While “Afterlife” is a great introduction to the band, I would have to say “Heroes in Time” is the one that shows the full potential of the band at this time.

The album progresses from there with more solid songs with “In the Middle” and “Black Horse Rider” standing out, but for different reasons.  “In the Middle” shows the band veering into the realm of ballads and perhaps toward an Evanescence-type sound that just seemed a bit forced for my liking.  Granted, Emma Bensing’s voice is not Amy Lee’s and that’s a good thing, but this song may be better suited with a voice and vocal style more like Amy Lee.  Then again, most of what I listen to is angry males screaming and trying to destroy their vocal chords, so just keep that in mind.  “Black Horse Rider” on the other hand has an opening reminiscent of Dragonforce and the song settles into a nice groove that has a number of great guitar fills scattered throughout.

Given the emphasis on keyboards in the sound, I was pretty sure I was not going to like this album at all, and it won’t be on my Top 10 list but I really do struggle to find anything from a performance or songwriting aspect that I can really criticize. I do find perhaps a bit of irony in the name Metalite as this album almost seems like it is “Metal Lite”, but all snarkiness aside, Heroes in Time is filled with catchy hooks, strong performances, and solid pop-influenced hard rock that has impressed this aging punker/metalhead.

Rating: 8/10

Written by John Jackson

Track listing
01. Afterlife
02. Purpose of Life
03. Nightmare
04. The Hunter
05. Heroes in Time
06. Power of Metal
07. Over and Done
08. The Light of Orion
09. In The Middle of the Night
10. Black Horse Rider
11. The Great Force Within Us

Band Members
Emma Bensing – Vocals
Edwin Premberg – Guitar
Robert Örnesved – Guitar
Robert Majd – Bass
Lea Larsson – Drums

Record Label: Inner Wound Records, 2017

Weblinks: Facebook

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Lyric video for ‘Nightmare’

Music video for ‘Afterlife’

 

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