Metalite – “Expedition One”


Sweden’s Metalite comes out with a spaceshipful of pop-infused power metal in their new album. Not only is “Expedition One” their fourth album, an applaudable feat, but also a concept album, an oft perilous feat. The album setting starts on Earth in 2055 where the whole of humanity is characterized by their health and mental issues caused by a growing tyrannical regime. A group of renegades prepare an expedition to start anew in a distant world, where this album tells that story. It reminds me a lot of the concept behind BTA‘s “Children of the Great Extinction,” but I digress.

Metalite began in 2015 and has always had a sci-fi vibe to their presentation, most stark on the album covers of “Biomechanicals” and “Virtual World” and their blend of electronic elements in their music. As John, my fellow reviewer, has noted, the band has been moving towards a refined pop-power metal style since Biomechanicals, when Erica took on lead vocals. This next release shows that next step in development.

For the record, I am not a fan of the cover. I think it is utterly cruel that they put that poor woman out in space without proper protective equipment for space travel. A space helmet, an oxygen tank and maybe some pants would definitely help.

“Expedition One” is an expansive album with 16 tracks running over 67 minutes in length. With such an ambitious concept, this isn’t a surprise and should be welcome news for fans of the band. Although there are moments that remind me of Europop, their sound is rooted in power metal with a clean and polished production. It reminds me a lot of Pyramaze’s “Bloodlines,” but with clearer pop sensibilities and a female lead.

The band sounds like a cohesive unit on the album and make great music together. They sound good. I like that Erica’s vocals have a little bit of an edge to it, making her voice fit well within the power metal paradigm. There are some tasty melodic riffs in the rhythm section and the solos are pristine with a good blend of technical and lyrical work. The keys give a pop/dance flavor to the tracks with space-agey arpeggiating riffs, but are generally support for the metal engine. Lea’s drum work really stood out for me with the way she changes up the patterns to keep interest high in songs with repeating choruses.

Although they make some enjoyable music, the songs are too homogeneous for so many tracks and so long a record. On top of that, I caught many songs committing identity theft. Considering that even the best of albums pushing excess an hour can be fatiguing, having doppelgangers in the mix makes it even more tiring. However, a few songs stand out from the crowd making the journey worthwhile. The album lead off track, “Expedition One,” is a great energetic track with a catchy hook. “Outer Worlds” has a grooving feel that contrasts the more straight rhythms in the other songs and “In My Dreams” is a power ballad that gives a much needed break from the higher energy tracks. “Sanctum of Light” is my favorite track on the album. Being later on the album, it fits closer to the happy ending of the underlying story. There is a great hope and optimism with a nostalgic melody that really stands out.

Listening to the lyrics, I start asking questions, such as what is the Cyberdome? And why are we hiding in it for safety? How does it work? Before trying to reason it all through, I am reminded of this paraphrased line from the theme from Mystery Science Theater 3000:

If you’re wondering how [they] eat and breathe

and other science facts

Then repeat to yourself, “It’s just [music],

I should really just relax.”

In that light, I find the story compelling enough as a space adventure, but don’t try reconciling with science. However, the lyrics did feel allegorical where there is much mention of living forever and eternal life. I can see a parallel story being about life and struggling towards an eternal life where we will be at peace. And I think that this is where there is more staying power in the lyrics on the album.

Metalite have developed a style that resonates with the group where I hope to see them excel into the future. Their performance is solid and there are some great tracks on here, but there seems to be too much of the same. I can see the next step for the band in expanding beyond their current writing formula. I like the idea behind the concept, but felt that it lacked the dramaticism across the songs to make the story really shine. If you appreciate the shinier side of power metal and like it for the long haul, I would definitely recommend “Expedition One.”

Rating: 8.0/10

Written by Sean Bailey

1 – Expedition One
2 – Aurora
3 – CtrlAltDel
4 – Cyberdome
5 – Blazing Skies
6 – Outer Worlds
7 – New Generation
8 – In My Dreams
9 – Disciples of the Stars
10 – Free
11 – Legendary
12 – Paradise
13 – Sanctum of Light
14 – Utopia
15 – Take My Hand
16 – Hurricane

Metalite is:
Edwin Premberg – guitars, additional vocals
Robert Majd – bass
Lea Larsson – drums
Robert Örnesved – guitars
Erica Ohlsson – vocals

Release Date: January 19, 2024

Record Label: AFM Records

Heroes in Time (2017) [review]
Biomechanicals (2019) [review]
A Virtual World (2021) [review]
Live at Sweden Rock Festival (2022)

Social Media: Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | X (Twitter) | Spotify | Bandcamp

Video for Blazing Skies

Video for New Generation

Lyric Video for Cyberdome

Lyric Video for Take My Hand

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