Nearly three years on from their release of A Virtual World, Metalite are back in the studio with their upcoming record Expedition One.
Set in the year 2055, Expedition One tells the story of a team of five people (ex-intelligence service and military personnel with breakaway tech company CEOs) on a mission to transport the human race and find any hope of continuing life on another planet since the earth has become uninhabitable.
Founder and guitarist Edwin Premberg states that humans “Permanently go for the easy way out, even when it’s evidently not our best option” which aptly applies to what’s happening in today’s world where many entrepreneurs and politicians with enough power and resources fail to address climate change. This in turn could well be a prophecy as to how the fate of the earth will be decided once it’s damaged beyond repair. With that set in place, can this albeit bleak but interesting story be translated into a piece of music?
The answer is yes.
From the get-go, there is no room for a build-up as the engines are already engaged and the ship is ready to blast off. Just like Top Gun Maverick, it’s best to be prepared because once it hits Mach 10, the only way to enjoy it is to embrace the moment as you go on a one-way journey to an unexplored galaxy.
The title track ‘Expedition One’ gets the album off to a frantic start with screaming riffs, passionate vocals, epic drums and bombastic synths, giving a hint of what’s to come throughout this 16-track adventure.
If there is a band that can make a soundtrack to sci-fi films then Metalite are who you can turn to. Their skills in transforming their records into cinematic atmospheres are brilliant, so an Imax experience with full surround sound would be the perfect place to immerse yourself while sitting on 4D chairs. ‘Blazing Skies’ sums up the plot of the album, describing what was once a paradise and wonderful place is now nothing but a barren wasteland where not even cockroaches stand a chance of survival. Now is the opportunity where humans can venture to a new untouched universe, where maybe life can make a fresh start “Everything was nearly flawless, You can ride with us together into the deep unknown”.
The band’s electronic power metal style gives a futuristic and adventurous feel which perfectly suits the emotions and themes that they’re trying to evoke. Following typical traits of the sub-genre where the verses and choruses start in a minor key before a major key outro, it’s an energetic record with contagious vocals and beats where the temptation to sing along is hard to resist. To reinforce the inquisitive thought of being in space, Metalite make this album very synth-heavy with the melodies or sound effects and the recording quality being beefed up dynamic-wise to give the bass and mid-range a strong presence. However, it sometimes gets a bit excessive as the guitars are occasionally drowned out and aren’t given much space to shine through.
After seven fast tracks, things slow down for a little while where the rockets break off and it’s time for a breather once the intense take-off is complete. ‘In My Dreams’ replicates that perfectly as the track is a happy-sounding ballad, echoing a feeling of accomplishment and relief where one of the riskiest parts of the mission is now behind them and onwards they continue with their quest.
Once the pace picks up again, it’s all about perseverance and as we know, finding a habitable place elsewhere is no easy task. Erica Ohlsson sings her heart out with passion as her potent voice symbolises the ideal figure of someone who is motivated and prepared to lead the line. If you look at the album cover, she’s confident and ready to take the team into the unknown.
‘New Generation’ tells us how the youngsters can make a difference to the world as they have the courage and technology to do so “The future is in our hands, Here to challenge the norm, The generation that’s here to transform”. In an age where awareness of serious issues like inequality and climate change has massively increased, this is a powerful song because relying on politicians to save the world is like watching paint dry.
‘Hurricane’ explores resilience which acts as a metaphor where no matter how many storms and challenges life throws at you, never give up. Instead, tackle it without overthinking the future because excessive worrying about what comes next will only diminish your confidence levels “We’ll fight it all again, We’ll stand strong in the hurricane”.
‘Utopia’ acts as an instrumental interlude when you’re at cruising speed, staring into an infinite maze of dark matter with time travelling light years slower than your previous home while reflecting on your personal journey as a human being.
Trying to keep a listener engaged for 16 tracks non-stop is hard to achieve and although Expedition One has a strong meaning behind it, it’s not free of its challenges. After a certain point, tracks can sound predictable for lacking variation in the outros, power chords, choruses and excessive use of synths with ‘Sanctum of Light’ being an example which might be too catchy to fit the flow of the album. To some, the record may stretch the boundaries towards an easy listening experience.
Expedition One will be released on January 19th 2024 via AFM Records