Sunday, October 22, 2017

Album Review: Metalite - Heroes In Time

Debut albums are tricky, especially in genres that are now known for their musical innovation. When it comes to melodic metal, a debut album is crucial, because it might be the only time a band ever gets to capture your attention. Knowing that these sorts of bands don't make huge changes to their sound over the years, everything comes down to whether or not they can deliver memorable songs on a consistent basis. If we don't hear that right away, it's easy to put that band aside and forget about them when their next effort comes along. Bands don't get much of an opportunity to grow into themselves, since there is too much music to go back and give second chances to those who didn't make an impact the first time.

Metalite is a new melodic metal band that ventures into these waters, putting their debut on the line for us to listen. I'm not a fan of metal bands that throw the word 'metal' into their name or album titles, since it seems like a cheap way of sounding tough/heavy, but I don't hold that against the music.

The album kicks off with the first single released, "Afterlife", which gets things started with tremendous promise. The riffs are a blend of power metal with some minor hints of thrash in the flourishes, while vocalist Emma Bensing layers her voice to make for a hypnotic chorus. I'm not sure if her voice is naturally echoing from a tight performance, or if there's an effect being put on her vocals, but it makes for a rather unique sound that definitely makes you pay attention.

Let's get the sticking point out of the way. If you hate pop music, especially metal that has pop overtones, you won't like what Metalite is doing here. The music is bright, cheery, and Emma's vocal lines bounce like good pop music is supposed to. This music wouldn't be wrongly described as metallic bubblegum.... but that's exactly why I like it. Too often we get bands that call themselves 'melodic metal', when all they really mean by that is they have a clean singer who can hold notes for a long time. Metalite is actually writing melodic metal that has big, hooky melodies. That shouldn't need to be said, but it is.

So if you're someone like me who has listened to bands like Delain and the like over the years, always wondering why they couldn't consistently deliver songs that matched the voices singing them, Metalite is going to be right up your alley. With the sugary hooks and the ample 80s synths, the music might be a bit too cloying for some, but it does exactly what its aim is.

If you like melodic metal with a heavy dose of melody, "Heroes In Time" will be your jam. Song after song, this album delivers on its goal of being modern metal with more hooks than a backwoods bait shop. If what I said is true, and a band may only get one shot at being heard by their potential audience, Metalite has taken advantage of that opportunity. "Heroes In Time" is packed with great songs, great hooks, and great vocals. As far as melodic metal goes in 2017, you'll be hard-pressed to do any better than Metalite. Kudos are deserved.

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