Metalium - As One - Chapter Four
Massacre Records
Power Metal
12 songs (54:06)
Release year: 2004
Metalium, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Jay

From the opening notes of “Warrior,” I got an ominous feeling about this album for several reasons. I make no bones about my admiration for Metalium’s first album. Millenium Metal - Chapter One had some great songs and was powered by the spectacular drumming of Mike Terrana, soaring vocals of Henning Basse and guitar wizardry of Savatage’s Chris Caffery. Their second album was decent and their last album, I thought was one of the most boring power metal albums I’ve ever heard. Anticipating this album, I really hoped for a return to their older style, more aggressive and forceful. However, this release was a big let down.

The mix of the album drives me insane. There is virtually no bass. This is surprising considering the “mastermind” and primary songwriter is their bassist Lars Ratz. Ratz, it seems to me, is never short of being impressed with himself and he makes sure that his bass can be heard. He wants to be heard so much he tunes his bass as high as a guitar. So yes, there is a bass line but it’s high pitched, metallic and ringy. Yet this is nothing new. My only complaint about the first album was that the bass was terribly mixed. It’s as though they actually took the sound of that album and made it worse. Lars has to take a back seat in the future and play his instrument normally for the sake of the music he has chosen to play. While innovating power metal with more bass usage is certainly welcome, he’s approaching this in the wrong direction. The drum sound also is aggravating. The snare hits sound like explosions rather than drum beats. The sound is raw but not sonically pleasing especially when played at fast speeds as is the general rule in power metal drumming. The double bass is mixed at a volume nearly on par with the guitars and drowns out half of the music during the speedy parts. Henning Basse is an extremely talented singer but he attempts to sing the whole album in falsetto. By doing this, he doesn’t use the lower registers of his voice as often which is a disappointment since he sounds better when singing in this range. His high vocals often sound as though he’s spreading himself too thin. The guitar and drum work are good but lost in this bassless and hyper trebly mix. One may blame the fact that Metalium really hasn’t had a stable lineup until now for these errors but I feel as though most of this was intentional.

The music is a different matter. After listening intensively to this album, it appears as though Metalium has completely lost touch with their audience. “Warrior” is “Fight” sped up. It’s uncanny how close these songs are musically. It sounds as though they’re ripping themselves off. The painful rehash of songs past continues on “Find Out” which borrows its structure and notation from “Metalium” (also from the first album). In addition, Lars’ narrations have become increasingly more bothersome. He interjects his narrations in the middle of songs which completely kills the mood and momentum of the song. Instead of getting a professional announcer or voice actor to do these parts, Ratz insists on doing them himself and adding a terrible filter to disguise his voice. The concept of this album is the Metaliana, a female metalian who will become the bride of the metalian warrior who has been the main protagonist of their past three concept albums. This concept is beaten into our heads repeatedly through narrations at all points in the album as well as the 12+ minute “Meaning of Light/Illuminated” suite. According to an earlier press release, Ratz plays a fretless bass on this track which you cannot tell because of the wonderful tone he uses on the album.

The only highlights come in the later songs on the album. The latter tracks, while still suffering the musical disasters of the mix manage to be good, killing tracks. “Power Strikes the Earth,” and “As One” all have some punishing riffs and good soloing by guitarist Matthias Lange. The last song is sung choral and does possess a good uplifting power metal quality. It provides a good closing to the Millenium Metal saga. Remember however, these tracks alone cannot make up for the failings of the mix and shoddy songwriting. For the love of metal, please skip this release.

Killing Songs :
As One, Power Strikes the Earth
Jay quoted 43 / 100
Other albums by Metalium that we have reviewed:
Metalium - Incubus - Chapter VII reviewed by Marty and quoted 80 / 100
Metalium - Nothing To Undo reviewed by Chris and quoted 60 / 100
Metalium - Demons of Insanity: Chapter Five reviewed by Mike and quoted 49 / 100
Metalium - Millenium Metal reviewed by Crims and quoted 85 / 100
Metalium - Hero-Nation reviewed by Mike and quoted 82 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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