Throughout the history of heavy metal, there have been a handful of bands that found names that perfectly suited their music. The most obvious example would be Metallica, simply for their quality and status as metal titans. However, Sweden’s Metalite is certainly another apt choice. Put simply, this band is metal “lite”, to the point where it is questionable if it is metal at all. Rather than the gloriously cheesy approach of Power Quest or Freedom Call, Metalite’s tendencies are far more pop-inspired. If you took away the semi-crunchy guitars, there would be almost no metal in their sound at all. Actual riffs are in short supply. Nearly every song is a savory sweet sing-along anthem that is overflowing with sugary melodies, delivered via twin guitars or the angelic vocals of lead singer Emma Bensing. There isn’t a lot of variety, with most songs having the same runtime and general sound.
These comments all sound like criticisms, but they really aren’t. They’re more of a warning for what you’re getting into with Metalite. Truthfully, the band is very adept at what they do. Even if the band isn’t rocking hard at every moment, they’re always building to a chorus that explodes with enthusiasm. Many tracks have huge keyboard melodies with driving rhythm guitars underneath before letting the singer do her thing. Her voice is most similar to any number of singers for similar pop metal bands. She certainly doesn’t have the range of even level of expression as Tarja or Floor from Nightwish, for example (ironically, it’s arguable that all of these bands can be traced back to Nightwish).
The very things that define Metalite are also part of the reason why they don’t reach their full potential. Make no mistake, tracks like “Afterlife” and “Nightmare” are some rocking tunes, but the band’s unwillingness to add any more metal elements to their sound holds them back. If each song had mind-blowingly technical solos that could compete with modern power metal bands, higher average speeds, and more riffs, they would capture the power metal audience. Instead, their choices leave them solely with the pop side of metal, but more importantly, these choices also make the band feel very safe and reserved. “Heroes In Time” lacks any elements of surprise, and once you’ve heard one song, you’ve heard them all. Ultimately, this means that while this is an enjoyable record, it is unlikely to be one that you’ll reach for time and time again.
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3.5/5 or 70%.