Metalium - Demons of insanity/Chapter five 3.5/5

Reviewed: 6-10-05


1. Earth in pain
2. Power of time
3. Demons of insanity
4. Cyber horizon
5. Ride on
6. Endless believer
7. Sky is falling
8. Destiny
9. Mother earth
10. Out of the silence
11. Atrocity
12. Silence of the night
13. Visions of paradise
14. One by one

Do you ever get the feeling that some bands are simply too prolific for their own good? I see 2 possible reasons for this phenomenon. First, it's the rare artist (Rage comes to mind) that can churn out high-quality, first-rate metal music every year, year after year. Many bands rush back into the studio without taking the time to replenish their wells of creativity, with the result that they're ill-equipped to do their best work during the songwriting and recording processes. 2nd, the saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" applies with equal force to heavy metal bands and many other aspects of life. Part of the fun of following this kind of music is the anticipation of a new CD from your favorite bands. When you haven't had time to digest their last CD yet, it's difficult to muster significant enthusiasm for the follow-up.

What does this typically longwinded intro have to do with Metalium? Well, the German power metal purveyors have not received nearly the acclaim or recognition that their uniformly high-caliber output warrants. Think about it: The band are champions of the ultraheavy but still melodic power metal style. Pure metal spirit runs through their music and their veins, with neither an ounce of compromise nor an iota of trend-hopping. Paint-peeling vocalist Henning Basse is one of the most gifted singers in Germany. Bassist/founder Lars Ratz effortlessly pens outstanding metal anthems. And the band always present themselves in a highly professional manner, including good packaging and an uncanny skill for achieving the most punishing, bulldozing, yet crystal-clear production this side of Primal Fear. So why aren't these guys huge? I think it's a productivity issue. With 5 tightly-bunched CDs treading identical musical ground in the last 6 years, Metalium may have oversaturated the market. I have enjoyed everything that Ratz & Co. have done (especially the masterpiece that is 'State of triumph/Chapter two') but I'll admit having difficulty differentiating one Metalium CD from the next in my mind.

The song remains the same on 'Demons of insanity', the 5th installment of the Metalium saga. All of the Metalium trademarks are here: world-class high-pitched vocals, bludgeoning riffs, sledgehammer production, and well constructed songs, many of which bear stout and memorable choruses. In fact, the first 4 songs out of the chute (the dizzying "Power of time", the anthemic "Demons of insanity", the uptempo, harmony-laden glory of "Cyber horizon", and the slow-burn epic "Ride on") could stand toe to toe with the finest moments in Metalium's catalog. The CD does not sustain this exceptional quality level throughout (although "Sky is falling" rules), but it does not drop off drastically either. In fact, the only real criticisms I have with this 14 song, 66 minute affair are that there isn't enough speed, and a couple of tracks overstay their welcome through unnecessary repetition and excessive length.

Aficionados of the Primal Fear, Brainstorm or Paragon brands of Teutonic metal power who have never heard Metalium before will be in a state of euphoria while listening to 'Demons of insanity'. To them this CD comes highly recommended. Longtime fans of the band will be satisfied, but likely not blown away, as you've heard Metalium execute as well or better previously. Those who have never liked Metalium before can move right along, as nothing in this CD will remotely change your mind. And any power metal junkie not falling into the above categories could do far worse on his next CD-buying junket than to grab 'Demons of insanity'.




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