Metalium - State of Triumph: Chapter 2
Released: 2000, Pavement Music
Picking up where the first album left off, we find the young Metalian warrior beyond the Circle of Fate battling the forces of evil. In addition to protecting the Earth, he must find the four "elements" of fire, earth, water, and wind in a quest to become immortal and ultimately, the Emperor of the Metal Gods. (At least, I THINK that’s how the story’s supposed to go...)
Anyway, as most of you are aware, Metalium released Millennium Metal: Chapter 1 (*See October ‘99 reviews.) last year, which featured guitarist Chris Caffery of Savatage and former Yngwie Malmsteen drummer Mike Terrana. Due to Savatage obligations, Caffery bailed and has been replaced (at least temporarily) by Seven Witches / Speeed guitarist Jack Frost, and the drum slot has been filled by newcomer Mark Cross. When I first heard that it was Frost who’d be taking Caffery’s place, I was a little worried. While he’s not a bad guitar player, I wasn’t overly impressed with his playing on Seven Witches’ Second war In Heaven (*See March 2000 reviews.) However, just like the rest of the band, old Jack came though and turned in a very good performance. (And if he’s smart, Jack will stay right where he is. Metalium kicks the crap out of his other projects, methinks...)
Unlike the first album, State of Triumph: Chapter 2 is a much more focused effort. Where some of the songs on Millennium Metal seemed to "stray" from the band’s overall sound, SOT is much more consistent from start to finish. After the intro "Elements", "Steel Avenger" proceeds to kick ass with it’s "Painkiller" type drum intro and vocalist Henning Basse hits some high notes in the chorus that I know I could never reach, even if repeatedly kicked in the crotch. Other samples of killer Power Metal are "Break Out", "Years of Darion", and "Eye of the Storm". The band even ventures into down-tuned Speed Metal territory with "Erania" and "Stygian Flames".
The one thing I don’t like about this CD the cover tune which serves as the closing track. I can remember hearing this song before, but I can’t remember who originally performed it. (And like the previous album, the original artist ISN’T listed in the credits. WHY NOT, DAMMIT?!?!) All I do know is that this tune (in it’s original form, of course) could’ve easily fit onto Disney’s Lion King soundtrack! Metalium performed it well (especially on the heavier parts), but it was a crappy song to begin with... WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING?!?!?! At least their previous covers included Deep Purple’s "Smoke On the Water" and Accept’s "Burning." I scratch my head in wonder...
But with the exception of the poor choice of cover material, State of Triumph: Chapter 2 is an excellent Power Metal release. It also comes with a Metalium screen saver for your PC. All you have to do is pop it in your CD drive and it installs automatically (Which is perfect for technologically challenged folks like myself.). If you like European Power Metal at all, then you should definitely look into this one.