Released: 2008, AFM Records/Sound Pollution
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
This new supergroup was formed by bass player Magnus Rosén (mostly known from Hammerfall) and drummer Big Swede. The most important element for the band was the singer and they chose Nils K. Rue from Pagan’s Mind and Eidolon. On guitars we find Andy La Roque (King Diamond) - another very well-known name in the scene - and Reeves Gabrels, who has played with David Bowie from 1987 to 2000. As you can see, there are experienced and merited musicians comprising X-World/5.
It’s not easy to describe the kind of music these guys play; you have to hear it to really understand it, but I’ll give it a shot. To me it sounds mostly like modern and heavy melodic metal but the tempo isn’t especially fast. They have incorporated programming and loops into the music and the heavy guitar riffs fit perfectly and add more heaviness to the songs. Unfortunately, I can hear some mallcore influences which takes away from the music a bit. It was a smart move to have Rue on vocals because his voice has a certain roughness that makes the music sound harder than it is. There are also elements of light industrial metal. Combine Marilyn Manson, a slower In Flames and Ministry and you’ll have a decent approximation of X-World/5.
This concept album contains 10 tracks and the story takes place in the year 3006. To quote from the promo: “Have you ever imagined how our planet will look like, in thousand years from now. What kind of music will the future bring? In a thousand years from now many things will change. Our universe could be in danger because of aggressions of human kind.” It goes on to tell the tale of Earth where 5 chosen men have survived and their mission is to keep heavy metal alive. That’s pretty much what the album is about.
It sounds a bit different, but different doesn’t necessarily have to mean bad. The material is really strong with solid hooks and catchy choruses that are easy to remember and sing along with. They go between pumping out melodic metal and light industrial metal music. My main concern with the album is all of the programming and loops as well as the mallcore parts. Maybe they’re necessary in this kind of music, but I can’t get used to them. And even though Rue is a solid singer and an excellent lead vocalist, he tends to scream too much for my tastes.
The material is quite consistent with only a few low points. The album peaks with songs like “Cyber Christ”, “Man Machine”, “Stand Up”, “A Cryptic Message” and “New Eden”. “Lunar Voyage” is a ballad that is actually OK to listen to even though the loops and programming have gone mad. “Argonaut” is another great song where the tempo increases a lot. A lot of the songs sound a bit too similar and even after listening to the album many times in a row it’s hard to tell one song from another.
NEW UNIVERSAL ORDER is pretty solid at points, but the band has stuff to work on before they release their next album. Rosén and crew have almost managed a perfect debut album, but I want them to ease up on the mallcore influences, slim down the use of programming and loops and write more versatile material. I recommend this album in doses because I think you’ll get tired of it if you listen to it too many times.