They have released three albums so far, with a fourth en route. It is truly remarkable to see how fast Swedish modern power metal band METALITE’s rocket is crisscrossing the universe. With their full-lengths “Heroes In Time” (2017), “Biomechanicals” (2019) and “A Virtual World” (2021) as rocket fuel and a quick stopover at the Sweden Rock Festival in 2022, they’re heading for planet Utopia at Warp 10. Their brand new album “Expedition One”, out on January 19th via AFM Records, marks the final stage that will be dropped to get the METALITE vessel into orbit. It’s been three years since the last contact with ground control, so they must be eager to check in again, right Erica Ohlsson?
Interview: Henk van Nieuwenhoven
We’re very excited for the release of “Expedition One”. We’re very proud of it’s outcome and can’t wait to share it with everyone! As you say, it’s been three years since we released “A Virtual World” so it’s about time we give the world some new awesome music.
One thing that METALITE is known for is that they always bring out something special after an album is released. A piano version of “Afterlife” after the debut album, a cover of the Stratovarius song “Hunting High And Low” after the sophomore album and another cover, Sonata Arctica’s “Full Moon”, after “A Virtual World”. So it is only fair to say that fans can expect another surprise in 2024 when “Expedition One” has been launched.
We always have ideas to continue releasing interesting covers and extra songs between the albums. In these times, when algorithm is controlling our music listening, we really need to come up with some extra cool stuff to get the attention. So, to answer your question, YES of course there will be new songs released between the albums. This album is no exception. So you have to wait and see.
METALITE release a lot of regular singles in between the albums as well. Before “Expedition One” they marketed five singles where the new one always contained the previous ones, finally resulting in the EP “Aurora” with six tracks.
Also here, in today’s algorithm-dominated landscape, continuous music releases are crucial. We aim to avoid having our music hidden in an album tracklist that might be overlooked. Releasing songs more frequently is the key to grabbing the most attention. While we cherish the album release process, this time we’ve chosen for a different approach. The results will unfold later, and maybe our strategy will evolve for the next one. Only time will tell.
“Aurora” leaves 10 tracks undiscovered on “Expedition One”, which contains no less than 16 tracks. That’s an awful lot where 11 is normally METALITE’s standard.
We had a lot of cool songs recorded so we had to decide which songs fit for this album. From the beginning we decided 14 songs, but after the label had seen the tracklist they also wanted the two earlier released songs, ”Take My Hand” and ”Hurricane”, as bonus tracks because of the popular statistics. Then we got 16 tracks for this huge album release! I think it’s a cool thing to release this kind of albums. Without any intros, outros, etc. This is pure melodic songs for 67 minutes and we are so proud of it!
Since “Expedition One“ is already the third album for METALITE on AFM Records, the chemistry between band and label must be really good.
Yes, it’s really good. We have been with them for three years now so we got to know each other quite well.
The band explains the concept of the new album, which is a continuation of “A Virtual World”, in the YouTube movie “Expedition One (Official Cinematic Trailer)”. When you look at the world that we are living in now in 2024 and where we are going to in 30 years, this seems like a plausible scenario for 2055.
Of course we will never know until the year 2055 is here, but if there won’t be any changes in how we live it will certainly be a disaster. We surely hope that people will take their responsibility and make some changes. We are optimistic about the future, we really think and hope we’ll get on the right path again. Space tourism will exist and I think there will be a lot of cool projects and journeys out to space that will help us understand the riddles of life. It’s already going on.
Guitarist Edwin Premberg explained that the story on “Expedition One” ties together all the previous METALITE albums. Can you give some more insight on that? Who wrote the concept and all the lyrics for the new album?
All the previous albums contains stories that includes sci-fi, high technology, that we’re looking for somewhere else to go, how the world is destroyed by humanity. So I think Edwin‘s idea of making a concept album now was great. Something different from our previous albums. Hopefully you’ll like it! Edwin is the mastermind behind the writing, the melodies and also the concept, and then me and him work together to see if there are any changes that need to be done, the harmonies, ad libs, etc. But on this album both bassist Robert Majd and guitarist Robert Örnesved have been involved writing two songs, Majd on ”Disciples Of The Stars” and Örnesved on ”Utopia”.
The song “Utopia”, the planet Expedition One is heading for, has no lyrics, only narration at the beginning. That is something METALITE hasn’t done before, an instrumental track. Is it the beginning of a new era perhaps?
Correct, it’s the first time we have an instrumental song. And, like I said, it was Robert Örnesved who wrote it. I think it’s a great and beautiful song, it fits the concept perfect as the last song when we have arrived to our new place to live. I don’t think it’s the last time we’ll have an instrumental song on our album.
There’s also a lot of synthesizer on “Expedition One”, but yet the lineup of METALITE doesn’t mention any keyboardist. So it either comes from a computer or there’s a secret guest musician on the album.
No, we don’t have any keybord player and I don’t know if there will ever be one… maybe. But the way we want the sound together with all the other effects we have in our songs, a keyboard is a must. And that is also Edwin‘s work.
The album was mixed and mastered by the famous Jacob Hansen. A man with a very tight schedule. But METALITE and Jacob go way back.
Back in 2015, Edwin sent his request together with a demo of ”Afterlife” to Jacob and he answered quickly and said that he wanted to do the mix for this song. Edwin didn’t hesitate to answer, YES! Then he mixed and mastered the first song that we also got a label contract with later on. It was time to get to work and write 10 more songs for the first album. I guess he thought it was a great song and it had potential to reach out of the muddy mess of metal bands. I guess he was right! We are so happy to have him in the METALITE crew and that he has helped us along the way.
In March/April 2024 you’re going on a European tour with Leaves’ Eyes. But with four very strong albums, a loyal following and a record deal with AFM Records, it must be possible to do your own headlining tour.
Of course we want that to happen. I think that’s every band’s dream. I am sure we will do that in the near future, at least I hope so.