Nothing to Undo, Chapter Six

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The sixth album by German power metal merchants Metalium refines the group's sound into its purest form. The lyrics drop most of the vaguely Dungeons and Dragons imagery in favor of a more vivid and direct attack; similarly, the underdressed comic book babes that have long been the band's visual trademark are gone, replaced by an image of a chained prisoner with his spine removed. Although the album begins with an extended spoken intro called "Spineless Scum" that leads directly into the first track "Spirits," there's no obvious overarching story line to the album, nor any great theme beyond the usual metal concepts concerning man's inhumanity to man and all that. Musically, the album distills the group's sound into its purest evocation yet of '80s Euro-metal, with few of the progressive twists of albums past. Instead, Henning Basse's smooth, clean vocals and Matthias Lange's equally tidy chorus-heavy guitar riffs are an unapologetic throwback to the days when Yngwie Malmsteen and the Scorpions ruled the earth. There's even a garishly overdramatic piano-led power ballad, "Way Home," that sounds like Styx's Dennis DeYoung collaborating with Judas Priest. Speaking of over the top, the album ends with a surprisingly faithful cover of Queen's "The Show Must Go On," ushering out the album in a blaze of completely non-ironic histrionics.

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