It was a rainy day in early March when editors from allover Europe met in Hamburg at the Impulse Studio for a listening party. What to expect? Metalium! But who is Metalium? A German-American project? A conclusion which is easily made after reading the Metalium line-up which is: Chris Caffery (g), Mike Terrana (dr), Lars Ratz (bs), Henning Basse (voc) and Matthias Lange (g). Chris Caffery shall be known by every metal fan out there, not necessary to introduce... Everybody should know him by his work with Savatage and Doctor Butcher, even if Doctor Butcher never toured in Europe.... Some may know Mike Terrana who was the drummer in the band of Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Axel Rudi Pell and beside that he played last summer at the Wacken open-air in Gamma Ray where he replaced their drummer for this one show. The German part of the band ain't that known, even if Lars Ratz might be known to the fans of Zed Yago and Velvet Viper. Guitarist Matthias Lange is known in the area of Hamburg, but never caught any attention outside the local scene. Singer Henning Basse is the youngster of Metalium and RockHard called him "the best rock- / metal-singer coming from Germany the last decade."
Does that grant quality? How come that Chris Caffery and Mike Terrana joined the Germans? I had the chance to talk to Mike Terrana about Metalium. Mike told me how everything started: "While I toured with American Rock Live Chris and I became friends. Soon we talked about doing a kind of project together. Everything else just happened! The tour was booked by Monster-Productions and the boss of Monster-Productions is Lars. Lars played in Zed Yago in the past. He had the concept for quite awhile, just looking for the people to realize! Through Lars we met Matthias and Henning and it worked! The chemistry was right!." Everyone who expects just a project which lasts for one album, is wrong! Metalium is a band! The record deal with Massacre Records is for several albums which was one reason for Mike Terrana to move to Hamburg where the headquarters of the band is based. Mike came from L.A. to Hamburg to get more involved in the song writing and to concentrate mainly on Metalium. Just Chris Caffery is still living abroad and won't leave New York. A question everybody asked, is he just part of one album? Will he stick to the band? Chris' comments: "Metalium gives me the possibility to use stuff I wrote which doesn't fit to Savatage. Metalium is more aggressive and heavier... But no doubt that Savatage is and always will be my main band! Therefore Metalium have to make their schedule fit to Savatage. Metalium won't be just a studio band, we will tour!. I love to play live and would love to be on stage every night!"
Even the album title Millennium Metal - Chapter One gives the conclusion that there will be a follow-up. Mike told me more about the concept, about writing lyrics and what he discovered... "When I first started writing the lyrics, I found out that there is another side of Mike Terrana. It was a little scary, coz I never expected that talent. I never missed anything, I just found another talent. Kinda added something to what I already knew It's the perfect balance to what I'm doing as a drummer. About the concept... Michael, the protagonist is a metal fan. One day Michael awakens from a nightmare. He's bothered and irritated by the re-occurring nightmare which foreshadowing his worst fear. He fears that an evil force, the society will be threatening his love for metal music and his lifestyle. He foresees the decay of the society and the fall of metal caused by the society of happy conformists in the thread mil of life. That's how Michael see the society he lives in. He's praying to his Gods, the Gods of metal for help. He wants to be free. His prayers got heard from some supernatural beings and he receives some advice in his dreams. His self-confidence got stronger. Michael exceeds power from the dreams and the instructions make him fight against the non-believers, against the ones who don't believe in metal. Empowered by the Gods Michael arrives at The Millennium Gate, the gate to the next millennium. There he finds a flask with the magical Metalium. He think over his life and realize that he can't go back. He drinks the liquid and the magical metamorphose begins. He become a warrior fighting for his believe in true metal. He is no longer mortal and with immortality he slips through the millennium gate and enters a futuristic world. In this future world Michael wants to realize his imaginations, his dreams. Soon he starts his mission and finds others with the same believe. Together they are strong, fighting for true metal. A unity only as strong as their weakest believer. The Achilles heel of the metalians. After receiving more instructions Michael starts his pilgrimage!" So the story begins and the first Metalium album ends!
Now I knew the concept, but still missed the most important thing... the music! We all were waiting impatiently to hear the songs. But first Lars gave some introducing words and then it was time for music do the talking! Forever Free was the first track we listened to, a metal anthem with a mid-tempo part which speeds up afterwards. Next we listened to Revelation which some might remember from the American Rock Live tour, even if it had a different title and lyrics. A killer mid-tempo tune! The last track of the album we could listen to was the powerful ballad Metamorphosis. Especially that track showed the abilities of Henning! The track presents Metalium as a tight unit and shows the developing Henne been through. Now he's heart and soul when he's singing. Last, but not least we got a cover song to listen to... Smoke On The Water! A classical track! To quote Lars: "There are two possibilities, to hate or to love the cover! None knows what to expect, but with the last note of the Deep Purple tune it was obvious that I wasn't the only one who loves it!"
Metalium didn't hired a big name for the production. Bassist and mainman Lars Ratz produced and got a helping hand from Chris Caffery who co-produced the album. A new challenge, a new experience for Chris. After listening to some tracks for the first time, it was right decision. But the future will tell, if this is the way leads to success. But it seems that today a new star of power metal music was born.