X World 5
Universal Order

Being a supergroup of sorts and harboring under their shining fuselage such personages as Nils K.Rue (Pagan’s Mind, Eidolon), Andy La Rocque (ex – Death, King Diamond) and Magnus Rosèn (ex – Jorn, ex – Hammerfall), X World 5 sound like a crew of extraterrestrial cyborgs who flew to Earth for the sole purpose – to show that heavy metal heroes from alternative worlds are not cast in a different mold and can play roughly the same type of Traditional Heavy Power Metal as earthlings – but with somewhat robotized rhythmic structures and a huge share of intergalactic influences, like meteorite shower effects or alien sounding voices.

In fact, New Universal Order was probably conceived as an album beyond the customary framework of Heavy Power Metal. A hard nut to crack, if you ask me. Nonetheless, the guys partly pulled it off and created something that stands a chance to grow into an independent branch of the genre, which I would dub as Industrial Heavy Metal with lots of space rock elements. Sounds rather tempting, doesn’t it? Yes, unless you are worried about an obvious lack of kick ass energy and good melodies. The main problem of this album, is that there is much more focus on experimentation with all its intergalactic fireworks and electronics, than on the music itself.

Basically sounding like a hybrid between Pagan’s Mind and Metalium, X World 5 doesn’t make me cringe in irritation. Nor does it fascinate me, either. I’m somewhat indifferent for the most part while striving to digest the tracks offered by New Universal Order, and, except for a handful of killer riffs, a few spectacular sonic collages and powerful work of vocalist Nils K.Rue, it leaves me nearly with nothing but the overwhelming desire to dig out one of my favorite Pagan’s Mind’s or Metalium’s discs and finally get something similar, but with much better overall quality. However, it must be confessed that I really enjoyed the album’s opener “Cyberchrist”, impressing me with its damn catchy Industrial leads, addictive synths and a nice inclusion of a female vocal part – all reminding me a lot of Ayreon’s trademarked Space Metal. Likewise, the main riff on “Man Machine” and the vocal psychosis on “Argonaut” leave me hungry for more similar elements in the band’s sonic spectrum.

In conclusion, I think they should try at least one more album together, but with more stress on the powerhouse factor and appropriate melodic decors this time. I understand that the sense of liberation is at the heart of contemporary Metal scene, but the group’s playful servility to the boundless sci-fi genre seems a bit over-performed not only on the lyrical front but on a musical level as well. In all, this is an interesting yet somewhat undeveloped album that would be much better had they managed to keep it more in the vein of its awesome opener “Cyberchrist”.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Igor Stakh
October 13th, 2008

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