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Trance Metal, sometimes known as Dance Metal, is a recent metal sub-genre. It often combines uplifting electronic dance/pop melodies with the melodic sound of power metal and melodic death metal. One of the most popular acts is Amaranthe.

Electronicore (Sometimes known as Trancecore), while sharing some influences with trance metal, is still primarily metalcore. Therefore, it is included as a sub-genre under Metalcore. electronicore

- Genre biography written by Unitron.

Sub-genre collaborators (shared with Industrial Metal):

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MEFISTO Megalomania

Demo · 1986 · Trance Metal
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"Megalomania" is the first demo by Swedish thrash metal act Mefisto. The demo was independently released on cassette tape in May 1986. Mefisto formed in 1985 in Stockholm and while not many people are familiar with them and they disbanded in 1987 after releasing two demos, they played an integral part in bringing more extreme sounding metal to the Swedish metal audience. In those days Bathory was one of the few Swedish artists playing what today is considered metal in the more extreme end of the spectrum, but a few others (including Mefisto, Merciless, and Obscurity) also existed in the underground. This was a few years before the Swedish death metal explosion, and many of the late 80s/early 90s Swedish death metal acts cite Mefisto as a source of inspiration. The demo was a rare collector´s item for many years, but it was re-released in 1999 along with the material from the November 1986 demo "The Puzzle" on "The Truth" compilation album.

Stylistically the material on the 4 track, 19:07 minutes long demo is strongly influenced by the blackened speed/thrash metal attack of the unholy German triumvirate of Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction (with a springle of Bathory). In some ways it almost makes them sound South American. Mefisto are a very well playing act though (although the drums are relatively simple and one-dimensional), and there´s slightly more to their music than some of the most savage South American artists were able to deliver. The lead guitar parts are for example worth a mention, and the occasional nod towards traditional heavy metal is also quite refreshing amidst the rawness of the speed/thrash metal attack. "Betrayed Truth" for example features a part which sounds a lot like Mercyful Fate (complete with a falsetto vocal part). The vocals are otherwise grunted snarls delivered in staccato style.

"Megalomania" is a well produced demo, and with a few tweaks here and there, it could easily have been released as a studio EP instead of a demo. Upon conclusion the material isn´t revolutinizing, and Bathory of course still takes the spot as the most influential Swedish extreme metal act from the early- mid-80s, but Mefisto arguably did play an important part in being inspirational to some youngsters who would go on and create a distinct sounding and important music scene only a few years down the line. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

METALITE Biomechanicals

Album · 2019 · Trance Metal
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In 2017, Swedish melodic metal band Metalite quietly released a very impressive debut, titled Heroes in Time. The album could best be described as modern melodic metal along the lines of Amaranthe and Temperance, with a blend of power metal and trance elements, and while there were some traces of heavy guitar work, the main focus was on the big, soaring melodies. While the album didn’t quite reach the heights of my favorite albums by either of the aforementioned bands, it was still a very fun release, and so I was excited to see what the band would do on future releases. Their second full-length release, Biomechanicals, is now almost here, and the band has taken everything that worked on their debut and expanded upon it, to make an even better album, that certainly does rival the absolute best albums in the genre! Stylistically, not much has changed, as Biomechanicals is still a very modern sounding album, with a huge focus on uplifting melodies, huge choruses, and some of the best vocal melodies I’ve ever heard on an album of this kind. The trance elements from the debut have been expanded upon even further, with the digital effects being pushed further to the absolute front of the sound, and while perhaps my one complaint would be that a couple of sections go a tad overboard with these effects and sound a bit off-putting, the approach works great for the most part, with the keys adding a ton of flavor to the music, and they certainly work well more often than not. Obviously, though, this is still a metal album, and so while the vocal melodies and keys are the main focus, there’s still some very solid guitar work, with some occasional heavy bits, sometimes pushing close to djent territory, (though always doing so in an effective way that doesn’t sound grating in the least), while there’s also a ton of excellent melodic guitar work, especially during some excellent solos.

Songwriting is largely similar to the debut, with a nice mix of mid-paced tracks, some upbeat tracks with a large focus on the trance elements, some speedier tracks with a strong power metal influence, some slower parts and an excellent ballad. All songs are straight-forward, very melodic and extremely catchy, with all choruses being incredible. In my review of Heroes in Time, I said the band had room to experiment with more complex or experimental songwriting, and that still holds true, but the performances on this album, as well as the overall melodies, take things to such a high level, the lack of anything complex isn’t as noticeable, as the band simply does an incredible job at writing fun, engaging, catchy and incredibly melodic songs. Everything sounds extremely polished, powerful and crystal clear, so I’d say the production and overall performances are both perfect.

The one notable change in between albums is the departure of vocalist Emma Bensing, with her role now being filled by Erica Ohlsson. While Emma was a very capable vocalist and gave a solid performance on the debut, Erica takes things to a whole new level, and her performance is perhaps the biggest difference between albums, as she manages to take some already excellent vocal melodies, and turn them into some of the absolute best I’ve ever heard! She has a deeper, more powerful voice than her predecessor, while still sounding very smooth and being capable of singing in a way that sounds accessible, and somewhat pop-ish, which fits perfectly with the overall sound of the band. She alternates between low and high, soft and powerful notes flawlessly, always performs with high energy, and whenever she’s called upon to step up her game towards the end of a track, she kills it every time. This is probably the most excited I’ve been by a vocal performance on an album of this type since hearing Nils Molin on Dynazty’s Renatus, and while the overall album doesn’t quite reach that level of brilliance, Erica’s vocals are perfect!

While the performances are certainly top-notch, the songwriting is also excellent, with no less than great tracks, and there are a ton of huge highlights to be found. Starting things off is lead single “Far from the Sanctuary”, which is fairly similar to “Afterlife” from the band’s debut, and is a perfect indication of what to expect from the album. It’s a fairly fast-paced, quite upbeat track, with a nice blend between modern-sounding trance keys and some nice rhythm guitar work, as well as an excellent, very melodic solo in the second half. Erica shines immediately, nailing the verses and then knocking out the chorus with some intense, yet very smooth vocals, while the chorus is itself is very fun and catchy, making it a perfect fit both as a lead single, and an opening track. Next is the second single “Apocalypse”.

This is one of two tracks I initially struggled with a bit, as the digital effects are a little bit distracting during the verses, and some of the sounds feel a tad overdone, but the vocals are still more than good enough to keep the verses enjoyable, while the chorus is slow-paced but very catchy, and the track overall has a very strong Amaranthe feel to it, and there’s a nice groove to the track. The highlights are an absolutely beautiful, technically proficient guitar solo towards the end, as well as the final chorus, where Erica goes all out and sounds incredible!

In similar territory to that one is the title track, which has some very heavy, somewhat djent-ish guitar work early on. It starts slow and heavy but opens up with some nice melodies before the first chorus kicks in, and from there it speeds up, with some nice trance keys that aren’t too overpowering, and of course, the vocal melodies are excellent, and the chorus is very catchy. The first real speedy track on the album is “Warrior”, which briefly teases some very modern sounding trance keys, before some nice melodic guitar work kicks in, and while the verses are more mid-paced, the track speeds up quite a bit for the chorus, which is equal parts intense, catchy, tons of fun and absolutely unbelievably melodic. Like, this track is pretty much as light and melodic as a song can get, while still clearly being a metal track. It’s a wonderful track, overall, but the final run through the chorus is stunning, with the melodies almost being overwhelmingly beautiful, while the vocals are incredible and very powerful. While I love the entire album, this is easily my favorite track the band has released so far.

Following up that stunner, “Mind of a Monster” is another light, very upbeat track, with some strong pop sensibilities and heavy trance elements throughout. It’s fairly fast-paced, but never fully speeds up, and it’s a very light, melodic track, with a strong focus on the keys, and again, the vocals are the clear driving point, and are amazing, as always, with the chorus being extremely addictive and catchy. The momentum continues with “World on Fire”, one of the faster-paced, more clearly power metal influenced tracks on the album. It’s still fairly light, upbeat and highly trance infused, but it also has some nice driving guitars, more intense drumming, and moves at a very quick pace throughout, with very fun verses, and another super catchy and melodic chorus, as well as a very strong guitar solo towards the end. Rounding out this sequence of speedy tracks is “Eye of the Storm”, which starts out a bit slow and heavy, with an equal balance between thick guitars, modern trance keys and powerful vocals, but it speeds up dramatically for the chorus, which is another absolute winner, though the keyboard sequence that comes right after maybe the highlight of the track, along with a very speedy, heavily power metal-infused solo section, and the final run through the chorus, which is stunning as always.

While the album is excellent the whole way through, the quality drops off very slightly for the final four tracks, as none of them quite reach the heights of earlier tracks. The lone ballad of the album is “Breakaway”, a very pop-sounding track, with some rather bouncy keyboards and drums, and it serves as a nice vocal showcase for Erica, who of course shines as brightly as always, particularly during the final chorus, where she pours in a ton of emotion, and sings with a lot of power, helping to make it a memorable moment. The very beautiful, emotional guitar solo in the second half is also excellent. The final upbeat track on the album is “Social Butterflies”, which never fully speeds up, but it has some nice heavy guitar work, as well as some very nice digital effects, and it’s a very bright and upbeat track, with an extremely catchy, pop-infused chorus. Closing out the album are “Rise of the Phoenix”, a fairly light and melodic track which feels very similar to some slower Amaranthe tracks, with the chorus being its biggest highlight, and “Victory or Death”, another slower track, which alternates between some heavy guitar work and more very bouncy keys, which manage to sound quite nice. The chorus is quite fun and catchy, and it’s a nice way to close out the album, but I find it doesn’t hit quite as hard as most songs in the middle of the album, with tracks 4-7, in particular, being my favorite sequence, by far.

With Heroes in Time, Metalite announced their presence and established themselves as a potentially great band, and Biomechanicals shows them pushing their sound further, and represents one of the best modern melodic metal albums I’ve heard in the past few years. While there isn’t anything overly complex or surprising here, the performances are incredible across the board, while the songwriting is consistently excellent and full of some amazing choruses, as well as some of the best vocal melodies I’ve ever heard on a metal album, while new vocalist Erica Ohlsson is fantastic. Fans of their debut should love this, and I’d also recommend it for fans of Amaranthe, Temperance or the last three Dynazty albums, as well as anyone looking for some light, melodic metal with excellent vocals. I still think the band could potentially make an even better album, but this release shows them unleashing more of their potential, and they’ve already proven themselves as a band to watch out for in the future.

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XE-NONE Dance Metal [Rave]olution

Album · 2008 · Trance Metal
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siLLy puPPy
The trance metal world grew out of the industrial section mostly influenced by the Neue Deutsche Härte (New German Hardness) movement of the 90s that was made popular by Rammstein and as the 21st century began, many new artists were undertaking the complete fusion of electro-industrial and techno with the bombast of metal. While Rammstein started the ball rolling with their Einstürzende Neubauten meets Nine Inch Nails industrial metal heft, newer bands like Blood Stain Child and Russia’s XE-NONE crafted a fusion more dominated by the electronica side of the equation.

Having formed in Kirov, Russia in 2004, XE-NONE took the electronic sensibilities of electronic dance music with extreme metal riffing along with a few death growls. The two founding members Lexy Dance (vocals, programming) and Newman (syntthesizers, programming) cranked out a few shorter EPs before releasing their debut album DANCE METAL (RAVE)OLUTION which sounds exactly as the title suggests, namely dance floor friendly electronic grooves with heavy bombastic power chords and guitar riffs.

Overall the band exudes a rather generic dance music style with a rather generic metal bombast. What makes the band sound somewhat unique is the dual vocal attack of EvilAnn’s operatic clean vocals exchanging with the extreme metal growls and grunts of Lexy Dance. Trance metal is characterized by a fast tempo ranging between 130 and 160 BPM and XE-NONE keep a quickened pace throughout their (RAVE)OLUTION. In accordance with the definition of this sub-genre, XE-NONE keeps things melodic with pop hooks and provide a more uplifting feel than is typical of the grimier world of industrial metal.

DANCE METAL (RAVE)OLUTION is ultimately quite the boring affair. Generic dance metal programmed loops offer a never changing repetitive series of synthesized riffs and beats with the accompanying lackluster vocal effects of EvilAnn and Lexy. The pop hooks are rather blah and the album goes on way too long. EvilAnn’s operatic vocals sound completely out of place and the metal riffs are wimpy. This is really uninspiring in pretty much every possible way. This isn’t really a sub-genre that appeals to me tremendously not because it doesn’t have potential but because it’s performed in such a lackluster way. If you want good trance metal check out Infected Mushroom’s “Legend Of The Black Shawarma” but this one is a big boring blah.


Album · 2018 · Trance Metal
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Kev Rowland
It is a long time I last heard Amaranthe, and the only other album I have in my collection is their 2011 debut, but f our albums into their career, they have apparently racked up north of 118 million YouTube views, half a billion song streams, are the three-time holder of BillBoard Heatseekers Chart #1 position and possess a panoply of Gold discs for albums and singles alike. I can only think that the other releases contain far more emotion than this one, which manages to be heavy and sanitised all at the same time. They are mixing symphonic with techno, strong female vocals with death growls and male rock, and it all comes across as rather bland and clinical.

I get the impression there are some good songs in here waiting to burst out, but the album has been layered, polished and honed so that any soul is long gone, driven out from the pressure of yet another run through the mixing desk and further tweaks. Some of the songs are incredibly catchy, such as “Countdown” which has Avril Lavigne-style hit single written all over it, but I would love to hear this album with the guys just performing it from start to finish, with a sympathetic ear at the sound desk. It would be far different to something that shows promise but eventually fails under the weight of all the varnish.

METALITE Heroes in Time

Album · 2017 · Trance Metal
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What would it sound like if Amaranthe decided to ditch all their male vocals and let Elize Ryd perform all vocal lines on her own? Well, you’d probably get something that sounds a bit like Heroes in Time, the debut from Swedish melodic metal band Metalite. Obviously, the aforementioned band has become a big success over the years, taking metal in a much more accessible direction, so it makes sense that many other bands would follow suit, and Metalite is the latest such band to try their hand at a very melodic and accessible brand of melodic metal, while still maintaining enough heaviness to avoid having their music fall too far into pop territory. With the obligatory comparison out of the way, though, I must say Heroes in Time is an excellent debut, which at times feels somewhat familiar, but still, does enough to stand on its own and proves to be a worthy new contender in the melodic metal playing field.

Metalite was formed by guitarist Edwin Premberg, and his guitar work is very impressive at times, with some hard-hitting riffs and some truly fantastic melodic guitar solos. At the same time, though, despite not having a keyboardist listed in their lineup, this album has plenty of very modern sounding keys, and in fact the keys often dominate many of the tracks, giving the music a very trance-like feel at times, which is part of what makes the music so accessible and so catchy. There’s certainly a ton of digital effects used on the keys here as well, and it all sounds very good. Compared to similar bands, I’d say the music on this album maintains the catchiness you’d expect from Amaranthe, while also having strong power metal elements at times, like Temperance and Dynazty on their last couple of albums, though the songwriting never quite gets as inventive or as challenging as either of those bands can be at their best. Which isn’t to say the songs are bad, though, far from it. In fact, the songwriting is very consistent across the board, with every song being excellent and there is a decent amount of variety, though most songs are very upbeat, very melodic, simple and extremely catchy.

If you’re going to be making an album as centered around catchy vocal lines as this album is, you need to have a capable vocalist, and thankfully Emma Bensing proves herself to be very good on this album. She has a very light voice that’s very much suited to this style of music, often staying in midrange and singing very calmly in a way that allows the melodies to shine through well, though there are times where she starts pushing for higher notes and singing with more power and emotion, and those points are the highlights of the album, as she always hits every note perfectly without anything sounding forced or strained. In fact, the only advice Id give her is to maybe push herself a bit more often, as she definitely sounds more powerful on some tracks than on others, and on the songs where she sounds more fully invested, she sounds amazing.

Moving onto the songwriting, and the album gets off an excellent start right out of the gate. Opener “Afterlife” is a perfect choice for the lead single, as it’s a very fast-paced, accessible track which has just a bit of heaviness to it, while also being very melodic and having an insanely catchy and memorable chorus. Emma sounds a bit more restrained on this track than on others, but she still does a great job, especially towards the end of the song. Moving on, “Purpose of Life” is a lighter, more mid-paced track, with the keys leading the way right from the start, with a very trance-like feel, and it’s another very catchy track, with occasional bursts of speed to help make it even better. Next is “Nightmare”, another very radio friendly track, where the keys again lead the way, though it moves a very fast pace like the opening track, and is the first song where I think Emma really shines, as she pushes for higher notes during the chorus, and generally seems to be very invested in this track. The last run through the chorus is especially fantastic, and the guitar solo near the end of the track is also very impressive.

From here, many of the tracks fall into a similar pattern, being very speedy throughout, with some heavy riffs at times, that often give way to the modern sounding keys, and the band manages to strike a good balance between being accessible and catchy, while still having a slight metal edge at all times. This continues with “The Hunter”, which has some power metal elements but also has some very pop influenced vocal lines at times. Another speedier track is“Power of Metal”, which definitely could have the “of” in its name removed and still be an accurate name, though it’s a very modernized form of the genre, of course, and is another very fun and catchy track, with some great vocals. Other faster-paced tracks include “Over and Done”, which feels very familiar, especially with how the keys sound at times, though it’s yet another very fun and catchy track, with an absolutely beautiful guitar solo that stands as easily the best on the album, “The Light of Orion”, which has an amazing guitar solo as well as excellent chorus, with Emma really shining especially near the end, “Black Horse Rider”, which has some excellent melodic guitar leads as well as some heavier riffs, and is another very power metal influenced track, with an extremely fast and powerful chorus, where Emma sounds very fiery, and lastly we have “The Great Force”, which again has some familiar sounding keys, and is yet another fast-paced track with a fantastic chorus, great guitar work, and some nice modern sounding keys.

On the slower side, the title track is the most trance influenced track on the album, with the band really going into overdrive with all the keyboard effects, especially during the intro and the instrumental section in the middle. It’s a fairly slow paced, but ridiculously catchy track where Emma shows off her higher register quite nicely and does a great job during the chorus. My one criticism on this track is more of a minor nitpick, in that I think it’s kinda silly to have lyrics talking about computers in a bad way, with lines like “technology will be our fall”, all while clearly making heavy use of digital effects throughout the track, even more so than on the rest of the album. It’s just a case of the music and lyrics conflicting with each other, I think, but it definitely sounds great, so at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Lastly, we have “In the Middle of the Night”, the lone ballad on the album, which is again very keyboard drove and it serves an excellent showcase for Emma’s vocals, as her voice is very low and calm in the early parts of the track, but she gradually goes higher and sounds more emotional as the track progresses, with the final run through the chorus being absolutely stunning. There’s also an amazing, very emotional sounding guitar solo in the middle, and overall it’s an excellent track which serves as a nice change of pace during the mostly very speedy second half of the album.

Overall, Heroes in Time is an excellent debut, which continues the trend of modern melodic metal that strikes a balance between being very accessible and catchy, with a heavy use of keyboards and some very accessible vocals, while still having enough of an edge to appeal to metal fans, especially power metal fans on many of the tracks. I think there’s room for the band to maybe to push things a bit further with some more complex or more surprising songwriting, but everything that’s here works great and I definitely think Metalite is a band to watch out for. Highly recommended for any fan of melodic metal.

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