Written by: Valkyrjia
Release Date: March 18th, 2022
Sci-fi Power Metal from Surrey, UK
FFO: Alestorm, Sabaton, and Gloryhammer
What do you get when you mix Aliens, Metal, and a bit of booze to boot? You get ProbeNation and their debut EP “Invasion”! The Surrey, UK-based band is derived of complex sounds and inspirations ranging in Sci-fi, Metal, and beyond. Their unique sound combines uncommon instruments to amplify their space-like, or Sci-fi sound, such as with the use of the Theremin – an electronic musical instrument that is controlled without physical contact. Sounds Sci-fi enough doesn’t it?
ProbeNation founder, Ronnie Wilson, has worked with members of Alestorm and Rumahoy, in the past, which gave the band a healthy understanding of the foundations required to become successful in the genre. Released on March 18th, 2022 their EP – Invasion features a mix of spine-shattering power metal, and otherworldly sound, that is stacked with ‘fun’ metal and lyrics which makes their performances an experience that you’ll easily find yourself singing, dancing, and laughing along with.
The first single off the album is titled “Space Raiders” and has the campy, Gloryhammer influence from the very beginning. The high up vocals, and speedy drums start our space adventure on the right foot, sending us soaring through the galaxy ready and willing to explore. The chorus is easy to catch and find yourself singing along with as the band chimes “Space Raiders”, and you instinctively find yourself answering with “we have come from a distant galaxy”! The Power Metal foundation is hammered along with killer riffs and the hastened drumming, mixed with the eerie sounds of the theremin that create the space-like theme that ProbeNation takes up.
“Invasion” follows up with banging drums and haunting space melodies that echo out on untouched theremin tune. It’s hard to dislike a song that includes lasers, and their little background ‘pew pew’ that echo in this song. It’s fast-paced Power Metal with a tone that gives you headbanging power and the perfect lines to sing along with – “inferior beings, they cannot survive against our attack, and our forces of might!” And with a killer solo added in, this song flies through the atmosphere at light speed.
“Extraterrestrial Heart” slows us down by a few beats, still utilizing haunting melodies and ghostly sound to keep its unearthly atmosphere in the stars. It’s not the love ballad you expect but, the consensual love between an Alien and a Human Female? Oh, you’re in for a treat. “A life spent with her until time meets its dawn,” is not a line you’d find in such a fun, light-hearted song about Alien love and yet, it comes through as deep, and emotionally provocative. The lyrics come from an Alien, trying to make sense of his feelings, and what’s happening to him which gets a few giggles, and even a few tears, making this track an emotional rollercoaster of Space-love.
If you thought we were not going to hear a song about booze, you were wrong. “Alcohol Abduction” brings in the Alestorm vibes with lyrical bounces and a steady pace that really gets you moving. My favourite line goes to “we’re fueled by beer with a slice of lime,” that’s followed by “whiskey, rum, and vodka too,” that really works on the “we are here to drink your beer,” line as sung by Alestorm on their track, ‘Drink’. One of my favourites from the album, this song has ‘fun metal’ at its core that’s easy to sing along with.
The final track is “Probe Nation” that starts on an ethereal level. Theremin sound is amplified before being echoed by powerful chords and drums to build the star-gazing atmosphere that this track emits. Vocals remain steady and high as this track boasts lyrics about Alien knowledge, and what they strive to learn from other species. Of course, something so magical in introduction can’t be outdone by the fun of this band as the line, “Why wait to learn? Begin the probe insertion,” drops in the chorus. If you didn’t giggle-snort, you’re lying. While this track keeps its heart steadfast, the lyrics get some laughs. A vicious metal growl drops in just before the 4-minute mark to further intensify this strange track and add depth. If you thought that the lines about probing were in relation to something less explicit, give your head a shake, because you know, deep down, what those harsh vocals were belting out.
The Bottom Line:
This 5-track EP is a space-soaring adventure through the stars with light-hearted themes about drunk Aliens, star-crossed lovers, and yes, probing! It’s fun and filled with Power Metal vibes that make it easy to sing and dance to. I love the theremin usage throughout that really puts ProbeNation a step above others in the genre, giving them a complex and unique sound that makes them stand out. If you love Power Metal as much as I do, even if you’re not a big fan of Space’s unknowns, you’ll absolutely love this EP.
Favourite tracks: Space Raiders, and Extraterrestrial Heart.