Released: 2013, Cruz del Sur Music
Freedoms Reign is a Connecticut based band with connections to Fates Warning. Freedoms Reign features the return of former Fates Warning guitarist, Victor Arduini, who played on the band’s first two albums NIGHT ON BRÖCKEN and THE SPECTRE WITHIN. Founded in 2011, Arduini’s only aspiration according to the promotional material was to make good, “Old School Metal that would be relevant in today's scene.” Mission accomplished. The return of Arduini to making music has Fates Warning fans of the bands first era extremely excited, having enjoyed an Arch/Matheos collaboration and new OSI album all within the last two years. FREEDOMS REIGN is the bands second album, following-up on the debut RELEASE from 2011. The band recently signed with Cruze Del Sur Music, a label that has often given album opportunities to criminally overlooked and talented underground metal bands, like Twisted Tower Dire for instance.
Stylistically, Freedoms Reign resembles early Fates in only a superficial way. The music leans more towards stoner metal, with some classic metal riffing and chugs combined with the bands own professed love of grunge. Arduini handles vocal duties, and it his timbre and style that firmly move this towards stoner metal, Victor being not far removed from Ozzy’s eccentric delivery. Arduini’s vocals are not great, but they are distinctive and fit the band’s style of music. Opening track “Ritual” definitely has an old Fates Warning vibe with a nice mid-paced chug until the vocal hearkens back to old Black Sabbath. “Believe” is the first single from the album that was released early to the public and it is a fairly up tempo track, built on a simple but effective riff and structure. “Up From Down” is another worthy track, with a Warrior Soul inspired opening riff before embracing an almost pure stoner ethic come verse and chorus. For the most part, all nine tracks follow a mid-paced tempo characterized by economical solos and uncomplicated rhythms. Album closer “Looking Around” is the one track that adds extra variety with clean arpeggios added for color and texture.
FREEDOMS REIGN is delivered with a more than satisfactory production, balanced but with some emphasis on the heavy sound of the guitars. Songs do eventually begin to sound similar by the end of the album, and a little extra variety or faster numbers would have helped broaden the scope of the album. Still, there are few reasons to complain, as Freedoms Reign is an enjoyable and straight-forward metal album, made by and for old metal heads. Impressively, the band has managed to blend stoner metal, traditional metal, and even at times grunge, into a blend that somehow works while foregoing flash or technical flourish. Fans that appreciate meat and potatoes traditional metal served without garnish and designed to satisfy will certainly want to check out FREEDOMS REIGN.