Reviewed: February 2003
Released: 2002, Arise Records
Since you last read a Freternia review here at Metal Rules, the band has been through a lot of changes: breakup, reformation, line-up changes, an appearance at Sweden Rock 2002, a new album, etc. The bands previous album, WARCHANTS & FAIRYTALES, was released back in 2000 on the now defunct Swedish label Loud & Proud records. With A NIGHTMARE STORY the band has progressed since that album and has delivered a stronger album with better songs and better vocal melodies.
The style of metal that I would call Freternia (the band or every listener might have their own interpretation) is aggressive power metal. When you think of aggressive, speedy, power metal from Sweden, what bands come to mind? Maybe Lost Horizon, maybe Nocturnal Rites? Well if that came to mind, you are in the right ballpark but Freternia are often heavier and the vocals are more intense with much more lung busting screaming. If you are familiar with Edguy, then the song “Nailed To The Wheel\” might stand out to you since it\’s the heaviest on their most recent album (MANDRAKE). Part of that song reminds me of the feel musically and vocally here. A few years back Freternia were on a split CD with Sweden\’s Persuader. The pairing was by no means random, as the bands do share common ground without sounding alike.
\”Grimbor the Great\” opens the album in fine double kicking form. There is some great soloing from non-member/guest soloist Thomas Eriksson. The song has a very cool ending with a nice melody line. On “Arrival” we are presented with near thrash like riffing during the solo. “The Dark Side” features a group chorus that is very catchy and memorable while still retaining lots of balls! There are many other of these deep group/gang vocals in other songs, but the chorus on this one is the stand out to me. Clearly one of the main strengths of the band is vocalist Pasi Humppi. His vocal lines are not typical and the melodies he weaves around the riffs are excellent. One stand out track for this is “The Unexpected.” In the song “New Hope” at 2:10 there is King Diamond riffing section for a few bars (reminded me of the \”Grandma, welcome home\” part on THEM). Vocalist, Pasi Humppi, also hits one of his higher notes after that section! Was this deliberate to help drive home the King Diamond reference? Perhaps unconscious? Either way – godly! On the albums last track, “Requiem” Pasi sounds a little like vocal god Sebastian Bach! Great stuff!!! For those who like concept albums that tell a story, then this album also fits that bill with the tale that begins by entering the seemingly dream world of Grimbor The Great. I like the storyline and I’ll leave it to those of you who buy the CD to read the lyrics and liner notes for each song.
If you are a fan of the bands I mentioned in the above review or if you like balls to the wall aggressive power metal, than you absolutely have to give Freternia a listen!
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