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Released: 2005, Independent
I’m a little late in reviewing this one, as it came out in February of 2005, but better late than never, right? Anyway, Fraise is a new band out of the ever-plentiful Swedish metal underground, formed in 2002 by various seasoned metal dogs wanting to play…wait for it…traditional metal with a heavy 80’s influence! When it comes to this style, I for one say the more the merrier, so let’s dive in and see if Fraise is a worthwhile addition to this burgeoning “retro” style.
Skipping past the ambient, chanting title track, we are met with the speedy gallop of “Set Us Free” which immediately reminds me of Made of Iron (doing 1979-era Iron Maiden) and any number of unsung German metal warriors from 1985. Jesper Max’s melodic but gruff vocals shine here (and throughout the album) and the band pounds it out like they’ve got something to prove – an excellent start. “Fight Fire With Fire” is the chugging sing-along track of the album, with a chorus that jams itself inside your head. “Ice Cold” heavies things up a bit, with a fairly vicious chorus leading into yet another melodic chorus, not to mention a very airy bridge leading to an excellent solo by Anders Karlsson.
Up next is the gem of the album for me – “Saratoga”. Almost power metal in its double bass abuse and melodic leads, the song just slays immediately, finishing the kill with an absolutely addictive chorus. Karlsson’s soloing shines again on this song, as do Max’s powerful vocals. “July” is the obligatory ballad of the album –decent but not earth shattering. “Profile of the Day” is more of the same up-tempo metal, but is a little too poppy with the vocals and guitars doing that duel ascending thing during the chorus. “Rise Again” and “Kings and Queens” continue in the same vein as the earlier material, before the album finishes up with a piano outro.
I usually don’t do track-by-track reviews of an album, but I like just about every friggin’ song on here and I can help but gush over exciting new bands. Fraise is an excellent new band and I look forward to hearing more from them in the near future. One question though. What the hell is a Hellicornia?
2) Set Us Free
3) Fight With Fire
4) Ice Cold
7) Profile of the Day
8) Rise Again
9) Kings and Queens
Patrick Fransson: Drums
Simon Lindholm: Bass
Hakan Ivarsson: Keyboards
Anders Karlsson: Guitars
Jesper Max: Vocals
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