Freternia – The Final Stand (Rock of Angels Records)Wednesday, 16th November 2022
First awareness for Swedish power metal act Freternia to this scribe came back in 2002, when their second album A Nightmare Story came out on Spanish label Arise Records. Seemingly falling off the radar, they only released an EP in 2009 Age of War independently before signing to Rock of Angels Records and releasing their third album The Gathering a decade later. Which brings up to speed as The Final Stand unleashes another addictive, uplifting brand of melodic power metal to the hordes globally that live for this style.
The combination of influences across German, Italian, and domestic Swedish territories captures a sound that can be potent, majestic, grandiose – yet full of the requisite rhythm might, choir support, plus interesting transitions/tempo changes that keep ears pinned for the next jaw-dropping moment to savor. The adept double kick mechanics as well as hard charging guitars make “Endless Fight” an instant appealer, while the follow-up “Shapeshifter” lives up to its title, positive vocal harmonies beyond the Sabaton-esque keyboards and heartwarming mid-tempo transition sure to make it a future live set highlight. In many spots you sense an affinity for Freedom Call or Blind Guardian – then at other spots, Rhapsody (of Fire) or Nocturnal Rites may come into focus, often changing atmosphere or moods within the same arrangement. Even at speedier BPM’s, the performances possess adequate distinctive markers that distinguish the textures song to song – allowing “The Tower” to be a back half standout, while the marching nature caps off through “The Final Stand” finale. The sustaining mid-range to higher note delivery from Pasi Humppi contains all the key ingredients for the ideal power metal singer: proper phrasing, personal inflection, when to reach to the sky or be more sinister – as “Dark and the Light” sets the tone right of the gate to galvanize all listeners through these ten songs.
Experienced cover artist Felipe Machado Franco (Iron Savior, Rhapsody of Fire) paints creatures/warriors in battle to obliterate your visual senses as easily as Freternia achieves on the music front. The Final Stand is another fine example of power metal’s transformative abilities to escape reality – channeling stressors or negative thoughts into a positive, satisfying outcome.