FREEDOMS REIGN is the new band of FATES WARNING guitarist/founding member Victor Arduini, who is said to be making his comeback into the world of Metal since FATES WARNING’s album “The Spectre Within” (1985). The idea behind FREEDOMS REIGN is to make American-styled Heavy Metal with a touch of OZZY/BLACK SABBATH. With the help of Mike Jones (bass), Chris Judge (drums) and Tom Vumback (guitar), Victor is ready to present the band’s new material, the self-titled album, to the world.
“Freedoms Reign” was released in April-May 2013 via Cruz Del Sur Music, home to several Heavy and Doom Metal bands. The album contains nine tracks with a total playtime of at good 45 minutes. “Ritual” begins in a direct fashion, but sounds like a starting engine, in a way. The screamy guitar could then be considered the acceleration pedal. The real take off is a little later, offering solid Heavy Metal with the aforementioned Doom(y) touch. Clean vocals go well with the heaviness, and are harmonized in the bridge. The song is of course guitar-driven, as pure as it gets. Over halfway there’s a break. Ready. Set. Go! Sounds a bit like BUDGIE’s “Breadfan” or similar. And so the band races towards the end of the song, with instrumental talk dominating.
“Shadows Of Doubt” has a nice riff to begin with. Quality Metal kicks in soon enough, with a good dose of catchiness. Victor’s singing is a bit fiercer and more passionate here, which is good, as the riffs are also more vicious. The solo breaks the song in two. Like before, there’s a rhythmic, ballsy bridge, this time with contrasting vocals. The song takes a different direction before returning to business. “Brother” is another powerful track, though it starts in bursts. As it can flow freely, the epicness is released. While the verses are rather light, the full force lies in the chorus. It’s a straight-forward song, also with the solo put over halfway.
The guitar starts “Believe” and something has got to give. So it does: uptempo Power Metal is unleashed! Power, ferocity, balls and drive! This song has it all. Also, lots of room for instrumental talk. Time then for the Doom influence to come through: “Up From Down”. This song starts with the bass, sounds more modest than before. And then it’s Doom/Heavy Metal time with a melodic chorus. I found “To Be” less attractive. It’s a simple, more Rock-oriented song. Not too fast either. The vocals are responsible for the melodic aspect of the song.
Metal is brought back into play in “No Excuses”, with room for a more Bluesy approach. This song also stands out for its change in rhythm and grooves. Another less attractive, but certainly not bad, song is “Long Way”. This is a darker, slower song, yet with room for solos. Last but not least, “Looking Around”. This one adds an acoustic touch to the album. Its atmospheric, mysterious intro soon is replaced by full-on electric power, which delivers midtempo, ballsy Metal. Think e.g. MANOWAR. A fierce solo piece is the peak of the music. Afterwards the atmospheric, slow playing returns.
For not having played Metal for so long – or has he? – Victor Arduini shows he’s still very much capable of making great music (Metal in this case). His vocal abilities, which were unknown to me, are also worth mentioning. The songs on this self-titled debut album may sound 80’s in style, but the band opted for a more modern production with the proper feel and atmosphere held intact. Meaning, it doesn’t sound like the majority of contemporary releases, i.e. plastic. Anyone seeking old school Metal, FREEDOMS REIGN is a band to reckon with, as they released one of the best albums this year.
- Shadows Of Doubt
- Up From Down
- To Be
- No Excuses
- Long Way
- Looking Around
Victor Arduini – vocals, guitar
Tom Vumback – guitar
Mike Jones – bass
Chris Judge – drums