ROAR! Rock of Angels Records
Hard to believe 17 years have passed since melodic power metallers Freternia released new music. But on The Gathering, the Swedish sextet demonstrates the band has not lost the energy that put the group on the map – however briefly – before the turn of this century. Filled with dominant guitar riffs, blazing solos, lightning fast drumming and Pasi Humppi’s impressive vocal range, The Gathering contains power metal elements in the vein of Stratovarius and Seven Thorns.
Lyrically, songs from The Gathering walk the lines of both fantasy and reality. “Reborn” can be considered Freternia’s mission statement, whereas battles in “The Last Crusade” and “Age of War” might not have taken place on this earth. With a concise, octave-breaking chorus accompanied by group vocals, “In Solitude,” perhaps the apex of the collection, presents essential, dynamic symphonic power metal. Just add a dash of speed.
What enables Freternia to stand out is the succinct use of keyboard-driven symphonic harmonies. The band demonstrates that having a simulated string section need not be relegated to merely supporting the guitars or providing ambiance. Keyboardist Tommie Johansson’s contributions add to the grandiosity of the songs, making a perfect complement for the sometimes otherworldly topics. In some cases the music is elevated from merely good to repeatable. These arrangements typically enhance songs like “Change of Life,” where the added harmonies deliver a dose of emotion leading up to a tempo and octave change at the two-minute mark.
Though The Gathering is only Freternia’s third studio album, the musicians play with all the nuance and confidence of seasoned metal veterans. Hopefully another generation will not pass before Freternia adds to the group’s discography again.
Justin Smulison is a professional content writer and producer whose first love is music. He is thrilled to be writing about metal, rock and jazz on musicinterviewmagazine.com. Smulison’s digital and print copywriting experience spans music, law, true crime, advertising and real estate, among other subjects. You can often find JS in Long Beach, New York – either running on the boardwalk or in the sand with his family.