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You Enter The World Of Grimbor The Great! - 100%

Basilisk, October 16th, 2009

I always find it irksome when bands that are popular and famous can’t hold a candle to virtually unknown acts such as Freternia. Despite the (unfortunate) fact that they’ve long since split up, Freternia (and this album in particular) provides some of the best power metal I’ve ever heard.

The album shreds along at quite a fast pace, its songs are powerful and catchy. Not in a flowery, pop sort of way, but in a striking, memorable manner. With blasting drums, rumbling guitar, and a tasteful inclusion of strings a la keyboard, Freternia throw the book of mainstream power-metal out the window and replace it with something that is sharper, harder, and shriller but still heroically epic.

The vocals are unique. Humppi can hit all the high notes, but without sounding at all like a chick. Amazing. Alongside his shrill, barking voice there is often a chorus of male vocals bolstering an epic backdrop, and sometimes a low croaking voice that sounds like some evil wizard. Ha, seriously, Freternia’s music can spark your imagination and send you off to another world of head-banging brilliance.

This is “A Nightmare Story,” Freternia’s second and final album. There is not a single mediocre song on it. I can’t even pick favourites. Their first album, “Warchants and Fairytales” is also a very solid album with some great anthems, but I prefer “A Nightmare Story.” It’s tighter, more polished, and more fully developed. Check it out. You can’t go wrong with this band.

*note: apparently Freternia have recently rejoined. I wasn't aware of this when writing this review.

Awesome crunchy power metal - 94%

Aeturnus65, May 17th, 2005

Freternia play a rather speedy and crunchy brand of power metal that's a little different from traditional "happy" power metal. For starters, the singer, Pasi Humppi, has a pretty unique voice - it's definitely higher-pitched, but not like the usual high-pitched wailer. Actually, it's more like a cross between high-pitched singing and a scream. Once in a while he wanders a bit out of his range so the vocals sound rather strained, but for the most part he is superb. I've seen some reviewers criticize his vocal delivery, and I can see why - it can be argued that he's one of those love him/hate him vocalists. Personally, I love him. Some songs feature vocal tradeoffs between Humppi and guitarist Tomas Wäppling, whose voice is much deeper and "heroic", perhaps something like you'd find in a Hammerfall chorus. This is especially prevalent on "The Dark Side", a song which just may be the best on the album, though "Arrival" is excellent as well.

The music is essentially your standard speedy power metal, featuring crunchy riffs and solid drumming replete with plenty of double bass work, though it's not overdone like on some albums in this genre. The production, as Skyklad noted, could have been beefed up a little bit, though I've certainly heard worse. If you've heard Zonata's Buried Alive or Axenstar's Perpetual Twilight then you know how this album sounds - the productions on each sound almost exactly the same. Seeing as how all were recorded at Studio Underground circa 2002 this is somewhat understandable. The record is a concept album concerning some fantasy realm of Grimbor and our hero's attempt to destroy the Evil One - nothing special, but still decent fantasy mumbo jumbo altogether. If you're really interested in the story each song in the lyrics booklet has a small intro explaining its significance.

It's a shame that Freternia have apparently broken up. The two albums they made were both incredible power metal records, unique and good enough to stand out in the crowded scene. Fans of this band are advised to check out Pasi's other band Ironware, another solid power metal band in the same vein. Also, some former Freternia members (including Pasi and Tomas) have formed a new project called Cromonic (www.cromonic.com), and Pasi is slated to sing in another aggressive power/thrash band called Ablaze (www.ablazeonline.com). Both have some samples available online, so check them out if you enjoy this stuff.