Published by: Rock of Angels Records
Release date: November 18, 2022
Genre: Power Metal
Pasi Humpi – Vocals
Patrik von Porat – Guitars
Tomas Wäppling – Guitars
Nicklas von Porat – Bass
Oskar Lumbojev – Drums
List of tracks:
1. Darkness and Light
2. Elvish Star
3. Endless Fight
5. Eternal Flame
6. Hate Eater
7. The tower
8. Keepers of Time
9. Friends in Enemy Land 2022
10. The Final Battle
No matter how hard I try to keep up with any power metal band I can find, there are always at least a few who manage to slip through the cracks. One of those bands was the Swedish melodic power metal band Freternia, who I had known for a while, but apart from a track or two here and there, I had never really listened to them before. With their fifth and final album The Final Stand on the way, I finally decided to dig deeper into their music recently and really enjoyed what I heard. Now that I’ve had time to listen to this latest version several times, I can say without a doubt that it is by far the best and most engaging the band has ever written!
Stylistically, Freternia can be described as a fairly classic-sounding European power metal band, with an emphasis on melodic guitar work, huge backing vocals and, of course, lots of fun keyboards and symphonic elements, but with a little extra edge, both for rather aggressive riffs and intense vocals. Vocalist Pasi Humppi is unique, falling somewhere between the low, soft, airy voice of Terence Holler of Eldritch and the more wild and lively voice of Tim “Ripper” Owens. It never gets as extreme as the latter, but it does come close at times. It took me a while to get used to his voice, especially on previous albums, although on this album I would say he still sounds great all the way, delivering his strongest voice and the smoothest yet, while providing plenty of power and intensity when needed.
Where I found their previous album, The Gathering, to be surprisingly dark and heavy, often sounding a little thrashy, The Final Stand is far more melodic and vocal-driven. It gets pretty heavy at times, and I’d say as far as Swedish power metal bands go, Freternia falls on the heavier side, of course, but this album never gets too carried away with the heaviness, still delivering some nice keys, epic symphonic arrangements, melodic guitar work or huge choruses before long, to help stay in more classic power metal territory. That being said, there are quite a few points where the music gets heavy in quick bursts, with lots of quick transitions, as well as some tracks, having slightly complicated structures, nothing too progressive, but there are some surprise sections, to serve as a nice change of pace. There’s not a ton of variety in the track, with most of the songs being fast-paced, melodic power metal with a fair amount of symphonic backing. There aren’t any big surprises, but there are quite a few tempo changes on certain tracks, and there are definitely times when a track may not end up going in the direction you originally expected. In terms of performance and sound quality, everything is excellent, the production being excellent, while all the musicians do a great job, some of the heavier guitar riffs in particular being excellent, while the keyboards are largely complementary. , but integrate very well and the symphonic elements are used quite effectively. And as mentioned before, I consider this to be by far the best performance I’ve heard from Pasi Humppi, because he’s still so diverse and intense, but where he was sometimes a bit irritating on previous albums, I still finds great on every track this time around, apart from a very brief section on the title track.
The songwriting is excellent across the board, with a few tracks, in particular, standing out as personal favorites, but there are no less than great tracks on the album as a whole. Kicking off is “Dark and the Light”, a slightly more subdued track than one would expect as a power metal album opener, remaining largely mid-tempo, with a slightly optimistic feeling. The verses have a slight heaviness to the riffs, never going all out, and likewise the verse is upbeat, moving at a marching beat, with an epic power metal feel, but it never fully speeds up. The melodies are pretty great, though, with the chorus, in particular, having a heroic feel, and it’s quite catchy, with Humppi sounding great, while the guitar solo towards the end has a very classic feel, and is great. All in all, it’s a great track, and while it’s not the most explosive opening, it still provides a great start.
Next is “Elvenstar,” which immediately kicks into high gear, with rampant drumming, heavy riffs, and intense vocals. It’s a very fast track, with slow, dark and heavy sections mixed in, building up to a chorus that moves at a breakneck pace, picking up momentum as it goes, with great riffs, voice and words. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album, as well as being a good indicator of what to expect, with brief bursts where it’s heavier than you might expect. of that brand of power metal, before quickly settling back into the kind of melodic style fans would expect. A song that does a great job of alternating between heavy and melodic passages is “Endless Fight”, which has a dark, heavy and even somewhat thrashy main riff, accompanied by some very dark symphonic arrangements, but it also has melodic passages , especially during the verses and getting ready for the chorus, while the chorus itself is great, but slightly understated compared to most of the other tracks here.
My favorite track on the album is “Shapeshifter”, a track that goes through major changes throughout. It starts with some rather playful keyboards, and it’s a fast and very melodic track with a classic power metal feel. The opening verse moves at a fast pace, followed by an epic and super catchy vocal passage, which certainly sounds like a chorus, except it’s not: instead, the track continues with a brief instrumental section, before continuing to build up to the real chorus, which is by far my favorite on the album, making good use of some epic backing vocals, while the lead vocals are full of force and the pace is frantic, while remaining very melodic. It only gets better later, after a brief slowed vocal section, leading to a slightly slower, but more epic passage of the chorus, which gives way to a brief solo section, and then finally to a normal final passage. the chorus. For a track that’s barely 5 minutes long, there’s certainly a lot going on here, and it’s still fantastic throughout, with the backing vocals and solo section, in particular, being the highlights.
Next is “Flame Eternal”, which starts off quite calmly, with a classic heavy metal feel in its early stages, before picking up speed and turning into another very fun track, with frenetic verses, and a bit quieter, but still fast and very melodic. Chorus. The slowest track on the album is “Hate Eater”, a more symphonic heavy metal track, with nice melodic guitar work, light keyboards and a very quiet, but also very melodic and catchy chorus. It’s a rather relaxing change of pace, compared to the more frenetic nature of the rest of the album, and it’s a very nice track on its own.
The next two tracks “The Tower” and “Guardians of Time” are both quite similar to the tracks in the first half, being very fast and melodic, while mixing in a bit of heaviness here and there, especially the last track, which gets pretty intense at dots, while the first has another one of my favorite choruses, with Humppi going all out with some of his craziest, highest notes on the entire album near the end of the track. Both tracks are fantastic. The final fast track on the album is a re-recording of one of their very first songs “Friends in Enemy Land”, which is a very polished version of the track, keeping the classic power metal sound, while refining it to adapt to the current sound of the group. Closing the album is the title track, a more rhythmic track, which maintains an upbeat and heroic feel, much like the opening track, although it is a bit slower and heavier than that track. There are brief passages before the chorus where I find the vocals a bit boring, which is the only case of this on the whole album, but the chorus itself is excellent, very melodic, with a nice use of arrangements symphonic, and it gets more epic as it goes. Overall, it’s probably my least favorite track on the album, but it’s still a really good track, and it closes the album well.
Freternia is a band that I didn’t know very well until now, but I’m glad I ended up taking an interest in them before this release, because not only did I have a lot of fun browsing through their previous releases: The Final Stand has proven to be easily my favorite album to date, and is definitely a must for fans of melodic and classical sound power with a bit of an edge for guitar work and especially vocals, which can get quite intense. Fans of the band will certainly be very pleased with this release, while those looking for a new power metal album to check out would be well advised to give this album a few listens.
Written by: travis green
My overall mind – Personal editor
Travis Green is a Canadian writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest in metal in all its forms.