Fraise - Hellicornia 2004 Indy Release - Reviewed by EC
1. Hellicornia 2. Set Us Free 3. Fight With Fire 4. Ice Cold 5. Saratoga 6. July 7. Profile Of The Day 8. Rise Again 9. Kings And Queens 10. X9
Fraise are a sensational metal act that hail from Sweden. "Hellicornia" marks the band's debut album, independently released and destined to land the band a decent contract, this young group of musicians seem hell-bent and determined to provide quality, well thought-out classic metal with a huge emphasis on melody. One can only think of German bands like Gamma Ray, Reactor, Heaven's Gate, and the mighty Helloween when comparing Fraise's sound to the other metal "gods" that populate the global spectrum, with this band also borrowing some ties-that-bind from other Swedish power acts such as Nocturnal Rites and even Hammerfall's catchy chorus rings.
Every song here delivers great, catchy riffs that really appeal to my power-metal soul, with Fraise sounding fresh and traditional, sticking to the genre's important ingredients, with great vocal harmony, wonderful melody, and strategic, well placed riffage that seems to fuel the band's fire to create epic songs. "Hellicornia" comes full throttle, opening the gates with scorcher "Set Us Free", a great romp through Helloween's green pastures, with vocalist Jesper Max straying from the tired sounds of Kiske clones, instead having his own identiy that really doesn't compare to anyone out there.
Tracks like "Fight Fire With Fire" showcase a great passion for power guitar playing, with Anders Karlsson playing full scale, obviously inspired by guys like Gary Moore. "Fight Fire With Fire" could be a more metallic vision of Angel Dust, even displaying some early-era Brainstorm moments. "Ice Cold" runs rampant, moving up and down the Running Wild discography, with plenty of big, over the top galloping. Other treasures here: "Saratoga" with its soaring solo that is nothing short of breathtaking, the Sabbathy "Profile Of The Day", and the gloomy Grave Digger like ballad "July".
This is probably one of the finest indy-released albums I've heard for quite some time, with Fraise offering a veteran approach to songwriting and craftmanship, and a true-metal passion for this business. I predict huge things for these guys. Limb, SPV, Nuclear Blast, and Remedy....sign these guys and give us some better production!
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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