Farewell To Freeway

Only Time Will Tell

Written by: BL on 16/06/2009 14:06:56

Ontario, Canada's Farewell To Freeway play a very metallic style of melodic hardcore, throw in a slight progressive element with some rather faint keyboard layering and you have their latest album. I mildly enjoyed (as I do with a lot of things these days) their last album "Definitions", however it was quite simplistic in delivery and was hardly ambitious since it dwelled firmly in familiar melodic hardcore territory. With only a year in gap between these 2 records I would be intrigued whether there would be any substantial progression. How appropriate will it be that this new record is also called "Only Time Will Tell"?

Production-wise the original was already solid enough, and suffice to say at least the band haven't taken a step backwards. The tone is still clear and crisp, the bass neatly tucked underneath the guitars and drums, with the only difference I can perceive being that the keyboards have been given a bit more volume, allowing things to sound more expansive. It kind of says something about their last record when I didn't know they had a dedicated keyboardist, but you will definitely notice her this time around. Michele Walter's keyboard lines often add some nice ambiance to the track, such as the somber and haunting line in the intro of "The Last Thing I'll Ever Say" or similar again on "Here As One".

The brand of melodic hardcore these guys play is very close to that of another band called It Prevails: metallic and visceral double bass-driven open string riffing staccato'd by various harmonised chords, while ontop you'll often find some tasteful and well thought out melodic passages, often of the ringing variety. They've also been able to experiment a bit more with dissonance this time around, introducing it sparsely into various places (most prominently on the second track) resulting in somewhat more complicated song structures. But their strength lies with their melodies and I need not to tell you any more other than to check out the beautiful instrumental track "Waking The Giant". Driven by a great tapped lead, it finds a perfect balance of steadily increasing the backdrop of distorted guitars to create a thick wall of sound before finally ending on a soothing piano finish.

Instrumentally the band is sound in virtually all other areas: the drumming is busy with various fills and base pedals never missing a rhythm guitar note it seems, while the bass is fairly pedestrian as usual. Elsewhere the harmonised clean vocals by guitarist Chris and drummer Richie are still just as competent as they were last time, supposedly Michele also provides additional backing vocals but I couldn't make out her voice. The harsh vocals from bassist Adam remind me of a slightly weaker version of Karl's from Misery Signals, as in deep but quite monotonous. Fortunately the clean vocals definitely liven things up a little if the growling gets a bit dull.

My biggest problem at the moment is that it takes a while for the songs to register as being totally unique (the instrumentals aside), since most of them share similar qualities, and as such the listening experience tends to become a bit of a blur. Also they seemed to have been restricted by the genre like a lot of metalcore in this vein, the songs tend to be all similar paced down the middle. Things hardly ever seem to come any quicker and it wouldn't have hurt to have written a few more faster tracks. This a superior record in most ways to "Definitions", however they are still in the shadow of bands like Misery Signals. Keeping in mind there are plenty of sound-a-like peers like It Prevails, Means or Life In Your Way; it becomes an issue for these guys to stand out amongst the crowd.

6

Download: Smoke Signals, When We Hit The Ground, Waking The Giant
For the fans of: Misery Signals, It Prevails, Means
Listen: Myspace

Release date 14.04.2009
Victory Records

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