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Fraise – The Fifth Sun

Fraise
The Fifth Sun
by Rachel Montgomery at 30 July 2020, 3:50 PM

FRAISE is a Swedish heavy metal band forged in 2002 by drummer Patrick Frannson. Frannson is the main composer for the band, and after several lineup changes, he brings us Fraise’s fifth studio album, “The Fifth Sun.” Frannson went for a raw, but powerful sound with this album, which he got in spades. While it’s not the most memorable album in the world, it’s worthy of a listen for fans of traditional power metal.

Honestly, the start isn’t great. The opening song, “Opusalus Consentum” is an intro of frenzied violins that reminds me of a circus act or an anime. Most likely the latter, as the second track opens with high-powered, very electric guitars like an anime theme song. The instrumentals are interesting, albeit with a percussion that sounds like maraca in the background with a static sound in the album production. The third song is nearly indistinguishable from the second.
The middle of the album brings us some great material, though. The instrumental opening of “Twin Of My Soul” is inspired and the vocal chorus is uplifting. This is some of the best vocal work on the album, where the singer is clear and project slush, operatic notes. The guitar solo rings. While the rest of the instrumental break isn’t full orchestra, it achieves the same feel. It’s one of the best songs on the album and deserves a listen.

In The Dead Of The Night” begins with a rattling, intense guitar and jumps in from there. This song and the last one has a smoother, soaring effect that I’m finally beginning to get into. The guitar solo is powerful, featuring sweeps and long, piercing notes that capture your attention. Again, the band makes it sound symphonic without using orchestration, which is impressive. “Lust For Life” begins in a way that feels like it picks up where the last song left off. It has clear thrash elements through the song. It also sounds like a video game soundtrack, especially the squealing guitars. I’m not a fan of the singing here. The high-pitched chorus sounds strained. It’s something that a lot of singers need work on despite how much experience they may have. The guitar solo is deliciously frenzied, though. “Meditation” has an opening that builds up, which I like after two songs that just dive in. I enjoy the distinct harmonies in the opening, and the more operatic, drawn-out notes in the vocal melody.

The album closes with a trilogy of songs. “In The End” is the final whole song on the album. It has a grittier edge than most of the songs on the album. Its intro is long, but features enough variety in the instrumentals to keep it interesting. “Farewell” is the final lyric song on the album and features the vocalist solely accompanied by a piano. “To Be” which is a slow-starting song. It picks up quickly into a rolling drum line and a lyrical guitar riff. The instrumental that plays us out really makes use of the high-pitched guitar melody to weave a solid song. It’s interesting that the final two songs divide themselves into the vocals and the instruments. It’s a good thematic choice, showing that the show goes on after the singer ceases.

Overall, the vocals are mainly solid, but can be a miss on a few tracks. The instrumentation is on point, though I’m not a fan of the wa-wa 80s style guitars. It’s an energized album throughout that uses good music technique. Thematically, it comes together as the album goes on. It starts pretty standard, though and takes a few songs to get into the groove. If you like 80s power metal, and want the symphonic power without hearing a full orchestra behind it, check this one out.

Songwriting: 8
Production: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 5

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Opusalus Consentum
2. Wake Up Shining
3. Be One Of Us
4. Twin Of My Soul
5. In The Dead Of The Night
6. Lust For Life
7. Meditation
8. Sintasia
9. In the End
10. Farewell
11. To Be
Lineup:
Staffan Ericson - Vocals
Fredrik Flakerstedt - Guitars
Simon Lindholm - Bass
Patrick Frannson – Drums
Record Label: La Production/Distrosong
     


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