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Frayle – 1692 Award winner

by Dave Nowels at 22 January 2020, 2:43 PM

Cleveland's FRAYLE will soon be dropping their debut album into the hands of a Heavy Rock/Metal community that constantly expects to see the next best thing. Or at the very least, something creative and imaginative. FRAYLE manages to accomplish all that and more with “1692”. The album streets on Valentine's Day, February 14th on Aqualamb Records and shows a band willing to not only boldly explore the boundaries of what is Heavy Music, but also just what it could be. In this case, the best way to describe it would be, lullabies over a smoldering bed of chaos.

FRAYLE's music is low, heavy, witchy doom. At their core, the band is are Sean Bilovecky on guitars and the seductively haunting voice of Gwen Strang. Completing the ensemble are the rhythms of Eric Myzic and Pat Ginley on bass and drums respectively, as well as Elliot Rosen's anchoring rhythm guitar. A band that's a sum of their influences, FRAYLE seize the ferociousness of bands like SLEEP and KYUSS and blend it with the sultry ethereal fragility of dream pop icons PORTISHEAD, MASSIVE ATTACK and Chelsea Wolfe. The resulting juxtapose of sound captured within is nothing short of brilliant. This is an album that deserves to be listened to as a complete piece rather than individual tracks. The latter seems disrespectful somehow considering the attention to every nuance and detail FRAYLE have done with “1692”. That said, my go-to track would be “Darker Than Black”

Musically, Bilovecky drives the vehicle here. His playing is both forceful and subtle. Direct but restrained. Indeed, it really does feel like Bilovecky's riffs are living, breathing entities. They're powerful and dangerous, and just barely contained. These riffs are substantial and meaningful. Yet the atmosphere here is equally potent. Sultry, and spooky, the vocals of Gwen Strang counter the heaviness like an unexpected hypnosis. Lyrically, Strang embraces an arcane-like tale of emotions. Anger, heartbreak, resolution and more enrich these songs drawing the listener's attention to even the slightest breath or whisper. Bilvovecy and Strang, together, and with the contributions of Myzic, Ginley and Rosen, as well as a dreamlike layered production, FRAYLE have at the worst, Best Debut of 2020, but quite possibly the Best Album of 2020. It's my early frontrunner.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Introduction (Arise)
2. 1692
3. Gods of No Faith
4. Monsters
5. Darker Than Black
6. Dead Inside
7. Burn
8. Godless
9. If You Stay
10. Stab
Gwen Strang – Voice
Sean Bilovecky – Guitars
Eric Myzic – Bass
Elliot Rosen – Rhythm Guitar
Pat Ginley - Drums
Record Label: Aqualamb Records


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Edited 31 May 2023

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