Freeways hail from Brampton, a city located in the Greater Toronto Area in Canada. They consist of Domenic Innocente – Guitar, Sebastian Alcamo – Drums, Jacob Montgomery – Guitar & Vocals and Amar Amrith on Bass.
The band featured on the excellent Trapped Under Ice Vol 1 compilation which included Spell, who I reviewed recently, as well as several other up and coming Canadian Metal bands. The compilation was released by the band’s label Temple Of Mystery Records, a young underground metal label based out of Lac Simon, Quebec, who get extra brownie points from me for releasing Pagan Altar’s most recent effort 2017’s Room of Shadows.
True Bearings is Freeways’ debut full length following up from their Cold Front EP released in 2017. The first thing that caught my eye was the band’s logo, it definitely reminds me of the type of font adopted by mainstream 80’s metal bands while the image of what I assume to be a camper van reminds me of the cover of On Through The Night by Def Leppard, which suggests that the band taps into that tradition of melodic metal. I could imagine this record being cranked by truckers, as well as on family road trips, it has that driving feel to it.
The record starts with Eternal Light, Eternal Night with a crunchy melodic riff that sounds a little akin to Dokken. As much as that may trouble some readers, don’t worry, it’s not cheesy like that band, and embraces a lot more Thin Lizzy, especially in the duel guitar axe attack. Never a terrible thing. I really enjoy Jacob Montgomery’s vocal style and the track is tight with all the fat trimmed off it. Speaking of Thin Lizzy, next up is Sorrow (Was Her Name), which has an Irish hard rock vibe to it, with some Rory Gallagher thrown in for good measure. As with the opener this is super catchy stuff.
If you adore crunchy hard rock, then this will be right up your alley. It’s melodic, catchy and will put a huge smile on your face…
The title track, True Bearings, follows and retains the catchiness while Dead Air starts with a persistent bass line and some Wishbone Ash-esque prog blues simmering along, reminding me of that bands’ most recent effort Coat Of Arms, which I wholeheartedly recommend by the way. Battered Bruised starts off with a similar refrain as the preceding number, with a bassline leading to some truly awesome hard rock/melodic metal riffing. Time Is No Excuse is the longest track on the album and has a very melancholic feel to it, dare I say its possibly the band’s ‘ballad’ and could have been aired on MTV if it came out in the 80’s. It’s a nice change of pace from the crunchy riffing we’ve had so far.
Survival finishes off the record and it starts with a nice chunky blues riff, in one comment I read from the bands Bandcamp page, Praying Mantis and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal were mentioned and this definitely applies, not just to this track but the album as a whole. Other groups you could mention are UFO and Budgie as having had a profound influence on Freeways.
This record is a lot of fun and makes a refreshing change from the usual doomy stoner fare that pretty much occupies most of my listening on a day to day basis. If you adore crunchy hard rock, then this will be right up your alley. It’s melodic, catchy and will put a huge smile on your face and in these times when the media is pumping out fear 24/7, this is needed now more than ever.
Scribed by: Reza Mills