Some More Home Town Metal

May 26, 2009

 

click to hear songs and watch videos!

click to hear songs and watch videos!

 

 

My earliest memory of Farewell To Freeway was seeing them play behind the school on the lawn near the bleachers during the terry fox run. It was grade ten for me so it must have been 2001 or 2002 or something like that. It’s funny to compare a Freeway show nowadays to Richie singing a Papa Roach cover from his drums back then. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but I always remember the sound at those outdoor school shows like battle of the bands and “infrasonic” sounding better than any regular club. Now that I think about it, it’s probably not nostalgia but rather just a slow deterioration of my hearing.  Anyway, the point I’m driving at here is that Farewell has come a long way and have been together an astounding 8 or 9 years, although changing members around a couple of times. They are, for better or worse the most recognizable or “biggest” Guelph band out there right now. Considering all the horrible bands out there this isn’t a bad one to have representing our city, so I’ve always wished them all the best and really like to see them succeed. They are graduates of Year Of The Sun, under which I thought they did their best work with the “In These Wounds” Album. Since then they took a massive step up to “Victory “Records”, home to metal main stays like Between The Buried And Me, Darkest Hour, Silverstein and others. They’ve put out two releases with victory, the first being “Definitions,” which (without going into it too much) I was not a big fan of to say the least. The second release, which I’m going to go into a bit in the coming paragraphs is called “Only Time Will Tell”. 

First of all, let me just say I like it. Before I say anything potentially negative or positive about it, let it be said that I’m a fan. Itunes says I’ve listened to it 5 times so I must be diggin’ it a bit. Especially compared to definitions which I thought was basically strait pop with some  heavy breakdowns in between. Farewell diversified their sound a bit for this record; sometimes for the better and sometimes for the not so much. But at least their putting in some effort to do some cool stuff. which is much more than most bands can say.

The album starts as predicted though, with the fast fist-pumping metal that gets the metal heads and the scene kids into the show all at once. The strait up vibe gets the heading nodding for sure but, being the snob I am, quickly starts to bore me. The album has a ton of sections like this but unlike a lot of bands in this genre they throw something in when I start to get bored. And how do they do it? Maybe it’s even cliche to talk about anymore… but yes! It’s the breakdown! I rag on bands a lot for abusing the breakdown, and I will rag on Farewell for doing it later on, but personally I really like the breakdowns on the record. “No Fate, No End” has, of course, the big breakdown; but it also has the catchiest pop chorus on the record and a cool bridge. But it, like a couple others on the album, give me the same bored vibe I got from definitions. 

 

Live

Live

 

 

The album takes a turn for the much better through the middle section. Even on the second track you can realize the improvement on Adam’s growl. A good growl always helps me to get into it more. The second track ,”The Last Thing I’ll Ever Say” has a couple really cool sections, both catching my ear because of synth. One of my beefs with a lot of Farewell is that when I like Michele’s riffs they are often not heard and when they are heard, it’s when I feel they shouldn’t be at the front of the mix. At most times (this record included) as soon as the guitars get really heavy it’s like the synth is gone and then just as soon as it’s a mellow part the pad is right in your face. Let it be said you can be mellow with guitars and you can be heavy with keys. Just look at a band like Meshuggah! Why are their breakdowns so heavy? It’s because the lead is always a weird, creepy, dissonant, and more or less clean guitar at the front of the mix. And when Farewell’s breakdowns are good on this record they use a very similar technique with Michele’s synth. It works because, to be frank, we’ve all heard guitars with that tone playing those breakdown rhythms. So when you incorporate a synth riff like the one near the beginning of “When We Hit The Ground” doing a simple repeated arpeggio over the heavy guitars it makes you appreciate them that much more. Sometimes thats all it takes. This song also has the most bad ass breakdown at the very end. This again is made even better with the dissonant low synth riff. The lower the note the more dread! (Fans of “Peep Show” might get that reference).

Track 6, “The Dude” is worth talking about only for the fact that is also has some good dread and a cool ambient part. The following song “Years” is a good example how the pad in this band becomes a bit redundant at times. When the guitars are strumming open power chords (a la pop punk style) the pad is just distracting. It’s just so many things playing the same four-chord progression that maybe my brain just won’t allow the extra instrument. Immediately following that part though, is a great example of the synth’s worth in the band with a cool complimentary lead riff.  This song also has a great outro! A nice cool ambient thing with a little bit of experimenting with the tone. “Here As One” and “Cemetary Dates” (amazing title) are along the same sort of line but not overly disappointing. Not worth talking about too much accept the former has a cool hardcore intro and the latter has a cool power metal bit at the end followed by some cool ambience. I know I have talked about the synth a lot and I will stop. But the last thing I want to say is that I hear the Micro-Korg coming into the track and I can hear her other synth (not sure what it is) coming in. I love the Micro-Korg! I have owned one in the past and it sounds great and adds so much where as the other one is used primarily for pads and sounds a touch cheesy. Ok thats all about synth I’ll talk about other things now.

The song worth talking about the most is the eighth track called “Waking The Giant.” It seems like they put the track on there as a cool ambient interlude but it is by far their best build on the album! It’s only 3:48 long but I would have been happy with them building on that riff for another 5-10 minutes. It’s such a great tapping riff and right as the build is getting intense they fade out. The Fade is cool, it just should have been a few minutes later. An extended live version would be a great live tool as well. I think the fans would really love a nice long change of pace and a break from pitting or throwing down or whatever the scene kids do in there that makes them look so ridiculous. Who the hell knows or wants to know what it’s called. The last song is way too similar to the first and has almost the exact same rhythm in the main riff and the same sort of structure. They should have cut that song and finished with a 9 minute version of waking the Giant. That would have been bad ass!

Just a quick side note concerning the whole scene kids in the pits scenario. I have a favourite story concerning the subject and the ongoing battle between the hardcore kids and the metal kids/adults. It happened oddly enough, at a Farewell To Freeway show. It was the tour kick off show for “In These Wounds” at a grimy hole called “Club Shadow”. Don’t get me wrong I do love the Shadow. Sounds way better than the Vinyl, it just smells horrible all the time. Anyway, I’m at the Farewell show and getting into it, and this was back when I loved to get into the pits, so naturally I was getting in there. I’m pitting harmlessly the way metal kids do and from behind me wouldn’t you know it some hardcore kid swinging his arms around like a douche bag catches me square in the nose. Of course it starts to bleed. Naturally I am just fuming, and although I’m not the biggest guy in the world, I’ve been told my “about-to-snap-face face,” is scary. And it had blood dripping down it. So I look up at a small ass dude wearing women’s jeans, a tight black shirt and a classic emo swoop dyed blonde. I take one step towards him and he just runs strait up the stairs at the Shadow and out of the club. I got a bloody nose at a Soulfly show too. But that time I was almost happy about and had a good laugh with the dude after. No scene kids at that show let me tell you! 

Anyway back to the album. Let’s talk about lyircs. They are pretty standard really and by far the cheesiest part of the record. The emotional tone of the choruses have really cheesy one line creeds like “Do you know who I am, and who I will be,”  “Seek no redemption,” and “I won’t let it get the best of me.” As you can see it’s pure cheese and, dare I say, a bit too “Emo” for my liking. 

 

Overall musically it’s nothing spectacular but at least they have enough changes in a song to keep you interested and involved. They have a couple spots when I even said to myself “This reminds me of a Johnny Truant riff.” And for those of you who don’t know that band,  saying that is a HUGE compliment. As for all the members, they all hold it down. It’s hard to find a weak point accept for the fact the bass is almost never on its own. But in a band like this it almost always has to be that way. My most pleasant surprise was the production. This record sounds massive! The production is not unique in any way. But it gets the job done. I can nit pick about a lot of things and probably come up with a lot of reasons why it’s a “bad” record. But the bottom line for this music is that its catchy and it makes you bob your head. And I liked it!

Anyway that’s all for now. But I have recently downloaded the new Minsk record and I can’t wait to start listening to that. So you can expect a review of that shortly. Also I’m going to start a new thing with my posts where I say a something about stuff thats going on at the end… you’ll see.

Until next time… keep waging war on Kitsch! 

Hill of Yage

This week I’ve been listening to: Isis – Wavering Radiant

This week I’ve been watching: Peep show season 3 and re-watched Punch Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson = genious)

This week I’ve been reading: Finished “Homage To Catalonia” by George Orwell and now am starting the Dune series… gonna be a long hawl.

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One Response to “Some More Home Town Metal”

  1. jeremylukehill Says:

    Andy,

    I love the Listening / Watching / Reading list. Do it again.


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