Release: 10 February 2023
Label: Threeman Recordings
Fredlös are a new Folk Metal band from the small Swedish town of Norrtälje and feature among its ranks, none other than former Entombed guitarist, Alex Hellid. With that elephant removed from the room, I’m sure you are more interested in what the band sounds like, rather than the pedigree of its members. Well, stylistically, Fredlös are firmly entrenched in the Folk Metal camp of fellow Norrtäjlians (?), Månegarm and this is never more evident than on the eponymous title-track of the album. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being influenced by another band or bands, as long as you give it your own spin and Fredlös demonstrate that perfectly here.
The music is as epic and melodic as it is brooding and beautiful, but it really is the clean female lead vocals which elevates this album above others in the genre, ranging from ethereal Swedish folk wailing to soaring and powerful Metal crooning. Another interesting touch is the use of male singers as backing and / or co-vocals, which is a masterstroke, flipping the usual order of things on its head and helping to make Fredlös stand out from the crowd with an identity and a sound of their own.
Musically and lyrically steeped in the history, culture and landscape of their native land, this momentous album is a thing of melancholic beauty and is, to me, exactly the right mix of metal and folk music. The use of mournful, traditional Swedish Folk violins alongside the doomy, occasionally crushing metal is especially evocative and sends chills up my spine. Fredlös have delivered a truly monumental and monolithic debut album which is certain to appeal to fans of the darker, doomier end of the folk metal spectrum and I would recommend it especially to fans of Thyrfing, Månegarm and even Avatarium.
- Våt varm jord