FREE SPIRIT – All The Shades Of Darkened Light (2014)
Finally it’s here; the Melodic Hard Rock sextet from Finland FREE SPIRIT are releasing tomorrow, February 28th, their second album “All The Shades Of Darkened Light”. The band’s debut from 2009 Pale Sister Of Light gained them a high praise as ‘the new Brother Firetribe’, a majestic and soaring collection of songs in the best Scandinavian melodic tradition.
But if these songs were great, wait to listen the 11 bombs included in “All The Shades Of Darkened Light”, even more anthemic, infectious and biggerrr!
The opening bass line on “Nights Of Paradise” is simply amazing. Sami Hämäläinen sets the tone for the entire track with a thumping bass guitar that drives the song forward, while Sami Alho’s distinct and melodic vocals are one of the signatures of this band and shines here. The group harmonies are really tight and this song truly echoes back to when some of the best arena rock bands dominated the ’80s. The guitar is hot, melodious and swirling. Amazing opener.
The first single from the new album, “Living Tattoo” (already presented on this blog) finds the band adding a bit of rawness to their sound. It is a bit more crunchy, once again the pulsating bass line is the backbone of the song but it is in time with the drumming of Pasi Koivumäki and the two lock down the track. The guitar work is taken up a notch in this one as both Vesa Yli-Mäenpää and Marko Haapamäki just play like mad men on all cylinders. Free Spirit possesses some of the best vocals in rock and roll. Sami once again does a fantastic job with the singing chores and the band’s trademark harmony is once again on full display.
The second single already released off of the CD, “Hysteria”, is one of my most listened to songs on a daily basis. This is an all in, foot stomping melodic hard rock song that will knock you on your ass! The keyboard playing of Timo Alho is showcased here and the band really rallies around him. American radio should be latching on to this song as it is just that good.
The guitars at the start of “Ever Come True” are a little darker than what we are used to from the band. It creates a new edge to their sound and pushes them in a new direction. I am really digging this song a lot and love the dueling vocal harmonies that crop up in the middle of the track.
The opening crunch of “The Dew Of The Rose” really sets it up as a true arena rock song. This is something I have not heard in many years and it has been missing from the music scene. Free Spirit avoids the pitfalls by not toning down their song but instead really emphasizing the ‘rock’ in arena rock. The band really shows their mastery of the vocal harmonies as it sounds like the entire song is comprised of them in a soaring way.
“Turn On The Night” is simply amazing. Oh my goodness I love the start to this track!!! It is so simple but damn it is fantastic as it sets up something I have not heard in ages…. a ‘true’ power ballad. I mean, the real definition of a true power ballad with an AOR perfume.
“Burning Love” is another highlight inspired by the glory days when this type of catchy melodic rock songs where massively played on the radio. In “Carry On” Sami’s vocals reach a bigger range, and my god what a great harmonized chorus!! It grabs you at first listen.
“Fever” is another foot stomping, pure rockin’ song that will blow your mind. This would be another huge hit on the radio as well, with a fantastic guitar riff akin Brother Firetribe or H.E.A.T. and the solo is something you do not hear many bands do nowadays. This is a perfect example of what melodic hard rock truly is.
“Silence” is a killer midtempo with a haunting AOR vocal performance from Sami and we can hear him really belt this one out. The portion where it is just his hushed singing and the keyboard fills really slows the song down for it to just ramp up again. This track is perfection and would be a ‘lighters in the air’ tune if it was played live.
The track that closes out the album, “Storyline”, is a vintage Free Spirit song as it has a pumping bass line, amazing vocals, strong guitars, prominent keyboards and some of the best vocal harmonies in the music industry today. It is the perfect song to end the experience of this CD on as it really further establishes what makes this band unique among all their peers and solidifies what makes them a great act.
Free Spirit hits it out of the park with “All The Shades Of Darkened Light”, and it is an amazing follow up to their debut but one billion times better.
Although in the same wagon of the new blood from the Scandinavian Melodic Hard Rock scene, I can truly say that these guys craft a sound like nothing else going on in music today. Everything is catchy, polished, melodic, helped by a top class production.
Without a doubt, Free Spirit’s “All The Shades Of Darkened Light” will be amongst the best Melodic Hard Rock releases this year.
01 – Nights Of Paradise
02 – Living Tattoo
03 – Hysteria
04 – Ever Come True
05 – The Dew Of The Rose
06 – Turn On The Night
07 – Burning Love
08 – Carry On
09 – Fever
10 – Silence
11 – Storyline
Sami Alho – Lead & Backing Vocals
Vesa Yli-Mäenpää – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Marko Haapamäki – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Timo Alho – Keyboards
Sami ‘Nasu’ Hämäläinen – Bass
Pasi Koivumäk – Drums
BUY IT !