Beyond the Fate: an interview with Victor Arduini of Freedoms Reign

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This year has seen many highlights already in its first few months and none more enjoyable and invigorating than the self-titled debut album from Connecticut metallers Freedoms Reign. Brought to ‘life’ by original Fates Warning guitarist Victor Arduini on his return to metal, the band has created a brawling sound of energetic intensity and hungry passion with their first album and a collection of songs wrapped in an incendiary mix of strong and potent flavours. It is a thrilling and invigorating release which does not break into new creative pastures but owns those existing with aggressive enterprise and adrenaline honed contagious mastery. Offered the opportunity to talk with Victor we seized the chance to find out more about the release, band, and what he has been up to between leaving his former band in 1985 and Freedoms Reign.

Hi Victor and welcome to The RingMaster Review. Thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

You have just released your excellent self-titled debut album, how was the adrenaline and nerves upon its unveiling?

We have been anxious for months. As we began recording it we learned quickly it was going to get a great sound and bring out the best in the songs. I haven’t felt this kind of excitement and purpose since Fates put out Night On Broken. There’s no difference 30 years later. I’m still excited to have someone hear music I’ve written. The band worked really hard together to make something special and we’re very happy how it came out.

It is a powerful and scintillating encounter, rapacious even, has your sound organically evolved from all your personal tastes and experiences or was there a deliberate direction set in place for your sound from the start?

When I write a song it always starts with a riff or putting something over someone else’s. When I go back to my roots I always find Sabbath. Iommi is the master of riffs, so is Blackmore…they were a huge influence in my musical upbringing and when I write today it’s no different than 30 years ago. Still gotta have a great riff and then your other influences fill in the gaps. It’s never deliberate. I just start playing and you just know when you got a good one. The fact that some people including myself hear some phrasings and styles similar to that when I played in Fates is because I’m still into the same stuff with another 30 years of experiences to add on.

Has there been expectations placed upon the band from your past in Fates Warning and if so have they helped or been an obstacle to go past?

I’m not sure what people are expecting. If they’re fans of the earlier stuff then they might dig some of this as it’s similar in its aggression and heaviness. A bit of prog riffs but nothing near what Fates has become, which is a purposeful thing for me. I’d like to think earlier fans of Fates may pick up on the similarity of my style and playing and enjoy it for what it is, not looking for a “Fates” record.

The band formed in 2011 I believe, how did the line-up come about and members originally meet?

The band was actually in place for 2-3 years before I joined. They were just writing riffs but not doing much else. I offered to record a demo so they could take it to the next level. We knocked it off over a weekend and then I took the tapes home. While mixing I began to really like the music. There was something there I connected to. I asked if I could do a vocal (their singer was nowhere in sight). I wrote some lyrics, and the tune and then added solo. It was very organic and soon I found myself finishing 10 songs. I was asked to join and it’s now two years later. Mike (bass) and I have known each other since 1972 and we both played with Steve Zimmerman of Fates Warning before it became FW.

Was there the instant understanding between you all which seems so open on the album itself?FreedomsReignPortraitCC

We understand each other pretty well. We don’t fight, Everyone takes direction and constructive criticism well. Our goal is to make some great music and get the opportunity to play it on stage. We all share the same excitement and dedication. It’s really a cool thing to be a part of.

The songs on the album are varied within the adrenaline honed tempest you unleash, how would you describe your sound and what are the major influences which have given your creativity food for thought?

I like an album to have the ebb and flow I used to enjoy on many classic albums. No matter what kind of music you play it always needs this to keep the listener (and yourself) interested. Some songs are just 5 minutes of driving power and energy. Others need space to breathe and change direction a bit. Fates started doing this on Spectre which was a reflection of what we enjoyed listening to and beginning to learn how to write an album and not just 10 songs. I took a lot of time just to get the song order right as I’m a big fan of songs that flow together well. Influences are too many to list at this time of my life but Sabbath and all the classic bands from the 70’s – 80’s are always somewhere in a song.

How long did the album take to make from the songwriting through to the release?

We began writing about a year before release. Brother was the first written from a riff Tommy showed us.  Up From Down and Believe were  next…We sat on those for a few months and did some shows. It became apparent our new music was gonna be quite different from our earlier songs. We were now writing together as a band and the songs became a bit more complex, intricate and focused…and quite a bit heavier..

Are you a band which have songs ‘finished’ going into the recording or continue evolving them in the studio as you record?

The general skeleton of the song is done before we go in. We rehearse twice a week and are always going forward with new ideas and a lot of practicing. By the time we get to a studio we know our parts and what we want, however I always leave a bit of the unknown in the process. I will have general ideas for solos but I write them in studio. Vocals are pre-demo’d but again things are open for change. Some of my favorite parts on the CD are the ones made up in studio. It keeps it fresh for us.

You recorded the album with Nick Belmore (Toxic Holocaust/Hatebreed), how was the studio this time around compared to previous experiences, did you approach the album differently to others you have been involved with?

Nick has a great studio with simple but quality equipment. I still like to record like I did with Fates. I don’t want pro tools to fix my CD. I’d rather just do the track again and let the studio just capture and reproduce the sound I’m looking for. Nick took us to another level. He understood us as a band and was another creative member while we did it. It was a very relaxed experience and I’m looking forward to working with him soon on the next one

Front Cover - resizeIt has been impossible to choose a favourite track from the album, though Ritual, Shadows Of A Doubt, Believe, and No Excuses all stand to the fore. Is there a track or moment on the album which sparks the biggest strike of pride or you realised the band had found a real potency?

Depends on the week…we tend to change our minds a bit but I’d say Shadows Of Doubt is a very strong song with a powerful in your face attack. The cool thing is every track is a bit different and I like them all because they each stand alone in their own way. When I did Spectre Within it is was the same feeling as each track was killer and the album was a flowing piece of music

Is there a certain link or thought which unites the songs or themes the album other than to make them as creatively impacting as possible?

I wouldn’t say there’s any  specific link or theme to our CD. It’s 10 songs that all carry a certain feel and sound, each one taking you a bit deeper into its progression. I do tend to write a lot about death or the afterlife or just trying to get the listener to think outside the box a bit.

The album is the first release since your return to metal, can we ask what has occupied your time and creativity between the 1985 release of the Fates Warning album The Spectre Within which was of course your last record, and now?

I left Fates to concentrate on my family. I had a daughter on the way and back then there was no money to be made even in FW. I raised two great children Jillian and Steve and wouldn’t change a thing. I have played on/off in a few local metal/rock bands throughout late 80’s-early 90’s. At that time I decided to go back to school and I became a Registered Nurse. I work with geriatric population and specialize in Alzheimer’s Disease. I also recorded a self-produced CD titled “Painted Horse” which I may re-release in the future. I got back into playing around 2003 and played with Connecticut’s best musicians in a Classic Rock cover band called The Remains. After 8 years I started to want to expand away from the scene and began jamming with friends. Little by little the music got a bit heavier and complex. The timing was perfect when I agreed to produce Free Reign’s (our original name) demo. I’m now 100% back into what I do best and this CD is the best thing

What triggered the fire to return with Freedoms Reign for you?

The desire was just to start writing some cool songs. I was ready to become creative again and once you start it’s like a drug that just propels you to do better each time. I love making music… the whole process from the first riffs to mastering the final product. I just felt the desire to go back to who I was in 1985 and continue what I started. Today feels no different than then. When you’re in the moment with writing and rehearsing it still feels the same and the riffs are even heavier..

How have you found metal as a situation when it came to releasing the new album and how have things improved or become less helpful since The Spectre Within?

The industry has changes so much. I’ve learned a lot talking to people like Tom Phillips (While Heaven Wept) who has guided me through the process and schooled me on today’s metal scene. I still think and act like 85″ but it’s far from that. I do still believe when it comes to someone listening it is still the same. A good riff, a great sound is still what matters and that’s what we’re trying to produce.

Have you returned to touring yet, what was the anticipation for that aspect like for you and the fans?

We have begun playing up/down the east coast. We’ve already done around 10 shows. The reaction to the new songs has been great and there’s been some excellent feedback on the CD. We have some dates lined up with ARGUS in July and will be playing with ATTACKER in August. Touring is great and we want to play this music to as many people as possible. We really need to get over to UK. Our music will do well there. There is an audience and fan base for what we do and we’re hoping we get the opportunity to do some festivals/shows within the year.

Is playing live a bigger buzz for you or is it the creation of songs which burns fiercer for you?

I think every member of the band may have a different answer for this one. Personally I love to create new songs and be in the studio. I do enjoy playing live too but nothing beats making an album. I don’t like doing both at the same time. Once we shut down you won’t see us until the next one is out.

What is on the horizon of Freedoms Reign and its members after the fire of the release and its promotion has dissipated in intensity?

We’ll promote this until it stops breathing then do it all over again. I enjoy the process and we all plan to write even better songs and make a better album. I generally don’t want to look too far ahead but I know this is only the beginning and we have more to accomplish together

Once again thank you for talking with us, any final words you would like to leave your growing legions of fans and the readers with?

To anyone who’s an old Fates fan, Thank you so much for remembering me and having an interest in what I’m doing now. Give it a listen and I think you find something you like…and if you do tell someone else. There’s just so much music out there these days it’s hard to know what’s good, bad or indifferent. We plan to keep making some cool music and look forward to playing some killer shows this year.

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Check out the review of  Freedoms Reign’s album @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/freedoms-reign-self-titled/

Interview by Pete RingMaster

17/05/2013

 

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Burn of Black – Danger EP

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Italian metallers Burn of Black have a sound which you almost feel should not work but as their new EP Danger shows it does and with very enjoyable effect. Combining what is primarily a blend of alternative and gothic metal as well as thrash, heavy, and power metal, the release consists of songs which twist and thrive with multiple flavours. At times there is so much thrown in that it borders the outskirts of messy but the Cavarzere quintet fused it together with passion and skill to produce a release which is richly contagious.

Formed by guitarist Marco “Markwild” Piva, Burn of Black instantly brought the influences of various musical backgrounds and experiences of its members into play with the band adding and evolving additional flavours and sounds as line-ups changes occurred over subsequent years. Inspirations from the likes of Exodus, Testament, Nightwish, and Kamelot, to gothic and melodic death spiced the early sound and with further diversity riling up and expanding the music with each change of personnel, the result is a riot of multi-coloured enterprise which despite almost overloading its invention into a disorientating maelstrom, ignites potent hunger and a full enjoyment for its adventure.

With a line-up of vocalist Giacomo Cordioli, guitarist Alessandro Bassani, bassist Sylvia Fabbris, and drummer Alberto Lèmoni BURN-OF-BLACK_COVERalongside Piva sculpting its assault, the Inverse Records/Sweet Poison released Danger makes the strongest initial persuasion with Thrown Into The Chasm. The track is a mesmerising instrumental formed from dawning ambience, delicious acoustic lilted guitar embracing, and rising intensity of epic melodic breath. It is a dawn to the release which lures one in fully though the following Fears Driven To Insanity immediately avoids the expectations the previous piece sparks. The track unleashes short sharp scythes of sinew strapped riffs and equally imposing beats whilst the guitars bring their own abrasion to bear on an already eager ear. Into its stride with the bass and riffing as carnivorous as you could wish for, a trait of the whole release, the song whips up a furious energy mixed with great melodic vocals from Cordoli, his delivery set in classic airs and contrasting perfectly the aggressively carved presence in place. Twisting and shifting its stance with elements of nu, progressive, and post hardcore added to the blaze, and impressive sonic skill endeavour from Piva, the track is an enthralling and thrilling fire to bring the EP into full view.

The following Charon’s Rebellion gnaws on the bones and senses of the listener within seconds, the corrosive riffs coated in brutality and predatory intensity. Whilst they chew and subjugate the ear, the vocals calm the wounds with again great melodic persuasion whilst the emerging groove is as infectious as the harshness around it is intrusive. Once again the band merges diverse elements into a seamless understanding union which only intrigues and flips the switch of passion. To be honest going against what was said earlier slightly, the more a track and the release is ventured and embraced, clarity of thought and intent emerges and dispels the feel of closely missed chaos.

The title track lacks the dramatic power and presence of its predecessors, a classic metal flame making the biggest call within the still rapacious riffing and rhythmic bombardment. The song is impressively presented and constructed but fails to find the hook and grip of the others tracks, and arguably it’s less intense mesh of flavours is the cause of its weaker presence. There is no such comment applied to closer Slave In Chains. A mere breath between songs is all it takes for the release to raise another major snarl and vicious surge of riveting and caustic riffing accompanied by a groove which dances on the passions with wanton mischief flanked by a warm melodic breeze. Drummer Lèmoni has his most impressive moment whilst the bass of Fabbris prowls and threatens with bestial depth. It is an excellent track which like the song just before, does not infuse a vast amount of flavouring but this time hones it into a brawling exhilarating storm.

The Danger EP is a release which might split opinions though it is hard to imagine anyone not finding enough to offer up a positive outlook upon it, but for us it is a release which is adventurous and invigorating. In many ways there is nothing new going on but equally there are few bands creating a sound from so many varied and rich existing essences as enjoyably as Burn In Black do. The Danger EP just might be the start of something big.

www.burnofblack.com

8/10

RingMaster 17/05/2013

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M-Pire Of Evil – Crucified

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    Crucified is a mixed bag of tracks which combine to make a pleasing and satisfying encounter that without lighting any hunger driven fires in the passions certainly brings a smile to the face. Unleashed by UK metallers M-Pire Of Evil, the band formed by former members of the legendary Venom, Jeff “Mantas” Dunn (guitar) and Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan (vocals & bass), the album thrusts eleven heavy metal/thrash powered aggression fuelled tracks through the ear, their offerings made up of new material and revisited tracks from the five year period the duo played together in the black metal masters. It is an album which works much better than just a simple best of… album or one simply copying of past glories, but when the best material on the release is arguably the new songs there is a sense that it missed the opportunity to make a mark like its predecessor the acclaimed Hell To The Holy.

With drummer Marc “JXN” Jackson carving up the ear with his intensive rhythms alongside the founding pair, M-Pire Of Evil turn M-Pire Of Evil - Crucified - Coveron a furnace of insatiable riffs and heavy handed rhythms wrapped in a sonic enterprise which twists its skilled creativity around the assault. Opening track of the Mausoleum Records released album, Temples of Ice, originally from the album of the same name, swaggers in with an expressive groove  wrapping plundering of rhythms and a predatory atmosphere. Once Dolan unleashes his scowling tones upon the song the track surges with a thrash crafted hunger through to the senses, its switching gait as infectious as the melodic flames searing the ear from the guitars. It is a strong and enjoyable track which like all the subsequent re-inventions makes a valid declaration for their intent and presence.

The following Parasite, one of three visits to Prime Evil of 1989, is an excellent confrontation, a destructive spiteful fury which brings a Motorhead like rapaciousness for an unbridled treat but whether you can say it improves or does enough with the original is debatable, though such its strength it is hard to mind this slight failing. As the likes of The Waste Lands bred Kissing the Beast, the rabid Carnivorous with its corrosive riffing and delicious groove, and the excellent Black Legions bleeds its intensive destruction over the senses the album gets better and better even if still yet to truly spark any passion or find a true cutting edge to its spiteful snarl.

Both Need to Kill and Wolverine chew with accomplished craft and expected power though still the feeling of a lost opportunity shows its head across what it has to be said is enjoyable savagery. It is with the appearance of the three originals that intrigue is truly piqued and fed, starting with the title track, a song which prowls and courts the ear with less intensity but more expressive passion and inventive imagination. It is an enthralling song with the guitar captivation more about adventure than aggression and the melodic wash of sonic persuasion an impressive ally.

The closing pair of Demone and Taking It All grip attention with a stronger lure than in the earlier part of the album, the first with a punk infused thrash tempest which charges up the emotions with anthemic toxicity and the second with an air of exploration to its breath. The track is the best on the album, a ferocious consumption of ravaging riffs and belligerent rhythms ridden by the mutually voracious vocals. It is a fine climax which in many ways accentuates the feeling of a missed chance by the band to create something more memorable than it is.

Despite that Crucified is a an album which leaves only enjoyment in its wake whilst bringing a heavy metal energy to tracks which already have a place in history through their original creators. It is a strong interlude in what can be hoped is more original adventure from M-Pire Of Evil ahead.

www.mpireofevil.com

7/10

RingMaster 17/05/2013

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The Fawn – Collegium

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From the first resonating note of Collegium, the album leaves a deep and evocative touch on thoughts and senses which in many ways is hard to express in words. It is an experience which has to be felt in person to truly appreciate the resonating beauty and provocative touch, anything we say here mere whispered guidance to its potent presence. The first official full length release by The Fawn, an artistic collective led by Nathan Baumann, the album explores the realms of thought and emotion whilst easily igniting those of the listener.

The new album follows a quartet of EPs which with a limited release has bred an intense and dedicated fanbase for the project around Switzerland. Began by Baumann in 2011,The Fawn is a collaboration of the most imaginative musicians, plastic artists and technicians in the country all providing their invention for free alongside Baumann for a project of true DIY spirit. Featuring the talents of members of The Ocean, Coilguns, Shelving, Rectangle, Derrick, and many more, as well as other artists from other medium than music, the experimental and impacting release is a series of small soundscapes combining for one sophisticated experience working on many potent levels.

      Collegium was started in the January of 2012 in the church of St- Imier, his native town in Switzerland. Given the opportunity to a3793106535_2have its distinct voice as a canvas for the recording and production for one week, Baumann with producer/songwriter Louis Jucker (The Ocean, Coilguns, Kunz) and sound engineer Christoph Noth, chose to employ a new conceptual approach of recording with the natural reverberation and throat of the building leading the composing and mixing process. Songs were written and explored only once within the walls of the XIth century church with its touch and voice bringing guidance and rich impressions on the recordings and album. For the recording a selection of acoustic instruments were used: piano, 6 and 12 strings guitars, cello, tuba, percussions, drums, as well as the original organ of the building amongst many other factors brought into the intricate and intently crafted preparation to make full use of the opportunity, imagination at large, and the acoustic beauty of the church itself.

From the very first track The Arch, the qualities which ignited the invention and creativity provide a wind through the ear. A melodic drone of organ offers a persistent enticing engagement with a rasp to its invitation whilst leading the listener unreservedly into the arms of the acoustic caress of guitar. The compelling resonate purr of the formidable instrument subsequently lends its exhaustive breath across the whole length of the track to soundtrack the seductive vocals of Baumann and the continuing creative breeze of guitar. It is an imposing but enthralling sensation, an emotively resonating experience which leaves a rich imprint upon thoughts and senses long.

The following Paper Cuts features, as in two other songs, the distinct voice of Jucker; his expressive earnest tones an acidic pleasure within the elegant acoustically caressing narrative crafted by the guitars for an emotional wash. It is a fascinating incitement soon equalled by Two Lines with Baumann returning to coax the deepest heart out of the piece. Already within three songs the echo of the building is a thrilling canvas for the sounds and songs to reach their emotive pinnacles and in the third song with the entry of the cello, it finds the most powerful declaration yet.

The mesmeric Queen of Rain is one of the major highlights of the album, its warm and refreshing waltz through the ear providing a summer walk in an imaginative aural climate of invention and expression whilst Asylum with Jucker returning to lay his individual vocal temptation, is a passion lined conviction of open emotions. Though not every track sparks the same depth of passion and greed as others, Collegium is an album which allows no moment to be wasted, the wave like flow of songs always impacting and bringing strong persuasion before the ear.

Across the likes of Good Friends, the equally haunting and entrancing Nocturne, and the warmly alluring Summerbreeze, the album continues to impress and invite stronger emotion, the tail end of the release its most enriching, whilst closing song Dive uses the building framing its ingenuity, as another instrument of descriptive colour and emotional testament most strongly on the Hummus Records  released album.

Also bringing in to the collective the abilities and invention of two Swiss designers, Gaspard de la Montagne (Spitzhorn) and Jerôme Burgener (Structo) for the album artwork, and Swiss plastic artist Carlo Clopath for photography, The Fawn is a project which is compelling, an imagination of folk pop, to simplify its stance, which deserves to have the chance to bring its undoubted impact before every emotive heart.

Line-up

Nathan Baumann : Vocals, Guitars, Organ, Piano

Louis Jucker : Vocals, Guitars, Cello, Organ, Percussions, Production

Luc Hess : Drums, Percussions

Bertrand Vorpe : Guitars

Philippe Krüttli : Tuba

Pascal Lopinat : Noises and Loops

Christoph Noth: Recording, Mixing and Mastering

Gaspard de la Montagne and Jerome Burgener : Artwork

Carlo Clopath : Photographs

https://www.facebook.com/thefawnweb

8/10

RingMaster 17/05/2013

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