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Adelaide wizards Freedom of Fear have unleashed one of the most diverse albums of melodic technical death metal you are likely to encounter this year.
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Taking cues from masters like Necrophagist, Carpathia also combines influences from symphonic black metal and classic Swedish melody with compact songwriting and massive hooks.
Zenith goes straight for the throat with incalculable speed, distant synths providing a Gothic undercurrent to the rapacity of twin guitars and the astonishing brutality of Jade Monserrat’s vocals, leading into serpentine soloing followed by a crushing breakdown that threatens to open the Earth’s crust. That’s just track one and Freedom of Fear’s astounding musicality and sheer songwriting clout is already on full display where no aspect of their music is allowed to dominate or outweigh the importance of the song itself. The title track is another fine display of hooky, melodic technicality with an even deeper Gothic feel, before the brief interlude Nifelheim introduces further sides of the band’s personality.
Carpathia is a complete triumph from Freedom of Fear and is easily one of the best death metal releases of 2022.
Primordius shifts the band into a more straight-forward melodic death metal direction with evident thrash and Gothenburg influences coming to the fore. With Immortal, Freedom of Fear parade their not-so-hidden Cradle of Filth-like persona, providing another showcase for Monserrat’s chameleonic vocals and catchy guitar soloing. Entities throws up a cluster bombing of sweep picking and another abyssal breakdown before Carpathia’s crowning achievement hoves into view. The momentous Gatekeeper allows every member to shine with endless riffing, a catchy extended bass break from Georgina Kittel, pinpoint drumming from Triptykon’s Hannes Grossman (who is outstanding throughout), Corey Davis and Matt Walters trading off slinky and liquid guitar leads and Jade Monserrat leaving hundreds of other extreme metal vocalists in the shade. Carpathia is a complete triumph from Freedom of Fear and is easily one of the best death metal releases of 2022.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Gatekeeper, Zenith, Immortal
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Necrophagist, Obscura, At the Gates