Despite the snowy album cover and the freezing nature of coming from Canada, Freeways make a warm and welcoming brand of heavy rock music. Their debut album True Bearings is hardly a metal disc, but some of the nuts and bolts that are deep within the details give some traditional metal vibes. Doomy tinges make subtle appearances too, particularly when things are dropped to minor scales.
I’ll admit from the gate that True Bearings may take a spin or two to grow on you, but after you break the ice, it’s without faults. The constant changes in moods keep things varied to the perfect amount, feeling natural no matter how swift or sharp. Keeping things brief helped Freeways remain interesting while amping up their template with strong standouts. Vocal harmony is a big one, used in just about every song (if not all of them), and the guitar licks and progressions are stellar.
Going deeper into True Bearings will reveal the softer songs with advanced tactics. The longer song “Time Is No Excuse” paints on the most psychedelic finishes, rigging up sadder vibes and intricate percussion, including bongos. The explosion to a heavier finish is magnificent, before molding into the straightforward closer “Survival.” On the opposite end of things, “Eternal Light, Eternal Night” lets on a soothing start by weaving together the vocal melodies and galloping guitar breaks. I also love the layering, especially in the title track. The verses are carried by heavy bass presence and soft licks to fill in the cracks. And man oh man, that solo at the end unfolds into incredible melodic progressions.
Other songs have oddities outside of the box. “Dead Air” shifts to a bouncier feel, but blends in nicely due to the production and placement. “Sorrow (Was Her Name)” is on the opposite end, using a doomier bridge that reminds me of Pentagram if they weren’t as dark. Pianos are added to this until things erupt into a powerful vocal blast that remains clean. An acoustic solo even makes its way into “Battered Bruise,” which I found to be a beautiful touch.
True Bearings is honestly a perfect album. The formula is easy enough to grasp, but every track has a standout moment at least once. The cleanliness, the harmony, and the welcoming feel are enough to warm the winter blues away. If you liked the most recent Flight album A Leap Through Matter from 2018, then you should consider giving this your immediate attention.
True Bearings will be out on April 2nd, 2020, through Temple Of Mystery. There are CD, cassette, and vinyl copies available, and they can all be bought or heard digitally right here.