Review: Wild Freedom – Polarize
Wormholedeath Records (October 22nd 2021)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Hailing from Barcelona, Spain, Wild Freedom return with their second album ‘Polarize’. The band label themselves as a metal band in their biography, but that is an oversimplification. This album takes some melody twists and turns that I did not expect, which kept the music interesting and exciting.
They incorporate progressive elements without the precision stops and stark melody shifts associated with progressive metal. While progressive metal is impressive, it was never my cup of tea. I prefer a strong groove with occasional unexpected twists. With nine songs at a tight 37 minutes, this band gets right to the point while still offering changeups that impress.
I was intrigued to check out the band when I heard first single ‘Meteor’. There are so many cool things happening here. The softer vocals juxtaposed with growling screams in the verses, the slight falsetto that singer Ian Wilde employs on certain words in the chorus, the melody change up before the guitar solo. A definite favorite from the album. Don’t let the growling screams turn you off. It works for the context of the song and it is the only track that includes that dynamic.
That’s what makes this album a pleasure to listen to. It takes many risks and because of the talent involved, those risks pay off. There’s the ballad/rocker ‘Rain’, a lyrically inspirational song about hopes for a better tomorrow. It starts off quiet and slow, with more instruments being added to the mix. Then the tempo starts to increase, and the song concludes in a spectacular, bombastic fashion. Straight forward rockers ‘I Am The Storm’ and ‘New Dawn’ hit fast and heavy, while still utilizing some progressive wizardry. The biggest surprise comes with last track ‘Promise’. The band dives straight into 80s AOR and synth with a duet from Ankor singer Jessie Williams, modern drumming elements, and a saxophone solo. Talk about ambitious! They make it all sound flawless as all the members bring their “A” game. The press release states, “The band set out to make its most ambitious work yet, exploring new sounds and ideas”. Press releases are usually full of hyperbole, but this one is entirely accurate.
One issue with sequencing. There are nine songs total, and this album can be divided up into thirds. I feel the middle and later parts of the album are stronger than the first third. I point this out to say that when listening to this album sequentially, be sure to check out all the songs. The album does get better as it progresses. One band I can compare them to is Dynazty, another band that uses progressive elements but keeps their feet permanently planted in traditional metal tropes. If you enjoy expertly crafted melodies that occasionally veer into unexpected and interesting directions, then this album was made for you.
Well worth your time and money.