Toronto’s heavy metal scene is great, simply because so many of its members are as committed as possible to being old-school, no matter how ridiculous that might be. Some of these bands are even still putting out VHS releases! This is why it was no surprise to see some members of thrash metal band Droid put together a 1970s-influenced, hard rocking group. “Cold Front” is the first demo from Freeways, and it sounds exactly as you might imagine. Admittedly, this is a little outside my element, but you don’t have to be an expert on Thin Lizzy to see the talent this band has. The aforementioned group is an obvious influence, but others like early Judas Priest, Riot, and Scorpions all creep into the music occasionally. In particular, Freeways really nailed that 1970s guitar tone, as the riffs are incredibly thick, but not overly distorted.
Much of the band’s music has a bit of a bouncy feel to it. The riffs rock back and forth with plenty of enthusiasm, particularly in the galloping closer “New Drag City”. The somewhat infrequent use of harmonized guitars makes every appearance much more potent. Of course, there are still plenty of guitar solos, many of which have a noticeable blues influence. Despite the band’s heavy metal background, they avoid any more modern metal tropes, leaving their sound distinctly in the 70s.
If Freeways has a weakness, it would be the vocals. Their singer by no means has a world-class range. Instead, he limits himself only to the essential notes. To his credit, he’s expressive enough to make a believer out of anyone. Relative to some of the greats, however, he falls a bit short. It’s not enough to detract from “Cold Front”, but as someone who is used to more virtuosic singers, Freeways’ vocalist still stands out. Regardless, this demo is an authentic homage to a time that has in many ways been forgotten by a lot of metal fans. While there’s no shortage of tributes to 1980s Priest and Maiden, the generation just before this receives fewer mentions. For this reason, Freeways is a breath of fresh air in the hard rock and heavy metal scene, and well worth listening to!
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"One For The Road"
"New Drag City"
3.3/5 or 76%.