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Fretless: Damnation
Fretless - Damnation Music Review

Fretless: Damnation

Heavy Metal
3.0/5.0

And to think I had heard of Fretless before. But I hadn't or simply confused the name with another band (like the strangely named Italian band, Sandness). Hailing from Sweden, Fretless was formed by vocalist and guitarist Patte Carlson around 2009. The band dropped their debut long player, Local Heroes, the following year. Now after a substantial hiatus, Fretless returns with their second album, Damnation.

Fretless - Click For Larger Image

Fretless

Briefly, Fretless plays traditional heavy metal, easily influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Their sound is shaped by the usual musical suspects: twin guitar harmony, soaring solos, rock rhythm and groove, a touch of synths, and Carlson's gravel and grating vocals. With that later part, my interest in Fretless diminished substantially. More on that in a minute.

To be clear, Fretless plays some exciting and entertaining hard rock infused heavy metal with quite impressive guitar solos. Additionally, Damantion, offers 13 tracks of fine melodic heavy metal, excepting the self-serving band intro, Unholy War. Essentially, you get a lot of bang for your buck. The only caveat with the songs is that after you listen to one, two, maybe four, they all seem the same. There's a lot to be said for consistency, not so much for redundancy.

But Carlson's vocal style? No thanks. It's raw and grating and perhaps even worse, assertively so. I could endure it for a few songs. But across 12 songs? I found myself cringing at times, skipping to the solos or to the next song, or simply wishing he would stop, singing. Since the band is his, I doubt whether anybody is going to suggest replacing the singer.

Most folk visit my site for an honest opinion, and there you have it. Otherwise, some top song picks include Freedom, Higher Ground, Spread Your Wings, and Burn which features some tasty Hammond organ from per-Erik Eliasson.


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The Bottom Line

Fretless plays some exciting and entertaining hard rock infused heavy metal with quite impressive guitar solos which, unfortunately, is diminished by raw and grating vocals.

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