Free Spirit - Pale sister of light 3.5/5

Reviewed: 3-1-12


1. Shadow of a man
2. Moonlight ride
3. Pale sister of light
4. Heroes don't cry
5. Radiant light
6. Cry of an eagle
7. Easy days
8. Strangers
9. Until the night
10. Far away from heaven
11. Preacher man

I just watched The People vs. George Lucas, so I know what it means to piss off fans. I am sure that readers of this site are wondering why I am reviewing a band who may not necessarily be in the "range". Well, it is simple, even if this very talented act are not listed at the Metal-Archives, these heroes dare to cry out total metal by my definition! Suggestive songs such as "Cry of an eagle" or "Far away from heaven" truly make this evident.

Some of you may feel this is just not metal enough, and perhaps to AOR, with a shallow demand. I respect your frustrations; especially given the prevalent use of commercial keyboards. Just because groundbreaking acts like Free Spirit, Brother Firetribe, Strangeways, or Hard Riot are not categorized as being metal, does not necessarily mean that they are not worthy of your attention. Until the right "label" comes along, will we ever really be truly satisfied? For me, 'Pale sister of light' is a radiant and rewarding aural experience.

The latest CD by cult U.K. act Saracen 'Marilyn' has serious rock elements, and their previous CD dealing with The Nights Templar may be the best account I have heard yet; even if it in no way resembles the precedent Hammerfall have established.

Personally, I feel that the Metal-Archives are about as reliable as the Bible. Sorry Metal Preacher Man, but thems are the breaks! They have added Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, but have failed to include influential bands such as Europe, Bonfire or Whitesnake, who some may feel Free Spirit resemble. With this notion, I would tend to agree to a certain extent, especially given the earlier efforts by these influential artists.

Although, overall, with the infectious sound of these perfect strangers from Finland, I tend to hear more of a 70s influence from such classic acts as Jethro Tull, Styx, Kansas, UFO, Uriah Heep, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Uli-era Scorpions, and Rainbow, but certainly not runaway rock/pop sensations such as Bon Jovi.

The fact is when I first heard this band, I thought for sure they were metal. If you listen to Killers from Switzerland, early Krokus, Oz and Saxon, you will hear what we now dub as informed "classic rock".

My friend discovered Free Spirit while playing his Rock Band video game, and he immediately turned me on to their mystic prophecies. On the first listen I was very impressed, as I heard a sound similar to the latest offerings from Nocturnal Rites and Sonata Arctica.

Anyway, if you are not altogether addlepated, and in fact still interested; and not merely annoyed, let me describe the captivating music, and the very well-crafted songs. The CD gets underway with the honest and provocative "Shadow of a man".

If you are not hooked by the time you hear the title track, the folk elements of "Heroes don't cry" or "Easy days" will surely move your mettle hearts if you favour Falconer, Skyclad, or the more epic/mid-paced Blind Guardian anthems, or even later Running Wild - who apparently are again active and poised to release a new CD this spring.

Not every band will please us every time. For example, perhaps it is time to bid farwell to the Kings of the Valley - Pharaoh - who on their new CD 'Bury the light', bury those lightning leads, and digress, often attempting to steal riffs from Rush. I am surprised this CD was not released on 2-1-12!

On 'Pale sister of light', I also hear strong proclivities to the current works of the now, much-maligned Nightwish. Less operatic pieces like "The islander" or "I want my tears back" instantly come to mind when alluding to the folk driven or more rockin' style.

While lionizing singers such as Mike Tramp or David Coverdale might not apply to the true metal ilk and cookie cutter approach. It is heir apparent that Sami Alho's vocals magically mirror Martin Steene. The intensity of "Radiant light" could easily be on any of the last 3 Iron Fire CDs, even if their latest CD 'Voyage of the damned' now includes some harsh vocals, as does new Hysterica 'The art of metal'. On the more upbeat "Far away from heaven" I also hear hints of the new Pegazus CD 'In metal we trust', which some have compared to the early works of Dokken, so, go figure.

Free Spirit are no strangers to misappropriation, or at least boldly wearing their influences on their sleeves either, as the song aptly titled "Strangers" truly honours it British stolen values, with a riff judiciously lifted from Judas Priest.

The closing cut "Preacher man" clearly borrows from the Michael Schenker Group. Several other parts and fragmentations of certain songs sound similar to Heavy Pettin', Fastway, Def Leppard, or early TNT.

I think this noteworthy band have chosen the most befitting of names. They play music from their mettle hearts and souls with enough passion and integrity to allow their free spirit to flow and flourish. I encourage you to give them their due, and let their not forgotten tales lighten and illuminate your sinister and cynical concerns.




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