Sound — 8
There are probably a lot of you out there who still haven't heard of the Ontario band Farewell To Freeway, but this is a case where it could be considered a diamond in the rough. The band's new Victory Records' release Definitions manages to rarely get dull, thanks to killer riffs, effective synth lines, and the vocal combo of Chris Lambert and brother Adam Lambert. Farewell To Freeway has realized that following the same formula in every song just gets old, and instead takes some gutsy moves along the way, including throwing in a laid-back instrumental. From the opening track Sound Minds, it's immediately evident that there's a lot going on in Farewell To Freeway's arrangements. You get plenty of growls and melodic balance from the Lambert brothers, and some really well-executed instrumentation from keyboardist Michele Walter and Richie Gregor. It's a pretty solid opener, but things take more of a turn toward the metal with the next song Bat Wings. Between the Zakk Wylde-like riffage and the demonic growls of Adam, it takes things to a more aggressive level. Granted, Chris Lambert joins in with a touch of the melodic vocals, but honestly Bat Wings is a track that most likely could have worked without the sung vocals. Lemmings is another worthwhile listen with another heavy dose of pinch harmonics and heavy presence from Adam Lambert. Even more impressive, it is actually reminiscent to Faith No More at times. Adam takes on a Mike Patton-like delivery (the screaming Patton, that is), while Walter's keyboard lines recall the work of Roddy Bottum. It's cool to hear a band actually come close to what Faith No More created, even if it is only in one track on Definitions. There are very few melodic vocals on Lemmings, and the band deserves credit for not feeling the need to work in both vocalists just for the sake of fairness. Energy oozes out of most of the tracks on Definitions, but we're given a bit of the unexpected with the instrumental track Convictions. At first it just sounds like the band is attempting to play a really, really long intro, which you might figure is building up to some crazy guitar lick. Rather than be predictable, Farewell To Freeway makes the gutsy move of not only leaving out vocals, but making Convictions a very laid-back, anti-climactic song. It doesn't rely on distortion or insanely fast rhythms, and even Walter's keyboard lines are there only as an ambient touch. It may not be a mind-blowing tune, but it does show the musical depth and variety of Farewell To Freeway.
Lyrics — 8
For as much that is going on in the songs, the lyrics on Definitions are pretty standard. There are a good number of tracks that are introspective and explore internal emotions, with the opener Sound Minds as the best example. I'm beating up myself; And I'm wearing out myself to succeed in this game; Scarred and bruised; I won't let up. There aren't a lot of frills to the words, but the songs don't necessarily warrant anything too metaphorical or deep.
Overall Impression — 8
For a band that is still under the radar, Farewell To Freeway deserves to finally get some time in the spotlight. While Definitions has a few songs that aren't the most interesting, the band does manage to break up the monotony with different styles, genres, and inspired instrumentation. If you don't care for the scream/growl-singing combo, then it might not matter that there are plenty of positives about album. That being said, the band does have a lot of talent. Between the inspired arrangements, the amazing guitar parts, and the nod to Faith No More, Definitions is likely to appeal to a much larger group than just hardcore fans.