Sound — 7
Freya features Karl Buechner of Earth Crisis fame on vocals. But that's about where the similarities cease between the two bands. While Earth Crisis exists as a vehicle to further the message of animal rights, veganism and the straight edge movement, Freya are much more subtle in their lyrical approach, which lets the music take center stage. Album kickstarted The Light That Rivaled the Sun is as moshy as any Earth Crisis tune, but in a totally different way. There's a thrashier, more European metal influence to All Hail the End and what Freya are doing. The Wanderers has a bit of a Black Sabbath cast to some of the riffs, and there are some melodic touches that aren't normally seen in Buechner's other band. Jeez, I may have started out this review saying that Earth Crisis and Freya don't have much commonality, but I spent much of my time here further proving how different the two bands are. Perhaps I am just trying to hammer home the point that some may not initially get since Earth Crisis can be so polarizing due to their pointed message. Human Demons is a hauntingly chunky, crisp song that sounds influenced by anything in Machine Head's catalogue, but as the song evolves, it takes on a doomy, Crowbar'ian quality and the last minute is flecked with almost Middle Eastern quality. It's an excellent and surprising change of pace. The riffs are faster and relentless throughout most of All Hail The End. The music is nothing if not a little ambitious. Even Labyrinths of the Ant People has a semi-sludgy part here and there!
Lyrics — 7
Buechner has gone on record when promoting All Hail the End to say that he looked at fallen civilizations throughout history. The subject matter/concept definitely lends to the album's moody timbre, and can make you wonder about how man has caused the downfall of man throughout recorded time. But you're going to need a lyric sheet, because Buechner screams his way through the record without making his words easy to understand, so it's a challenge, but given his knack for writing things that provoke thought through all of his bands throughout his career. (There goes that reference to Earth Crisis again! I cannot help myself!) But for the most part, the music and the riffery on All Hail the End take center stage. But do yourself a favour and dig up the lyrics and immerse in them for a hot second. You won't regret it.
Overall Impression — 7
If you are expecting music to simply stomp the night away to, think again. Freya are going a more intellectual route. Tough guys need not apply here! All Hail the End demonstrates another dimension of the singer's well-known-in-the-metal-scene personality. There's a lot of headbanging to be done while listening to Iron Locust and Deities of Wrath. So go forth and burst blood vessels in your neck from copious amounts of headbanging.