Exclusive Interview: Freedom’s Reign on proto metal and their self-titled album

Freedom’s Reign
Interview With Victor Arduini
By Eric May

First and foremost Victor, the music that you create in Freedom’s Reign is myriads different from the work created in Fate’s Warning. Why did you choose to go with a more rock and doom-laden route than to continue the prog style that made Fate’s Warning so successful?

I’m not really into what Fate’s Warning’s direction and style has become. I respect their musicianship but as musician myself when I pick up my guitar it still harks back to the period when I was still in the band. I like my metal a bit more to the point and in your face. I’m an old Sabbath guy and still appreciate great riffing and melodies I can latch onto without having to study it. I’m pretty sure I would have left Fates before they began to change direction from what we started it out to be.

How do you feel about this proto-metal movement? Do you think it’s kind of like the saying, “everything comes back around?”

I do think everything comes back around. Look at music over the years and every style seems to have a comeback. I got away from metal all together for a while only to one find myself reliving it all over again. We all have an inner passion to certain things and when music touches your soul in some manner it will never quite go away. I think it’s great that the bands I grew up with, played with are all seeing success again with recent releases. Old school is in! Especially in the UK seeing festivals dedicated to the Proto Metal bands. It’s pretty cool.

Often times it feels like I’m hearing two different kinds of metal these days, the overly tech-laden core and the old school revival. Why do you think technicality has become so important in the metal scene these days?

I’m not a big fan of a lot of the newer bands simply because I feel the music is a pop song overladen with these over gated guitars and studio driven drums. Underneath it just goes nowhere but there’s so much noise covering it up. The technicality isn’t what wins me over. It’s the riff and the feel they’re getting that moves me. Old school metal hit you hard emotionally and you felt you understood it. Not all the best recordings but some of those songs are classics today.

Tell me about the recording process for your self-titled studio album. What was it like? Also, what was it like to work with Nick Belmore (Toxic Holocaust, Hatebreed) on the mixing/mastering portion?

The recording process was pretty straight forward. Drums recorded to a click track, followed by the layering of guitars and bass. Then I put the vocals down and we mixed. If there’s another way of doing it, I’d rather stick to the process used back in 1985. We went into the studio pretty prepared and we practiced together (what a concept!) for nine months getting these songs to where we wanted them. We write when we feel it and then it’s improving upon the structure and tightening up. Even so there was some cool experimenting in the studio, as we needed to leave a little room in each song for new ideas. Nick (Belmore) was amazing in this area. He respected the song but would enlist the occasional ideas that just blew us away. He was tremendous in helping me out with some vocal ideas and being a drummer really worked to our advantage in nailing a great sound.

Many styles appear on this album like Sabbath styled doom, classic power/thrash and even classic tinged hard rock. There’s even a Nirvana cover. Was it your original intention to just play music without borders?

I just write without any notion to the style or influence. I have many of them and love not feeling the whole album has to sound the same. I really dig Black Sabbath and so heavy doom laden riffs will always be in the mix of things. Growing up loving Deep Purple also gives way to faster power like riffs. Mix it all together with so many other great influences in my lifespan and this is what comes out.

Is there anything that ties these songs together, like a specific theme?

There’s no real theme to the songs or any tie in. I do write a lot about things we don’t always talk about including death or the processes we go though in life every day. I usually get inspired by the music and begin to lay over each verse as I’m recording demos. I’ve always been a big fan of how some singers use words that flow with each other and compliment the music. What I’m saying isn’t as important as how it sounds in the song.

What kinds of instruments did you guys use on this album? What tuning do you use? What kinds of pedals? Do you have any favoured brands?

Nothing really special. I actually used a Sebring 335 hybrid I picked up a few years back in a pawn show, which has a great tone. Tommy used Gibson guitars (SG, Les Paul). Mike played a new Spectre Bass. Chris has a custom Pearl Master’s studio set. We ran most of the guitars through a Mesa amp. It’s the microphone techniques used by Nick (Belmore) that really made the difference in sound. Again, just trying to keep it real.

Are you guys going to be playing this material live? If so, where can we catch you? Are there any bands in particular you’d like to play with, maybe a Freedom’s Reign and Fates Warning show in the future?

We plan to play the entire CD in our live shows and you might even hear a Sabbath cover thrown in. I tend to always want to look forward with my music and as we write some newer stuff I wouldn’t be surprised to head it into the show as the year progresses.

What does Freedom’s Reign mean? How did you come up with the name?

It doesn’t have some grand meaning. I see it as a statement to do what you do best without restrictions or someone controlling your life. I’m a big believer in living your life to its fullest.

The album artwork depicts an angel who seems to be chained to the ground and seems to be rather upset about it. What was the inspiration here?

That a pretty good interpretation. She does look upset. Actually the chains are now broken and the cuff’s undone. I think she’d rather have them back on… (laughs)

What do you guys expect to happen five or ten years for now? Do you see the glass as half empty or half full? Can the human race survive another ten years or are we doomed to a post-apocalyptic wasteland?

I don’t particularly think too far beyond the next year. As musicians we just want to express ourselves and make some cool music. I think it’s safe to safe we’ll be doing another by early next year. Already have some very heavy riffs ready to work out. As far as the human race goes, we’ll be here awhile. We’re not that stupid! We were back in the 50’s & 60’s and luckily we’re still here today. When I see someone like Kim Jung Un acting like a tyrant in North Korea it’s funny, because dude… you’re about 50 years too late. The world has grown up. So should you!

Thanks for the interview. Hope to see you on tour soon!

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