If Frayle makes their way into mainstream media and is given a chance on cooperate radio and popular culture, it may very well change the direction of heavy rock forever. Carrying a banner that dates back to Black Sabbath, Frayle can help change the way young people get into into heavy music. In fact, we could have a doomy Nirvana situation on our hands. So long Godsmack, and thanks for all the tribal tattoos.
Listening to Frayle’s debut EP, The White Witch, causes the mind to wonder if this may be the perfect balance of production value, legitimate stoner metal riffs, and haunting female vocals to move the needle on how heavy a radio friendly band can get. All of the desirable attributes of doomy stoner rock—slow distorted ‘70s bass tones and half-time, crash-heavy drums—are firmly planted as the support beam of the band, along with the reverb-drenched and harmony-laden vocals of singer and writer Gwyn Strang. These elements, along with an acute ear for production poise by guitarist/writer/producer/engineer Sean Bilovecky, put Frayle in a different category than bands only concerned with how loud and high they can get.
There’s also the fact that this band is not fucking around. “Professional” is the first word that comes to mind about the band’s approach and is undeniably worth emphasizing. From the equipment used on stage to their web presence, Strang and Bilovecky is putting its best foot forward. In addition, Frayle is going to Europe this October to play two festivals: Soulcrusher III in the Netherlands and Desertfest in Belgium. They’re also releasing a full-length album in late fall, which promises “more depth and much darker tones” according to Bilovecky. Seeing the songs of The White Witch evolve into darker depths is all any critic could ask for.
Cleveland is a metal town. For proof of this, take a walk through the hallways of popular rehearsal space Rock & Roll City Studios and bathe in the squealing solos and growling vocals. So how does one band stand out in a small barrel with a lot of fish in it? Passion, planning, and a unique sound is how Frayle does it.
All four songs on their debut EP bring something special to the table while still fitting the overall theme of the album. The standout composition is the final track of The White Witch is “Things That Make Us Bleed” due to its use of thick, bassy tone and a shifting dynamic between softer solos and explosive breaks. As on all Frayle songs, Gwyn’s vocals add the hook and approachability to an already near-perfect track.
There is something to be said about not oversaturating your hometown market. Frayle is not trying to hop on every Tuesday night sludge show at Now That’s Class. On the contrary, the band picks relevant shows with the genre’s most respected acts, not to mention the two European festivals they are playing this fall.
The festivals are a perk to signing multiple promotion and distribution deals the band procured throughout its first year of existence. Yet another way that Frayle sets itself apart from your average Cleveland party dudes is that they actually care about their product. The White Witch is pressed on thick white vinyl and available on all streaming services. As much as some bands want to hold on to the fact that music is expressive art, it’s also a marketable product.
Keep your eyes peeled for Frayle shows around town to experience the live show. The band will be the ones with a ghostly, white-haired woman up front and a wall of Orange Amplifiers playing knee-rattling doom. Don’t be surprised if two years from now, there is a drastically-heavier sound to corporate radio thanks to Frayle figuring out the formula while still making true metal.