After Henrik Freischlader’s last farewell tour with his band and 2014 live album many were worried that it might be the last we would see of Henrik leading a band for a while. Well, it appears that he is back with Openness after a short respite to recharge the creative batteries. For the new album, he has put together all new members, Alex Grube on bass and drummer Carl-Michael Grabinger. It is a good thing that Henrik took some time to recharge the batteries since he carries a big load. There are no keyboards, second guitar, or strings to fill things out, so the power trio format forces everyone, especially the guitar player who ends up doing rhythm and lead duties to step up and play harder since there is nothing else to fill the spaces.
There are straight up blues rock tunes that easily could have been done with his old group like the complex title track “Openness.” “We’re so techno, gotta be a little more rock n roll” is a line out of the great rocking track “Techno” that is a clear admonishment of our reliance on technology. There is even a nod to Hendrix stylings in the guitar work on “High Expectations.” “Business Straight” will have your toe tapping along to the repetitive rhythm guitar.
Henrik shows his range though and growth by covering the gamut in terms of blues styles with tracks like the more traditional 12 bar blues of “Early Morning Blues” to the reggae rock rhythm of “Nobody Else to Blame” and the ’50s roll of “Lord Have Mercy.” A bunch of ballads like “Never Really Left You” fills things out along with the stripped down tracks of “His Love” and “Senses.” There’s even some King influences evident in “Today I’m Gonna Change.”
In total, Openness is a welcome return by the talented Henrik that we are all happy to see. While his style has evolved it has not metamorphasized too much. It is still clear that Henrik is the creative juice behind this trio and he still delivers the searing guitar work when necessary.
The Review: 7.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Never Really Left You
The Big Hit
Review by Kevin O’Rourke
Buy the album: Amazon