Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Freedom Hawk - Selftitled (Retro Hardrock US 2009)

Size: 89.7 MB
Bitrate: 320
Artwork Included

Hailing from the barrier dunes of Virginia, this quartet blends heavy riffs, a rolling groove, and soulful guitar melodies to produce the sound that is Freedom Hawk. Their brand of heavy rock coupled with a high energy live show, leaves many wondering if they’ve stepped through a time warp that has taken them to rock’s heyday of the 70’s by the power of their dark music fueled by the sun.

Freedom Hawk, out of Tidewater, Virginia, are a four-piece on a mission geared toward ?90s stoner space with just a touch of southern flair. Their self-titled MeteorCity debut, following last year?s nine-song Sunlight on Magic Lady Records, hails a ride in Fu Manchu?s boogie van while jamming out on garage-flavored Sabbath and putting back a couple of Legend brews, raising hell through the countryside.

Vince Burke (Beaten Back to Pure, Hail!Hornet, etc.) recorded, mixed, mastered and remastered the totality of Freedom Hawk, and he did a noble job of bringing forth the Orange-colored fuzz. I caught the band last year in New York after it was announced they?d be working with MeteorCity just to check them out, and compared to their live show, Freedom Hawk on record is a little tighter. Guitarist/vocalist TR Morton runs his voice through a processor basically throughout, and though that can get tiresome, it?s nothing unbearable, especially for fans of Sheavy or the aforementioned Fu Manchu.

Compiled from past EPs both self-released and not, most of Freedom Hawk — ?My Road? and closer ?Hollow Caverns? excepted — was recorded in 2006. No doubt the band thinks they?re beyond this material stylistically by now, but that doesn?t mean faithful heads can?t dig into what they have to offer. Along with Morton, Cave brothers Mark and Matt on bass and guitar, respectively, and drummer Lenny Hines are obviously capable songwriters; a track like centerpiece ?Ten Years? moving deftly through a stream of smooth-styled stoner rock just in time to set up the dirtier, even riffier ?Bad Man? that follows. For beginners and newcomers to the band?s recorded output, like me, it?s a good place to start.

Freedom Hawk aren?t really doing anything that?s never been done before, but it?s easy to see why MeteorCity picked them up. They obviously have the chops playing-wise to nail a release like this to the front door of listeners? minds, and the material is clear cut enough that even stoner rock novices can pick it up and feel right at home. More than that, however, it?s bands like Freedom Hawk that confirm the legacy of the stoner genre, that prove the self-contained importance of the generation before them, and turn it, however slightly, in their own direction. Could you have Freedom Hawk without their sundry ?90s influences? No, but by taking those influences and doing something more than imitating them, Freedom Hawk puts themselves right in line with the tradition of the US scene. At this point, you couldn?t have those ?90s influences without bands like Freedom Hawk to validate them. Again, small wonder MeteorCity signed them.

Though I?ll take the ballsy breakdown of ?Jay Walker? and the swaggering chicanery in ?Bad Man? and the ?100 Degrees?-by-way-of-Brant-Bjork?s-solo-material of ?Hollow Caverns? (listen to the wah guitar and Cave?s bass) over some of the earlier material on the album, Freedom Hawk on the whole delivers the level of quality that heads have come to expect from latter day MeteorCity, which seems to be on a roll with its reissues and new releases alike. It?s a scene release, from a scene band, to the scene. Pretty much begs you to partake.

Man, this band caught me by surprise. I like a lot of heavier slower music, thrash metal, but the big thing I like is that the band is talented and not making the same junk you hear on the radio everyday. I've listened to the album about 5 times in a row now, the sound has similar elements and feeling to some of the best albums from Kyuss, Black Sabbath, the sword, maybe even a little ZZ Top and AC DC. The sound is phenomenal, the riffs and the hooks just seep into your bones. This is an infectious album, you won't be able to get the songs out of your head for months. I started checking out their other albums, and they're pretty excellent as well. I love finding bands that I've overlooked who blow me away.

You can call it retro rock, heavy rock, stoner metal, maybe even a little sludge, I call it damn good.

I accidentally discovered Freedom Hawk on Pandora. I immediately took to their old-school Sabbath sound. On that note, it is true that they are inspired by early Sabbath (singer sound eerily like early Ozzy at times), but they definitely have a sound of their own and offer something new.

My favorite songs on this album are "My Road" and "Hollow Caverns." The guitar solos could be more memorable (much better in Holding On), but overall they are solid enough to sound good with the rest of the music. However, the riffs and main guitar rhythms are truly genius and the effects and mixing are superb. The drummer is absolutely awesome. Thank you for adding to your band's sound an not using the damn double bass and high hat all the time!

In short there is not a bad song on this album or any of their albums. I cannot believe that they are not bigger and more famous. I feel lucky to have found their music. Needless to say I would highly recommend this album to anyone one who likes 70's rock and is ready to be impressed. Their other albums are equally good.

01. On the Other Side 04:24
02. Universal 04:32
03. My Road 03:46
04. Ten Years 04:53
05. Bad Man 06:06
06. Jay Walker 05:02
07. Hollow Caverns 05:06