Album Review – Freedom Hawk “Sunlight”

FREEDOM HAWK

Sunlight – Vinyl / CD / DD

Ripple Music – Release January, 28th 2017 

 

Band_Pic_Live

 

Emanating from the dunes of – Sunlight -Virginia as FREEDOM HAWK, they describe themselves as “Heavy, head-spinning blend of 60’s acid and fuzzy bluesy guitar with generous helpings of melodic 70’s Soul, Blues, Hard Rock, and 90’s Stoner Metal.” The resulting brand of rock capitalizes on the best of the heavy ‘70’s, but presents a fuzzy take that’s modern and based around quality songwriting rather than ‘style-over-substance’ retro posturing.

Formed in 2003 when T.R. Morton (vocals/guitar), Mark Cave (bass) and Lenny Hines (drums) began jamming in Virginia Beach, the band began getting serious to the tasks of rehearsing and performing in 2004 when Mark’s brother Matt Cave joined the fold. The first release was “Sunlight” in 2008, followed up in 2009 with an EP titles “Freedom Hawk”, both receiving positive press helping to grow the fan base and leading them to stoner-rock label Small Stone that released “Holding On” in 2011 and “Into Your Mind” in 2015.

 

Sunlight_Album Cover

 

From the first note of “Sunlight”, I thought I had stumbled across some unreleased tracks from BLACK SABBATH’s “Never Say Die” LP, not even imagining that was a new band with a direction that had seemingly been MIA for some time. From the beginning of opener “Executioner”, through “Land Of The Lost”/”Sunlight”/”Stand Back” and “Lightning Charge” there is no doubt that this is NOT your daddy’s Sabbath but something special to NOT be missed. Standout track for me and a sign of what is coming forth is “King Of Order” that for five minutes and 40 seconds is a full on assault using that pull no punching while traversing the spectral skies of psychedelia before putting you back on your feet. On the first listen, I had left it rolling as I tried to decide what to listen to next and at ten minutes, 3 seconds, all of a sudden, an unlisted song began with a funky bassline, trippy little guitar bubbles and this DAVID JOHANSEN style verse begins. It is SO unlike anything else by these guys but quite enjoyable. Reminded me of the same sort of moment I had had with NIRVANA’s “Nevermind” cd with all that silence at the end then BOOM!!!!

“Sunlight” had been relegated to ‘digital only’ status after the band had done the ‘self-released’ CDs back in 2009. Ripple Music is now giving this release the treatment it has deserved since it was completed. Two vinyl versions and a CD version will be forthcoming towards the end of January 2017.  FREEDOM HAWK will be hitting the road with new guitarist Brendan O’Neil (PESTILENCE CHOIR) and ask you to spread the word, spread the bird!! Just DO IT and let FREEDOM HAWK fly!!

Words by Ric “Sui-Syko” Dorr


Album Review – Demonic Death Judge

Demonic Death Judge

Seaweed

Suicide Records – Release January 13th, 2017 –  Vinyl / CD / DD 

Doom/Sludge/70’s Metal

 

Demonic Death Judge had seemingly found their sound on 2012’s “Skygods”, but obviously, five years can change much for a band.  I’ll be damned if “Seaweed” isn’t rockin’, forward-thinking proof of that.

For this particular raucous slab or heaviness, the doom and polished sludge (complete with gruff, but fitting vocals) of the past is still very much present, but this time out, the band has added a southern swagger and groove, with a pinch more atmosphere as well. Hell, you even get some banjo for that special Appalachian vibe! Yes indeed, the band is refusing to tread water, but they have found that sweet spot where growth does not mean forsaking the past. No previous fan of the band’s past efforts should feel abandoned; if they do- Shame on them! This is the kind of boundary expansion you want for musicians and DDJ delivers it in a big way!

 

Promo Kit

 

Admittedly, a more approachable effort than the Judge’s have ever released, “Seaweed” still manages to pack a jaw-swelling punch. You need this one in your collection- Trust me! What a nice way to start the reviewing year….

”SEAWEED” tracklist:
1. Taxbear
2. Heavy Chase
3. Seaweed
4. Cavity
5. Backwoods
6. Pure Cold
7. Saturnday
8. Peninkulma

Words by David “The Lovely” LaMay