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 – Sithter “Chaotic Fiend”

Sithter

Chaotic Fiend

Bonten Records – December 9th, 2016

Sludge/Doom/Hardcore Metal – Vinyl / CD / Digital

  

Has any one country ever supported hard rock and heavy metal like Japan? I certainly don’t think so. Since Sabbath crawled out from the primordial ooze, they’ve been there, generation after generation. This would make one think they should be much bigger players in the genre(s) considering their love for it, but that has not really been the case. What they have brought to the table though, has been excellent and underrated. From early hard-hitters such as Blues Creation and Shinki, Speed and Glue, on through to Loudness and E-Z-O, right to today’s rippers like Eternal Elysium and Church Of Misery, they’ve proven they have the goods. That now brings us to Sithter, the latest entry I’ve heard from the Land Of The Rising Sun. Does it measure up to its pedigree?

The answer is, by and large, yes. Rather than taking the more direct, Sabbathized path of C.O.M., “Chaotic Fiend” hops on the road straight to Louisiana and the NOLA sound. Throughout the nine tracks present, there is some serious EyeHateGod (and to a lesser degree, Down) worshiping taking place, and I do stress serious. Snarling, surly vocals, punishing riffs and a slow, grinding pace. The band has it all down quite solidly.

 

Chaotic Fiend_Music Set

 

For better of worse, this all means that the band’s strengths are simultaneously their weaknesses. The record is just too close to E.H.G. more often than it really should be. I have to admit the vocals are a bit of a challenge for me as well; a little more diversity and mood from them would really elevate matters.

Wrapping things up, Sithter has delivered a solid effort with “Chaotic Fiend”, no doubt. I think time will address some of the issues brought up here, but until then, this is a good album you should check out. 

Sithter:
Hyö Kagawa – Guitar
Wahei Gotoh – Bass
Takefumi Matsuda – Drums
Hiroyuki Takano – Vocals, Guitar

Words by David “The Lovely” LaMay