Friday, January 15, 2010

Virginia Freedom

FREEDOM HAWK – “Freedom Hawk” CD ’09 (Meteor City, US) – Swagger. What is it? It’s when you can not only talk the talk but you can also walk the walk. That’s what Jimmy Johnson called it when he talked about ‘dem Cowboys. Judas Priest called it delivering the goods and Tidewater Virginia’s FREEDOM HAWK calls it their new self-titled disc and first on Meteor City.

Yeah man, from the minute the opening bass lines of “On The Other Side” kick in and T.R. Morton issues his call to arms “Go!” you know you’re in for an ass whoopin’ if you need one anyway! 7 songs, 30-some minutes and if you’re still standing after this prime belt of hard rock/metal, MMA may be in your future. See, FREEDOM HAWK soar way above the endless litany of most of today’s so-called “heavy” saviors by being so much more. Depth, not grease, is the word, baby. Rather than dabble in one-dimensional QOTSA quap, they reach back and grab a big handful of stick-to-your-ribs meat & potatoes like Zep and Free to stir into their pot of Gibsons and overdriven Marshalls. The results are a lot more than merely impressive. Just check out the aforementioned opener with it’s sudden smash-mouth rhythm shift part way through. Ride the high-octane beast called “Universal” down the dusty highway to riff heaven and then take a quick left onto “My Road” with it’s smartly-placed harmony leads. “Bad Man” sees the band in, yup, that full swagger as the doors swing open on a brazen riff. With “Hollow Caverns,” the boys let their full range show in flying colours with moody, ethereal intros & outros framing a goddamn epic of a song that, amazingly, reaches those proportions in a svelte 5:07. Through the course of this in-your-face & to-the-point disc, all 4 of the musicians excel. Morton & Matt Cave’s guitars lock together in heavy-as-shit rhythms, take some harmony flights and are always there with a blistering fuzz lead when called for. Mark Cave (bass) & Lenny Hines (drums) churn up a warm, organic rhythm but it’s T.R. Morton’s vocals that, aside from the excellent songs, set FREEDOM HAWK apart. With an upper range dripping in soul, he calls to mind vintage names like Plant & Ray Gillen and lends a timeless vibe to the whole affair.

Some might say it’s lacking in imagination to self-title any release other than a band’s debut, but with FREEDOM HAWK, it’s mighty appropriate. They’ve made an album that’s defined themselves in no uncertain terms. That’s swagger, baby. Their Road Or The Highway

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