posted on 12/2009 By:
"Hey, man, is that Freedom Hawk?"
"Well, TURN IT UP, MAN!"
That decades-old commercial featuring two burnouts discussing the merits of a classic rock compilation is not only fitting because of the pun on the band name but also because this is stoner rock through and through. Freedom Hawk rides huge Clutch / Fu Manchu grooves straight into guitar-driven nirvana, and those two hippies in their lawn chairs would dig this for sure, especially since it rocks the pants off The Moody Blues and "Layla" and whatever else was on that compilation.
Like all the best stoner rock, Freedom Hawk is full o’ fuzztone, of hazy riffage and swaggering groove. These riffs are huge, pentatonic, raucous and rawk-ish; these grooves are hard-driving and a mile wide; the bass is low and dirty; together they’re a beast of smoky, boozy rock and roll that both rolls and rocks, from tip to top. T.R. Morton’s vocals sport hints of Ozzy and Wino, although he’s far from the band’s strongest asset. As often as not, his voice fades into the smoke and swagger, sitting comfortably in the mix and letting the riffs and the driving groove be the true selling points here. The album’s sole negative strike comes in a few instances of lyrical mediocrity that float up from the haze, a line here and there so weak that it can’t be ignored—"Open the door, get in the car / hit the gas / the engine roars and we are going / way too fast," from the otherwise impressive "My Road." Those poetic shortcomings are few but noticeable enough to deduct a half-point above, and while I certainly wouldn’t expect high literary standards from ninety percent of rock bands (especially those that don’t feature Neil Fallon), seriously, guys… You’ve got the rocking part down pretty well, so maybe spend just a little more time on the rhymes, mmkay?
One could argue that Freedom Hawk isn’t the most original band around, and one would certainly be right. But down-the-middle stoner rock has a pretty set formula, and these guys work well within their proscribed framework, adding no new twists to the art-form but rocking suitably loud and proud in the process. Meteor City is ever dependable when it comes to rocking stoner records, and once again, they’ve delivered a winner.
Turn it up, man.
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