Monday 27 July 2015

Freedom Hawk - 'Into Your Mind' (Album Review)

‘Overall a very strong album that holds strong throughout; immense riffs and licks, explosive drumming, engaging vocals and solid bass playing- it doesn’t get much better.’

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 23/6/2015
Label: Small Stone Recordings

‘Into Your Mind’ CD//DD//LP Track Listing

1). Blood Red Sky
2). Journey Home
3). Lost In Space
4). On Your Knees
5). Waterfall
6). Radar
7). Beyond Our Reach
8). Into Your Mind
9). The Line
10). All Because Of You

Freedom Hawk is:

Lenny Hines | Drums
T.R. Morton | Vocals, Guitar
Mark Cave | Bass


The Virginia Beach rockers are back!

Now a trio since  the departure of Matt Cave, they bring out their 4th album and follow up to their 2011 release ‘Holding On’.  Heavy riffs, rolling grooves and soulful melodious guitar entwine to produce their immediately identifiable sound. ‘Into Your Mind’ brings another dimension to their fuzz tinged offerings with all the swagger one would have expected after their previous effort.

A twinge of Ram Jam sneaks into opener ‘Blood Red Sky’; to what proves to be a bloody amazing album, flecked with stoner vocals and Sabbath like grooves,  it oozes into the sub conscious pummelling the senses with aplomb. Definitely the most radio friendly song, a stoner rock band can write, it has the rhythmic pulse of Led Zeppelin with the charisma of Ozzy. Rather adroitly they alternate and meld the prime elements of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s classic rock, metal, psychedelic rock, grunge and even a tinge of thrash. A belting opener.

‘Lost In Space’ epitomises the Virginia Beach trio at their finest; harnessing every single element that makes them enjoyable to the listen to; sci-fi lyrics, guitar riffs and lead melodies that create momentum and splashes of colour to lift the arrangements. The passion they have for hard rock and its history is transferred directly into this song and its finely tuned style of song writing.  The lead break in ‘Journey Home’; housing more layers than a triple decker sandwich, brings the catchiness up to immensely classic levels whilst the refined drum rolls from Hines and psychedelic chord choices make ‘Waterfall’ an absolute must have for their live shows; housing a slinky funk groove before opening up to a stoner rock ballad, superb stuff.

With a nod to Southern Rock, they take a wander with ‘Beyond Our Reach’, with clean, echoing guitar rhythms that hammer into the brain and take root enabling you to hum them all day long. Putting a pin in their heavy distortive work to get their point across, and they do, so very well.  Smoothly moving into the title track ‘Into Your Mind’ with a Clutch like stomp, you’re subjected to wondrous harmonies that combine Soul, Blues, Hard Rock and Stoner Metal with style,  making this trio diverse- yes but also enticing, flowing with musical chemistry. Jim Morrison’s influence is a shining beacon on the opening vocals here. A track that can only be described as organic; it is like no other on the album but reflects the roots of the Hard Rock/Metal genres. This song reminds the listener; no matter what kind of song they write, what lies at their core- delivering energetic rock whilst worshipping at the altar of the greats. It is by this point that I have realised just how good drummer Lenny Hines is; almost Ian Paice like, his dexterity for fills and his stylistic variations are immense. Each drum part is superbly arranged and executed with intent and attention to dynamics.

‘The Line’ glides in next; instantly attention grabbing, sombre and melodic, driven with emotionally charged vocals and strong bass lines, it is wondrously morose and melodic. The guitar lines take over about half way through and lead the song to an enchanting instrumental ending. Ending on a high with ‘All Because Of You’; it is a funky, groovy number that will cause those with even the blackest of souls to have a little wiggle round the kitchen.  It is simple yet effective and with more than ample guitar wizardry, catchy drums and bass entanglement, it takes me a minute to calm down and declare that I am in no doubt this record is winning. With the focus honed on refined, hook-orientated chord progressions and the Ozzy like crooning of guitarist T.R. Morton these 10 songs remind me of everything from Sabbath to Kyuss; Clutch to retro Corrosion of Conformity.

Overall a very strong album that holds strong throughout; immense riffs and licks, explosive drumming, engaging vocals and solid bass playing- it doesn’t get much better. They have developed a fantastic writing/playing style that pings the senses and has massive potential for success within the retro/classic rock movement. They balance the vocal and instrumental parts alongside excellent attention to detail with their arrangements. Capitalising on the best of the 70’s whilst adding their own twist based around excellent song writing as opposed to stylistic retro posturing.  If you love classic rock and up tempo metal/hard rock then this will settle nicely between the ears and tickle your fancy.

Words by: Kat Hilton

‘In Your Mind’ is available here

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