You’ve got to hand it to bands like Freedom Hawk: they’re resilient.
Retrospective metal sounds tend to only stay en vogue for a short while. Municipal Waste is still around, but re-thrash corpse is so cold its flesh is approaching absolute zero. I even detect a slight downtick in blown-out black metal records hitting my inbox, and wouldn’t be surprised if most of the Darkthrone sound-alikes I’ve heard in the past two years start new outfits in the future that sound like, I don’t know, Code Orange or whatever gets people talking. Even the current white hot stars that are the Old School Death Metal revival and the New Wave of American Traditional Metal (or whichever acronym finally settles on Visigoth) will balloon into red giants awaiting collapse soon enough—or at least that’s my take.
Stoner rock, though, never seems to die. The crew of bands low-riding the asphalt laid down by early-70s amp worship acts like Vanilla Fudge and then repaved by Kyuss never seems to get to big or to shrink. It’s a sustainable subgenre, in part because these bands tend to require at least a little songwriting acumen.
Songwriting acumen? Brother, Freedom Hawk has it. Case in point, “Solid Gold”, the leading track from their upcoming fifth full-length, Beast Remains. The Virginia power trio indulges in amp-and-tone-worship”—dig that liquid guitar tone on the muted scraping riff that anchors the song. Still, said sonic playfulness never gets in the way of a solid chorus courtesy of singer and riffmeister T.R. Morton. And while the band’s instrumental prowess comes to the front as long as Morton isn’t singing, Freedom Hawk manages to say all they need to in five and a half minutes. The longest song on Beast Remains barely cracks six minutes. Brevity, dear heshers, is a virtue.