Here’s a very interesting proposition – a comeback album from legendary California hardcore band Freewill. I say interesting because their original recordings never saw the light of day officially until a couple of years back, so they flew under the radar for many years. Although this will be less relevant to new listeners, fans of their old material will be listening to this with a critical ear. The resulting album is fabulous. The Freewill sound takes its roots from classic Californian hardcore, but adds many elements into the mix.
The result is an album chock full of melody and memorable tunes. If you think back to late 80s/ early 90s, you had bands like Reason To Believe or The Offspring (yeah, I said it!) that had their own melodic take, and Freewill have now – as they did then – continued that fine tradition. Opener Letting Go almost serves as a condensed version of the album – hard-hitting riffs and gang vocals show off the hardcore roots, but interwoven vocal melodies give a hint of something deeper.
Things take a step off the gas with Stay Here, with delicate guitars and vocal lines that bring to mind Wig Out era Dag Nasty, beautiful. And so the well of tunes continues to flow throughout the album. Musically it is intricate with a lot going on, but not in a demanding way. It’s up to you whether you want to sit and immerse yourself in the sound, or simply crank it up and let the good times roll. Thank you Freewill for providing my anthems for the summer and well beyond. Tom Chapman