Walk into the kitchen and grab the blender. Under the flickering light with feet sticky on the linoleum floor, stuff in a bunch of: Black Sabbath, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Tool, and Polkadot Cadaver. Hit mince and perhaps wind up with something close in viscosity to the fuzz-soaked bluesy noise rock of The Freqs.
The band’s latest release, Poachers, was recorded at The Bridge in Cambridge, Massachusetts with Alex Allinson at the helm. The co-owner and chief engineer did a superb job getting a thick, heavy sound while retaining the raw energy of a basement show. Check out the lead single “Witch” for burning proof.
This song concludes the EP like a distillation of everything that came before it. There’s a hideously enchanting main riff synchronized with drums that go double time at the end of each phrase. There’re fervid vocals in the verses that keep the edge of the seat warm, and gang vocals that feel splendidly visceral as they chant ‘Burn witch!‘ in the choruses. There’s even a likeness to “Hey Jude” in the outro as the band comes back in with everything but the damn sink!
Poachers starts strong, too. The opening track, “Poacher Gets The Tusk” blends fuzzy guitars and a four-to-the-floor shuffle groove with clever lyrics like, ‘You’re only guilty ’til you’re innocent‘. The Sabbath-blessed riffs twist and turn with dissonant flourishes, and the vibraslap on the creepy back end of the bridge elevates the tongue in cheek.
From there, “Power Trippin'” keeps up the frenetic intensity with a robust rhythm section (breaking out the shakers and tambourines), and heaps of octave/wah-wah riffs reminiscent of early Mutoid Man. Then, “Asphalt Rivers” takes the listener on a headier kind of journey. The section with the refrain ‘Giving you up/Giving you up/Carrying on alone‘ feels particularly Lateralus inspired. This track also packs a downright nasty sludge breakdown at the end.
Speaking of sludge, another stone-cold banger on this EP is “Sludge Rats”. It boasts a stellar main guitar riff, ethereal verses with lovely falsetto vocal moments sprinkled in, and a chorus impossible to not sing along with. Going from ‘Now my blood is filled with arsenic and heavy metal‘ back into that brick shithouse of a main riff is dangerously gratifying, and so are the cathartic post-rock crescendo and half-time breakdown that round out the track.
Following a song like that is no easy task. Yet, “Chase Fire, Catch Smoke” (awesome title) does a more than fine job of it. The waltzy groove is refreshing and the riff on the chorus is despicably mean. It’s exquisite! By the solo at the end, System of a Down‘s “Peephole” comes to mind, which is always high praise.
‘We’re really proud of Poachers, being that it is probably our most collaborative effort as a band so far. It’s our first release with Zack on drums, who’s been a monumental presence behind the kit and in the songwriting process. We feel that Poachers will serve as a blueprint of sorts for future releases as we continue to solidify our sound and sonic identity as a band.’
What more can be said about it? The band’s already functioning like a well-oiled machine. Their music has a very accessible element to it that classic rock fans will enjoy, and plenty of gritty sludgy noise to keep the underground on their toes. Like, it’s not too hard imagining them on a tour with King Gizzard, Chevelle, or even with the Melvins. Poachers is a bona fide juggernaut of an EP, and it’s sure to build hype for The Freqs‘ next release.