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Freighter - The Den

The Den
by Marco Anglileri at 05 August 2019, 4:39 AM

“The Den” is the second album for the San Francisco Bay Area based band (the self-titled first album was released back in 2008), formed by lifelong friends Travis Andrews (guitar/vocals) and Jason Braatz (bass), together with drummer Matt Guggemos. FREIGHTER described their sound as technical progressive metal, but honestly, I do not see anything progressive in here; I would more say that they sound more like a mixture of Hardcore, Punk, Djent, Mathcore and of course, Metal, all with a good amount unpredictability and aggressiveness in the song structures.

I have listened many times to this “The Den” as well as I have read some reviews about it, and all the reviews are quite positive. Unfortunately, I cannot be of the same opinion. Then, is “The Den” a bad album? No, I would not say that. Is more that, in my opinion, it does not sound memorable.
There a few thing that I like, but in my opinion, there should be much more in order to make “The Den” a real good album. We live now in an age where it is possible to access any kind of music at any time and I come instead from an age (or prehistoric era if you prefer) where access to music was difficult and some of the albums made the history of music. Some time ago if you had an album, you were listening to it many times (and most of the time, I am still listening to it).

Now the music is a real mass product, and, at least for me, an album has to have something more to be in my playlist. Therefore, when I listen to an album, I want something that makes you want to listen again to it. And, honestly, I think that after writing this review, I will not listen anymore to “The Den”, although I will give a shot to an eventual third album, because I still feel the passion that this trio put in their music, as well as the impressive instrumental skills. I like the contrast in the cover, a quiet house in the woods, and I imagine the guys arriving there, preparing the instruments, and then, after a second of silence, playing out loud the aggressive notes of “The Den” right in your face.

But, let’s talk about music. Eight songs, twenty-seven minutes of aggressive hardcore, with, as said, a lot of unpredictability in the song textures, sudden accelerations and screamed vocals. I like the bass lines in “Psychic reading ‘94”, the stop and go in “Cimitero”, the aggressiveness of “Future duke” or the voice structure in “Hot car death dad”; in general, I like the energy that “The Den” is releasing, with his maniac drumming and uncommon guitar riffing, but, unfortunately, this is the further I can go on this album. It was difficult to listen to it, and it is even more difficult to listen to it twice (although, I listen to it more times); for me was not possible to find an element that made the any of the song memorable and will make me want to play press play again in the future.

Again, not a bad album, and the (not bad) marks below and the positive reviews on the web confirm it. Simply not my cup of tea, but you should give it a try.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 4
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Psychic reading ‘94
2. Future Duke
3. Presto Change-o
4. Hot Car Death Dad
5. Stick around and do it
6. King Pigeon
7. Harbor of Dieppe
8. Cimitero
Travis Andrew – Guitar/Vocals
Jason Braatz - Bass
Matthew Guggemos - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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