Australia’s Driven Fear sure have taken their sweet time to release the follow-up to 2011’s “Contender”. Produced by longtime friend Sam Johnson (The Smith Street Band, The Bennies), “Freethinker” was recorded over the course of two years in three different studios. Which might seem like a long time until you consider how long it took Axl Rose to record “Chinese Democracy”. Not that I want to compare “Freethinker” to that album. Mainly because the two have absolutely nothing in common and because well, “Chinese Democracy” was absolutely dreadful.
Driven Fear deals in the kind of melodic hardcore we love bands like Comeback Kid and Good Riddance for and they do a pretty solid job of it. Just give tunes like opening track “Falling Awake” and “Crisis” a spin. You’ll know what we’re talking about. With plenty of aggression and breakneck speeds, Driven Fear explore what free thought entails throughout thirteen songs that range from the all-out speedfest that is “Built To Fire” to the more restrained “The Red Hill”.
I just wish the vocals showed as much variation as the music. While Tim Hyde’s hoarse screams are pretty impressive at first, they do tend to become a bit monotonous as your work your way down the track-listing. With just a bit more diversity there, “Freethinker” would have turned out even better than it has. But hey, you do however get plenty of excellent shredding and well-placed breakdowns in return, so I guess that kinda evens things out.