Driven Fear expand their musical offerings on Freethinker, showing that hardcore doesn’t always have to be so fast-paced and in your face.
The Gold Coast quintet has been kicking around since 2004, sharing stages with the likes of The Amity Affliction and The Ghost Inside. Freethinker is their fourth release via Pee Records and the follow up to 2011’s Contender. The album was recorded and mixed by Sam Johnson (The Smith Street Band, The Bennies) across three different studios and took over two years.
Driven Fear is still energetic and aggressive, kicking off with heavy breakdowns and powerful screams on ‘Falling Awake’ – but there is variation in textures across Freethinker. ‘Crisis’ is a highlight with its melodic edge, gang vocals and bouncy riffs. ‘Dancing With Daffodils’ returns to a feverish speed, which carries onto the first single ‘In Care of Pt. 2’.
The second half of the album plays with contrasting sounds. On ‘A Bright Flash’ there is a back and forth between crunching guitars and rolling bass. ‘The Red Hill’ slows down dramatically, again with a controlled approach, building tension with soft guitars. Vocalist Tim Hyde even shows some restraint at times. These tracks lighten up the otherwise heavy feel in the first half of Freethinker.
Lyrically the album explores free thought and particularly repressed thoughts with lyrics such as “He keeps his anger deep inside,” and “Nobody knows the shame I feel inside,” which acknowledge common anxieties. ‘The Feedback Loop’ begins with a monologue comparing society to machine, before ending on another hectic note.
Freethinker could be two separate albums. It aims to please both the fundamentalists and those who favour melodic hardcore. Driven Fear sound their best when they are not drowning in a wall of sound; allowing their reflective nature to show. On Freethinker abandoning the loud and fast rule has worked in the band’s favour.
Keep up to date with Driven Fear on Facebook before Freethinker drops next Friday, February 26.