UKHC veterans Freebase are back with a new EP; a 12-minute thrash through five tracks of dumb hardcore. Having come to prominence in the late 90s before dropping off the map, this latest release sees three re-recordings and two new songs, barely a morsel for long-time fans rather than a fully fleshed EP.
Your enjoyment of ‘From The Basement’ will entirely hinge on how much you buy into what Freebase do. This is hardcore of the lowest common denominator: brash, fast, noisy and single-minded in its goal to make you mosh. If you’re looking for cerebrally challenging music, this is not for you. However, if you’re looking for something brief and brutal that’ll turn your living room into a sweatbox of whirling limbs, some big dumb fun, then you could do worse.
The riffs are chunky, the vocal bark is unspectacular but serviceable and the driving drums will get feet moving. ‘Welcome To Hell’, one of two new tracks, is the highlight of the EP, with a driving rhythm and sludgy chorus that will surely inspire a few nights of mayhem in sweaty clubs around the country.
Freebase have found themselves on a number of festival bills this year, including Download Festival in Donington. Their music is perfectly suited for this kind of environment; best enjoyed with a beer in hand, swirling inside a sweltering tent with a big grin on your face. The three re-recordings (‘Run Me Down’, ‘Respect’ and ‘Sympathy Vote’) all sound crisper than on original versions and maintain their blunt-force aggressive charm, while the two newer tracks fit seamlessly into Freebase‘s catalogue. There’s an effective balance of raw beatdowns, barrelling chug sections and straight up ballsy riffing that helps the EP to maintain momentum and prevent slipping into a boring dirge of noise.
‘From The Basement’ isn’t a reinvention of hardcore. It isn’t even a minor deviation from the mould that was set in the 90s UK scene. But, there’s something comforting about its simplicity, its honesty and focus in providing an authentic old skool experience. Fans of Freebase will already likely be picking this one up, despite its lack of new content, but if you’re after a bite size piece of UKHC at its boldest and most stripped-down, then this might just be the release for you.
Written by Grant Bailey