THE FREEZE – CALLING ALL CREATURES LP/CD (SLOPE)

Staring wildly with teeth bared, the Freeze have endured on and off for forty plus years, and are back after twenty to take you on another guided tour of the windswept New England haunted house that resides in Clif Hanger’s brain. And he’s brought his old pals Bill Close and Lou Cataldo to help show you around.

Originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, they made themselves known to the Boston hardcore scene and then the world through their contribution to the legendary area compilation LP ‘This Is Boston Not L.A.’ before releasing a formidable body of work.

Like a punk rock Stephen King on an amphetamine binge, Hanger’s lyrics seem to become more dark and deranged with each new release. The imagination and creativity applied to his brand of cynical wordplay are seldom seen elsewhere in punk rock, and were a big influence on a teenage me in inspiring me to write my own.

On songs like ‘Neighbourhood Pride’ and ‘Office of Family Design’ there’s a snooper around every corner and surveillance cameras everywhere he turns, zooming in and profiling Hanger until he breaks into a sweat and then a run, finally pressing himself in relief against the inside of his front door as he bolts it behind him.

The traditional Freeze saga of Tommy is revisited on ‘Blood Flows Home’ and Bill Close’s signature guitar is ever present, and especially noticeable on ‘Among the Missing’ and ‘Someone’s Bleeding’. ‘Calling All Creatures’ revisits themes they’ve been exploring since the early days. ‘Misery Loves Company’ is name dropped in the lyrics, and you can hear echoes of ‘Rabid Reaction’ and ‘One False Move’ throughout.

Years may have passed but the Freeze have added another grim chapter to their musical horror story without a misstep. All hope abandon ye who enter here.

(Welly)

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