It’s Monday and Mondays suck, so let’s grind it out with a full album stream of Freighter’s The Den.
Anyone who has heard Freighter might wonder what they’re doing on a primarily grindcore-related column. To which I respond, this is the Monday Grind and these tunes are here to help brighten your Mondays and move you through that first barrier of the week. This column is always open to interpretation. And anyone who likes a good blast is gonna get a, well, blast outta this beast.
With The Den, San Francisco, CA jazzy, thrashy, mathy trio Freighter have unleashed their sophomore debut. If you haven’t heard them before this release, well, that’s okay because it’s been 11 years since their last record. Few bands take that long to write a follow-up record and live to tell the tale. But if you’ve been waiting for its, well, it’s worth the wait.
The Den is a finely polished piece of math that sounds like it was inspired by quantum physics. Beyond technical, Freighter belong to no genre in particular. “Psychic Reading ‘94” opens the record up with a few clacks of the drumsticks and for a second feels like it might take it easy on you. But it doesn’t. The instruments immediately grow wild as the vocals fire between unnerving and psychotic. And in the best way possible. The song sounds like it’s on a chopping block and things only grow more and more frantic. It’s only a three-minute song but it’s a wild ride.
What might take listeners by surprise is how seamless this album blends from one song to the next. The tracks simply fall into each other, never sounding out of place or abrupt. Things end, sometimes more obviously than at other times, but the record moves along like the band envisioned the piece as a series of tied songs/experiences rather than a list of subjects or a compilation of compositions. It’s an impressive labor of love from track one to track eight when it comes to flow.
Moreover, the approach to style is something to marvel at. Freighter may advertise themselves as a technical thrash trio, but really, they dabble in a lot more than that. The amount of blast beats on this record is amazing, as is the amount of progression and technicality. Tracks like “Presto Change-o” run between djent and jazz while maintaining a heavy, ominous mood. The track gets nice and heavy as it carries on too.
Maybe the best way to describe The Den is weird. Weird in the best way. Freighter have no comfort zone so they’re not afraid to hit the fringes and even go off them. Songs constantly go to unexpected places. At one point it’s dream-like, at another it’s heavy and the band is chanting over thundering drums. If you’ve been missing Dillinger Escape Plan or have been awaiting a new Cleric record, Freighter have something in store for you.
Travis Andrews has this to say about The Den:
"The Den is a reclusive (sometimes flamboyant), intuitive (not intellectual), folk art (not fine art). It was designed to be pure fantasy or fiction about sleep and misremembering. There is some OCD about organizing dreams, cataloguing human interactions, and exploring fantasy prone personalities. Essentially mental illness in music.
We really tried to make every second of its short run time count. I can't imagine a better band and production team and we're very humbled that everything came together so well. I hope that in some small way that it makes your day more enjoyable!"
Jason Braatz says this about The Den:
"The thing I think that's really cool about The Den is how accessible it seems to be, sort of on accident! We just tried to make something that hits hard and fast, but I think because all of us have our hands in so many different kinds of music it couldn't help but be wide-ranging. It's definitely the most challenging music I've ever played in my life, and the most intense process I've gone through to get it out into the world. I know that love and work can be heard in the final product."
Get grinding on this!