Not trying to prove my age here folks, but I have been a fan of Operation Ivy and Rancid for a good 25 years now.
Needless to say when I heard that Matt Freeman had a new project on Pirates Press Records, I had to stop what I was doing to check it out.
Freeman has been in so many punk rock bands since the late 80s aside from Rancid including MDC, Dancehall Crashers, Auntie Christ, and of course Devil’s Brigade. He even filled in for Social D for a bit. His bass playing is undeniably amazing and his deep, raspy singing style is unforgettable.
Having known his history, I figured Charger would follow suit, but I was so wrong and beyond blown away at what I heard. Sure, there was a Hellcat feel, but smashed up against pure hard rock a la Mötorhead and Black Sabbath.
I shouldn’t just speak of Freeman as two other talented-ass musicians put their heart and sound into the self-titled Charger EP. Andrew McGee plays guitar and then there’s Jason Willer on drums and vocals. He’s from Jello Biafra’s Guantanamo School of Medicine and some other band called U.K. Subs.
“Crackdown” started with the bass playing I have grown so fond of along side some serious guitar playing. The moment Freeman took the mic, I knew this album was gold.
The breakdown in “Victim” is tough and ever so authoritative. The band clearly tossed massive nods to metal bands of the 80s/90s without losing grip of their punk roots. You know the band had all the fun playing this one.
“Damage” ripped. Riffs, slapping bass, insane drumming, and Freeman bellowing into the microphone. There was a huge Hawkwind and Iron Maiden nod on this one. This track right here is proof that this band has a ton to offer.
“All Kings Must Die” pretty much was what would happen if Rancid and Mötorhead had a baby. There’s really no other way to put it, and it works just so well. Beyond entertaining to listen to as it covers metal, thrash, and punk rock without skipping a beat.
“Dragged Down” again pushed back to 70s/80s metal giants like Maiden and Metallica. The chorus on this one was perfect and evoked serious headbanging opportunities.
The EP might have flown by, but it was flawless and left me wanting far more. Here’s hoping for a full-length soon. Freeman, McGee, and Willer easily have proved their talent in this release will surpass the expectations of many. I foresee a lot of music lovers getting into this one. It’s topped my best of 2019 list easily and I have listened to the EP daily for a few weeks now and not grown tired at all of it.
Side note, if Charger was the music that Fraser, Buscemi, and Sander would have played in Airheads, it would have been the greatest movie of all time. I am not sure why I kept thinking of that movie while listening, but I couldn’t help but share. Plus if you recall, Lemmy was in that movie…