Chords for Freedom

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In some ways, 2003's Chords for Freedom sounds as out of time as a slice of time-warp psychedelia did back in the mid-'80s. Although these tracks were recorded in late 1999 (the release was held up when the original label went bankrupt), these eight brief blasts of pure adrenaline hardcore sound like they could have been recorded in Washington, D.C., or Los Angeles at some point in 1982, before Black Flag changed hardcore forever by discovering Black Sabbath and weed on the My War album. The rhythm section is in full-on lockstep pummel mode, and the two guitarists seem to be in some kind of notes-per-measure race. Vocally, it's honestly impossible to tell whether vocalists T.B. and Stefan Pettersson are singing in English or their native Norwegian! (For the record, six titles are in Norwegian and two are in English, but it's genuinely a tossup.) There's no denying that these are exciting bursts of old-school hardcore, but they feel kind of like simple genre exercises; it's difficult to connect with this album on any level beyond the most superficial.

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