Farewell To Freeway is yet another band that is new to me but has a fairly extensive catalog. They have been releasing albums for 11 years now (5 of them for Victory Records), but I haven’t had the chance to check them out until their latest release, Filthy Habits.
Farewell To Freeway are a metalcore/post-hardcore hybrid band that calls Guelph, Ontario home. From what I gather, the band (which is currently a trio) has had a fairly chaotic member base, dropping keyboardist Michele Walter from the lineup sometime before recording this. There is still a very minimal synth presence, evident in songs such as “Inside Influence” and “Token Ain’t Weezy”, but it seems to be absent from most of the record overall, so that’s one change that fans of previous work can expect (I assume, anyways – remember, I haven’t heard the old stuff). From doing some reading, I’ve found that drummer Mike Farina had also parted ways with the band shortly after recording Filthy Habits, but the band soldiers on with a touring drummer (not named). The remaining members consist of brothers Chris and Adam Lambert on guitars/vocals and vocals (respectively), and guitarist Drew Harwood. They also employ touring bassist Kyle Amos.
The music itself is very safe and rarely technical, with guitars that alternate from hardcore punk riffs to whimsical post-hardcore melodies. All in all, it’s not horrible by any stretch, but it fails to really do anything to make it stand apart from the metalcore genre as it was at the turn of the century. I felt that the drums were very solid, however. They ended up being one of the most attention-snagging aspects of the entire album, being very rock oriented with a healthy amount of double bass – it’s used common enough to keep the blood flowing, but it’s not over-abundant, which wouldn’t suit Farewell To Freeway’s style well at all. Speaking of bass, I’m not even sure that I heard one – it is very much a background instrument here.
The screams are done well, and are probably the most noteworthy element on Filthy Habits. They are mostly mid-range and somewhat throaty, but there are some semi-guttural growls thrown in every now and again for good measure. My biggest turn-off with this record by far and wide was the clean vocals. They’re fairly typical for post-hardcore, which means they’re somewhat emo – sometimes more than others. Unfortunately for the band, one of the times they really stuck out as excessively whiny was during what would have been my favorite song, which is also the closing track – “Blood Boils Quicker Than Water”. When I’m driving around, I’ll actually start listening to the song to rock out (as the main verses are some of the only examples of discordance and mathiness on the record), and then mock the clean singing during the chorus. It somehow makes me feel better about having to listen to that part of the record, but I usually turn it off before it ever reaches the second chorus, so it’s a crying shame.
In closing, if you really like metalcore with post-hardcore tendencies, Farewell To Freeway might hit the spot for you. Filthy Habits isn’t the worst thing out there, but at the same time, it’s far from this genre’s zenith. If this style of music isn’t your main draw to your stereo, then I imagine this album will be lost on you. It was pretty lost on me.
01. Liquor? I Don’t Even Know ‘Er
02. Afterlife Lottery
04. Inside Influence
05. Top Gun
06. Bones And Tissue
07. Dharma’s A Bitch
09. Token Ain’t Weezy
10. Spare Parts
11. Rico’s Roughnecks
12. Blood Boils Quicker Than Water