Bristol-based Turbowolf are an odd bunch. Over the past decade they’ve developed a sound that mixes heavy metal, punk and electronic elements into a delightfully weird, psychedelic cocktail. Both their self-titled debut and its follow-up Two Hands were impressive records jam-packed with massive tunes, so naturally their third album, The Free Life, comes with high expectations.
The album is introduced by an ominous spoken message, before exploding into life with ‘No No No’ and its storming opening riff. This is the first of many ridiculously fun and energetic riffs that The Free Life is littered with. You know, the kind of riff that you just can’t resist headbanging along to even while listening in a public place. The highlight of these has to be the utterly blistering one that drives the ironically named ‘Very Bad’. We can hardly imagine the carnage that will unfold when this song is played live.
During their travels Turbowolf have rubbed shoulders with countless other excellent musicians, and have been lucky enough to have some of them perform on their albums. This time around they’ve exceeded themselves in this regard. Royal Blood singer Mike Kerr makes an appearance on the bouncy, infectious ‘Domino’ while Death From Above‘s Sebastian Grainger drops in on the equally jaunty ‘Cheap Magic’. Both of their vocals nicely compliment those of Chris Georgiadis, Turbowolf’s feral and enigmatic frontman.
The Free Life’s pièce de résistance is its mighty title track, clocking in at nearly six minutes. The song opens with a slow, sludgy riff that gradually increases in tempo before launching into a breakneck tune boasting one of the most epic, anthemic choruses Turbowolf have created to date. This song perfectly encapsulates what Turbowolf do best, infusing bruising heaviness with pure fun and exhilaration.
Overall, The Free Life doesn’t offer anything too different from what Turbowolf have done before, but this is far from a bad thing. Pretty much every song on it sounds like it’ll be an absolute riot live, while the highlights are among some of the strongest material in the band’s repertoire.