Freebase – Dublin [27.10.01]

Freebase, a crossover hardcore band, were founded in August 1995 by vocalist Mark Fieldhouse and guitarist Nick Lovell. After playing their first ever show – supporting punk legends, G.B.H. in 1996 – they released their first recording, the ‘England’ demo, consisting of four brutally heavy, aggressive metalcore tracks. The response from the underground, not to mention the national and international metal, punk and hardcore scenes, was overwhelming.

Freebase travelled extensively around the U.K. for the next two years, playing some prominent shows with the likes of Madball, Cro-Mags, and a vast selection of other U.S. hardcore bands, as well as headlining many shows in their own right. 1997 saw Freebase become Metal Hammer’s unsigned band of the month, the magazine declaring: ‘Freebase’s dirty, riff-soaked hardcore has been causing a stir wherever it’s landed’. Several line-up changes and more well-received recordings, including a highlight contribution to the infamous ‘UKHC’ compilation CD released by Household Name Records, all helped Freebase evolve into a well-oiled touring machine. Their first U.K. tour, supporting U.S. veterans Cause For Alarm, in 1998 saw the very first date sell out at London’s Camden Underworld. It was quickly followed up with a European tour, and yet more extensive gigging.

Their first full-length album, ‘Nothing To Regret’, was recorded at Andy Sneap’s Backstage Studios with Dave Chang and released in 2000 on Diehard/Hardboiled Records. Frequent joint headlining tours with the likes of Stampin’ Ground, Knuckledust, Medulla Nocte and Assert helped find well-deserved sponsorship and hard-earned respect. Many compilation releases over the following two years, and another line-up change for the better, paved the way for the much-anticipated second album, ‘My Life, My Rules’, which was recorded during September 2001 in Aahus, Denmark, at the infamous Ant Farm Studios, with respected producer Tue Madsen at the helm. It was released by Diehard/Hardboiled in 2002, and promoted by heavy touring throughout Europe and Scandinavia, sometimes with stand-in guitar players, creating rumours of a split in the Freebase camp.

Eventually, and much to the disappointment of the European hardcore scene, who were still reeling at the power and intensity of ‘My Life, My Rules’, Freebase went into a semi-permanent hiatus. But now, a whole decade on and with not a single reunion show during the interim, Freebase are finally back with a highly impressive and respected new line-up, and many summer festival dates booked for 2012. Original members Mark and Nick have now acquired the services of drummer Ade Stokes and bassist Ian Glasper, both original members of Stampin’ Ground, along with original Assert guitarist, Ryan.

If ever there was a ‘UKHC super-group’, then surely this would be it! So sit back and enjoy the ride, because Freebase are back with a vengeance.

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