It is easy to look at Charger’s debut EP and think that it would be an extension of the music its members are most noted for. Sure, Charger features Matt Freeman and Jason Willer, and if you’re a fan of punk music, then you’ll be more than familiar with Rancid, UK Subs, and Operation Ivy. But Charger is more than the band members’ musical lineage because Freeman and Willer (joined by guitarist Andrew McGee), are carving out a chunk of a different musical beast. Charger is less East Bay punk and more doom-impending heavy metal. It’s got the guttural growl that was the underbelly of much of Motorhead’s work but has the hallucinogenic attraction of stoner giants Queens of the Stone Age.
“Crackdown” has got that snaking “Ace of Spades” riff that kills no matter what decade it is, and “Victim” pulverizes with impunity. But in “Damage”, Charger really gets to shine as its own musical entity. Powered by Freeman’s bass work (still untouchable), the cascading guitars crash together with Mastodon-like precision. “Damage” is distinctly the album’s best outing; an unafraid, rollicking, colossus of a song that traverses the best of the heavy metal spectrum. Most surprisingly perhaps with this release, is the effectiveness of Freeman’s vocals. We don’t get to hear him sing much in his more noted work but Charger is proof that he’s got the kind of vocal punch that is reserved for the Lemmys and Rob Halfords of the world. His vocal work in Charger is a little different than what he presented with Devils Brigade; its less punk, more Lemmy.
“All Kings Must Die” revs with the best of them, while “Fall Out” is a little more early thrash metal. The record closes out with “Dragdown”, born from that Palm Desert sound, it is as unrelenting as the rest of the release. In the 7 songs on offer, Charger does not take their foot off the pedal once. Sure, it may have its influences on show, but the world could always use more Motorhead and never does it sidetrack the work away from how effective it is. Listen to Charger when you need to kick some ass or listen to Charger when you want to turn the world off. But listen lots, and listen loud.