The Freeze - One False Move (retro review) (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Freeze

One False Move (retro review) (1999)

Dr. Strange Records

In 2019, more than 40 years after their humble beginnings, The Freeze came roaring back with their first LP in two decades, Calling all Creatures. Now seems like a perfect time to look back at their previous LP, and presumed swan song from 20 years earlier, One False Move. While The Freeze will always be fondly remembered for their great ‘80s albums Land of the Lost (1983) and Rabid Reaction (1985), they actually managed to remain active and productive through the ‘90s.

Even more impressively, and unlike many of their '80s peers, they were still making good records in the ‘90s. Misery Loves Company (1991), Crawling Blind (1994), Freakshow (1996) and One False Move (1999) are all worth having in your collection. While a ton of ‘80s punk and hardcore bands had turned to crossover and thrash metal with the promise of major label money, (Gang Green, Necros and Verbal Abuse were good examples of this), The Freeze stuck to their punk guns. One False Move was full of speedy punk riffs and intricate lead guitar lines from longtime six stringer Bill Close, and of course, the unforgettable voice of main madman Clif Hanger.

After 20 years of hard living, The Freeze definitely seemed a bit frayed, or maybe fried, even if they sounded as good as or even better than ever. The 14 songs on One False Move were full of the tension and desperation that the Cape Cod/Boston band was known for. There were ample amounts of addiction and insanity. In fact, the majority of the songs were about one or the other. Plus, there was still a bit of the band’s signature humor, but it seemed more bitter and ironic. The cover image was done by noted artist Edward Gorey.

A handful of the songs, including opener “New Poison”, dealt directly with drug addiction. “Professor Redeye” was about the consequences of said drug use. “Wired to Lose”, “Shedding Season”, “Alien Heads”, Makes Me Nervous” and “Mental Defective” are all about some combination of substance abuse and mental illness. They also expose the cracks that people who suffer from these conditions often fall between. “The Band is Waiting” might be the key track. It’s about how even the thing that once gave the writer the most pleasure, playing music, no longer offered any relief.

Some songs were even darker. “In Their Dreams” told of a troubled relationship from the perspective of the abused and the abuser. “Contract High” was about the band’s legendarily bad business dealings. “Now Serving” somehow added some levity in the form of a song about cannibalism. “Last Letter Home” was a cautionary tale in the form of a suicide note. It was bleak but compelling stuff. The Freeze have been out of the loop for a while, but seemed poised for a comeback. One False Move is probably not on many people’s radar, but it should be. It has aged like fine wine, and is among the best classic punk albums of the late ‘90s.