Unlike their former (?) band mates Christian Olde Wolbert and Raymond Herrera’s Arkaea project, Burton C. Bell and Byron Stroud have managed at least one thing: City of Fire is in no way a Fear Factory clone.
Jawohl, the first track, Carve Your Name, has some of the same rhythm feel that made Fear Factory the hottest shit in metal when they smashed through the boundaries back in the early nineties, but that’s about it for the resemblances.
I always liked Bell’s voice a lot, and on the debut CD from City of Fire (allegedly a name the band have taken because it describes the city it was forged in; Vancouver), he uses all the strings he can play on – growl, Killing Joke-ish screams, clean vocals, whispers and mesmerising, chant-like vocals.
The eagerness to experiment and yet create real songs is evident throughout the entire album, and only once or twice City of Fire falls into the trap of becoming slightly more jamming/mesmerising than need be (in my book that means boring).
On the whole, a great album with lots of little surprises and a superb blend of groovy modern metal, epic rock, industrial punk, acoustic guitars and occasionally melodic guitar work that clings to your mind for days. Yes, this is a wonderful album that has a lot to offer.
I don’t know if this is fair, but screw it:
City of Fire – Arkaea: 1 – 0